VIETNAM

Da Nang’s Awe Inspiring Marble Mountain Caves

If you are in search of a little adventure in Da Nang, head straight to the Marble Mountain. Full of awe-inspiring caves and breathtaking views, marble mountains give you the opportunity to hike along the less explored rocky paths and forest trails.

Grandeur of Am Phu Cave

Why the name?

Marble Mountain is actually a group of five hills made of marble and limestone. The mountains were named after the five elements namely Kim or metal, Thuy alias water, Moc aka wood, Hoa meaning fire and Tho or Earth. Together these mountains were spiritual destination for Vietnamese and Buddhists who built Buddha statues in every size and shape from cave entrances to summits.     

Buddha and Gods

The Cave Tour

Your ticket would have a map with the caves and pagodas marked on it. Keep following the dots or ask tourists around and you will find your way. However, it might get a bit confusing. Hence here is a virtual tour of the caves and the direction we followed.

The map of marble mountain caves

Am Phu Cave- No 15

The towering Am Phu cave enticed us the moment we stepped into the premises. Located at the foot of Tuy Son (Water mountain) this cave charges a separate entry fee of 20,000 Dong.

Am Phu Cave
Scary yet exciting

Inside the 400-year old pagoda of Tam Thai (No. 11), the vast contrast of hell and heaven is clearly visible. Its scary yet exciting.

The stairway to heaven

The winding stairs symbolize leading to heaven and an underground dungeon leading to hell. The summit of this cave has a statue of laughing Buddha and a vantage point to view the surroundings. Am Pu Cave is the closest to the elevator.

Post Am Phu Cave visit, we purchased tickets for 55,000 Dong,. This included elevator ride and entrance to all other caves.

Vong Hai Dai- No.4

Our first stop was at Vong Hai Dai, a view point to soak in the breeze and enjoy spectacular sea views. Since the weather was humid and warm, this place left us absolutely energized.

The panoramic view

Hoa Nghiem Cave – No. 9

The ancient stone gate overgrown with vegetation welcomed us to Hoa Nghiem Cave.

Stone gate of Hoa Nghiem Cave

The 400 year old Lady Buddha statue carved from the same mountain stone, blends in the backdrop. The statue was believed to be made in 1640 by the merchants of Hoi An. There’s another beautiful destination in Da Nang with a noteworthy statue of Lady Buddha. Read here for more.

400 year old Lady Buddha Statue

Huyen Khong Cave- No 10

Huyen Khong Cave

By far one of the largest and the most impressive cave, Huyen Khong has a large vent in its ceiling. The way light passes through it, makes the cave spectacular.  The three meters high Buddha statue placed in the middle of the cave dates back to 1960. The left of the cave has Ngoc temple and right side has temple of Loi Phi to bring health and wealth.

Ngoc and Loi Phi temples

The entrance through rugged stone stairs guarded by Mandarin statues on both sides offer quite a dramatic look to the cave.

The dramatic entrance of Huyen Khong Cave

Linh Nham Cave- No. 6

Our next visit was to Linh Nham cave, a tiny cave dedicated to the gods and kings.

Van Thong Cave- No 5

Van Thong Cave

This is a small cave with low ceiling height. Inside the cave, you can witness an orange clad Buddha statue on a raised altar. A connecting path behind the statue leads you to another smaller cave. One needs to be careful hiking this rocky, slippery path.  

Orange clad Buddha in Van Thong Cave

We were tired by this time and took a break here sipping fresh coconut water in one of the shacks opposite to the cave.  

Break area
At Khu Dung Chan – Relaxation Area (No. 7)
Rest area with eating joints around

Linh Ung Pagoda- No 2

This was our last stop at the Marble Mountains. The highlight of Lin Ung pagoda is the 30 meters high Xa Loi tower dating back to 1997.

Xa Loi Tower
Linh Ung Pagoda
Adjacent to Linh Ung Pagoga

From the gate, you can enjoy the serene ocean view. The premises around this pagoda has over 200 statues of Buddha and dragons amid beautiful gardens and a fountain.

Buddha statue of Linh Ung Pagoda
Dragon guards

Did you know?

Until few years ago, Marble Mountains was a source of marble and colored stones for statues, decor items and building materials. Quarrying stones from these mountains posed a threat to its ecosystem and its existence. Hence it was banned from this site recently in order to make it tourism worthy.

How to get there?

Merely 11 km from Da Nang city center, it’s a pretty straight route. Just map your GPS to Ngũ Hành Sơn District, south of Da Nang city in Vietnam.

Entry fee

Entrance from Linh Ung Pagoda

There are two ways to enter. Take the stone stairs which will lead to the Linh Ung Pagoda or pay 500,000 Dong for elevator ride and cave entrance fee. However, our tickets were not checked.

If the marble mountain caves left you awestruck, do check out another cultural heritage near Da Nang.

P.S- This trip of ours was in Feb’2020 right before the pandemic outspread.

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