A defining feature of Nha Trang, these Cham ruins are the best-kept in Vietnam. Of the original vast complex only four towers remain, but these beautiful Vietnamese ruins are still a top historical attraction, and a Nha Trang must-see. Po Nagar Cham Towers date back to between the 7th and 12th centuries AD. Situated 2 km north of Nha Trang, all of the main temples in the complex face East as does the original front gate, destroyed during a Javanese conquest in the 7th century AD. The Po Nagar complex was built by the Chams, a part of the ancient Champa Kingdom, to honor Yang Ino Po Nagar, Mother of the Kingdom. These impressive towers are set on a hill with views overlooking the Cai River, crowded with fishing trawlers.
Though construction on the towers themselves began in the 7th century AD, it is thought that the Cham worshipped on this site long before. The complex houses beautiful, inscribed slabs of stone which tell stories from Cham history and spiritual beliefs, from which historians have gained invaluable insight into the social structure and religious practises of the Cham people.
The temples are still used today as places of worship for the Cham people, though the buildings are now in serious decay. Make sure you remove your shoes before you enter, and always remember that you are visiting an area which is still very much a part of Cham spirituality.
Po Nagar Cham Towers are fascinating not only historically but also in regard to the people who visit. We recommend buying a cold coconut, but make sure you spend no more than VND 10,000, and taking a seat to watch the endless array of different people visiting the complex. Like Ho Chi Minh City’s famous Saigon Square, romantic Hoi An or the incredible Ha Long Bay, tourists from all over the world visit Nha Trang every year. And as one of Vietnam’s most popular monuments, the Po Nagar Cham Towers are top in every tourist’s itinerary.