Vietnam, Da Nang – A Trip to the Marble Mountains
After a tough night-train trip, we arrive early in the morning to Da Nang City, where we do not stay very much. First we head to perhaps the most beautiful Vietnamese city - the Hoi An lantern, from which we go for a trip to the Marble Mountains, Vietnamese Ngũ Hành Sơn.
These are just between the towns of Hoi An and Da Nang (approximately eight kilometers away) and are the southernmost marble formation in Vietnam. It is named after five elements according to the local tradition: Kim Son (metal), Thuy Son (water), Son Son (wood), Hoa Son (fire) and Tho Son (earth). Everywhere around the mountains there are plenty of shops with a variety of sculptures (animals, Buddhas, ornamental columns, fountains, etc.) just made of marble, some of which are truly enormous in size. However, most of them are no longer made of marble from these mountains because mining has already been banned. The marble was partly used to construct the huge mausoleum of the famous Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh, which you can visit in Hanoi.
We aim specifically at Thuy Son and our cab driver brings us to a huge lift. As we stretch huge trenches, the elevator leading to one of the first pagods is definitely welcomed. Moreover, there are only a few dongs. Maybe the mountain loses its spell, but it is more accessible to more people. However, no one will escape from the stairs. Well-marked paths go to different pagodas, sightseeing or crawling through a narrow cave. Of course, it is not necessary to walk the stairs to all of the sightseeing places, but it would certainly be a shame at least not to attend. It gives you a unique view of the surrounding area over all the other marble mountains. The mountain is mostly forested and there are other magnificent pagodas and temples and many Buddhist and Hindu sculptures, but we also admire unusual vegetation - a lot of banana trees, interesting blooming palms and much more.
The mountains are dotted by a large number of caves, some of which are really huge. We visit Huyen Khong Cave (Huyen Khong Cave). Here, it beautifully breaks the streak of daylight and creates the amazing atmosphere of the whole space. The cave is dominated by a Buddha statue, and there is the Temple of Trang Nghi Tu, and another section for the worship of deities with various sculptures. During the French colonial war, the cave was a secret base for local revolutionaries. It was then rebuilt to a military training center. In 1968, Viet Minh took control of the cave and changed it to a surgical and medical station of the Liberation Army.
If you plan to visit Hoi An o rDa Nang in Vietnam, make sure to make a trip to the Marble Mills. Even with our heavy luggage we enjoyed it very much.
GPS: 16°00'16.8"N 108°15'42.4"E
Text and photos: Veronika Schubertová
Upon an hour of waiting for a visa I was free to explore the capital of the country I really looked forward to exploring. First of all, I somehow let a cab driver to make a 300 crown rip off. Sometimes things like this happen. But honestly – this happens in Prague as well. Aboard the airplane I could see streets where millions of bikes stream in all directions. And “down” here the traffic is even more crazy. If I compare Ho Chi Minh city to Bangkok, a city of comparable size, in the former there are much less traffic jams. One must add that there is no subway, or rail that would go above the ground. It seems that high taxes on car is working.
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