Marble Mountains Vietnam – Danang’s Cave Temples

Marble Mountains Vietnam is one of our favorite spots in Danang. We’ve lived in Danang for the last few months. And after China Beach (of course!), Marble Mountains Vietnam is our 2nd favorite place in town. Why?

Marble Mountains Vietnam in Danang located in central Vietnam

The Beauty Outside Marble Mountains Vietnam

 

Marble Mountains Vietnam in Danang located in Central Vietnam

The Beauty Inside Marble Mountains Vietnam

Imagine standing atop a jagged limestone pinnacle, gazing at the South China Sea.

Behind you, a Buddhist Pagoda towers above, enveloped by tropical forest.

A monk walks by in a fluttering, saffron robe.

You follow him through narrow tunnels and into a vast, ancient cave.

Incense fills the air – soothing and sweet.

Your eyes follow the floating smoke, up the high craggy walls, up to the altar.

You see the massive Buddha up in his grotto and your breath catches.

It was definitely worth the climb.

That’s Marble Mountains Vietnam at it’s best.

Marble Mountains Vietnam in Danang is a must!Click To Tweet

 

Highlights of Marble Mountains Vietnam

 

  • 5 Easy-to-Climb Mountains (filled with large marble deposits)
  • Buddhist Temples Inside Ancient Caves
  • Towering Pagodas on Scenic Mountaintops.
  • Panoramic Ocean and City Views.
  • Scenic Walkways and Lush Vegetation
  • Easy-to-Visit On Your Own

 

There are lots of tours available, but they’re not necessary, especially if you’re staying in Danang. In fact, the Marble Mountains are much more fun and rewarding to explore on your own. A taxi from China Beach is only $5. On the mountains, there are big maps posted everywhere (in English), so finding your way around is quite easy.

Marble Mountains Vietnam in Danang which is in Central Vietnam

Site Maps Are Everywhere and Easy to Follow

If you only have a few hours of precious vacation time, we recommend seeing only Mt. Thuy (aka Water Mountian). We enjoy exploring every nook and cranny of all 5 mountains, but that takes all day (or more).

Mt. Thuy has the largest number of caves, temples, and pagodas. It has the highest peak, so it offers the best views. And it’s also the most developed with easy stairs, walkways, and a glass elevator to the main level.

These are out top recommendations for a short visit to Marble Mountains Vietnam.

 

Getting Up Marble Mountain

Marble Mountains Vietnam in Danang which is Central Vietnam

There are 2 ways up – the elevator and the stairs.

 

Cave Temples

The Cave Temples are the most unique and impressive features of Mt. Thuy. There are 6 major caves (and a couple minor ones) in this Marble Mountain. We’ll spotlight the 3 best.

Tang Chon Cave

Marble Mountains Vietnam in Danang which is Central Vietnam

Small Entrance to Big Cave

This cave’s small opening builds anticipation and makes entering more dramatic.

Marble Mountains Vietnam in Danang which is central Vietnam

Once inside, the cave is expansive with a huge, open ceiling. The natural light and encroaching forest gives the cave a very exotic atmosphere.

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Marble Mountains Vietnam in Danang which is Central Vietnam

The main altar is a towering brown Buddha. There’s also a small temple inside the cave, but the marble chess players steal the show for us. Just look at those guys.

Marble Mountains Vietnam in Danang which is central Vietnam

Marble Mountains Vietnam in Danang which is Central Vietnam

Marble Chess Players

 

Hoa Nghiem Cave

This cave is home to a 400-year-old Lady Buddha statue. The gate lets you know you’re in for something special.

Marble Mountains Vietnam in Danang which is Central Vietnam

Gate to Hoa Nghiem Cave

We love this ancient gate, almost overgrown by the lush jungle.

Marble Mountains Vietnam in Danang which is Central Vietnam

Can you spot the 400-year-old Lady Buddha?

The 400-year-old Lady Buddha is serene, subtle, and blends into the cave.

Marble Mountains Vietnam in Danang which is Central Vietnam

Made in 1640 by Merchants in Hoi An

Marble Mountains Vietnam in Danang which is Central Vietnam

This Lady Buddha has a fascinating connection with the famous town of Hoi An. If you don’t know, Hoi An was a major Asian port from the 15th – 18th centuries. Merchants and traders from all over Asia moved to Hoi An and became very wealthy.

Some of these Japanese and Chinese merchants built this Lady Buddha in 1640. There are original stone tablets that commemorate the dedication. People from all over the world come to Hoi An to see it’s preserved ancient town.

We absolutely love Hoi An, but it’s oldest and most well-preserved artifact is actually 10 miles away in the Marble Mountains.

 

Huyen Khong Cave

Hoa Nghiem cave and Huyen Khong cave are connected. Walk behind the 400-year-old Lady Buddha, and you find the tunnel to Huyen Khong cave. This is the largest and most impressive cave by far.

As you turn the last corner, you get a sense of the grandeur, before you even see it.

Marble Mountains Vietnam in Danang which is Central Vietnam

Marble Mountains Vietnam in Danang which is Central Vietnam

Largest Cave Temple at Marble Mountains

The cave is truly massive. The whole scene is overwhelming and inspiring. After more than a year exploring Vietnam, we’ve seen lots of temples and Buddhas. This is one of the most unique and poignant in the country.

Marble Mountains Vietnam in Danang which is Central Vietnam

Marbling in Cave Walls

Once you get over the scope and beauty of the spiritual setting. Take a moment to appreciate natural beauty of rocks themselves. A closer look at the marbled layers is very rewarding. It boggles the mind to think of the millions of years it took to form such beauty.

 

The Mountaintop Pagodas

The most impressive feature of the pagodas is their mountaintop setting.

 

Xa Loi Pagoda

This is the iconic sight that looks so cool from street level. It’s even better up close.

Marble Mountains Vietnam in Danang which is Central Vietnam

Xa Loi Pagoda and View

 

Linh Ung Pagoda

Marble Mountains Vietnam in Danang which is Central Vietnam

Linh Ung Pagoda

Linh Ung Pagoda is close to the elevator and very easy to find. The best thing about this pagoda is the gate. Stand under that arch for great ocean views.

Marble Mountains Vietnam in Danang which is Central Vietnam

Gate to Linh Ung Pagoda

 

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The Panoramic Views

 

The Highest Peak (Dinh Thuong Thai)

Marble Mountains Vietnam in Danang which is Central Vietnam

There are many great viewpoints all around the mountain, but why not go all the way to the top. Conveniently labeled “highest peak” on the maps, it takes some effort to get up here, but we’ve seen grannies do it.

Marble Mountains Vietnam in Danang which is Central Vietnam

Ocean View from the Top

 

Marble Mountains Vietnam in Danang which is Central Vietnam

View of The Other Marble Mountains

 

The General Loveliness

Beyond any specific sight, the whole area is so pretty to see and a joy to walk around. It’s all open to the public. Feel free to get away from the main areas. Take side paths and peek around corners.

Here’s a random selection of the general loveliness you’ll find on Marble Mountains Vietnam:

Marble Mountains Vietnam in Danang which is Central Vietnam

Sculpture Park near Marble Mountains

Marble Mountains Vietnam in Danang which is Central Vietnam

Marble Mountains Vietnam in Danang which is Central Vietnam

Marble Mountains Vietnam in Danang which is Central Vietnam

 

The Convenience

Marble Mountains Vietnam in Danang which is Central Vietnam

For a place with so much natural beauty, it’s also very convenient to visit. There’s lots of moderate intensity walking and climbing, but every path is paved and all climbing is on stairs. There’s even an elevator.

There are clean, modern bathrooms.

There’s also a recreation area and food court. The food court is very tasteful and doesn’t wreck the atmosphere. And believe us, you’ll appreciate a cool drink or ice cream cone on a hot Vietnamese day.

 

Fast Facts and Background Info on Marble Mountains Vietnam

*  The Marble Mountains Vietnam are a cluster of 5 limestone karst formations near the coast. They’re 3.5 miles south of Danang’s China Beach and 10.5 miles north of Hoi An.

* Each mountain is named after an element: metal, wood, earth, fire, and water. Water mountain (Mt. Thuy) is the largest and the best one to visit. It has the most tourists too, but that’s because it has so many attractions.

* The Marble Mountains are an important pilgrimage location for the Vietnamese people. They have big spiritual, cultural, and historical importance for domestic tourists.

* The ancient history of the Marble Mountains dates back millennia to the Cham Empire. The modern history includes moments from the Vietnam war.

* Entrance to Mt. Thuy is 40,000VND ($2USD). The elevator is also 40,000VND ($2USD). Prices were raised in 2017, beware outdated info online.

* Food and drink prices are surprisingly fair for a tourist destination.

* The touts are NOT really that bad. We’ve read comments online that rail about how aggressive they are, but that hasn’t been our experience at all. They are only on the street, near the entrance. They don’t bother you on the Marble Mountains. The only people that will approach you on the mountain are some little old ladies selling incense near the various altars. In our experience, they are not aggressive.

 

Odd Find

There are many sculpture stores around Marble Mountains. Producing fine statues is a centuries-old local tradition, passed down through generations. Most of the pieces are gorgeous, but we stumbled across one that cracked us up.

Marble Mountains Vietnam in Danang which is Central Vietnam

Doesn’t this statue look like a naked Chris Griffin (from the Family Guy cartoon)?

 

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78 Comments
  • Rob Taylor
    Posted at 00:16h, 09 March

    What a cool place! I really loved climbing and exploring the mountains of China and they are so similar is so many ways. I love the temples, and these ones sound and look really interesting. Thank you for sharing and now I need to venture to Vietnam.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 00:22h, 09 March

    Hey Rob. Yes marble mountain vietnam is very cool.

  • deb
    Posted at 01:16h, 09 March

    Wow these caves look surreal! Looks like a fantastic experience!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 01:22h, 09 March

    Hi Deb. Yes its surreal and fantastic for sure.

  • Clare
    Posted at 04:12h, 09 March

    This place looks so beautiful. I never made it to Danang when i was in Vietnam but its an area I really want to go back and see. I have seen many caves like this around Asia and they are great to visit and the views from the top of the mountain are stunning, It’s on my list for the future 🙂

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 04:22h, 09 March

    Hi Clare. That’s cool. Danang is a nice place to visit with lots of things nearby.

  • Igor Mozek
    Posted at 04:25h, 09 March

    Chess players are the win 🙂 . Awesome place. Never been to Vietnam but guess that Danang’s Cave Temple is a must.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 04:33h, 09 March

    Hi Igor. Agreed, those chess players are so cool.

  • Patti
    Posted at 06:17h, 09 March

    Looks like a beautiful area. Will definitely add the Marble Mountains to my list of places to visit when I make it to Vietnam.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 06:22h, 09 March

    hello Patti. Good to hear. Hope you enjoy Marble Mountains Vietnam.

  • Thecla Westerbeck
    Posted at 08:39h, 09 March

    This is a great review of your adventure! I love traveling and seeing new things.. so much to see, so little time!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 08:39h, 09 March

    Hi Thecla. So true. Marble Mountains is not the biggest attraction in Vietnam, but its a good one.

  • Amber Myers
    Posted at 08:40h, 09 March

    Oo how fun! I enjoy exploring caves. This one looks fabulous!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 08:44h, 09 March

    Hi Amber. We love exploring caves too and these are extra cool.

  • Brian
    Posted at 09:08h, 09 March

    Did they steal that sculpture from Brussels, lol? Another great thing about Vietnam: everyone gets to be a millionaire!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 09:11h, 09 March

    Hi Brian. HaHa, thats right. Being a millionaire feels great!

  • Ladies Pass It On
    Posted at 09:18h, 09 March

    What an adventure, I would truly LOVE to go here and experience all this! What a stunning place!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 09:22h, 09 March

    Hi LadiesPassItOn. Yeah that would be great. Hope you make it.

  • Cat
    Posted at 09:56h, 09 March

    wow I could see why you love Marble mountains! I enjoy exploring temples and the Buddhist Temples inside the ancient caves have totally caught my attention!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 09:59h, 09 March

    Hello Cat. We hope so too. It’s a really cool place.

  • Author Brandi Kennedy
    Posted at 11:26h, 09 March

    This is amazing – I know I’d love the views, and the caves. But for me the largest appeal would be the statues, the marble, and the simple age of everything. Also, I didn’t know lady Buddha’s were a thing …

    Also, I wouldn’t likely have seen Chris Griffin in that statue – but now that I’ve seen him? What has been seen cannot be unseen!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 11:33h, 09 March

    Hey Brandi. Yeah, there are lots of Lady Buddhas in Vietnam. So cool.

  • alison abbott
    Posted at 12:14h, 09 March

    I have my heart set on Viet Nam with my husband in 2018. Will definitely add Danang’s caves to the bookmark list. Thanks for such complete coverage.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 12:22h, 09 March

    Hi Alison. Wow that is great to hear. Have a great time in Vietnam and enjoy Marbel Mountains.

  • Stephenie - Blended Life Happy Wife
    Posted at 12:44h, 09 March

    I have never been to Vietnam and probably will never get there, but your beautiful description an images made me feel like I was right there with you

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 12:45h, 09 March

    Hey Stephanie. Thanks. Good to know the post was fun.

  • Sanne - Spend Life Traveling
    Posted at 12:47h, 09 March

    Wow marble mountains looks amazing! Vietnam is really high on my list so hopefully I will make it there soon!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 12:48h, 09 March

    Hi Sanne. We sure like marble mountains. Have a super visit.

  • Vibeke Johannessen
    Posted at 14:21h, 09 March

    Thank you for all this information 😀 so handy. I haven’t been to Vietnam yet, but would love to go 😀 It looks so interesting

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 14:22h, 09 March

    Hey Vibeke. Sure thing. Hope you do try Vietnam. We love it.

  • James Smith
    Posted at 15:51h, 09 March

    The entrance fee is super cheap at $2. The views from the top are stunning, I’ve always wanted to visit Danang after seeing it in a movie and the marble mountains are another reason to make the journey!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 15:55h, 09 March

    Hi James. We agree. Danang is great to visit. Best of luck getting here soon.

  • Gracie
    Posted at 18:13h, 09 March

    This place looks amazing! Those caves and buddhas are interesting. You also took good photos! We will definitely visit this when we go to Vietnam. Thanks for sharing!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 18:22h, 09 March

    Hi Gracie. It is pretty cool and amazing. Thanks for your good words.

  • Emily (OCM Treasures)
    Posted at 20:37h, 09 March

    Wow
    Looks like a beautiful place to visit
    Will have to add to my bucket list

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 20:40h, 09 March

    Hi Emily. We think so too. Marble Mountains is a must for any Danang bucket list.

  • David Elliott
    Posted at 20:42h, 09 March

    Wow! This place looks absolutely incredible. I do say I have to love the caves and being down in them. I have been to a few caves in the states and they are all very beautiful. It just looks like such an amazing locale.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 20:44h, 09 March

    Hi David. Yeah we like caving too and when there are also temples and beach views, its hard to resist.

  • Iza Abao, Two Monkeys Travel Group Writer
    Posted at 02:39h, 10 March

    Everything is remarkable. I would love to visit these awesome places someday. I’d make sure to wear comfortable shoes too. = ) It is also nice that you have hotel recommendations. I am also eager to try the local cuisine.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 02:44h, 10 March

    Hey Iza. Yes comfy shoes are better here for sure.

  • Bhushavali
    Posted at 05:03h, 10 March

    Totally my kinda place! Esp Hoa Nghiem caves is just stunning. The entrance fee and lift fee are so affordable! I’d just spend an entire day here. Btw that pissing statue reminds me of the similar one in Brussels!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 05:05h, 10 March

    Hi Bhushavali. Yeah it is a really cheap price for such a cool place.

  • Raymond Carroll
    Posted at 07:31h, 10 March

    Great post. I like the way you set the scene with your little descriptive introduction at the start of the post. The Marble Mountains look/sound like an interesting place to visit. I am married to a Thai and love all the southeast Asian Buddhist temple and culture. I have read a lot of posts about Vietnam lately and intend going there on our next extended trip to Thailand. I shall certainly consider a visit to Marble Mountains when we get there. Thanks for sharing!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 07:33h, 10 March

    Hi Raymond. Thanks a lot. We really love Thailand too.

  • carlinn meyer
    Posted at 07:34h, 10 March

    Wow it looks absolutely beautiful at Marble Mountains Vietnam. Such a rich and intrigiuing history as well. The last statue had me laughing as well, almost reminded me of Manneken pis in Brussels.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 07:44h, 10 March

    Hi Carlinn. That may be the original and this is a copy. Either way it was funny.

  • Nay
    Posted at 12:31h, 10 March

    Wow! Those caves look so serene and beautiful, the other thing I loved was the maps, What a simple but defective idea!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 12:33h, 10 March

    Hi Nay. Those maps make getting around so easy. The trails sometimes require backtracking and they help make sure you see what you want and don’t miss things.

  • Tiana
    Posted at 12:34h, 10 March

    What a great post about an amazing destination. I really hope I can visit soon!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 12:35h, 10 March

    Hi Tiana. We agree and hope you are able to visit soon.

  • Heidi
    Posted at 13:08h, 10 March

    What a beautiful place to visit. I love that you can save some money and explore on your own. I’m all for taking a tour when it’s the best option, but saving money when possible! Thanks for the tips.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 13:11h, 10 March

    Hello Heidi. That’s so true and it’s actually more fun on your own.

  • Rossana
    Posted at 15:05h, 10 March

    Wow, the caves are incredible… what an experience…amazing to think they were started centuries ago… interesting to see the addition of the elevator .

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 15:11h, 10 March

    Hi Rossana. The long history is fascinating to us too.

  • Diana - MVMT Blog
    Posted at 16:44h, 10 March

    The cave temple looks really cool – I’ve actually never even heard of a cave temple before. The Huyen Kong Cave might be my favorite one based on your photos. I wish I had planned more time in Vietnam for my upcoming trip to visit Danang – what an awesome hidden gem!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 16:45h, 10 March

    Hey Diana. It’s great that you’re visiting Vietnam soon. Have a great time.

  • Mimi & Mitch
    Posted at 00:57h, 11 March

    Seriously can’t remember if we went or not! We lived in vietnam so we didn’t go do all the touristy stuff! Would love to go back though!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 00:58h, 11 March

    Hi Mimi & Mitch. We bet coming back would be so fun.

  • Dhaval Parmar
    Posted at 05:55h, 11 March

    This place looks so beautiful. I never made it to Danang ,I really want to go back and see. I have seen many caves like this around Asia and they are great to visit and the views from the top of the mountain are stunning, It’s on my list for the future

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 05:59h, 11 March

    Hi Dhaval. We think Danang is worth a visit. We like it enough to live here for several months.

  • Anna nuttall
    Posted at 08:19h, 11 March

    Wow it remind me of Indianna Jones and some long lost civilization. Beautiful photos. xx

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 08:22h, 11 March

    Hi Anna. Yeah it does have that kinda vibe.

  • Vicky and Buddy
    Posted at 11:35h, 11 March

    I loved your descriptions of the caves, I almost felt like I was there! The caves and statues all look amazing. That last statue reminds me of the little peeing boy in Brussels!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 11:52h, 11 March

    Hi vicky and Buddy. Thanks thats great to hear. Yeah, we’ve heard that a lot.

  • Vicki Louise
    Posted at 23:22h, 11 March

    The caves look great – you can easily see why they are your second favorite spot in Danang! I totally agree the statue looks like Chris Griffin too (if a little bit on the skinny side!)
    We didn’t make it to Danang when we were in Vietnam a few years ago and it looks like we really missed out!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 23:23h, 11 March

    Hey Vicki. We go here a lot. We also use it as a workout, climbing and walking for hours.

  • Sandy N Vyjay
    Posted at 01:36h, 12 March

    Your introduction to the Marble mountain really blew me off. I felt as if I had entered the dark caverns of the cave and could smell the fragrance of the incense sticks. The place is really beautiful with an aura of mysticism. No wonder this ranks among your favourite places in Vietnam. Now I know where to head out first when I reach Vietnam.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 01:37h, 12 March

    Hi Sandy N Vyjay. You are always so kind and supportive. Thanks so much. Yes marble mountains is a wonder.

  • neha
    Posted at 12:41h, 12 March

    That seems like one big cave to me, with such beautiful statues of Buddha. I wonder that it is not very crowded. And those marble statues of chess players are also marvellous. Add to it the fact that these mountains are not very difficult to climb..I am totally loving this place. Not going to miss it when I go to here

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 12:44h, 12 March

    Hi Neha. We love them too. I heard that there are times when it get crowded, but since we live nearby, we go early and avoid big crowds.

  • Sara
    Posted at 16:44h, 13 March

    What a magic place! It looks amazing, the atmosphere should be so mystic!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 16:45h, 13 March

    Hi Sara. Youre right, it does have that mystic.

  • Sabrina
    Posted at 00:25h, 14 March

    this is perfect timing! thanks guys! i am heading to vietnam very soon and this is a great addition to my research of things to see and do. Since you are locals there now, can you please tell me how’s the internet/wi-fi situation outside the main cities? I work online, so I heavily rely (aka i NEED) on free wifi and cafes. Thank you in advance 🙂

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 01:05h, 14 March

    Hi Sabrina. We glad to hear you’re coming for a visit. For the wifi, coverage is generally good. Even in the countryside, we’ve always been able to find wifi at a cafe or hotel or something. The only exception is extremely remote areas or out on the water on a Halong Bay cruise – stuff like that. Have a great time in Vietnam.

  • Kate
    Posted at 07:40h, 14 March

    Wow this is amazing! Marble Mountains just look unreal don’t they? I think the padogas are beautiful – and they are one of the reasons I’d love to visit Vietnam.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 07:44h, 14 March

    Hey Kate. We agree the Marble Mountains Vietnam totally impressed us.

  • Ami
    Posted at 01:49h, 15 March

    Now this is such a cooooool place. I love the caves but even more interesting are those marble statues within. Quite awe-inspiring. Marking this place for whenever I visit Vietnam.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 01:55h, 15 March

    Hi Ami. Those statues are truly lovely. The art is masterful and the long history of devotion is inspiring.