1. Marble Mountains, April 2018. I think I may be turning into a spoilt traveller. On the face of it The Marble Mountains are something I should have gotten excited about. After all they’re one of Danang’s top attractions, an area of considerable natural beauty that all the big travel sites salivate over. “Essential!” says Travelfish, “Spectacular!” gushes Lonely Planet. But these days whenever I’m faced with such a place I instinctively find myself thinking, “Meh, it’s another mountain”. In any case I pushed myself to include Thuy Son (Water Mountain) in my schedule. From the five craggy marble outcrops on offer, this is the largest and indeed the only one that can be accessed by the public.
2. Marble Mountains, April 2018. The entrance lies at 52 Huyền Trân Công Chúa, about a fifteen-minute drive from the centre of Danang. If you’re frugal you could walk it in about two hours, or maybe jump on one of the public buses that links Danang to Hoi An. I decided to cut to the chase and hop on the back of a Grab moto for a negligible 30.000VND (£1/€1.15/$1.30). Get your ticket at the little booth to the side of the main stone staircase (15.000VND/£0.50/€0.58/$0.65).
3. Marble Mountains, April 2018. As is standard with Asian mountain parks it’s a sharp ascent and before too long you’ll be treated to fine-looking temples housed in well-kept, Bonsai-decorated courtyards. Marble Mountain’s temples (Tam Thai, Tu Tam and Linh Ung) are handsome and plentiful enough to wow Asia newbies. But for me it wasn’t until I got to the stupendous Huyen Khong Cave that I felt like Marble Mountain was starting to come into its own. A former military base for revolutionaries during The Vietnam War, this vast grotto is a magical place where piercing spears of sunlight elevate all the statues and altars to an almost mythical status, like something out of a fairytale.
4. Marble Mountains, April 2018. The thing that keeps me coming back to these Asian mountain parks time and time again are the amazing views you invariably get from the peak. In that respect Marble Mountain delivers well, with an excellent overview of the other outcrops, encompassed by rolling countryside as far as the eye can see.
5. Marble Mountains, April 2018. The view also takes in a gorgeous vista of Danang’s beautiful coastline and the horizon-bleeding expanse of the East Vietnam Sea. The building complex in the background is The Vinh Pearl Resort, a luxurious five star hotel set around the edge of Nuon Nuoc Beach. So, having conquered Marble Mountain, I decided to begin my descent and check out how much a night at The Vinh would set me back.
For more on this unmissable Vietnamese city, take a look at my other articles on Danang.
Or maybe look further afield with my many more pieces from across Vietnam.