From Hue, we drove south along the coast, passing the lagoon and eventually ascending into the fog of Hai Van Pass, a beautiful mountain road that curves along the coast toward Da Nang. At the top, we stopped briefly to take some pictures, and we could see the city far below.
We drove through Da Nang (including over the “fire breathing” bridge), and eventually reached out midpoint destination: the Marble Mountains. Of the five mountains, only one welcomes visitors to its mountain shrines and caves. We walked up the large steps, and the next 90 minutes or so were just filled with awesome sights and interesting nooks and crannies. Each cave houses shrines to Buddha. One cave in particular made me feel like Lara Croft, with a massive Buddha statue inset in the cavern wall, guarded by two colorful warriors.
Beneath the shrines up above, we eventually descended down into a cave that was themed around the layers of hell, where you entered in judgment and could either go down further to face the demons or higher to gain enlightenment with Buddha. It was a truly remarkable experience, also a bit kitschy.