Constructed between the 8th and 12th centuries, the Po Nagar Cham Towers sit at the mouth of the Cai River in central Vietnam, on the outskirts of the beach town of Nha Trang. The towers were built to honor the region’s Cham rulers and incorporate Buddhist temples and shrines to the Hindu gods Shiva and Ganesh.
The Po Nagar Cham Towers are a pilgrimage site for Chinese and Vietnamese Buddhists. The site is dedicated to Yan Po Nagar, said to be the founder of the Cham people. Only four of the complex’s original towers remain; the most impressive, Po Nagar Kalan, is over 82 feet (25 meters) tall. At the centre of the site stands the Cri Cambhu, a tower dedicated to the goddess of fertility. The centerpiece of the temple is a statue of the goddess sitting cross-legged, her ten hands holding ten symbolic items.
Most day tours of Nha Trang include the towers along with other local highlights, such as the Long Son Pagoda and Dam Market. Cruises of the Cai River also pass the complex.
Things to Know Before You Go
The towers are an active place of worship, clothing should be respectful and must cover the shoulders and the knees.
Before entering the towers, you must remove your shoes.
There are some signs in English, but they only provide limited information.
The temple complex offers lovely views of the Cai River, which is usually full of traditional fishing boats.
How to Get There
There is no public transportation to the complex, which lies on the outskirts of Nha Trang. You can reach this site via taxi (the ride takes about 15 minutes from Nha Trang airport), or visit on a guided tour that includes transportation.
When to Get There
The complex is open daily from the early morning until the early evening, and is most comfortable early in the day, before the midday heat and humidity set in. To see the temple at its most active, visit during the Thap Ba Festival (held at the end of March), when thousands of Cham people flock to the complex to celebrate.
Nha Trang’s Historic Sites
With several historical and cultural attractions, Nha Trang is much more than just a beach town. After visiting the Po Nagar Cham Towers, head to the Nha Trang Cathedral, which was built in the early 19th century in a French Gothic style and boasts beautiful stained glass windows. Afterwards, make a stop at the Long Son Pagoda to see the giant white Buddha statue that sits on a hill overlooking the city.