Hoang De (Cha Ban)
A poorly explained historic site
What we say:
This site derives its historical value from having been the seat of the Cham government from about 1000 to 1471 A.D. After a bloody battle, it was taken over and used by the ethnic Vietnamese from then on, though factions fought over it for control of the empire toward the end of the 18th century, until 1801, when Tran Hung Dao became emperor.
There's a lot of interesting history behind the spot, but we found a visit here didn't really bring history alive. It's one of those sites that makes us wish the Vietnamese government would spend less money building resorts that no one goes to, and more money training guides to give informative tours in a number of different languages. You'll have your work cut out for you finding such a guide in Qui Nhon, but if you really want to pay a visit here, that's the way to go.
Going on your own, you'll be presented with a large fenced-in enclosure with some foot prints of old buildings still intact and a pole in the centre, which is apparently made of ivory but it's hard to tell. There's also the tomb of a general, Vu Tinh, who blew himself up rather than be taken alive. The gate is decorated with coloured dragons and gargoyles -- a motif you'll probably seen repeated in temples and pagodas all over Vietnam, and there didn't seem much point to humping all the way out here to see it again.
To get here, head to Binh Dinh on Highway 1A, and coming from the south, go about six kilometres past the town. Slow down and keep your eyes peeled for a small blue sign marking the turnoff to Thap Canh Tien. You'll pass a lone Cham tower on the left, then take your first left then a right, about 2 kilometres total from the main road. The enclosure is on the right.
If you are asking the locals for directions, ask for Hoang De or Thap Canh Tien. No one seems to know it by the name 'Cha Ban.'
More detailsAround 30km from Qui Nhon
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