A cluster of five hills made from limestone and marble, Marble Mountains are a well-known pilgrimage site with peaks, caves, tunnels and temples all just waiting to be discovered. Named after the elements metal, wood, water, fire and earth, Marble Mountains exist in a coastal area that is renowned for stone-cutting and sculpture about 9km south of Danang.
These mountains have a complicated system of caves and tunnels. In the past they were used as hiding places and important bases for the Vietnam revolutionaries. The caves within the mountains hold many secrets including bullet holes from when troops used to spy on the US soldiers relaxing on My Khe Beach below and buildings standing within the caves and grottoes. There are also a host of Buddhist sanctuaries and places of worship dotted across the mountains which are a much-visited spiritual site. There are many pagoda temples and even a special circular cave featuring a chimney leading to the summit with spectacular panoramic views.
Among the five, Thuy Son, the mountain of water, is the highest one and also the main attraction. Almost all tourists come to Marble Mountains to climb Thuy Son. This mountain has many caves and Buddhist temples, many dating back to the 17th century. Climbing up about 150 stone steps from the foot of Thuy Son, one will reach the most beautiful observatory spot: the Riverview Tower or Vong Giang Tower in Vietnamese. The tower was built in the 18th century by Emperor Minh Mang, offering a breathtaking view to Kim Son or the mountain of metal, Truong Giang and Cam Le rivers and beautiful coastal ahead.
Tourists may also want to visit the Non Nuoc Village at the foot of Marble Mountains. The village is famous for stone sculptures and handicrafts. Here you can buy many things made of marble stone, from small one like earrings, necklaces, vases to the huge sculptures of Buddha. In the past, rock was extracted directly from the Marble Mountains to make sculptures but now the direct extraction was made illegal. Materials for sculpturing work are now transported from nearby provinces like Quang Nam and Thanh Hoa. Close by is Van Nguyet Grotto which is a nice resting spot where you can grab a fresh coconut to drink. The Lantern Cave is also worth a look, small but deep and filled with lava along with Am Phu Cave which heads down to a very scenic viewpoint.