Nhon is the little visited provincial capital of Binh Dinh
province. Although it was recognised as a city as late as
1898, its history reaches back to the days of the Kingdom
of Champa. In the 11th century, the Cham people migrated
southwards and moved their capital city to a location about
30km north of present-day Qui Nhon and named it Vijaya.
It survived until 1471, when the citadel was sacked by the
nearby city of An Nhon (formerly Binh Dinh) was an old Annamese
both the railroad and coastal highway, it became an important
naval and military base during the Vietnam War. The small
fishing port was dredged and expanded by the United States
military in 1965. Its strategic role led to heavy fighting
in the surrounding area.
Qui Nhon is an expanding port city with a population of about
a quarter of a million. until recently, it has been isolated
from the main tourism routes roughly half-way between Danang
and Nha Trang. However, air links to Danang and Ho Chi Minh
City has made it more accessible, and a recently-built international
hotel offers the possibility of a relaxing break well away
from the more travelled path.
ancient Cham Pa legacy
Little remains of Vijaya. It became the capital of the short-lived
Tay Son Kingdom in the 18th century and abandoned thereafter.
Now only a few walls and a single tower remain standing.
are fourteen Cham towers and monuments in varying stages of
decay around Binh Dinh province, but the most convenient are
a mere two kilometres from Qui Nhon city centre. The Thap
Doi Cham Towers are surrounded by buildings, which diminished
their impact somewhat, but they are good examples of Cham
away, there are two notable sites. The four remaining towers
of the Banh It group are on a hill just outside Binh Dinh
town, about 25km inland from Qui Nhon. The 22m-high main tower
has been restored, with plenty of replacement brickwork in
evidence. The neighboring tower has also been tidied up, but
has been left in a rougher state. Several fine bas-reliefs
of dancers from Banh It are displayed in the Cham Museum in
50km from Qui Nhon, the three Thap Nga (Ivory) Cham Towers
are regarded as one of the best Cham tower complexes in Vietnam.
The central building is 24m high, and embellished with granite
ornamentation representing Naga and Elephants. The others
are both 22m high.
Quang Trung Museum
Nguyen Hue, a national hero of the 18th century, was one of
three brothers who led the Tay Son Insurrection. In 1788,
he led a peasant army northwards from Phu Xuan (Hue) to Thang
Long (Hanoi) where they defeated the occupying Chinese forces
and liberated the royal capital. Nguyen Hue declared himself
Emperor Quang Trung, but his dynasty lasted only fourteen
years before his forces were crushed by the Nguyen Lords.
the brevity of his reign, he is regarded with great affection
in Vietnam, hence the museum created in his memory. It’s located
in Kien My village in Tay Son District, 45km from Qui Nhon,
Long Khanh Pagoda
Quin Nhon City is short of attractions, but the Long Khanh
pagoda is worth a visit. The 17m high Buddha is impressive,
as is the ‘thousand-eyed and thousand handed’ Goddess of Mercy.
Normally, this wouldn’t feature as a place to visit. However,
this one is different. Instead of the usual depressing institution,
Qui Nhon’s Leper Hospital is a model of good practice. Patients
live with their family in comfortable chalets in well maintained
gardens, and work on handicrafts. Visitors are always welcomed,
and most find it an uplifting experience.
Qui Nhon’s beach is quite small, but OK. However, Qui Hoa
beach is about eight kilometers away and much better. By coincidence,
you get there through the grounds of the Leper Hospital.