Danang is a coastal city in central Vietnam known for its sandy beaches, idyllic seaside resorts and a rich history as a former French colonial port. The coastal strip and downtown are fun to explore but Danang is also a popular base for visiting some dramatic inland sights. A popular spot on the Danang interior trail are the Marble Mountains – a cluster of five hills made from limestone and marble and a well-known pilgrimage site.
Named after the elements metal, wood, water, fire and earth, Marble Mountains exist in a coastal area that is renowned for stone-cutting and sculpture about 9km south of Danang.
The caves within the mountains hold many secrets including bullet holes from when troops used to spy on the US soldiers relaxing on the famous China Beach below during the Vietnam War. You’ll also find buildings standing within the many caves and grottoes.
There are a host of Buddhist sanctuaries and places of worship dotted across the mountains, and, at the summit – a spectacular panoramic view.
The Hải Vân or Ocean Cloud Pass is a 21 km long mountain pass that traverses a spur of the larger Annamite Range that juts into the South China Sea on the border of Danang and Hue. Its name refers to the mists that often rise from the sea. Historically, the pass was a physical division between historical kingdoms and for a long time represented a major barrier to any land army that attempted to move between the northern and central regions of the country. The pass is renowned for its scenic beauty.
Presenter Jeremy Clarkson, host of the BBC motoring program Top Gear, featured the pass during the show’s Vietnam Special, calling the road “a deserted ribbon of perfection and one of the best coast roads in the world.” From the pass you’ll descend to quaint fishing villages where you can see a traditional way of life that hasn’t changed much from generation to generation