Marble Mountains are not exactly the mountains that you are used to, so do not plan on seeing massive peaks when you get there. Instead, when you make the trek to Marble Mountains from Hoi An, you will basically see small limestone hills. While you won’t garner any attention for your heroic feats at these hills, you will have the satisfaction of being able to see multiple caves, temples, pagodas, and caves. That should definitely be enough for you to want to travel to the Marble Mountains from Hoi An.
It is easy to reach the Marble Mountains from Hoi An and all you need to do is purchase a ticket for the bus that travels out that way. You will be looking for the bus that leaves Hoi An and travels to Da Nang. However, you will get off long before the bus reaches Da Nang, because you want to exit at the Ngu Hanh Son street.
If you do not want to deal with the bus, or wait for the next one to leave, you can always rent a motorbike or bicycle. These items can easily be rented from many of the local hotels or travel agents for between 60 and 120,000 VND per day. Hiring a private car is another option for a cost of between 14 and 17 USD each way.
If you do not want to deal with the transportation on your own, you can always go to Marble Mountains from Hoi An with a tour group. There are many options available and you can choose the one that will fit your needs the most.
The distance between Hoi An and Marble Mountains is only approximately twenty kilometers, which takes about half an hour by car. Obviously, the trip will take a little longer if you are going by bus, motorbike, or bicycle.
Once you arrive at Marble Mountains, you will want to take the time to see Nui Thuy Son Mountain. This is the largest hill of them all and it is also the one with the most caves. I recommend climbing the multiple stairs and standing on the numerous platforms to see magnificent views of the countryside. There is a total of one hundred and fifty-six steps, so make sure you wear sturdy shoes and can make the full climb before you begin.
There is an elevator that you can take instead of the stairs, but it will cost you extra if you choose that route.
When you are entering the caves, you will see that many of them have either carved Buddhist statues in the rocks or freestanding ones. You may even stumble upon an ancient building or two inside some of the caves. The cave I really recommend that you take the time to see is the Huyen Khong Cave.
Another cave of interest is the Dong Am Phu Cave, which has earned the nickname of Hell Cave. This cave was used as a field hospital during the Vietnam War and while it has been transformed into a modern-day space, you can still see and feel the history of its past.
The entrance fee to Marble Mountains is only 40,000 VND, but I recommend that you spend the extra money to hire a local guide when you arrive. You will also need to pay more to enter the Dong Am Phu Cave. If you choose to not hire a local guide, then you should at least spend a little more, 15,000 VND, for one of the maps of the attractions. This will ensure that you know which attractions are available and where they all are. Plus, you can mark the ones you see off as you go, so you know that you are not forgetting any of them.
It is best to see this attraction early in the morning or later in the day, as it is not as hot. If you want to avoid paying the entrance fees, and see some spectacular sunsets at the same time, you will want to arrive after five in the evening. It is best to take a flashlight with you though, so you can make your way down the hills in the dark.
I also recommend that you take some water and a snack or two with you, because you will get hungry and thirsty as you are walking around and climbing the stairs. Other than that, simply enjoy the sights and sounds around you and relish the tranquility that you will experience as you are visiting one of the most beautiful places in Vietnam.
If you are going to be in Hoi An, then I recommend taking the time to make the journey over to Marble Mountains. The sights are extraordinary, and the history will have you learning more than you ever thought possible.