View from Hai Van Pass Vietnam

I was en route from Hue, the Imperial City, to Hoi An. I had seen the Top Gear Vietnam Special where they went over a spectacular road called the Hai Van Pass and I was keen to follow in their footsteps. Public transport made use of the tunnel through the mountain which meant that there would be no view so I had to arrange a car and a guide.

Once we were over the pass, which really did have spectacular views, the guide suggested that we make a small detour to the Marble Mountains near Danang. Initially I wasn’t too keen, but he was persuasive so I agreed. When I arrived I was quite surprised and happy that we made the trip.

 

 

Top of the Hai Van Pass Vietnam
Top of the Hai Van Pass Vietnam

 

The Marble Mountains (Ngu Hanh Son) are not far from the China Beach Coastal road near Danang. There are 5 limestone hills clustered together. Each of these mountains represents an element namely  wood, water, metal (gold), earth and fire.

 

 

The dragon legend

 

I always enjoy the local stories when I travel. This legend tells of a dragon coming out of the ocean to lay an egg. After a thousand days a beautiful girl emerged from the egg. The broken shell fragments left on the beach grew into the 5 Marble Mountains.  I think that this is a quite nice tale to describe the origins of the mountains, don’t you?

 

Shrines and grottos

 

These mountains have been used as a centre of worship for hundreds of years. They hold a spiritual significance to the Vietnamese and they can be quite busy at weekends and religious holidays so you will need to plan your visit accordingly.

There is a steep climb to the top of Thuy Son, the mountain of water. If you find this a bit too daunting then you then can use the glass elevator . The view from the top is spectacular and looks towards Danang and the surrounding villages dotted below the mountains.

The mountains are filled with caves, tunnels, Buddhist and Hindu shrines. These caves are really interesting to explore, but be careful because they can be slippery.

 

 

View from Marble Mountain Vietnam
View from Marble Mountain

 

 

The mountain top

 

Once you reach the top and pass through the gate the first thing you see is the Xa Loi Pagoda  a beautiful stone tower built in the 18th century that stands like a sentry guarding the mountains. Stairs lead to a viewpoint from where you can see China Beach in the distance.  If you look carefully you will see the decorative dragon carvings on the pagoda.

 

 

Xa Loi Pagoda Marble Mountain Vietnam
Xa Loi Pagoda Marble Mountain

 

 

I loved the Tam Thai Pagoda. This was constructed in 1930 and is a national pagoda for Buddhists. The style of architecture follows the shape of a Chinese character meaning king.

 

 

Tam Thai Pagoda Marble Mountain Vietnam
Tam Thai Pagoda Marble Mountain

 

 

Caves

 

The Huyen Khong Cave is probably the most famous of the caves. One of the holes in this cave was a result of a direct hit by a bomb. It is very dark except for the light coming through holes in the rock. This cave was used as a VC  hospital and a base during the war.

There are numerous other caves to explore as well so take your time to wander around. Look out for the 2 viewing platforms for spectacular photo opportunities.

 

 

Troglodyte temple Marble Mountains
Troglodyte temple Marble Mountains Vietnam

 

 

Non Nuoc village

 

At the foot of the mountain is a village dedicated to handicrafts and sculptures. The villagers used to take chunks of stone from the mountain for their carvings. They have however realised to value of tourism and it has been declared illegal to remove any part of the mountain. The marble/stone used now comes from nearby provinces. They will happily ship your purchases back home for you.

 

Sculptures at Marble Mountain
Sculptures at Marble Mountain Vietnam

 

Tips

 

Take a light with you as the caves can be quite dark

Take lots of water with you as it can be extremely hot and humid.

 

 

Tickets

 

The admission fee to the mountain is USD 1.00. There are guides available for an extra cost. It is worth taking one as they are extremely knowledgeable and will give you a great deal of  extra information.

If you want to go into the cave at the bottom of the hill you need to pay an additional dollar.

Tickets for the elevator are around 60 US cents one way.

 

 

HERE ‘S A REMINDER TO SAVE TO PINTEREST FOR LATER

 

 

Marble Mountains Vietnam Guide
Marble Mountains Vietnam Guide

 

 

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Visiting the Marble Mountains in Vietnam

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45 thoughts on “Visiting the Marble Mountains in Vietnam

  1. Thanks for a great read! We’ve not yet managed to visit Vietnam yet but it’s definitely on our To Travel List so I love reading about places that we can go when we do visit. I love the idea of being able to visit a series of caves and also combine it with some beautiful temples and pagodas too. Love the photos in your post 😊

    1. Thanks for your kind words. I also have a list of places to visit and it grows bigger every day.

  2. I’ve seen that Top Gear episode as well, the view was stunning! And don’t you love it when you make an unscheduled detour that you weren’t particularly keen on, only to find an awesome place that you’re happy you didn’t miss? Any legend that involves dragons is a good legend. Thanks for the great read! Pinning for a future trip.

    1. Isn’t it amazing where we get our inspiration from to visit somewhere. I am more than happy that we made the detour. I am so glad that you enjoyed the read.

  3. I’m not sure I will ever get to Vietnam but you certainly have shown me what it would be like. Great photos and information.

  4. The views from Marble mountain are beautiful! Not heard of Marble mountain but will definitely visit when we go back to Vietnam one day. Great that the guide persuaded you to make the detour! 🙂

  5. I truly love Asian architecture – I feel like I could stare at it all day and never get tired. I have not been to Vietnam yet but it is on my list. Saving this for later

  6. Bookmarked your post enjoyed reading all the tips and information, and seeing your fabulous captures.. Love your blog too. Vietnam is a great country and I cannot wait to visit again.

  7. Loved reading the blog post! The local story of dragon coming to lay eggs sounds amazing isn’t it? There’s a way of relating to the nature too in the local languages! Huyen Khong Cave looks like a tourist’s favorite!Full of history and mystery! Oops that rhymed! Thanks for throwing light on the Marble mountains in Vietnam

  8. Vietnam is such a beautiful place and these pictures make me want to visit even more! Hopefully in the next few years… I loved how easy to read this article was!

    1. Glad you enjoyed reading the article. I hope that you do have a chance to visit. It is beautiful.

  9. Marble Mountains sounds amazing! I’m going to Vietnam in a few months, I will definitely have to try and fit this into my trip! 🙂

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