Da Nang Marble Mountain or Ngu Hanh Son Marble Mountain, these names have been very familiar in Da Nang. Tourists can find it easily when they are searching for Da Nang attractions online. It is also a popular destination among locals because of its beauty and mystery.
This post blog will tell you about Da Nang Marble Mountain’s history, stories, available activities, tips, and cost so you can plan your trip better before visiting this spot.
General information about Da Nang Marble Mountain
The Marble Mountains stretch along the coast road between Hoi An and Danang. They are a collection of five limestone and Marble hills in the Ngu Hanh Son District. The Mountain is about 20 kilometers north of Hoi An. This is a very popular destination for day trips in Da Nang.
The Marble Mountain in Da Nang had been named “Ngu Hanh Son Mountain” by King Minh Mang of the Nguyen Dynasty. In Vietnamese, this name indicates five essential elements: water, wood, fire, metal, and earth.
What are the Marble Mountains
Thuy Son – Water Mountain
Thuy Son is the highest Ngu Hanh Son Marble Mountain with a height of 106m above sea level. It is also the most beautiful one that attracts many tourists.
The water Mountain has become the sanctuary place for many Buddhist anchorites. Pagodas are dating back to the 17th century and several caves. Therefore, this is the most preferable place for hiking.
Tourists can also have a wonderful view of the beaches and countryside below. For those who do not want to climb up to the top, there is an elevator with a fee of VND 15,000 per person.
Hikers have two ways to go up and down: Westside and Eastside, respectively. Many enjoy the spectacular view of other Marble Mountains and My Khe Beach when reaching the peak of Thuy Son.
Kim Son – Metal Mountain
Kim Son Mountain has the shape of a huge bell and is next to the Co Co River. Thus, if visitors have a boat trip along the Co Co River, they can see the peaceful Kim Son Marble Mountain.
There is a place called Quan Am Cave in Metal Mountain. It was not until 1956 when the cave was discovered. Because of the small entrance with steep cliffs, it is difficult to find this destination. However, the cavern becomes larger as you get deeper into it.
At the center of the cave, there is a natural clear water pond. The water here has a long-distance traveling from the Co Co river and passing many rock layers. Hence, the water is very clear and cool.
As time passed by, a human-size Marble sculpture of Quan Am (Bodhisattva in Vietnam’s culture) was naturally created as the water influenced the Marble rock. Remember to look for this nature-made statue during your visit here.
This is also the reason why Da Nang people call it Quan Am Cave. On special lunar occasions, the locals here usually come to pray for health, wealth, luck, and happiness.
Hoa Son – Fire Mountain
Another Mountain in the area is Hoa Son, also known as Fire Mountain. There are two Mountains connected by a natural rock here. People named them Positive and Negative Mountains. In the middle of this rocky road is the Ung Thien pagoda.
The Co Co River used to run along Hoa Son’s southern side. There is a narrow strip of water that connects the Ba Cha and Bai Dai rivers.
Although Hoa Son Mountain is not famous for its natural beauty, Linh Son pagoda and Huyen Vi cave inside this Marble Mountain are well-known Buddhist worshiping places.
Moc Son – Wood Mountain
To the Southeast of Fire Mountain is Moc Son – Wood Mountain. Despite this name, there are not as many trees in Moc Son as in other Marble Mountains. In this area, there is a special “Co Mu Stone” that has the shape of a human.
The Mountain’s north and south sides have been heavily excavated, giving the Mountain’s slopes the appearance of an abandoned wall.
Tho Son – Earth Mountain
Located in the Northwest is the last element in Ngu Hanh Son Marble Mountains – Tho Son, also known as “Da Chong Mountain”. This is the lowest and also longest among the five. Some believe it has a shape of a dragon lying on the sand.
Earth Mountain was once Cham people’s great shelter. Then, they lost their lands to Dai Viet (Vietnam nowadays) in the Viet-Chiem war. Until now, Cham temples still exist in this Mountain with original Cham design and structure.
Although Tho Son Marble Mountain is not a popular spot, we recommend tourists have a quick visit to complete their Da Nang Marble Mountain tour.
Location of Ngu Hanh Son Mountain
Da Nang Marble Mountain is located on the route Da Nang – Hoi An. It belongs to Hoa Hai ward, Ngu Hanh Son district, Da Nang city.
The cluster of Mountains sits halfway between Hoi An and Da Nang so it is very convenient for tourists to travel. It is only 8 kilometers South from Da Nang city center and 20 kilometers North from Hoi An ancient town.
If you arrive at Da Nang airport, you can visit the Marble Mountains in a 15 minutes drive from there.
How to get to Ngu Hanh Son Marble Mountain
This is the most convenient and budget-wise option for tourists, especially for families and groups. Visitors can book taxis for a one-way journey or “wait and return.”
For a one-way ride from Hoi An, you can expect to pay about VND 250,000 (approximately $11). You can negotiate and arrange for a round trip or ask your hotel reception to prebook for you.
You can go by bus No. 1 from Hoi An to Da Nang that passes Marble Mountains along the Le Van Hien highway. You can get off the bus at a neighboring bus stop and walk the short distance to the ticket office.
Going by motorbike is the most flexible way for visitors. Just go along either Le Van Hien highway or Truong Sa coast road. You will find the ticket entrance on Huyen Tran Cong Chua street near several sculpture shops.
If you decide to travel by motorbike, you can park inside the parking at gate two.
History of Da Nang Marble Mountain
Tales belong to the Mountains
According to Cham’s folklore, a big dragon flew here a long time ago to give birth. The dragon’s egg was carefully looked after by the residents in the area until one day it got larger and larger.
The egg cracked and inside there was a fairy. The eggshell then grew into the five Marble Mountains that people see today.
Another story about Ngu Hanh Son Marble Mountain is about 17 Buddhist nuns shooting down two American planes from here. Many guerrilla fighters and military scouts also sought shelter in Marble Mountain in Da Nang.
Da Nang Marble Mountain during two wars
The Marble Mountains’ role was also significant during the Vietnam War. The Huyen Khong Cave, once a sacred location, was used as a garrison by the Americans and the government of Southern Vietnam.
The caves, however, came under Communist control after numerous attacks on the Marble Mountains. The People’s Liberation Armed Forces (PLAF) developed a secret field hospital there at this time.
At the same time, the cave was successfully used to spy on American forces at nearby My Khe Beach, thanks to its panoramic views.
The Marble Mountain nowadays
Today, Marble Mountains are home to a system of caves, pagodas, towers, and tunnels built by the Nguyen Dynasty Kings and local Buddhists.
Da Nang Marble Mountains have become a popular destination for both local and foreign tourists to explore the wonderful nature and history of Vietnam. Its beauty immediately piques the interest of the viewer.
What to see in Ngu Hanh Son Marble Mountain
Visiting the Marble Mountains, you will have to walk, climb up and be careful of the uneven steps. There are elevators for those with restricted mobility and young children. These elevators can take them to the Xa Loi Tower and here, they can have wonderful views.
Now let’s explore several famous spots and popular activities at Da Nang Marble Mountain!
Linh Ung pagoda
There are three primary pathways to explore once you reach the top of the mountain from Gate one. The Ling Ung Pagoda and Temple, completed in 1825, can be reached by using the right path.
The pagoda is to the East of Thuy Son. It contributes to the beautiful landscape of the Marble Mountains and Da Nang and has been restored many times.
Ling Ung pagoda’s highlight – Xa Loi tower was built in 1997 and consists of 200 Buddha statues. It is 30 meters high and tourists can stand at the gate of this pagoda for great ocean views.
Tam Thai pagoda
The central road leads to Tam Thai Pagoda, passing via the “relaxation” area, which consists of a collection of tiny booths, vendors, and restrooms.
Built in the 17th century, this 400-year-old pagoda has been demolished, rebuilt, and refurbished numerous times. After a severe storm entirely destroyed what was left standing after the Vietnam War ended in 1991, it was rebuilt in recent years.
Huyen Khong Cave
This cave is absolutely worth visiting. Huyen Khong is one of the largest and most impressive caves in Ngu Hanh Son Marble Mountain. It is home to two Buddhist shrines, a small temple, and a huge marble Buddha raised 5 meters above the cave floor.
In Huyen Khong cave’s ceiling, there are large holes to allow the light to flicker down into the cave. The way natural light stretches from the sky to the cave floor is the reason why its beauty is very famous among tourists.
It is a marvelous scene to see the sunlight shining on the Buddha statue’s face. If you arrive at the right time during the day (between noon and 2 p.m.), the sun is right overhead.
To the right of the relaxation revenue is Heaven Cave or Van Thong Cave. This cave may seem small at first, but there is more to explore inside.
Following a marble ramp behind the shrine, visitors can find a tunnel leading to a different space. This chamber has no ceiling and thus, is full of light.
In the back of this chamber is another small tunnel that leads to the summit of Heaven peak. The way is dark, slippery, and might have bats overhead. So, if you do not mind all of these, we recommend you try this experience.
At the top of Heaven Cave, the view is not as great as one of Mt Thuy but still a nice spot for photography as it is not busy here. And the good news is there is a separate way to go down to the relaxation area.
View from the top (Summit of Mt. Thuy)
Tourists can find a narrow footpath at the back of the relaxation area. This way leads you up to the summit of Mt. Thuy. This will definitely be the highlight of your Marble Mountains trip.
Here, visitors can take in the spectacular view of the area. To the North is Da Nang city with the beauty of a jewel in the flatlands. Whereas, to the South, you can see rural countryside and rice paddies among the modern development of buildings and resorts.
The famous China Beach is in the East. The American forces came here and established their beachhead. Except for the Cham Islands, the breathtaking azure South China Sea stretches to the horizon line behind China Beach.
Additionally, to the West, you can see the mountains and this is the direction of Laos’ border.
Visitors can enjoy the half-day rock climbing tours at Da Nang Marble Mountains. The service providers here have high-quality equipment and experienced guides. You can climb up the slopes of the mountains and have the chance to go into the caves.
The tours are available for all levels, from inexperienced to expert. We recommend you try these as they are fantastic and well worth your time and money. Some rock climbing services even have special programs for kids.
Non Nuoc Hamlet, at the base of Ngu Hanh Son Marble Mountain, is a bustling retail area with many stone carving stores. You can see the artisans carving and sawing big slabs of marble and explore a wide range of stunning statues while they work.
However, keep in mind that this marble is from another area of Vietnam. So, do not expect to buy something made from Mt. Thuy’s marble stone here.
Many of the little carvings are lovely and they can be excellent gifts. But if you are looking for a big statue or something similar, make sure you negotiate the shipping fee to take it home.
Non Nuoc Villages
Non Nuoc village or Non Nuoc fine arts village is where the local craftsmen make handicrafts from marbles.
This village has aged more than 200 years since the end of the 18th century. Besides Marble Mountain in Da Nang, this destination has become a famous attraction with artisan workshops and retail stores selling marble products at reasonable prices.
Both local people and tourists visit this village to purchase handcrafted jewelry such as rings, necklaces, and Buddhist products such as Buddha statues.
The craftsmen here transform lifeless stones into special vibrant handicrafts with human spirits. The procedures and stages of making the products are very difficult, including some that demand high-level skills and experience.
Non Nuoc Beach
Travelers may reach Non Nuoc Beach in just 10 minutes by walking from the Marble Mountain in Da Nang. This beach features beautiful white sands, clear blue seawater, and modest waves.
This place’s highlight is the clear water that has attracted many tourists both local and international. You can enjoy leisure activities such as swimming, going fishing, and beach volleyball. There are also beachfront restaurants serving local distinctive seafood dishes here.
Non Nuoc Beach is an interesting area to rest and camp along the beach. People also lie on the beach to watch the dawn or sunset while listening to the soothing sounds of the sea.
Tickets and tips for your Da Nang Marble Mountain trip
Opening time and tickets
The Marble Mountains are open all year round, from 7 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. The admission costs 40,000 VND ($1.70) and does not require pre-purchase. A map of Mt. Thuy’s attractions can be purchased for 15,000 VND at the ticket office ($0.65).
The one-way elevator ticket costs 15,000 VND ($0.65). This is a smart option if you want to save your energy for exploring the stairs and caves. At the ticket office, they expect that you want both two-way elevator tickets, so be clear about what you want.
We suggest some tips for your climbing up the Marble Mountain in Da Nang:
- Many tours offer trips to the Marble Mountains but visiting on your own for a day trip is easier and less expensive.
- After a day on the Marble steps, everyone else can skip leg day at the gym.
- On the Mountain and around its entrances, you can purchase water and snacks.
- Because the steps are not uniform, we recommend that good footwear is especially crucial if you plan to trek through the Heaven cave.
The best time to visit
We recommend you visit Da Nang Marble Mountain in the dry season (January to August) despite the heat. If you go in the rainy season (September to November), heavy rains might come up suddenly. The marble stairs, thus, can be very slippery and dangerous.
The best time to visit Ngu Hanh Son Marble Mountain is when it is not crowded. We suggest it is before 8.30 a.m. or from 4 to 5.30 p.m. This is when the bus tours have not arrived or have left the place. You can avoid the heat at this time and also take photos with expansive views.
Da Nang Marble Mountains have long been Buddhist places of worship with high peaks, limestone caves, and temples just waiting to be discovered. Put Marble Mountain into your checklists when traveling in Da Nang. Visiting this destination will be well worth your time and money!