A likeable little seaport town, QUY NHON is set on a narrow stake of land harpooning the South China Sea. It’s a good place to get away from tourists – few come here, thanks in no small part to the fact that the local beach is both less dazzling than others along this coast, and a bit shallow for swimming. For more adventurous travellers, however, the lack of foreigners only adds to the town’s intrigue, and there are a few places worth checking out in the nearby area, including some superbly restored Cham towers. The beach makes a lovely place for a breezy evening stroll.
North of Quy Nhon, and within easy day-trip distance, are the Banh It towers, and the Cha Ban Citadel – both important remnants of Cham rule.
Quy Nhon’s origins lie in the Cham migration south, at the start of the eleventh century, under pressure from the Vietnamese to the north. They named the empire they established in the area Vijaya, meaning “Victory”; its epicentre was the citadel of Cha Ban, though it was Quy Nhon – then known as Sri Bonai – that developed into its thriving commercial centre. Centuries later, the Tay Son Rebellion boiled over in this neck of the woods. During the American War the city served as a US port and supply centre, and was engorged by refugees from the vicious bombing meted out to the surrounding countryside.