The motorcycle trip over the Cloud Pass in Vietnam held many surprises for me. Every few kilometers we stopped. My driver told me a story, showed me the most beautiful views, and dropped me off somewhere for dinner or coffee. Then in Da Nang we suddenly stopped at an elevator that seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. It quickly became apparent that the elevator led high up on the Marble Mountains. For me, one of the absolute insider tips in Vietnam: The Marble Mountains near Da Nang have really impressed me and were an absolute surprise on the trip!
My driver Duc would not go up, but now bought me a ticket for me to go all the way down again. (What can now be summarized in one sentence was a quarter of an hour pantomime show due to his English and my non-existent knowledge of the Vietnamese language).
The Marble Mountains in Da Nang: An absolute surprise!
That’s all I could get out of Duc, so I just drove up. Probably the Marble Mountains were just a barren tourist trap for some marble souvenirs, I thought, and once at the top I immediately looked for the fastest way down. Not so easy – there were no signs, I didn’t even know where I had landed; and many winding paths led to a few temples and Buddha statues – but not down to Duc.
A few tourists were also on the road, so this was probably actually some kind of tourist attraction. I let one of the old ladies in front of the temple talk me into buying some incense sticks and I enjoyed the silence for a short while until I wanted to continue my way down.
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Thanks to the lack of signage, I wandered around a bit until a couple of Vietnamese shouted “here, here!” to me between the densely overgrown paths around the temple. So I just follow behind. (Hm. As a solo traveler I should probably work on this naive reflex – strange men call “this way” and I’ll just follow.)
The Marble Mountains in Vietnam: So many caves
The path led along behind the temple and became darker and darker. The one or other tourist was also wandering around. My curiosity was aroused. Suddenly I was standing in a huge high and densely overgrown cave – and felt like Indiana Jones. What should this be? I glanced briefly into the dark, dim corners of the cave. There were actually the most beautiful Buddha statues. Just like that.
Beware of the “tour guides” in the Marble Mountains!
Unfortunately, I couldn’t enjoy the moment completely, one of the “here, here” men had already sensed his chance, ran towards me and snatched my last incense sticks, which I actually wanted to keep as a souvenir. I ran after them, and what first appeared to be an attempted purse snatching was probably more of a cave tour.
“Here, to get lucky, get lucky!” my newfound cave guide lit a stick of incense, thrust it into my hand, and frantically gestured for me to leave it in front of a Buddha statue. “Buddha good, Buddha good!” he shouted. I didn’t have time to take a closer look, because my tour guide had long since lit the next incense stick and shooed me to the next statue. We must have made a great picture; the alleged “tour guide” obviously filled with too much stimulant drugs, manically running with me from one dark corner to another, and me, who was starting to get spooked by the situation, but still decided to play along with the “tour” for now, and ran after the cave guide with my incense sticks.
Fortunately, my pack of incense was soon completely torched, the “guided tour” through part of the Marble Mountains was over, and I pressed a few dong into the man’s hand, which he already held out to me as a matter of course. I was really worried whether his tip would be enough…
Well then. Learned something again. So in the Marble Mountains you have to watch out for loitering “tour guides”.
Caves & Altars
The way down, however, turned out to be more relaxed, suddenly huge groups of tourists appeared – I was no longer queasy now – and somehow I had half an orientation. Along the way I discovered one cave after another, large and small, sometimes so small that they could only be reached by climbing and crawling. (I recommend good shoes!) Each cave was an experience in itself!
Practical information for the Marble Mountains
- You have to pay for the elevator, the exact price slipped my mind, but it wasn’t much.
- The Marble Mountains are located centrally in Da Nang, tour operators offer various tours there.
- Be sure to pack sturdy shoes, the descent is not for high heels, and the stone stairs and caves are often slippery.
- Beware of supposed tour guides (see above) and salesmen after leaving the mountain. As soon as you get past the last step, they immediately take you first to have a nice chat and then try to sell their marble souvenirs to you.
What else to do in Da Nang
If you don’t continue to Hoi An like I did, you can also make a stop in Da Nang. Da Nang has a wide sandy beach with some beach bars – perfect to relax for a day. In addition, the Golden Bridge in Da Nang was opened some time ago, a real work of art, which should also be on the program. So an overnight stay in Da Nang is a great way to explore the area at your leisure!
You can also find more about Vietnam here:
- Train travel in Vietnam: From Hanoi to Hue by night train
- 8 amazing reasons to visit Hoi An in Vietnam!
- The Marble Mountains in Vietnam: Everything you need to know!
- Cloud Pass Vietnam: A motorcycle, an Easy Rider and me.
- Huế: The ancient imperial city in Vietnam
- Halong Bay: Tour from Hanoi – Experiences & Tips