|Son Tra Peninsula||China Beach (Non Nuoc)||My Khe Beach||Nam O Beach|
|Xuan Thieu Beach||Bac My An Beach||Marble Mountains||Cham Museum|
Son Tra Peninsula is a low mountainous area fully covered by forest . It is one of the city’s lung. Son Tra Peninsula and the Hai Van Pass embrace the Han River and form a wide closed bay. From the air, the Son Tra Peninsula looks like a fish fairy swimming to the Eastern Sea. From the sea, you can see three mountain peaks: Co Ngua, Nghe and Mo Dieu. The highest peak is 693m above the sea level.
For tens of thousands of years, the peninsula was an island. However, alluvial soil deposited by rivers connected it with the mainland. From the peninsula, tourists can see the coast lines and enjoy Danang Bay, Danang City, the Han river, the Hai Van Pass and the Marble Mountains. In the early nineteenth century, the Nguyen Dynasty built many defensive fortresses and observation posts here. In 1858, the French fired the first shot on the peninsula and started their invasion of Vietnam.
Nowadays, the peninsula’s tourism potentials have been aroused. Some entertainment areas have been built along the beaches. Tourists can go paragliding and ride in motor boats. You can also go to fish farms, go around the peninsula by boat, go fishing offshore or go diving to enjoy the colourful coral reefs.
The Son Tra Natural Preservation Zone
The 4,439 ha zone includes 4,180 ha of forest with 3,431 ha of forest area (2,806 ha of natural forest and 625 ha of afforested area), and 748 ha of uncultivated area.
The zone consists of a wet ecological coastal system and a primeval tropical forest. It has diverse tropical flora and rare species at risk of extinction.
The zone has many beautiful landscapes and historical relics. It is also the source of the fresh water supply for the city and is considered a barrier protecting the city from winds and storms.
Visiting Son Tra Peninsula
– Location: Tho Quang Ward, Son Tra District.
A road around the peninsula along the city’s beaches and on to Hoi An Old Town has been built. Many tourist zones have been put into use or are being built. Visitors can stay here and bathe at the beautiful beaches.
Tourism services include bathing, mountain climbing, scuba diving, fishing and visiting caged fish farms. Tourists will also be instructed how to catch cuttle-fish and shrimp, go water-skiing and paragliding and eat “goi ca” (fresh fish mixed with lemon and vegetables) on board.
With green water and white sand at the foot of the Marble Mountains, Non Nuoc beach stretches 5 km in Hoa Hai Ward of Ngu Hanh Son District.
Non Nuoc beach has wave, climate and salinity that suit sea sports. In 1993, an international surfing competition was hold here with the participation of 40 foreign athletes.
The beach is managed by the Non Nuoc Tourism Company that has three hotels with more than 100 rooms on the beach. They provide entertainment services including photographs for souvenir, handicraft shops, massage, restaurant, tennis and some gymnastics.
A chain of tourism resorts is planned to cater for international tourists including seaside hotels and restaurants, especially an international standard golf court.
At Non Nuoc beach, besides convalescence and bathing, tourists can visit the Marble Mountains where there are ancient pagodas and sacred monumental caves, go around the stone handicraft villages right at the foot of the Marble Mountains or travel by boat on the Co Co river to enjoy peacefulness of the Marble Mountains.
With 900 meters long, My Khe beach is the most crowded of Danang beaches and popular to local people.American soldiers occupied a part of the beach before 1975. They established some premises for their relaxation and recreations. And now it has some enabling conditions such as being near the city’s center, large space, beautiful landscapes, and qualified services (hotels, restaurants, vehicles keeping site, fresh water bathing, sunshade and buoy lease, etc.). There are 50 well-equipped and comfortable bedrooms and lots of services in My Khe hotel. Many luxurious seaside villas with over 100 rooms are available for families, working staff. They can come here to play and rest at weekend.
Coastal specialties like shrimps, crabs, fish, cuttles, etc. in hundreds of small shops with are at reasonable price. Life – saving groups are at work all days to guarantee safety to visitors.
Han River suspension bridge was completed, it links the east to the west area, making transportation possible. Consequently, My Khe beach becomes an attractive resort.
17-kilometers northwest to the city’s center, located in Hoa Hiep ward, Lien Chieu district is Bac My An beach. It is said that Nam O means at the south of the ancient O territory (Nam: south, O: O territory).
From Nam O beach, one can ride a boat westwards on Cu De river, acts an ecological tour to a ward of minority people in Hoa Bac, Hoa Vang district.
Coming into being in early of the 1960s, Nam O beach was used by local people. But now some houses on stilts were built for tourism.
Lien Chieu has a plan of embellishing landscapes, solving the problem of environment pollution, constructing a 800-meter road linked Nam O bridge to bathing resorts.
Xuan Thieu beach is 3km south of Nam O beach – a place-name linked with a historical event happening in March 1965 when the brigade No.9 of the US marine forces entered the city to start the strategy of “local war” in Vietnam.Since 1975, the beach is only used for the US soldiers because this was the US military zone with an airport for field combat and storage of military supplies and defence system of Danang city from the North. The US troops called Xuan Thieu ‘Red Beach”. This may be owing to visual feeling when they saw at dawn and sunset and the red was reflected from the sea.
Xuan Thieu beach is clean, beautiful and unchanged with white and silky sand and green water.
Since 1992, Xuan Thieu tourism resort has been built with a rather streamlined and sufficient system of services, including hotels, restaurants and some kinds of entertainment for bathing, meeting all tourists’ demand.
At present, a 15-km long tourist road route from Thuan Phuoc to the foot of Hai Van Pass through Xuan Thieu beach has been building and will be completed in late 2003. This will be the chance for exploiting all potentials of the beach.
Seven kilometers southeast to the city’s center, located in Bac My An ward, Ngu Hanh Son district, Danang city is Bac My An beach.There are five wonderful resorts in this region: T18, My Da Dong 2, My Da Dong 3, Bac My An and Furama.
Before 1975 it was a natural beach. After the city’s liberation day, local authority decided to erect a resting house and a sanatorium to serve civil officials of previous Quang Nam – Da Nang province. And now with appearance of Furama tourist site, the beach is well-known on its international coastal relaxing resort.
Marble Mountains are seemingly familiar to everybody who heard of there or has been to Danang City. There are so well known as to be a symbol of the area. The subtle, lyric and poetical ambience of pagodas, grottoes, trees, bushes, sounds the mixed of pagoda bells and murmuring waves and the mysterious legends of sea are all that are not far from the city center, making the mountains a fairy land for tourists for ages.Almost two hundred years ago, King Minh Mang came here. He named the mountain, grottoes and pagodas. Nobody knows why names such as Ngu Hanh Son, Huyen Khong, Hoa Liem, Lang Hu, Tang Chan, Van Nguyet, Thien Long put King deep in thought, despite of dwelling on to national development, the King kept in his mind the picturesque landscape of the mountains as the pride of the beautiful southern land.
Cultural and historical stamps can be seen on every pagoda and tower built in the 19th century, and on Champa sculptures of the 14th and 15th century. There are written-on-stone poets of the Le and Tran Dynasty, a grave of Capital Tran Quang Khai’s mother, a temple worshiping Ngoc Lan princess (Minh Mang King’s younger sister) and such evolutionary relics as Da Chong tunnel, Ba Tho cave, Kim Son mount, Am Phu cave, etc… All are persuasive evidences to the legendary Marble Mountain and the land endowed with the people of great talent.
Like other landscapes, these mountains have many different mysterious legends. The poetical ambience plus echoes of my mysterious legends gives mountains their own characters that it is difficult to find on other places. In ancient oriental philosophy; metal, wood, water, fire, earth were five elements that created the universe. Five is the paramount important number in thinking and lives. The coincidence of the five peaks: metal, wood, water, fire, earth still keeps them mysterious.
The natural grottoes and pagodas on the mountains combine both heaven-endowed and man-made to create the harmonious beauty. The feature the attractive characters that keep tourists surprised and emotional on the way traveling.
On hot summer days, let us imagine you and your friends going up the 108 steps to Ling Ung pagoda, sitting at Vong Giang tower to look to green Truong Giang murmuring slightly in the sunset or standing on Vong Hai tower to look far to sandy beaches flirted by the sea waves. In the late afternoon, city dwellers rush to the seaside, fishermen group by group patiently push their boats offshore, and on the greasy paths leading to the grottoes and inside pagodas the sandalwood exhales its fragrance. One day staying at the in Marble Mountains makes life more beautiful and meaningful.
Built in 1915, the Museum of Champa Sculpture in Danang displays an intensive and diverse collection of Champa sculpture dating from the 7th to the 15th centuries. The museum was established at the end of the 19th century by the Ecole Francaise d’Extreme Orient with a collection of artifacts gathered in central Vietnam, from Quang Binh to Binh Dinh. They were then displayed at Le Jardin de Tourane on a small hill by the Han River. This is the site of the present museum. The building was designed by two French architects, Delaval and Auclair, in imitation of the most commonly used aspects of Champa towers and temples.
In 1935 the museum was expanded to display the artifacts excavated at Tra Kieu. The museum currently has on display about 300 sandstone and terra-cotta sculptures. Most of the artifacts are masterpieces of Champa art and some are considered to be equal to works anywhere in the world.
The arts of the Champa were chiefly sculpture, but the sculptures are only part of the religious architecture. The temples and towers themselves are considered to be sculptural artifacts. They are decorated on the exterior of their brick walls with bas-relief columns, flowers and leaves and worshipping figures between brick pillars. The tympana, lintels and the ornamental corner pieces are of sandstones carved with the figures of gods, the holy animals of the Hindus and flowers and leaves.
The artifacts displayed at the museum are altars, statues and decorative works collected from Hindu and Buddhist temples and towers. Champa sculpture displays various styles. Sometimes they were influenced by other cultures but no matter at what period or in what style the Champa artifacts were made they always displayed original characteristics.
Visitors to the museum will have the opportunity to appreciate the eight centuries of evolution of Champa sculpture from its golden age to its decline. In their own way, the artifacts exemplify the rise and fall of the Champa civilization. When we stand before these artistic masterpieces we can comprehend the noblest ideal of art, the creation of the infinite from the finite.
Two periods of Champa arts are represented by the sculptures at the museum, before and after the year 1000.
The first period, from the latter half of the 7th century to the end of the 9th century, witnessed the brilliant development of Champa art, which reflected the most prosperous era of the Champa kingdom. Champa art during this period clearly exposed the Champa’s aesthetic personality in a lively, fresh and liberal style.
Among the masterpieces of this period on display at the museum is the Tra Kieu Altar. The altar was used for the worship of Siva, the creator and destroyer of the universe, and the symbols of her creative ability, the Ling and Yoni, are present on it. The four scenes carved around the base of the altar tell the story of Prince Rama. He came to the citadel of Videha to try to break the sacred bow of Rudra so that he could marry princess Sita. Price Rama broke the bow, a task that had been tried by many before him, and he and the princess were wed.
The artifacts in the Dong Duong room (style of the 9th-10th centuries) create a deep impression with their vigorous, lively and exaggerated style and represent the climax of the development of Champa art. These statues of the first Champa kings, with the characteristic big eyes and noses and thick lips of the native people, show their vitality and imposing appearance. These carvings show the absolute belief that a supernatural force was supporting the rule of the Champa kings during the period when Buddhism was the dominant force.
The second period lasted from the 11th to the 15th centuries. The devastating wars from the end of the 10th century onwards took the Champa kingdom into decline, and the relocation of the capital from Tra Kieu (Quang Nam) to Tra Ban (Binh Ding) in about the year 1,000 brought about a new direction in their art. The experiences of the Champa had a direct influence on the development of Champa art. The second period of Champa sculpture had a different beauty. The decorative motifs on the animals statues became more ornate whereas those depicting humans became arid and dull, gradually losing the passionate and expressive characteristics of the early period.
The artifacts discovered at Thap Mam (style of the 12th-14th centuries) are monumental sculptures of large animals such as elephants, makara (sea monsters) and garudas (the birds of the gods) which served as protectors of the temples and towers. The Thap Mam style with its enormous artifacts represents the last efforts of a civilization on the decline. However, the exquisite talents of the sculptors can still be recognized on several statues. On the polished figures with their austere appearance are unearthly, calm smiles.
After the Thap Mam period Champa art declined. The Siva statue displayed in the Kontum room has an exhausted appearance. This was one of the last artifacts of the Champa sculptors. By the end of the 17th century the Champa aristocracy distegrated.
The eight centuries of art at the Champa museum is a thick history book reflecting the ups and downs of Champa art. From inanimate stones came living art, and from these wonderful invaluable artifacts we can get the feeling that the warmth from the Champa artists’ hand is still there, on the fine skin of the stone-timeless.
A Brief History of the Champa
According to Chinese chronicles, the Champa kingdom was founded in 192 AD and had different names such as Lin-Yi, Huang-Wang and Chang-Chen. Its territories stretched from south of the Ngang Pass in Quang Binh Province to the delta area of the Dong Nai River in Binh Thuan Province. It included the coastal plains, highland and mountain ranges.
Influenced by the early Hindu civilization, the Champa kingdom was a federation of several smaller states called Mandala and comprised several ethnic groups.
The most important legacy of the Champa kingdom is located in Central Vietnam in the form of brick temples and towers which are scattered over the coastal lowlands and highlands. The structures date from between the 7th and 8th centuries to the 16th and 17th centuries and are concentrated in Quang Nam Danang, Binh Dinh, Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan.