“Chao ban” Kaptain Kenny readers and welcome to a brand new instalment coming to you from Danang, Vietnam.
Those who have regular contact with me will know that for the last couple of weeks I’ve been in Vietnam, teaching English at the Department of Foreign Languages at Danang University. This has been my first trip to Vietnam and I have about 129484 wonderful things I’d like to say about my trip. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to write about all that today but I assure you, a fully & comprehensive beginner’s guide to Vietnam is in the pipeline!
Today I’d be thrilled to show you a short snippet from my lovely Sunday drive to Monkey Mountain or the Son Tra Peninsula.
“Not to be confused with Marble Mountain, the more well-known tourist destination to the South, Monkey Mountain is located on a peninsula that juts out from the mainland just north of China Beach. (Taken from The Happy Passport.)”
I should also point out that my friend Thanh said Marble Mountain is boring and once you’re at the top, the view is of a very industrial part of Danang, nothing special at all. In fact, Monkey Mountain is where you want to go!
….. so here is the story:
On Sunday, I was checking out of my hotel in Hoi An (which to date was one of my favourite destinations, ever!) and I was about to go on a private bamboo bike tour through the rice fields and Hoi An villages. What I didn’t realise before I went on the tour, was that my guide Thanh, was going to become a great friend – someone who would go above and beyond her duties to make sure I loved Vietnam even more than I already did.
We did our lovely tour together which took around four hours. (Photos from that also coming soon!) After the tour, she told me she wanted to be the one to take me all the way from Hoi An back to Danang where I’m usually based. This was so kind as it’s not exactly around the corner. We piled up my bags and both hopped onto her motorbike. For one hour, she zipped me along the beach and when we finally made it to Danang, she told me she’d love to show me a very special place. Because of Thanh, I present to you: Monkey Mountain in Danang!
This place is about a 15-20 minute drive from Danang’s centre. Now Danang is a city which is experiencing RAPID growth – it’s not hectic here yet like it is in Hanoi or HCMC but it’s an ideal place to experience Vietnam because a) there’s a beach, b) there are GORGEOUS mountains which are idyllically placed around the coastline and c) it’s within very close proximity to the famous Hue Imperial City and Hoi An. For those reasons, I’d actually urge you to base yourself in Danang. Another plus is that Danangians (is this a word?) are extremely friendly people. I’ve been made to feel so special here and that’s one reason I think I’ll break my ‘never return to the same place rule’.
Monkey Mountain is a big coastal drive with winding and charming streets. Every corner presents a new view and as we did this during sunset, it was incredible to stop and take photos. At one point on the motorbike, there was some light wind in my face, the sun was setting to my right and I looked back at Danang with the coastline and the mountains all mixed in a lovely shade of silver. It was one of the most beautiful sights I’d seen and at that moment, I was so grateful to be experiencing Vietnam with real Vietnamese people.
I had this epiphany while on the bike that trips are so much better if you have instant access to the local people and for that reason, this trip for me has been a huge success. I’ve met almost 300 Vietnamese people through the school and so many of them have taken me under their wing, invited me to their homes for dinner with their families, taken me shopping, taken me on their motorbikes and shown me their culture. It’s been nothing short of beautiful.
Have a look at the pictures in this post and you’ll see that this is one destination in Danang which you simply cannot pass up!
Click here to follow Kaptain Kenny on Instagram
/ A N D /
Click here to like Kaptain Kenny on Facebook.