Motorbikes are by far our favorite mode of transportation (sorry mom!). There is something about riding around on them that really puts you “in it” wherever you are, and those are the kinds of experiences we are looking for on this trip. Although it limits the radius of places we can go, it has not been an issue so far. As far as sleeper buses go, I think we are done with them. They are inexpensive and convenient, but Coop doesn’t really fit and they are not very condusive to sleeping!
After checking in to the Da Nang hotel, first order of business was finding breakfast. We have been lucking out in Vietnam, finding a place we love in every city so far (and then going there for most meals). In Da Nang it was Happy Hearts Cafe. Lovely staff and delicious food (witht vegetarian options) and they don’t go light on the eggs, which is our #1 qualification of a great breakfast spot.
After breakfast, we hopped on motorbikes, crossed over to the beach side of Da Nang (as opposed to the river side where we were staying) and headed up the coastal road to the Lady Buddha statue and temple.
From Lady Buddha, we took the coastal road south to the Marble Mountains. These are really cool rock formations, presumably containing a lot of marble naturally, but certainly containing a lot of marble statues and carvings within. There is an option to take an elevator to the viewpoint, but this cost money and it looked like walking up the steps didn’t. So since we are all young and love most fitness opportunities, we took the stairs option. We ventured into the mountain and it quickly got pitch black to the point where we needed our phone flashlights to see where we were going. It seemed odd to me that there were light bulbs everywhere, but none were on and we were the only ones in these caves. But regardless, we found some really cool stuff and climbed up a set of stairs we found, saw tons of cool carvings in the marble, and a neat view of the city.
Turns out the place closes at 5pm. We had arrived around 5:05. Hence the no entrance fee, darkness, and lack of people. There are a lot of vendors around the base of marble mountains, selling all kinds of items made from marble. Also on the coastal road headed towards the mountains were a ton of stores selling beautiful huge carved marble statues.