Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Son Tra Mountain - our Great Escape

Quiet. Beauty. Sunsets. Monkeys. What more could you ask for?

One of our favorite places to go on Sunday afternoons is Son Tra Mountain. As a mini National Park, it is truly amazing. It is home to 3 different species of monkeys, and according to one of the conservationists we met there last week, it is a truly unique place because you can have an encounter (sightings or sounds) with at least 1 kind of monkey every time you set foot on the mountain. Elsewhere, even other larger parks in Vietnam, you could spend a week with no monkey noises let alone sightings. We also love it purely for the atmosphere of being out in nature. It is quiet, beautiful, and with the clouds usually resting in the trees it has an amazing mysterious atmosphere. It is the best place to escape the bustling city.

Here's a lovely view of Michael overlooking the east side of Da Nang that you can see as you drive up the mountain. As you continue up you can eventually see the entire city - well, as it disappears into the mist at least.
The views are amazing regardless of the weather, as we discovered when we were first driving up through the clouds.
Here's Michael at the top of Son Tra on our first visit to that area of the park on a particularly foggy day. On our last trip up he took a short video to show what it looks like through the fog - it was the first time we had ever seen clearly what was there.
The serenity of driving through beautiful green trees with nothing but mist in the distance is my all-time favorite experience in Vietnam. It also rocks that as we stopped on this road to check the clock, we happened to be right next to a rather surprised troupe of the smaller, brown monkeys here sitting in the trees right next to us. We looked at them with equal surprise and then they all ran off.
"The Green Place" is in a little valley-ish of sorts of Son Tra, and they have this little hut thing where I guess you can hang out and watch monkeys. We had seen some really big ones eating and playing in the trees and stopped to see them, but they all ran off when they heard some other motorbikes coming through.

More Misty Mountain shots! We just can't get enough. It's my favorite place in the World so far.
The North side of Son Tra is simply breathtaking. Michael took another video to show some additional viewpoints.

One of our favorite things about Son Tra are the Monkeys. There are 3 different species and they are all really awesome, but these guys - the red-shanked gibbon I think - are some of our favorites. We tried to catch a video of this guy, it isn't really good quality but you can see movement! :) We also saw another troupe of the same kind booking it through the trees, I was able to catch one of them for a moment in this video - see if you can spot them.

Conservation is a big thing for the mountain now, the woman we met who explained a lot to us said that the BBC was just finishing up some filming there, we hope we can see it someday! For a free park that's less than 10 minutes away by motorbike, we are truly lucky.

The mountain is one of the most remarkable places we've ever been, and although it is good to see the younger generation of Vietnamese enjoying it primarily as a kind of secluded place to make out, we hope that in the future more will grow to appreciate it for even more than that. 


Natée said...


Sherri said...

I wish I had monkeys in my trees!