If you want to see something unique during your trip to Vietnam, the Po Nagar Cham Towers in Nha Trang is highly recommended. The Po Nagar Cham Towers are ancient Hindu temples that date back to thousands of years. Built during the Cham Dynasty, the ancient structure is truly a sight to behold and something that you should see when you visit the country. So here’s everything you need to know about these ancient structures.
All About the Po Nagar Cham Towers
The Po Nagar Cham Towers are a complex of Hindu temples that were built around 781 AD. It was erected during the reign of the Cham Dynasty. The Cham people belong to ancient civilization and were heavily influential in South East Asia, particularly in Cambodia and Vietnam. In fact, they ruled Vietnam for almost 10 centuries and the Po Nagar Cham towers are the silent witness of the dynasty’s powerful reign.
Locally known as Thap Ba, the Pho Nagar Cham Towers are located in Cu Lao, right beside the Cai River, at the downtown area of Nha Trang. According to history, some pirates have attacked the temples several times. On some occasions, the temples were almost totally destroyed. Thus, they have undergone restoration but with only a few differences to the original structures. All four ancient towers look really stunning. Their façade consists of red small bricks and are arranged very close to each other.
The entire complex is a Hindu temple and is still functional so you might come across a religious celebration going on. Some Hindu rituals are still being performed here. However, tourists are forbidden from entering places where monks can be found praying. But the rest of the complex territory is accessible to all visitors. Inside the complex, there are cozy cafes and restaurants serving foods. There are also benches and other shaded areas where visitors can take a rest after exploring the entire complex.
How to Get to Po Nagar Cham Towers
The Po Nagar Cham Towers is located in the coastal resort city of Nha Trang. There are many options to get to Nha Trang. The fastest and the most expensive option is to fly directly to Cam Ranh International Airport.
A cheaper way is to travel by bus from Ho Chi Minh. However, the entire journey could take 9 hours and you need to take a sleeper bus that will travel overnight. The bus is spacious and comfortable so you should be able to sleep the entire journey. For this option, you only need to pay around $6 for the fare.
When you arrive in Nha Trang, the easiest and most convenient way to get to the Po Nagar towers is to rent a motorbike and drive to the place. It should only take around 10 min from the city center to get to the temple complex. There’s an ample parking space on sight where you can park your bike. If you can’t drive, you can take the public bus from the city center that should cost around 7,000 VND. You can also hire a taxi going to the site but this will cost more and make sure you negotiate the fare ahead of time.
Upon arriving at the temple complex, you will be asked to pay an entrance fee at the gate, which costs around 22,000 VND. You can also choose to hire a guide that can take you to the complex and will share some interesting insights about its history. The guide speaks fluent English and costs around 50,000 VND.
The Po Nagar Cham Tower Complex is open daily from 6 AM until 7 PM. If you want to take home some souvenirs, you can purchase some items near the registers at the site’s entrance.
Things to Keep In Mind
Remember that the Pho Nagar Cham towers are a place of worship. Just like with entering other religious sites, you need to show some respect. Wear appropriate clothing and avoid making noises especially if there’s a religious ceremony going on. If you wear clothes that are not appropriate, you will be asked to wear special grey clothes, which you need to wear the entire time that you are in the complex.
You can visit the tower at any time of the year. If you happen to visit in late March, you might be able to witness the Cham festival that will be held at the site. Aside from witnessing the religious rituals, you might also have the opportunity to sample local delicacies.
Most people would head to Nha Trang for the beach. If you’re coming here for the beach, take time to visit the tower complex as well. It’s a great way to learn more about the culture and history of Vietnam.