Marble Mountain (Ngu Hanh Son) lies in the heart of Da Nang’s 400-year-old traditional handicraft village called Non Nuoc Jewel Village, which is famous for its artisanal stone sculptures and jewels. It is a cluster of 5 limestone and marble hills and is beloved for the ancient landscape and different Buddhist sanctuaries. In this article, we’re going to show you how to spend a great half-day here!
Address: 52, Huyen Tran Cong Chua Street, Hoa Hai, Ngu Hanh Son District, Da Nang City
Google Maps location: Marble Mountain in Da Nang
Opening hours: 7 AM - 5.30 PM
- Mount Water (Thuy Son): VND 40,000/adult
- Hell Cave (Dong Am Phu): VND 20,000/adult
- Children under 6 years old: Free
- Elevator (two-way): VND 30,000/passenger
- Guide: VND 50,000/group
The ticket office and entrance tickets to Water Mount.
The ticket office for Hell Cave.
Parking: The houses opposite the Marble Mountain’s entrance offers various parking spots. You can park in any of them with a fee of VND 6,000/motorbike.
See more: Precautions on riding motorbikes
It’s straightforward to get to Marble Mountain from Da Nang’s city center as it’s only 8 kilometers away, all you need to do is load up your 3G/4G and search away. But if you’re afraid of getting lost, you can always use a ride-hailing app like Grab or get a taxi.
The elevator’s beside the entrance to Hell Cave.
With its blessed nature, Marble Mountain in Da Nang is a sight to visit anytime. However, avoid the rainy season (September - January) because it’ll be dangerous to climb on slippery stairs. If you visit this place in the dry season (February - August), especially from May - July, it can get extremely hot.
- Stack up on water to avoid dehydration, best to bring a 1.5 liters water bottle.
- Use a sunscreen, and bring a hat or a jacket to avoid heat strokes.
- Wear sneakers since you have to move and climb a lot.
- Don’t wear slippers or high heels as it can be slippery.
- Bring a small first-aid kit in case you cut yourself from climbing.
- Visit in the early morning for cooler weather and fewer crowds.
See more: How to survive the heat in Vietnam
Remember to shield yourself from the sun as the temperature can sometimes get up to 40 Celsius degrees.
There are 5 mounts, which are named after 5 essential elements: Kim (Metal), Moc (Wood), Thuy (Water), Hoa (Fire), Tho (Earth), on Marble Mountain (hence the name Ngu Hanh Son). Each has its own legends and uniqueness, however, the Water Mount (Thuy Son) is the best to visit as it is more accessible and has more attractions.
Hiking on the Water Mount is an experience you should not miss. The trail beautifully cut into the mountain, and as you walk along the road, you will see different types of animals nonchalantly going about their daily lives. There will also be benches in case you get tired, and numerous trees to shelter you from the sun.
There are many gift shops at the entrance to Water Mount.
The green trail of Water Mount.
This Buddhist pagoda is the first thing you’ll encounter on the Water Mount. It was built during the Later Le Dynasty (1428 - 1789) and has gone through countless renovations. Now, it’s a National Historical-Cultural Site, where Buddhist followers and visitors flock yearly.
Tam Thai Pagoda lies at the West of Water Mount.
The two-tier roof of the pagoda is decorated with a special symbol called “luong long chau nguyet” (two dragons admiring the moon).
The name “Van Thong” (means “to the clouds”) was given thanks to a hole inside the cave that leads out into the summit. In the dry season, people can climb up here and see an aerial view of Da Nang city, so some call this a way to heaven.
The stunning view of Da Nang city from Van Thong Cave’s summit.
Vong Hai Dai (literally “sea observatory”) was built in 1837 as a sea observatory for emperor Minh Mang of the Nguyen dynasty. It’s situated next to Linh Ung Pagoda and from here you can see the beautiful Son Tra Peninsula, though now it’s blocked due to overgrown trees. It’s rumored to be the place where Emperor Minh Mang decided on the policy of isolationism.
Stone stila stating the name and date of construction of Vong Hai Dai.
This is arguably the most famous site of the Marble Mountain. Though not as famed as its counterpart - the Linh Ung Pagoda on the Son Tra Peninsula, Linh Ung Pagoda on Marble Mountain retains a must-see with its sacred yet ravishing design and also the holiness. It was built by Emperor Gia Long as Ung Chan Pagoda and has since gone under a number of renovations. Now the pagoda is a National Historical-Cultural Site.
A stupa for worshipping ancestors.
The 10-meter Buddha sculpture in the yard of Linh Ung Pagoda.
Buddha is being worshipped in the sanctuary.
Intricate sculptures of dragons in the garden of Linh Ung Pagoda.
After seeing “heaven” and Buddha, how about a visit to hell? Though this cave doesn’t really lead to hell, its eerie atmosphere and architecture resemble one, which makes it one of the top five unusual places to visit in Vietnam. The cave is decorated with countless statues and as you go deeper into the cave, you will see sculptures depicting Naraka - 18 levels of hell where bad people go for punishment.
The natural oculus inside Hell Cave provides the rare sunlight to this cave.
An altar beneath the oculus.
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Marble Mountain is a must-see on any trip to central Vietnam. Whether you’re there for the hike, for the religious site or for the eccentric Hell Cave, we’re sure that with this guide, you’re going to have the best time exploring.
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© Written by Ngan Mai for itourvn.com