View of the Mountains from Thuy Son Mountain
I’m close to wrapping up my series of entries on Central Vietnam. And as 2nd to the last entry would be one of the most fun destinations in my opinion close to the city of Danang.
Entrance to Ling Ong Pagoda Cave
After visiting My Son Sanctuary we continued our journey and headed to the famous Marble Mountains, which is a cluster of 5 mountain peaks jutting out flat lands towards the sea. The mountains are also called Ngu Hanh Son or Mountains of the Five Element since each peak represents five elements; Thuy Son (water), Moc Son (wood), Kim Son (metal), Tho Son (soil) and Hoa Son (fire). The sight itself from the main road going into the city was very interesting. It just makes you think how those mountains ended up there together when most of the landscape is flat.
We went to the Thuy Son Mountain which is the highest of the five. The mountain is climbable due to the carved steps and it has the most attractions from caves and Hindu and Buddhist pagodas along the mountain trail. Judging from its height I think the mountain is around 400-500 meters if I’m not mistaken. And of course there’s an entrance of 30000 Dong ($2 USD) to maintain the place.
Ling Ong Pagodas
The climb is relatively easy and anyone, even a child can climb the Marble mountains, this may also be due to the well placed steps and proper resting area. There, again, but fortunately a small number of vendors selling some refreshments and snacks. Some will even lend you flash lights near the cave entrance saying it’s free. I returned it though since I have my own, and you don’t really need it that much since the darkness on the main cave is only a very short distance. Besides these vendors will just ask you to buy from them after lending their flashlights.
Wall crack entrance leading on a stairways downward
On the trail, there are some interesting pagodas, some mausoleums, and number of caves. But the most interesting cave is where the Ling Ong Pagoda shrine is located. Within the cave’s huge chamber is where the pagodas are located. The place looks majestic with all the shrines and the lighting from the top cavity which reminds me of the cathedral at Callao caves in Penablanca. The temperature is mildly cool and the place feels consecrated.
Tam Thai Pagoda
Going down on the other side of the Marble mountains you’ll pass by more pagodas but the more impressive is the large Tam Thai Pagoda. I must admire the Vietnamese for building these structures at their height. Just shows how diligently religious they are. When you reach the ground, you’ll pass by numerous shops marble shops selling souvenir items. Before, most of the marbles from these items came from the mountains but now, they stopped the marble quarry due to its depleting supply. Most of these marbles carved came from other countries.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.