Today was mostly a travel day as we are leaving Hoi An and heading north to Hanoi. We booked our return trip to the airport again with Hura Cars, and arranged a stop at the Marble Mountains en route.
The Marble Mountains in Da Nang are a cluster of five marble and limestone hills, each named after the five elements: Kim (metal), Thuy (water), Moc (wood), Hoa (fire) and Tho (earth). All of the mountains have cave entrances, and it is possible to climb to the top of Mount Thuy via the Heaven Gate to get views overlooking the sea and Da Nang city. The surrounding area is known for stone-cutting crafts, although stone extraction from the mountains has recently been banned. Materials are now transported from quarries in the Quang Nam Province.
I wasn’t sure how gimmicky this place would be given that there is a conspicuous elevator built into the mountain, but it turned out to be a worthwhile excursion. The entrance fee was 40,000 VND (about $2 USD) and the elevator service ticket was an extra 15,000 VND. We ended up going up in the elevator and taking the stairs down, and managed to occupy around 1.5 hours exploring the pagodas and caves. We could have easily spent up to 3 hours there to see everything.
Now we are off to Hanoi, which I have been looking forward to throughout this trip. We have met several travellers so far who told us that Hanoi was their favorite place in Vietnam, so I am expecting good things!