Seeking out Cham Ruins in and around Quy Nhon
Quy Nhon Travel Blog› entry 28 of 78 › view all entries
November 23rd, 2006 – by: droonsta
The ride to Quy Nhon at 11am was an absolute wild one. Cruising along the Highway at no less than 100k/hour, overtaking and swaying left and right as the roads went. I of course was hanging on with dear life, as on coming cars approached around the bends, and the narrow drop down was a frightening sight.
I stayed at Barbara's for the night, a English owned backpackers joint. The following morning, before the break of dawn, I got up at 3:30am to head out at 4:00 with Cho, one of the workers at Barbara's.
To make things short about the journey, just like the rest of Vietnam's scenery, the countryside was absolutely amazing. We travelled as far as 45km out of the city to reach the furthest Thap Cham (Cham Tower) in Binh Dinh province. It was an awesome experience as we weaved through village after village, at no end in sight!
Our first destination was;
- Thap Phu Loc, is 30km N of Quy Nhon, this single tower had some obvious Khmer influence in its architecture, as it differed from the traditional cham towers found elsewhere. We had to climb up a small hill through the bush, in order to reach the tower.
- Thap Canh Thien, is located 27km N of Quy Nhon. This single tower was currently under restoration, there weren't any more carvings left on the tower itself, however at the front on the ground was a standstone block with some intricate carvings.
~ Along the way to the next tower, we came across 2 massive sandstone elephants, just standing in the middle of a village. Cho didn't really have an explanation for me. Therefore I am not sure whether these were carved by the Chams or the Vietnamese.
- Thap Doung Long, these three towers were absolutely amazing, and were also under current reconstruction. There was clear evidence that these 3 towers had some strong Khmer influence, with the sandstone naga's, singhas, demons and a lotus on the tower top.
- Thap Thu Thien, to get to this tower, we crossed a rickety bamboo bridge. This single tower had no carvings left, and sat there in the middle of no where on its own.
- Thap Banh It, situated ontop of a mountain, was a spectacular site. With 4 remaining towers, this current site had already been restored, but now they are fixing up the road up the hill to cater for the influx of foreigners visiting these unique Cham towers.
- Thap Binh Lam, this was an additional tower which was not originally on my itinerary. I included this as we still had a decent amount of time left before lunch. And of course being such a nice guy Cho never refused the journey, instead he refused the extra cash offer! This single tower was literally side by side with the village houses, and was fairly hard to get an overall photo of the tower!
- Thap Doi Cham, situated only a few km from Quy Nhon, had 2 remaining towers in the Khmer style.
After this scenic ride from 4:00am to 11:00am, I got dropped off at Barbara's, quickly had lunch and a shower and continued my journey up north.
During the bus ride, I found that NEVER take the smaller mini vans that I took from Nha Trang to Quy Nhon, as the bigger buses were not half as crazy as the mini vans! Also the mini vans are very cramped up with no leg room!
The good thing was that the cost of my bus ride was definately local prices. An old lady who was also on the bus was trying to haggle the price down, and refused to pay the 50,000 to Quang Ngai. After some heated yelling at the bus driver, the bus driver stopped the car and threatened to kick her out.
Anyways the reason why I am in Quang Ngai, is because I did not want to continue my journey to Tam Ky, as it would mean I would arrive after dark. And from my experience in Phan Rang Thap Cham, after getting scammed, I wasn't too comfortable to try it again. So in the morning I will head off to Tam Ky. Quang Ngai is just a short overnight pitstop.
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