Oh my goodness – the Marble Mountains in Da’Nang were so crazy busy! They are a cluster of five hills made from limestone and marble with caves and tunnels to explore. The Marble Mountains are surrounded by businesses specialising in stone and marble cutting and sculpturing.
You don’t need to go on an organised tour to visit – we arranged a car through our accommodation which took us directly there and waited for us until we were ready to come home. The Marble Mountains are approx. 30 minutes from Hoi An. You can also get there via taxi or bus and there were plenty of taxi’s waiting down the bottom.
You can see the mountains on the drive and once you are closer you can see the glass elevator stretching up the side – yes an elevator! Not something you would necessarily expect to see! There are also stairs which you can walk up and down both directions.
In the car on the way we decided that we would walk up and down, but when we hopped out of the car we quickly changed our mind! It was just so stinking hot. It was easy to wind your way through the shops to the ticket office and purchase tickets (cash only) and head on over to the lift. There were quite a few people around at the bottom but it didn’t feel overly crowded.
Once the elevator takes you to the top and the doors open you immediately see the crowds! There were lots of people milling around and you just follow everyone along the path until it opens up a little bit and you can get your bearings. There is a map up the top which shows the caves and places of interest to explore. Ross took a photo of the map so we could find our way around.
The caves were very cool and gave us a nice break from the heat. We wore our Native shoes and although it was very slippery in parts we were fine. Give yourself time to explore as there are quite a few caves and different areas to check out.
We were shocked with the amount of rubbish inside some of the caves and at the view points – why some people think it’s acceptable to drop rubbish is beyond me.
Not sure if we just timed it badly or this was normal but we were sharing a lot of the caves with hundreds of other people. It was quite cute in the beginning to be asked to be in photo’s and the kids were ok with the odd person trying to take photo’s of them. By the end, when a bus load of tourists swarmed us and were trying to pick up the kids for photo’s while getting out their phones was just too much. The kids burst into tears and we picked them up and made a mad dash out of there! It was just too much for all of us.
We made our way back to the elevator through the 100’s of people. If you decide to take the elevator back down rather than walk you are able to buy your tickets for the return trip up the top. On the way to the elevator we heard other people making comments about having to walk with their elbows out as there was so much pushing and shoving!
Down the bottom of the elevators make sure you don’t miss the cave entrance to the left of the elevators (as you are looking at the mountain). This cave has a separate fee (buy tickets at the bottom of the steps at the entrance) – with caves, sculptures and tunnels.
There was a big climb up to a view point which was really quite steep and of course Ned smashed this easily while my heart was going a million miles an hour with nerves. It was very slippery and you could only over take in certain sections so it was slow going. The view up the top was great. You come back down the same way – there was again lots of rubbish along the way.
We had lunch at the bottom at a little café but didn’t really eat much – we all just wanted cold drinks! There seemed to be a couple of different cafes to choose from and plenty of souvenir stalls if that takes your fancy.
I’d definitely include this in your Da’Nang/Hoi An itinerary with kids – there are plenty of caves to explore – just be wary of the rubbish and the potential for a lot of people.