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Published: March 17th 2008
China Beach, Marble and Monkey Mountain
Where I live in Danang is a half block from China Beach. It is the real beach of TVs China Beach fame.
I live at Hoa’s Place, a seven dollar a night backpacker’s favorite spot. The beds are hard and the shower puts out just enough water to bathe but I wouldn’t call it a shower.
We have had nothing but cold rainy miserable weather here in Danang.
It is within walking distance to china beach and Marble Mountain. That is all; the rest is a long ride anywhere. Before I came here I just didn’t realize how big Danang is and it is growing all the time. It is the most modern looking city in Vietnam that I know.
Down the road north of me is a lot of old concrete helicopter hangers that were once the base of a very active helicopter operations. Just North of it was a Seabee unit and South was the hospital of “China Beach” fame. Then of course East is that famous China Beach that goes almost to Hoi An. Along that beach several multimillion dollar resorts are being built.
When I took the bus to the airport I saw this
1992, China Beach was the site of the first International Surfing competition in Vietnam.
Just west of me about a block away is one of the five marble mountains and Non Nuoc Hamlet. This small village is made up of stone workers. During the war it was called “Dogpatch” after a derelict town in the comic strip “Ltl Abner.” It was a shanty town made up of war refugees from the countryside living in shacks. It is a little more prosperous today as the town skilled artisans make the marble into about everything you can imagine.
The five marble mountains represent natural elements so are named: Thuy Son (water), Moc Son (wood), Hoa Son (Fire), Kim So (Metal or Gold) and Tho Son (Earth).
The largest and most famous mountain is Thuy Son and the steps up the mountain begin right in the village of Non Nuoc. It has several natural caves that first Hindu and later Buddhist sanctuaries have been built over the centuries. It is a popular place for pilgrimages.
All the temples and caves don’t impress me so much. I have been in so many in Vietnam. I walked the walk up the
mountain for the beauty of the whole thing. The views of China Beach is spectacular, everything there is worth seeing just for the beauty of it alone.
Monkey Mountain is another great beauty spot but if there are monkeys, I didn’t see any of them. In this trip we took a motorbike up the mountain and then walked down to the beach and had dinner. This was a lot of exercise but it was worth it to have a great dinner there on the beach a beautiful place.
They are in the process of building a huge Buddha Statue on the mountain. Most of the mountain I understand is a military base and is off limits.
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