Da Nang Marble Mountain, Vietnam – Everything You Need to Know Before You Go
Are you planning a trip to the Da Nang Marble Mountain in Vietnam? That’s an amazing idea, as this is a unique destination and one of the highlights of the entire country! In case you’re wondering when to go, how to properly organise your trip and which tours to choose from all the options out there, I’m here to help. Scroll down to find my complete Marble Mountain guide!
A visit to the Marble Mountains is one of the most popular day trip ideas, especially if you’re in Hoi An.
But let’s start with the beginning:
Where are the Marble Mountains?
The world-famous Marble Mountains are a cluster of 5 limestone and marble hills 7 km south of Da Nang in Vietnam, in Ngũ Hành Sơn District. They’re located in central Vietnam, right on the coast.
Here’s a Marble Mountain map, so you can clearly understand their location in the country:
Why visit the Marble Mountains in Da Nang?
The mountains are named after the elements: Thuy (water), Moc (wood), Hoa (fire), Tho (earth) and Kim (metal). As I mentioned in the introduction, the Marble Mountains in Da Nang have become one of the most popular attractions in Vietnam over the years!
But what’s so special about them? Well, on one hand, the site is famous for its importance in the crafts of stone sculpting, but it’s also an important place of worship for Buddhists; some statues there are more than 400 years old. Needless to say that this place has big cultural importance and a rich history as well!
What can you see there?
Even though you might be expecting just a simple mountain, there’s quite a lot to see here! You can spend around half a day on-site (let’s say around 3-4 hours), just walking around and exploring the numerous caves, tunnels, pagodas, temples and a beautiful summit. There are even some bullet holes dating back to the Vietnam War!
Thuy Son Mountain
As said before, there are a total of five Marble Mountains. The only mountain available for tourists to explore is the ‘Water’ Mountain (named Thuy Son), where you can find caves that lead to beautifully built pagodas, a few viewpoints, lots of outdoors temples and constructions, and so much more! The best part? Thuy Son Mountain also has the highest summit of them all, so you’ll have a unique, panoramic view of the other mountains and the entire coast as well.
You’ll find a little stall at the entrance where you can pay for your entrance ticket, and then you can choose whether you want to take the stairs or the elevator. The hike to the summit consists of 156 rather steep marble steps. It’s not really a breeze, but it’s not that hard either! But, in all honesty, the elevator is so cheap that I wouldn’t blame you if you chose to shorten the ride.
Non Nuoc Village
Underneath the Marble Mountains, you can find the stone-carving village of Non Nuoc. The village is a part of Da Nang city and it has been a stone carving hub since the 17th century. There are over 600 families around the village producing statues, jewellery and artwork using the marble collected from the mountains. The stone itself and the products made from it have been exported to many countries and they’re quite popular!
To enter the mountain and its tourist attractions, Hòn Thủy Sơn, you must pay a small entrance fee. There is an additional fee for those who would rather go up the mountain using the elevator, but you can avoid that fee by taking the stairs instead.
Marble Mountain Da Nang entrance fee: 40.000 VND (1.80 US$)
Elevator fee: 15.000 VND (0.65 US$)
How to get to the Marble Mountains
The Marble Mountains are located around 10km from the city of Da Nang, on the Southeast side. Because of its prime location, it is quite easy to get to this destination, no matter if you’re visiting from Da Nang or Hoi An.
You have two options here: you can either join an organised tour, where a professional guide will take care of everything, including roundtrip transportation – or you can take a taxi if you want to visit on your own. You can order a taxi on-demand using the Grab app, which is basically the Vietnamese version of Uber. They have lower fees than regular Vietnamese taxis and your trip will be stress-free.
FROM HOI AN. A Grab from Hoi An to the Marble Mountains should cost around 250.000 VND to 350.000 each way (11 to 15 US$). There is around 20km between the two points and the ride should not take more than half an hour.
FROM DA NANG. From Da Nang to the Marble Mountain, the Grab costs around 100.000 VND each way (4.30 US$). The ride takes around 5 minutes.
Alternatively, if you’re in Da Nang already, you can also hire a scooter for the day of your visit – this way you can also go and explore other places as well. The cost is around 5 US$ for the entire day and the scooter parking at the Mountains is 3.000 VND (0,15 US$).
Best tours of Da Nang Marble Mountains
If you’re looking for that extra bit of information about the mountains and that extra insight on the Buddhist culture from a local guide that knows what he/she’s talking about, taking a tour would be ideal for you. Plus, the tours are excellent if you want to squeeze in some other close-by destinations such as My Son Sanctuary or Son Tra Peninsula. There are numerous tours from different travel agencies you can take, but they will all offer a similar experience.
Here are the best options I have selected for you. All of them offer different itineraries and activities, so you can pick your Marble Mountain tour depending on your preferences:
TOURS FROM DA NANG:
- Small-Group My Son Sanctuary & Marble Mountain Tour – pick-up from Hoi An available as well!
- Marble Mountains and Hoi An City Tour
- Marble Mountains & Son Tra Peninsula Tour from Da Nang
TOURS FROM HOI AN:
When to visit the Marble Mountains
Unlike most tourist sites in Southeast Asia, the crowds didn’t seem to be an issue at the Marble Mountains. Instead, you will be battling the heat and sweat of the midday sun! For that reason, I would recommend avoiding the midday heat (if you can’t, please bring a hat and lots of water) and visit either early in the morning or later in the afternoon.
What about cloudy weather? Well, that isn’t necessarily bad either – unless it actually rains! But, in fact, a less sunny day will make your experience a lot nicer, as it won’t be that hot. Now I know it sounds like I really hate summer right now, but I actually don’t. I love it. BUT. Trust me, the heat in Vietnam during summer is… something else!
Marble Mountains opening hours: 7.00 AM – 5.30 PM, open year-round
Truth be told, I didn’t have very high expectations of the Marble Mountains when we visited. It seemed like a huge tourist trap to me. But, when we got there, I realised that the site is actually much more than a few souvenir shops and an elevator that leads to a viewpoint. On. The. Contrary!
The Marble Mountains actually have a lot to offer! The map at the entrance helped us a lot to figure out where we were and what was available for us to see, so don’t forget to take a copy after you buy your ticket. After that, we just walked around and explored the countless temples and pagodas in the mountains. The more I think about it, the more I realise that the Da Nang mountain surprised me a lot. For a (very) small entrance fee, you’ll get an activity that fill at least half a day, and you’ll learn a lot about Buddhist culture and architecture. The only negative I have is that we visited a bit later in the morning – so we really ended up feeling the heat! Sweating our way around the site wasn’t what I had in mind when planning the visit, but we still had a great time. So be wiser than us and visit early in the morning!
BONUS: What to pack for your visit to the Marble Mountain
I won’t mention the heat again. Heh, I’m sure you already know all about it now. So if you really can’t avoid visiting in the middle of the day, here’s what you HAVE TO bring with you to survive:
Marble Mountain Da Nang dress code: there’s no dress code for visiting unless you’re entering the temples. If you want to enter the temples (and you will want to!), it’s advised to cover your shoulders and knees. Don’t worry if you have nothing that fits the bill – so you can simply bring a scarf along for this.
And here we are! This was my complete guide to one of the most popular mountains of Vietnam – the Marble Mountains in Da Nang! In this post I have collected all the information you may need before you visit, such as when to go, how to visit (by yourself or with a guide), how much it will cost and everything else in-between.
The Marble Mountains are a very interesting destination that I totally recommend adding to your Vietnam itinerary in case you’re in the mood for some history, culture and awe-inspiring views of the coast.
In case you want to find out more about other exciting places in Vietnam, I recommend clicking here to read all about my adventures in this country.