A twin city located on an arid coastal strip known for its grape and Cham textile prod uc tion, Phan Rang–Thap Cham is an important road junction linking the coastal provinces with Dalat and the Central Highlands. Thap Cham means Cham Towers, and three of the country’s best- preserved Cham religious complexes are situated here.
Po Klong Garai is a group of three brick temple-towers in remarkably good preserva tion. Located on a hilltop, the temple was built in the 13th century by King Jaya Simhavarman III, and inscriptions in Cham script are clearly engraved on the entrance way. The temple has a mukha lingam with the face of King Jaya Simhavarman III in the main kalan or sanctuary. A statue of the bull Nandi, Shiva’s mount, receives regular offerings. During the Kate Festival each autumn, traditional Cham musical ensembles play here, and folk dancers perform in the temple precincts.
Po Ro Me was built in the 17th century when the Cham principality of Panduranga was in decline. It too sits on a hilltop, but is more difficult to access than Po Klong Garai and a motorbike is recommended to reach the temple. The tower is dedicated to King Po Ro Me, and there is an image of him on a mukha lingam inside.
A third temple complex, Hoa Lai, which is located a few miles north of Phan Rang.
Pleasant Ninh Chu Beach, shaded by casuarina trees, is located 4 miles (6 km) east of Phan Rang. During his regime (1967–75), it was reserved for President Nguyen Van Thieu and his cronies.