Sitting on a high hill, Banh It Cham towers are one of the highlights of the area. It’s an easy do-it-yourself day trip from Qui Nhon, or those travelling on their own motorbikes, a quick diversion off the main Highway 1A.
Banh It makes a grand first impression as it can be seen for miles upon approach. The parking lot will most likely be empty, save for the guard to pay 12,000 dong for the admission and motorbike. Make the climb up to the four towers that were once part of a larger group. They are all different sizes and have had quite a lot restoration/rebuilding work done and artefacts have been removed to the Cham Museum in Da Nang, though a little bit of the original bas relief is visible.
A variety of plants grow through the cracks, ironically very pretty and simultaneously tearing it apart. The main tower is 22 metres high and home to a number of bats. Bat guano covers the bottom of the tower's inner floor, unless it was recently cleaned as was the case with our visit. Pause to listen to the bats cheeping and flying around inside it. Outside, there’s a terrific view over the countryside, flat floodplains with rolling hills in the distance.
The most direct way to get to Thap Banh It is heading north on Highway 1A. From Qui Nhon, either take Hung Vuong St or QL1D to QL1A, then it’s 9 km north. Cross the overpass, then turn right—by this point you should be seeing the tower on the hill.
We returned to Qui Nhon by doing a clockwise loop, after Banh It making our way northeast through the countryside to DT640, then down QL19B to the Phoung Mai Peninsula, visiting Nhon Hai village at the southern tip before crossing the oversea bridge. We were hoping it would make for a more interesting trip instead of returning the same way via the highway. While riding past rice paddies is always enjoyable, we’re not convinced the scenery was worth what turned into a very long day of driving without anything of interest. The whole peninsula area is undergoing heavy development for an obscene resort/amusement park complex and the new road down the middle is unwaveringly straight. It’s worth taking a look at Nhon Hai village and crossing that bridge, but skip the loop and just go from Qui Nhon in our opinion.
For those headed to Phu Cat airport, it could be a 30-minute diversion along the way.
By Cindy Fan.
Last updated on 27th February, 2017.
The Travelfish newsletter is sent out every Monday and is jammed full of free advice for travel in Southeast Asia. You can see past issues here.