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Phan Thiet

Phan Thiet is an old Cham outpost of 75,000 people that supports a large fishing fleet and is famous for "nuoc mam" , or fish sauce, the traditional and most popular dipping sauce of the Vietnamese. The special smell of fish and fish sauce permeates the downtown area as Phan Thiet river cutting through the centre of town is packed with boats. Phan Thiet has a beachfront a few km to the east of town, but a bigger draw is Mui Ne Beach, 22km east of town. The road to Mui Ne travels is stunning with sand dunes edging one side while the other is bordered by a relatively unspoiled beach, and both sides are littered with pregnant coconut trees. The fishing village at Mui Ne is very picturesque dotted with hundreds of multicolored boats.

 

Further south - Phan Rang and Thap Cham

Phan Rang is actually a twin town, that is known as Phan Rang and Thap Cham. It is a small town on the coast with its main attraction being the Cham history and towers in the surrounding area. The Cham Empire thrived around Phan Rang from around the 8 th century until it fell in the 17 th century. The Phan Rang region is very dry, as it manages to avoid the summer and winter monsoons, and receives and average rainfall of only 60cm per year. The immediate area around Phan Rang is very beautiful and is spotted with grape gardens, and the best dragon fruit in Vietnam is meant to be grown in this area. Phan Rang marks the intersection of Highway 1 and the best road to Dalat from the coast.

 

Pklong Garai Cham Tower

The main attraction in Phan Rang is a small group of Cham towers which sit by the roadside 7 km towards Dalat. These towers were built in the early 14 century as Hindu temples during the Cham Empire and they are beautifully preserved. The towers were named after the King who invented a system of irrigation used in local villages. As the tourist buses from Nha Trang to Dalat pass through Phan Rang, the Cham towers are seen as a convenient place to break the journey. The result is that the towers are periodically swarmed by travelers heading north and south. You can enter the largest temple, in the center of which there is an ancient linga (phallic symbol) with a human face painted on it. The other towers still retain their shape and some of the carved details are clearly visible.

 

Cana Beach
35 km South of Phan Rang, and 123 km North of Phan Thiet lies Cana Beach, a great stretch of white sand strewn with boulders. The water is a beautiful turquoise. Onshore, the area has been colonized by prickly pear cacti.

 


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