Let me start by saying I was skeptical of Marble Mountains before we visited. I’d only heard good things about it, but somehow I felt like maybe it was being a teensy bit overhyped.
We had driven by a few times...and I think the sight of the hideous elevator sticking out of the mountain may have turned me off to the whole thing. Perhaps it was the overabundance of souvenir shops. When I hike I like to feel like I’m in nature, and this elevator just wasn’t screaming nature to me.
I admit, I was so wrong.
If anything Marble Mountains is underrated. For your money, Marble Mountains is one of the best ways you can spend a day in Da Nang. There are lots of small “trails” to explore, caves to climb through, plenty of pagodas and statues to admire, spectacular photo opportunities, and excellent 360 degree views of the surrounding area.
THE STORY OF DA NANG'S MARBLE MOUNTAINS
It is known...In ancient times a giant dragon rose out of the sea and deposited her egg on the land. The egg grew to a massive size and hatched leaving its pieces behind to form the 5 marble mountains. They were later named for the 5 basic elements: Water, earth, air, fire, and metal.
Today the marble mountains are a must see tourist attraction in Da Nang, and for good reason.
WHEN TO GO TO THE MARBLE MOUNTAINS
The marble mountains are open from 7am to 5:30pm daily all year round.
We visited on an overcast day. We really weren’t sure if this would be a good idea at first. The brief sprinkling of rain made everything a bit slippery, but didn’t ruin our time. The presence of clouds only enhanced our photos, and we didn’t regret coming.
If you’re visiting on a hot day be sure to wear a hat, sunscreen, and breathable clothes.
Bring plenty of water and stay hydrated.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO EXPLORE?
We were pleasantly surprised by how much there was to see and do at marble mountains. We saw a lot, moved fairly quickly and easily spent 3 hours.
If you take the lift, grab some photos, and come down it would probably take you about 1 hour.
There are several different viewpoints you can climb to, temples and pagodas to see, and caves to explore. If you take your time and really get into it you could probably spend all day here.
We only explored the biggest and most popular mountain Thuy Son, the Water Mountain. There are 4 other mountains in the cluster you can visit as well.
You’ll be stopping for photos frequently. Don’t be afraid to ask a stranger to take your photo for you. **Tip** Chinese and Koreans love their cameras. They’re likely to take great photos of you, and will be happy to do it. Be sure to return the favor by offering to take a photo for them, or even with them!
GETTING TO THE MARBLE MOUNTAINS
The marble mountains are located about 7km from My Khe beach in Da Nang. Getting to marble mountains in Da Nang is super easy, there are a few ways to get there you decide which is best for you.
Taxis are abundant in Da Nang, and getting one to take you to marble mountains will be easy. If you do decide to take a taxi don’t negotiate the price: insist on the meter.
Usually costs 50K-70K from Da Nang to Marble Mountains. Grab will allow you pay with cash which makes splitting the cost of a ride with a friend much easier. There are usually many cars available and getting a ride should be a breeze. Grab cars tend to hang around marble mountains area too, so finding a ride back won’t be difficult.
Motorbike rentals in Da Nang tend to go for about 100,000 to 150,000vnd for the day. The drive to marble mountains is easy if you’re already accustomed to Vietnamese traffic.
If not I’d recommend taking a car.
The road to Marble mountains is a straight shot down the main beach highway, Võ Nguyên Giáp. Turn right onto Huyền Trân Công Chúa when you see the marble mountains on the right .
When you arrive you’ll see lots of souvenir shops around. Look up for the elevator, you’ll find the ticket booth at the base of it.
Admission fee to marble mountains is 40,000vnd per person.
Elevator is an additional 40,000vnd per person.
If you’re not taking the elevator, you can buy your tickets at the base of the stairs
by Gate No. 2 for 40,000vnd
WHAT YOU'LL SEE
As you climb the stone stairs higher and higher, you can’t help but admire the beautiful trees and lush greenery growing out of the mountain.
As you walk the path you’ll be presented with options, and none will disappoint. Pathways split off left and right, each twist and turn leads to yet another cave, temple, or viewpoint. None of the paths were too challenging, and each one had a nice surprise at the end.
Over millions of years, the rain has eroded these limestone karsts decorating them with incredible fractal patterns along the stone walls and carving out giant caves that just beg to be explored.
Your pulse quickens as the cave you wandered into suddenly becomes narrow. The daylight becomes useless as you move into the shadowy passage and out of its light. The people in front of you disappear as they round the corner and descend the staircase into the next room. The air is subtly scented with incense and a dim light beckons from ahead…
You’re welcomed by the warm glow of candles and sounds of hushed voices you find inside of a temple. A giant stone carved Buddha watches over as you take in the scene.
The view at the highest point of the water mountain is the most rewarding. Take your time as you ascend the stairs, and drink plenty of water. When it starts to become steep resist the urge to turn around and look behind you. Keep moving ahead and admire the view when you get to the top.
At the top you’ll be rewarded with magnificent 360 degree views of other mountains, Da Nang, the river, and the sea. Look north and you’ll see the urban skyline of modern Da Nang, its dragon bridge reminding us of the legend behind these mountains. Look south to Hoi An. Try to imagine what this place looked like before the tourists came. Before the Americans came. Before the French came. Take some good photos, and let the image burn into your memory, because Da Nang is changing quickly, and next time you come it’ll look different.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Admission is 40,000vnd.
Elevator costs an additional 40,000vnd.
Cold drinks/coconuts are sold on mountain.
The stairs can be very slippery when they're wet. Wear good shoes, be careful on rainy days.
Western toilets are available on the mountain. Bring your own toilet paper (just to be safe.)
There are some food options around. It woudn't hurt to pack a snack.