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How To Get To The Marble Mountains in Da Nang Vietnam

How To Get To The Marble Mountains in Da Nang Vietnam

Wondering how to get to the Marble Mountains in Vietnam and whether they are worth visiting? I’ve created this epic information post that includes travelling tips and a guide to what you will see inside the Five Element Mountains.

Marble Mountains, Vietnam, are close to Danang between Hue and Hoi An and are a must-see Southeast Asia attraction. We hadn’t planned to visit them during our 2-week trip around Vietnam, but they were included in our Hai Van Pass day trip, so we thought, why not?

Arriving at the Marble Mountains and with the thermometer peaking at 30 degrees, I asked our driver what time he wanted us back in the car. “Take however long you want,” was his reply.  

I wasn’t sure it would take us long to look at some statues and a few carvings, but I was wrong; it is an incredible place.

With so much to see, we could now understand why our driver said we could take our time!

At every turn, a new sight awaited us, and the thought of the centuries it must have taken to turn these mountains in central Vietnam into a place of such religious beauty was truly astounding.

In this post, I share Marble Mountain facts, travel tips, and photographs of our visit.

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White marble buddha statues in Marble Mountains Vietnam.

History Of Marble Mountains Vietnam

The Marble Mountains consist of 5 marble and limestone Element Mountains: Water Mountain (Thuy), Wood Mountain (Moc), Metal Mountain (Kim), Earth Mountain (Tho), and Fire Mountain (Hoa).

Inside the caves are temples with shrines and statues dedicated to Buddhism and Hinduism. There are also places to worship.

The Cham Dynasty used the mountains as a pilgrimage place in the 9th century, and after the decline of the Cham Dynasty, the Vietnamese King Minh Mang called the mountains Ngu Hanh Son, The Five Element Mountains.

During the Vietnamese/French colonial period, the mountains were renamed the Marble Mountains after French geologists realised the mountains were comprised of marble.

In recent times, the Marble Mountains were used as a guerilla base during the Vietnam/American War.

Marble and stone were extracted from the mountains for sculpting. Marble mining in Vietnam is now banned, and marble is imported from China.

A cave in Marble Mountains Vietnam showing altars and buddhas carved from the rock.

Getting to the Marble Mountains Vietnam

Marble Mountain is great to visit from Da Nang and Hoi An on a day trip. There are loads of Marble Mountain Tours to book.

If you are travelling from Hue as we were, it may be included in your itinerary; if not, then ask your driver to include a stop at the Marble Mountains. We visited them during our road transfer from Hue to Hoi An with Hura Cars.

You can also hop on a local bus from Da Nang if you prefer to visit alone. Numbers #1, #11, or #R16 go to the entrance of Marble Mountains.

 

The Marble Mountains are in the Non-Nuoc Stone Carving village centre, 8 km south of Da Nang city centre.

You can watch the stonemasons at work, sculpting huge slabs of marble and even have a statue delivered to your home address if you so desire!

How Much Is The Marble Mountain Entrance Fee?

We ascended the mountain by escalator, a quicker and less exhausting route than taking the 157 steps. Entry to the Marble Mountains will cost 40,000 VND and an additional 15,000 VND for the escalator. The mountains are open from 7 am – 5.30 pm all year round.

Pagodas with green tiled roofs in the Marble Mountains Vietnam.

How Long Should I Stay in the Marble Mountains?

If you want to take it at a leisurely pace, I would say 2-3 hours, allowing time to stop for a drink or something to eat. Water and coconut vendors line some of the pathways, giving a glimpse of hope to tourists who have arrived without their own refreshments.

Crowds flock to the mountains, so don’t expect peace and tranquillity. However, we arrived on an April afternoon and still managed to find areas where we could enjoy solitude.

Ornate dragon carved from marble.

Marble Mountain Dress Code

Believe me when I say it is hot and humid in the mountains, so drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. Ensure you have footwear with a good grip, as the pathways and inside the caves are slippery. Wear flowing cotton garments that will hopefully keep you cool.

Our Story of The Green Jade Buddha

We had to walk through the various stalls selling green jade marble to reach the mountain’s entrance.

Stopping at one, we admired a small jade Buddha no larger than a thumbnail. The stall-holder said she would give us a reasonable price, but we weren’t sure we even wanted it.

We promised that if we decided to buy, we would return to her. She laughed and looked at us, unconvinced. I guess she had probably heard this said many times before.

We spent about two hours in the mountains and eventually returned through the market stalls to find our driver.

We had decided we did want the jade Buddha during our time in the mountains, so we looked for the lady from whom we had promised to return.

It was like finding a needle in a haystack, but eventually, she saw us, called us over and gave us a really “good price” because we had kept our promise to return!

One small jade Buddha now sits on a windowsill in England, reminding us of a memorable trip to the Marble Mountains in Vietnam.

Marble Mountains Photos

seven sided Xa Loi Pagoda
On exiting the elevator, your first sight will be the Xa Loi Pagoda, a seven-sided, six-floored tower.
5 sided pink pagoda
Pagodas are located all around the mountains.
Tam Thai pagoda with statue of a seated buddha
How cool is the 17th-century Tam Thai Pagoda? It’s around 400 years old! 
Buddhist place of worship with lion statues at the entrance
One of the several Buddhist sanctuaries in the Marble Mountains, Vietnam.

Quan Am’s statue represents the bodhisattva of compassion, a deity on the way to enlightenment.  In pagodas and on the altars in homes, followers of the Buddhist religion look to her for guidance, protection, and fertility.

White Marble statue of Quan Am in the Marble Mountains Vietnam.
Entrance to the cave of Quan Am
Quan Am cave entrance.
Quan Am statue carved out of stone
Quan Am bodhisattva carved out of the rock.

Be sure to visit the stunning Huyen Khong Cave while in the mountains.

Cave entrance in the marble mountains Vietnam.
A seating area under a shady tree.
View from Marble mountain over Danang
Views from the mountains allow you 360-degree vistas over Danang.
Exit Stairs leading down from the marble mountains.
The trail finishes with stairs leading back down to the ground, or you can continue back to the escalator.

Is Marble Mountain Worth Visiting in Vietnam?

Without a doubt, if you are visiting central Vietnam, the Marble Mountains in Danang must feature high on your travel itinerary. It is unbelievable to have the chance to see how caves, statues, altars, and pagodas have been carved out of a mountain range. Don’t miss it, you will regret it afterwards!

Please Pin for Future Travel to Vietnam

Are you looking for further Vietnam inspiration? Please check out the following posts:

Northern Vietnam

Central Vietnam

Do you need to arrange travel insurance, car hire or accommodation? Please check out my resources page to help you plan your trip.

Jan

Wednesday 1st of April 2020

Looks like a beautiful place to explore despite the hot weather! I love the pictures of the Buddha statues, pagodas and architecture of the temples. I have not been to Vietnam yet, so I am saving this blog for future. :-)

WhereAngieWanders

Wednesday 1st of April 2020

Vietnam is my favourite country. I just loved it and hope to return in the future.

Claire

Thursday 6th of February 2020

wow there’s a lot of cool things to do in just this one area - thanks for sharing!

WhereAngieWanders

Friday 7th of February 2020

I’m glad you enjoyed finding out about the marble mountains 😀

Katherine

Wednesday 5th of February 2020

I hadn't heard of the Marble Mountains before, what a beautiful place! I'd be paying that extra money to take the escalator as well, especially if it's as hot and humid as you say.

WhereAngieWanders

Wednesday 5th of February 2020

Yes the escalator was my choice!

Julia Bocchese

Wednesday 5th of February 2020

This looks like such a pretty place to explore! It looks like you were able to find some quiet spots, despite there being crowds. Any tips on escaping the crowds?

WhereAngieWanders

Wednesday 5th of February 2020

In the marble mountains, we were just lucky to find empty places to sit. I would say the further away you are from the main entry points are the quietest.

Jacquie

Wednesday 5th of February 2020

I completely missed this when I was in Hoi An years ago! It looks like a lovely place to visit. I'll save the info for the next time we visit. So helpful.

WhereAngieWanders

Wednesday 5th of February 2020

Thanks Jacquie, it was a great place to explore.