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
Someone loves it. Someone swears to not to come again. There is nothing in between. I am with the first group. From the first day on in Saigon, a hectic city, and I turned into a side street. We are about to introduce you to a new series where we tell you about interesting places in the city and the country. First of all, let’s talk some important facts about the country.
In the evening we arrive at the airport in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon). We are already busy only to lodge for a quick dinner in the busy streets of this largest Vietnamese city and sleep. The next day a very exciting war trip is waiting for us - we go to the Cu Chi tunnels.
Da Nang (a city almost in the geographic center of Vietnam) is largely unknown. Which is unfortunate. An average tourist usually passes by there in a taxi on his way from the airport to his favorite Hoi An hotel…. I spent three weeks in Da Nang. And the city got on the list of my favorite places in Southeast Asia (right next to Chiang Mai). In Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson called the old road to Hue as the “abandoned fragment of perfection.” I absolutely agree.
Omnipresent honking, grandmas pulling bikes with flowers, Vietnamese sitting on small chairs, food, bikes, wires, bikes, French cafes, bikes with food, bikes with chairs, bike transporting part of another bike… Welcome to Hanoi! It is a city crazy beyond believe. You either love it or you hate it eternally.
Last year already, we brought you a video of the "wedding" town of Dat Lat, Vietnam. Our reporteur made a return there to ride down one of the best roads in Vietnam for a road trip on motorbike.
Today we are about to enjoy our last amazing trip in Vietnam, we originally intended to visit the Ba Vi National Park, but for time constraints we had to change our program because we need to reserve at least two days for this park. So we had a hotel counseling and planned a trip to a place that was not even mentioned in our book guide, although it is very popular for tourists (even for local people). Today, we go to visit the largest Vietnamese pagoda Bai Dinh and then explore the beautiful complex Trang An.
Ha Long Bay is one of Vietnam's most famous and popular tourist destinations. It is located in Tonkin Bay in the South China Sea in Quang Ninh Province. Since 1994 it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ha Long means the place where the dragon descends into the sea. It is also said that thanks to the dragon there were created interesting limestone rocks from the sea, which attract many tourists every year.
Approximately 7-14 kilometers from Hue, there are 6 imperial tombs of the Nguyen Dynasty, at least some of which are worth a visit. Various excursions are organized, but even a taxi can be hiredfor a few cents.
The very first day in Asia went very quickly, and in the evening we moved to a cozy family hotel. The environment is friendly, staff gives advice with a smile, they recommend you meals, trips, help with transportation or you can buy the fruit you want. At least first, before you get by, you will certainly appreciate the help.
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.
As much as I hate to travel by bus, I would repeat the ride from Nha Trang and Da Lat. The former is the city of two hundred thousand. It is the most popular spot to spend honeymoon at in Vietnam. It is situated at 1500 meters in the Central Highlands. You can enjoy a number of great views while on the road. And it gets even better on bike …
One day trip to the Bach Ma National Park, approximately 40 kilometers from Hue, was one of our best days in Vietnam. The park was founded in 1991 and its name means a white horse. It covers an area of 220 square kilometers.
I have always longed to see a large desert with sand dunes. However, neither in Europe nor in Southeast Asia (the places where I spend most of my time) is one. Once I first saw pictures of Mui Ne, Vietnam I knew for sure that I want to go there. Okay, it is not a desert per se but sand dunes there are huge.
We imagined the visit to the lake as relaxing time after quite a busy day. The reality was seriously different from our expectations. I have remembered the first impression until today. With my daughter and son, we dodged through the local traffic and it was not really easy. The flood of motorcycles was not to stop. We naively thought that someone might slow down or even stop. Don't expect that. Just walk to the other end of the road. And be brave.
Nha Trang is practically the most famous tourist resort in Vietnam, not so much for some landmarks, this coastal city of Khanh Hoa province is famous for its seven kilometers long sandy beach with adjacent islands. The city of approximately 392,000 inhabitants and this number is growing steadily.
There are many places how to travel in the country. I have prepared for you a small summary with some recommendations.
Vietnam is no destination where climbers would travel intentionally. Yet once you are there you should try its climbing areas. We travelled to Cat Ba island which I highly recommend to any climber.
Immediately after arriving at Sa Pa, stay and do not waste your time. With clear visibility, the best choice is to arrange a lift to Phan Xi Pang. It is the longest cableway in the world that uses a three-lane system. Its length is about 6 km and was opened in 2016. It is still being built here. True, for tourists who enjoy the virgin nature with a mountain cottage, it probably will not. Several pagodas, sanctuaries, even a train have been built on top, which will take you to the highest point. The prospects are really good, and the landscape here is on your palm.
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