Marble Mountains (Ngũ Hành Sơn)


The  Marble Mountains are five mountains between Da Nang and Hoi An. Each mountain is assigned to an element: metal, wood, fire, water and earth. On the mountains there are many Buddhist temples and pagodas and in the mountains are often caves. Before we entered the first cave, Hoang Anh promised me to see heaven and hell. At first it didn’t mean anything to me, but after we had climbed the first steep steps, I understood what she meant: Bright light shined on us from above and nothing but darkness behind us. Therefore, climbing up this rock is compared with the rise into heaven. At the top we found ourselves in the light again and were rewarded with a beautiful view of the sea. On the way down into “hell”, it was getting darker and darker. A flock of bats accompanied the climb-down musically. Scary figures, skeletons and monsters along the path illustrated the hellish going-on and the human powerlessness towards higher forces. Back in the fresh air, Anh and I climbed the Thuy Son that corresponds to the element of water, along with the grotto. We crawled on all fours through a half-buried crevice and over huge rocks to the top of the mountain. The view was indeed fantastic. We had the best view of the other Marble Mountains and the sea! Translated by Caterina