Peppering the hillsides and valleys around the city of Quy Nhon in central Vietnam are relics of the lost Champa civilisation that dominated the country’s centre and south between the 2nd and 15th centuries. Despite the towers’ status of an architectural marvel, the temples’ remoteness means that travellers venturing further afield to explore them are likely to have the spectacular sites all to themselves.
With Avani Quy Nhon’s new History Buff offer, guests staying at the beachfront resort can take a full-day Champa tour conducted by a local travel guide. Either perched on the back of a motorbike or in an air-conditioned car, travellers get to visit some of the province’s most striking and well-preserved ancient complexes.
The journey through the quaint villages is as exciting as the destination, with guests driving past rice fields, grazing water buffalos and centuries-old pagodas. After an early start fuelled by a cup of Vietnamese coffee at a local café, the first stop is at the Banh It Towers. Built in the late 11th - early 12th century on top of a hill at a few dozen meters above sea level, a spectacular panorama of winding rivers, scattered country houses, green farms and villages unfolds in all directions.
After a ride through the postcard-perfect countryside, the travellers will reach the blissfully tourist-free Duong Long Towers. At 24 meters, the central tower is the tallest of all Champa structures in the area. The complex features some impressive carving details and the grounds are strewn with artefacts that can be explored up-close.
Celebrated for its elegant style and built in the 16th century, the Canh Tien Tower features unique sandstone pilasters and roof edges carved with twisted rope pattern. The corners of each of the tower’s four storeys are decorated with a phoenix tail motif giving it, from a distance, an aspect of having intricately decorated fairy wings.
Back in Quy Nhon, floating above a park within the city limits, are the Thap Doi (Twin) Towers. Steep steps climb to temples topped by curved pyramidal roofs - rather than the Champa temples’ usual terraced turrets - opening up to a dome of blue sky. The perfect finale is a visit to the nearby Binh Dinh Museum with its impressive collection of Cham sculptures. For further information, guests can contact AVANI Quy Nhon by calling +84 56 384 0132 or by visiting the www.minorhotels.com/en/avani/quy-nhon
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