The allure of ancient French Indochina on an MSC Cruise. Nha Trang is a large city – it has over 300,000 inhabitants – in the Nam Trung Bo region of Vietnam, overlooking the South China Sea.
Its bay is one of the most spectacular in the world and marvelling at its coastline, perhaps sipping a refreshing cocktail, is a must.
An excursion will take you to a paradise on earth: Bai Dai beach on the island of Vinpearl, lapped by crystal clear water and home to luxurious villas with private pools and tropical gardens. You can also hike to the Po Nagar Cham Towers on Mount Cu, just a few miles from Nha Trang. This Buddhist temple was built between the 8th and 11th centuries by the Cham people, who lived in and ruled the area.
Today there are only four towers, although it is believed that there were originally eight or ten, each dedicated to a Deity. One of the towers, all of which are made of red stone brick, is about 82 feet high and has a terraced pyramid-shaped roof. It was built in honour of Po Nagar Kalan, while the other three were dedicated to the Hindu deities of Cri Cambhu, Shiva and Ganesh. Today most of the Cham people have converted to Islam, but the religious festival of Thap Ba, which takes place in spring, is still traditional.
On the way back to Nha
Tra, you will stop at the foot of Mount Trai Thuy, for a visit to the Long Son Pagoda. Also known as Chua Long Son, this Buddhist temple was built in 1886, in the Taoist architectural style, and it originally stood under the Abbey of Thích Ngộ Chí, in the district of Vinh Xuong. The religious monument was destroyed by a cyclone in 1900, and was rebuilt where it is today. The temple is famous for its large, 45-foot white Buddha statue, built in 1964, which is at the top of the mountain and visible from many parts of the city.