Vietnam // The southern coast //

Phan Rang and Thap Cham

Although PHAN RANG is an unlovely place, whose western limits have fused with the neighbouring town of THAP CHAM, the area is rich in historical attractions. The name of the latter, meaning “Cham Towers”, gives a clue to the primary reason for stopping here. This region of Vietnam once comprised the Cham kingdom of Panduranga, and the nearby remnants of Po Klong Garai are some of the best preserved in the country. The excellent Po Re Me towers – nearly as good – are also in the area. Tuan Tu, one of Vietnam’s most appealing Cham villages, lies near Phan Rang, as does Ninh Chu Beach, a glorious sweep of wide sand that is sometimes deliciously quiet on weekdays, but often overrun with Vietnamese at weekends.