The travel journey to Da Nang and Hoi An is filled with plenty of spectacular and remarkable attractions. Besides well-known destinations such as stunning beaches, Ba Na Hill, there are many other places that are still out of travelers’ reach. Those are tropical forests, green lands, the sea, rivers, and especially majestic mountains. Known as a natural icon of Da Nang city, Marble Mountains had long been Buddhist worshiping sites with a complex of peaks, limestone caves and temples all just waiting to discover.
Where is Ngu Hanh Son Mountain located?
Ngu Hanh Son Mountain is situated near the Hoa Khue Village coastline, about 8km from Da Nang city center. It is a complete system with five different mountains with their own unique features. They were named Kim Son, Thuy Son, Tho Son, Hoa Son, and Moc Son, representing five elements of nature.
Ngu Hanh Son is arguably a nature masterpiece to visitors and sacred land for Vietnamese. Among five mountains, Thuy Son is the most prominent one because of its height and the stunning site seen from above.
The Folklore of the Ngu Hanh Son Mountain
The Cham culture, probably the oldest culture of Vietnam, believes in the legend about the mountains. It is told that there was a fisherman who lived in the immense sand of the seaside. One day, he saw the Naga Dragon God flying there for reproduction. Suddenly, a golden turtle called Kim Quy God appeared, digging into the sand and putting an egg into it. After that, Kim Quy God gave him its toenail and told him to protect the egg.
Days went by and the egg rapidly grew, until one day, a fairy step out from the shell. The shell was divided into five pieces and became five mountains: Kim, Moc, Thuy, Hoa, Tho.
Trace of History in Ngu Hanh Son Mountain
Ngu Hanh Son Mountain is the center of the culture and history of Vietnam. About 200 years ago, King Minh Mang visited there and dubbed the mountain, pagoda, and grottos. It took a long time to dub names such as Ngu Hanh Son, Huyen Khong, Van Nguyet, Thien Long. The scenery of Ngu Hanh Son had a special place in his heart.
Vietnamese are so proud of this remarkable site in their country. Those historical- cultural remains still work as they used to during the 19th century. The cliff moss in grottos has still marked the poetry relics under Le, Tran Dynasty.
Some spiritual places on the mountain are the tomb of Tran Quang Dieu’s mother, Ngoc Lan Princess shrine, Ba Tho cave and Hell Grotto. Those represent the legends of Ngu Hanh Son and are considered sacred.
There are plenty of stories associated with the mountains and those have been told from generation to generation. The mountain itself is incredibly charming, but the way people introduce makes it more special.
What to know about the Five Mountains
Moc Son – The Wood Mountain
Moc Son is situated in the east coastal area, near Thuy Son Mountain. It has beautiful fields to the north, sandy caves to the south and villages on the west. Although Moc Son is the wood mountain, it does not have many trees. Instead, the mountain is full of rocky peaks which are similar to the chicken claw, and that is why it is also called Mong Ga Mountain.
On the mountain, there is one marble block that resembles a sitting person. Locals call it Co Mu Stone, Ms. Mu or Guanyin. Moc Son also has a small cave called Ba Trung, where Locals and officials used to hide during the US and French attacks.
Thuy Son – The Water Mountain
Among the five mountains, Thuy Son is the biggest and the most beautiful one. It is situated northeast of Ngu Hanh Son and has an impressive length, about 15 hectares. On the mountain, there are a wide number of ancient temples and stalactite caves.
Locals usually call this place the Buddhist’s Realm because Thuy Son has two amazing pagodas: Linh Ung Pagoda and Tam Thai Pagoda. Besides, visitors can also take a trip to the stone carving village at the roadside of Huyen Tran street.
Kim Son – The Metal Mountain
Kim Son mountain is located near the Co Co river, Southeast of Ngu Hanh Son. Coming to Kim Son, visitors could take boat trips to the temples and enjoy the calm water with the view of spectacular mountains.
On Kim Son mountain, there is a cave that is almost 50-meter long and 10-meter wide. Walking within it, you will see layers of stalactite on the cliffs that naturally formed the statues of Bodhisattva. Vietnamese usually come to this place and wish for wealth, health and happiness. Inside the cave, there is a clear water pond that is formed by the water passing from the rock layers.
Hoa Son – The Fire Mountain
The fire mountain is formed by two peaks joined together with a knob of the stone street. Because of its unique shape, locals refer to it as the negative and positive sides. Along the mountain, thick trees growing with stones and limestone rock layers.
The mountain is home to Pho Son Da Pagoda and Ung Thien Pagoda. Although Hoa Son is not famous for its beauty, it is still an amazing religious site where Buddhists come to worship.
Tho Son – the Earth Mountain
Tho Son is probably the longest mountain among the five. The mountain resembles a huge dragon in the sand, with a wide range of rocks creating two floors and plenty of low and narrow cliffs.
Tho Son has a deep cave known as the Coc Cave or Bo De Cave that Cham people used to stay in when they lost their land. Therefore, this place has a strong connection with the Cham culture.
How to get to Ngu Hanh Son Mountain
From Danang city, you could get to Ngu Hanh Son by crossing the Han River bridge. The site open daily from 7:00am to 5:30pm. The entrance fee are:
Water mountain: 40000 VND
Hell Cave: 40000 VND
Guide for a group (if you hire): 50000 VND
Best time to visit Ngu Hanh Son Mountain
You can visit Ngu Hanh Son at any time of the year except the stormy season, which falls from September to November. The dry season is from December to June, so this time is visitable. However, you will have to bring a lot of water bottles while traveling around.
The best time to visit Ngu Hanh Son is from June to August, which falls during the summer season. This is the time when the mountain is in its glory, and the weather is comfortable and favorable for visitors.
Places to visit in the Mountains
Huyen Khong Cave
Huyen Khong Cave is famous as an ancient sanctuary of Buddhist gods and attracts a lot of Buddhists every year. Inside the cave, the light is bright and shines on the face of the Buddha Statue, creating a stunning view that can not be seen elsewhere. There are also two temples in the cave for worshipping to bring health and wealth.
Linh Ung Pagoda
Linh Ung Pagoda is one of the best attractions in Da Nang, which is well-known as the Buddha Realm. It contains around 200 Buddha statues. At the pagoda, you could view the stunning sight of the ocean and the spectacular site of Ngu Hanh Son mountain.
Tam Thai Pagoda
Tam Thai Pagoda is an amazing historical and cultural site that belongs to the 17th century. To reach the pagoda, you will have to climb 156 stone stairs. At the gate, there are three entrances, one for men, one for women, and the other for the Buddhist Monks.
Going through many natural disasters and wars, some part of the pagoda was destroyed and they were reconstructed many times, however, the pagoda still retains its unique design and structure.
Am Phu Cave
Am Phu Cave is one of the biggest caves in Ngu Hanh Son. As its name, the cave illustrates the Buddhist’s heel, which is the world of passed away people. According to Buddhist literature, if people commit sin and wrong-doings, they will go to hell after their death. Therefore, the cave was constructed as a dark and scary place.