Once I had discovered that public, outdoor nudity was in fact possible in Vietnam, I wanted — no needed — more. I had already spent two chilly months in Hanoi only being bare in the comfort of my bed. Then I discovered that in Hanoi itself there are nudist camps along the river. (Read about them here). But soon after this realization, it was time to leave the capital and head southward into the apparently less conservative center of the nation. A quick internet search told me that there were indeed spots to practice open-air naturism in this part of the country. And Danang’s Son Tra Peninsula was tops of the list.
What is Son Tra?
Only lightly inhabited and covered with forested mountains and coves, the Son Tra Peninsula adjacent to Danang, Vietnam’s third largest city, is a great place to enjoy some time in the buff. Practically an island only slightly connected to the end of a much longer peninsula, Son Tra seems far removed from the frenetic energy of the city below. The hills contain only a few roads and settlements rooted with its forest. Even as I spied its peaks from the more transitted China Beach within the city, I suspected that finding places for some naked relaxation would not be too difficult among the trees of the Son Tra. So, the following morning I went to seek them out. And the task proved much more difficult than I had initially thought.
Military and spreading development
So on my first foray into the area, I could only scratch out a few minutes of nude time along a stretch of cost weighed down with huge boulders and humble dwellings. There were bamboo and thatch shelters lining the area. But fortunately early on a February afternoon, no one else was around. This save for an elderly lady and her son cleaning and preparing their cafe for the upcoming season. Luckily — or not — I did not see them until I was leaving, which likely meant they had not seen me either. But a brief conversation with them informed me of the changes the area had — and was — undergoing.
Better luck next time
The second day brought a bit more luck. Rather than heading westward and around the peninsula as I had the previous day, I head eastward. Within a short distance from the intersection that leads into/away from the city, I found my spot. At least I thought so. I chose a beach along the front of an abandoned construction area. Evidently, the developer had run into challenges. There was a simple plastic barricade at the entrance to the area and a few others had parked there to walk down to the shore. I left my rented motorbike alongside them and hopped over the barrier too. In under five minutes, I was nude in the sand with nary anyone around other than a clutch of fishermen a ways off.
Getting down to the business at hand, I doffed my clothes and enjoyed. I sponged up the weak rays of sun through cloud breaks, recorded a bit of video and waded in the calm waters. However, the weather really didn’t invite extended periods of outdoor nudity. It was the dead of winter after all. And while central Vietnam doesn’t experience anywhere near the chilly temperatures I had left behind in Hanoi, it was grey. So I dressed to go find lunch. Happily, my timing had been great. Just as I was packing up my gear, a guard came by on his motorbike and sternly requested that I consider another area for my beach-going activities that day.
Go or not?
While the Son Tra is a stunning area of natural beauty and quite relaxed, it is not the best place to seek out nude opportunities. At least not since the developers showed up. But I would still recommend a visit there. And do it by motorbike if at all possible. There ride through the forest with glimpses of sea is impressive. Additionally, this frees you up to look for the few isolated pockets that remain for nudity. In all honesty, it is probably much easier in warmer weather to find places for nude hiking. But this was not the season for it.