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How to Visit Marble Mountains in Da Nang Vietnam

Marble Mountains were on our route from Hui to Hoi An during our epic round the world trip. We hadn’t planned to visit them but as they were on the driving itinerary with the Hai Van Pass and An Lap Lake we stopped to take a look.

I hadn’t had this landmark very high on my list of things to do in Vietnam, and I wondered why the mountains would be on our drive itinerary. 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.  Surely once up there it wouldn’t take too long to look at some statues and a few carvings, would it?

I was wrong! It is an incredible place; there is so much to see in the Marble Mountains that we could now understand why our driver had said we could take our time. On every turn, a new sight awaited us, and the thought of the centuries it must have taken, turning these mountains in Vietnam into a place of such religious beauty, was truly astounding.

Facts about the Marble Mountains

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). The caves have temples and shrines inside them dedicated to Buddhism and Hinduism and statues and 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 re-named as the Marble Mountains after French geologists realised the mountains were comprised of marble. In recent times the mountains were used as a guerilla base during the Vietnam/American war.

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

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Top Tips for Visiting the Marble Mountains in Da Nang

How to Get to the Marble Mountains

Marble Mountain is a must-see site in Vietnam and can be visited from Da Nang and Hoi An on a Marble Mountain Tour. If you are travelling from Hue as we were, it may be included in your trip 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 on your own. Numbers #1, #11 or #R16 go to the entrance of Marble Mountains.

 

The Marble Mountains are in the centre of Non-Nuoc Stone Carving village, 8 km south of Da Nang city centre. You will be able to 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 to Enter the Marble Mountains

We ascended the mountain by escalator, a quicker and less exhausting route than taking the 157 steps. You must get a ticket to gain entrance which will cost 40,000vnd and an additional 40,000vnd for the escalator. The mountains are open from 7 am – 5.30 pm all year round.

How Long Should I Stay in the Marble Mountains?

If you want to take it at a leisurely pace, then 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.

It is hot and humid in the mountains so prepare yourself with decent footwear to combat for slippery pathways and of course, plenty of fluids. 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 some solitude.

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The Story of The Green Jade Buddha

We had to walk through the various stalls selling green jade marble to get to the mountains’ 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 did decide to buy, then we would come back 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 made our way back 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 who 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 and is our reminder of a memorable trip to the Marble Mountains.

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The Marble Mountains Photo Gallery

On exiting the elevator, your first sight will be the Xa Loi Pagoda, a seven-sided six-floored tower.

seven sided Xa Loi Pagoda

Pagodas are located all around the mountains.

5 sided pink pagoda

Buddha and his disciples surrounded by the forest creatures represent Mother Nature.

Buddha statues carved from white marble

Tam Thai Pagoda was built in the 17th century, making it around 400 years old. 

Tam Thai pagoda with statue of a seated buddha

One of the several Buddhist sanctuaries in the marble mountains.

Buddhist place of worship with lion statues at the entrance

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

Marble statue of Quan Am

The entrance to Quan Am cave

Entrance to the cave of Quan Am

Quan Am bodhisattva carved out of the rock.

Quan Am statue carved out of stone

Interior of a cave inside the marble mountains

Cave floors are wet, so wear shoes that have a good grip.

Wear loose-fitting clothes as it is hot and humid in April

Cave entrance in the marble mountains

The Vietnamese dragon is the symbol of yang, representing the universe, life, existence, and growth.

A carved white marble dragon statue

There are places in the shade to stop for a while and collect your thoughts.

A seating area under a shady tree

Viewpoints from the mountains allow you 360-degree vistas.

View from Marble mountain over Danang

The trail finishes with stairs leading back down to the ground, or you can continue back to the escalator.

Exit Stairs leading down from the marble mountains
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EXPLORE MORE OF VIETNAM WITH ME

Northern Vietnam

Central Vietnam

About Author

Angela Price

Angie is a full-time travel writer with over 30 years of travel experience. She has always had a passion for travel, and after a 3-month world trip with her 18-year-old son, she created her popular travel blog to share her adventures with a wider audience. When Angie is at home in the UK, she enjoys exploring the English countryside, visiting castles and gardens and planning her next big adventure. Her motto is "Live Life Wandering not Wondering".

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Jan
11 months ago

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
Reply to  Jan
11 months ago

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

Claire
1 year ago

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

WhereAngieWanders
Reply to  Claire
1 year ago

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

Katherine
1 year ago

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
Reply to  Katherine
1 year ago

Yes the escalator was my choice!

Julia Bocchese
1 year ago

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
Reply to  Julia Bocchese
1 year ago

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
1 year ago

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
Reply to  Jacquie
1 year ago

Thanks Jacquie, it was a great place to explore.

Ashley
1 year ago

Great post! I loved all this info, I haven’t been to Vietnam yet but it is on my list. I am bookmarking this for later!

WhereAngieWanders
Reply to  Ashley
1 year ago

I hope you get to Vietnam, it is my most favourite country. I am sure you will love it.

michael taylor
1 year ago

I went there on my fist visit to Vietnam. It was beautiful. Your pix bring back fond memories!

WhereAngieWanders
Reply to  michael taylor
1 year ago

I’m glad you like them. I’m planning a trip back next year to that area so will probably go back as my travel companion hasn’t seen them and I definitely think they are worth visiting.

John and Susan Pazera
1 year ago

Very enjoyable post. Great photos. Keep em coming! Cheers!

WhereAngieWanders
Reply to  John and Susan Pazera
1 year ago

Thank you Susan.

Nic Peters
Nic Peters
1 year ago

I’ve been to Vietnam but have never heard of the marble mountains before! It seems like a slice of untouched oriental heaven to me and would love to take in the wonders and history of this ancient feat of engineering.

I must add that I love the link with the Jade Buddha and how the mountains inspired you to take a piece of it home with you, I too have had a similar experience so know the feeling and sentiment behind this!

Another great blog Angie! Keep them coming 🙂

WhereAngieWanders
Reply to  Nic Peters
1 year ago

I am so glad you enjoyed reading all about the marble mountains. I actually travelled there with my 18-year-old son and it was he who bought the jade buddha which now takes pride of place in his room. A momento to always remember a wonderful journey together.

Don L
Don L
1 year ago

Thank you for the very informative blog. I have added this to my travel itinerary.

Can you tell me how much rain you encountered in the region in April. Thank you

WhereAngieWanders
Reply to  Don L
1 year ago

Hi Don, I’m glad you enjoyed reading about them and I hope you get to visit so you can explore them yourself. We didn’t see any rain in the Hoi An area in April although it was humid. The only place we experienced rain in Vietnam was in Hanoi which was at the beginning of our trip.

Jay Artale
1 year ago

I did wonder what else there was to do in the Hoi An vacinity – thanks for letting me know about the Marble Mountains. We visited Vietnam last year but didn’t quite get this far north – so we’ll have to do it on another trip.

WhereAngieWanders
Reply to  Jay Artale
1 year ago

Well worth a visit. I couldn’t believe the amount of stuff that was on top of a mountain!

Julien
1 year ago

Wow, such beautiful temples, caves, and carvings! I’ll definitely add this to my Vietnam travel itinerary. I’m guessing you didn’t return for the jade buddha? 😉

WhereAngieWanders
Reply to  Julien
1 year ago

Yes, I did, you must have missed it at the bottom of the post.

Ann
1 year ago

What an amazing place, I would love to see that scenery with my own eyes 🙂

WhereAngieWanders
Reply to  Ann
1 year ago

It was so magical. It is mind-blowing to see all the shrines and rock carvings up there

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