Standing on a long gold-sand beach in Danang, Vietnam, you can see a white speck in the mountainous peninsula just north. That's a 220-foot statue of Quan Am, sometimes called the "Lady Buddha" but is actually the bodhisattva of compassion. Close-up, she is gigantic. Local Buddhists pay pilgrimages to her for fertility, protection or guidance. You find her outside temples across the country, but none stand taller than Danang's. So do many bus tours.
On our last Danang day, we rented a motorbike for about $3USD late in the afternoon to go, driving north along the beachfront hotels and seafood barbecue stands. At Man Thai fishing village, at the start of the peninsula, there's a small beach, where local fishers were rowing round boats out to the dozens of fishing boats offshore for a night's job at sea.
Soon after the road rises, the air freshens, as you begin winding up towards the pagoda. Built in 2010 (on a site dated to the 19th century), Linh Ung often attracts tour buses of many locals. The terrace views by Quan Am look back over the fishing boats and long Danang coastline. You can park for a small donation to the pagoda.
Check out our drone footage of her above.
We haven't had time to go deeper into the peninsula yet, but the road continues east above some rocky beaches and interesting rock formations on the south-facing shoreline. Then it veers north, leading to a resort and private beach (construction projects are a controversial issue here), and an old one-lane road winds its way west up to the top of Ban Co Peak. It's steep, and can be tricky with smaller motorbikes – and a no-go if the brakes are dodgy. Up top, expect bigger views looking back over all of Danang, near a statue of a seated Confucius playing chess. Next time!