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nhan tower traditional clothes tuy hoa phu yen

Nhan Mountain (Núi Nhạn), Tuy Hoa, Phu Yen

Nhan Mountain

“Nhan Mountain boasts interesting architecture, pleasing surroundings and is a historically significant spot for the Cham people. This trifecta of interest makes it a must visit for anyone who has the chance – foreign and domestic tourists alike.”

Nhan Mountain (Núi Nhạn) is found rising high near the city center of Tuy Hoa, the capital city of the Phu Yen province in Vietnam. Nhan Mountain boasts interesting architecture, pleasing surroundings and is a historically significant spot for the Cham people. This trifecta of interest makes it a must visit for anyone who has the chance – foreign and domestic tourists alike.

nhan tower tuy hoa phu yen
Aerial photo of Nhan Tower. Original Photo Source: Internet

For those very reasons, Nhan Mountain is the first thing locals think about when Tuy Hoa is mentioned. It’s become a famous landmark for Tuy Hoa and the entire Phu Yen province.

Even so, Nhan Mountain isn’t often visited by foreign tourists, simply because very few know about Tuy Hoa (or even Phu yen) at all. In other words: it’s a hidden gem.

Architecture and Religion of Nhan Mountain

So far, the Cham people technique of placing bricks tight together without any kind of mortar or adhesive has remained a secret to researchers.

Standing majestically on top of Nhan Mountain, Nhan Tower is an amazing piece of architecture. Nhan tower was built by the Cham people, who lived in the Đà Rằng delta region, between late 11th century and early in 12th century period. It’s the most unique symbol of the long-standing culture of the Cham people.

nhan tower traditional clothes tuy hoa phu yen
Nhan Tower up close. The two girls in the foreground are wearing traditional Vietnamese clothes (Ao Dai). Photo: My Nguyen

When the French colonists invaded Vietnam (1945-1954), they destroyed parts of Nhan tower causing a lot of damage. However, Phu Yen authorities fully repaired and restored both the inside and the outside of the tower in 1960.

The tower itself is a quadrant with four stories’. The tower is 25 meters high and each side of the tower is 10 meters high. The four-story tower illustrates the beauty, art and creativeness of the Cham people and resembles the architecture found in other places such as the Po Nagar Cham towers in Nha Trang.

The roof is made of a lotus bud stone slab which is a Linga symbol of the Cham people. In the top of the tower, four sides have false windows to distinguish between the upper and lower tower.

Inside the tower, the wall was built perpendicular from the bottom to the end of the body. The closer to the top, the smaller it is resulting in a pyramidal roof without the use of terracing or pilasters.

Another sculpture of Durga the goddess, may be found inside the temple: it depicts the four-armed goddess holding a hatchet, a lotus and a club while standing on a buffalo. This sculpture belongs to the Tra Kieu style of Cham art from the end of the 10th century to the beginning of the 11th century.

durga slayer of buffalo demon
Durga, the slayer of the buffalo-demon, is represented in the temple. Original Photo Source: Internet

Nhan Tower is not only a historical and cultural relic but also represents typical architectural and sculptural work of the Cham people. The tower was built using bricks and decorated with stones and ceramics. So far, the Cham people technique of placing bricks tight together without any kind of mortar or adhesive has remained a secret to researchers.

nhan tower on a cloudy day
Nhan Tower on a cloudy day. Photo: Trinh Quang Minh

The tower, shrouded by old trees, is regarded by the locals as having ancient supernatural powers holding the spirits and ghosts of long forgotten times. This is holy ground and many come here to pay homage to the Gods.

paying homage to the gods nhan tower tuy hoa phu yen
Paying Homage to the Gods on Nhan Mountain. Original Photo Source: Internet

Further attractive features of Nhan Mountain

When visiting Nhan Mountain you will a get a sincere feeling of comfort and peace unlike most other places. It will not only help you understand history and religion but also provide insight into the spiritual life and social structure of the Cham people.

Even without the tower, the view from the top of the mountain makes this place worth a visit. From here you can see all over Tuy Hoa city and enjoy the calming view of this tranquil city as well as Chop Chai Mountain

chop chai tuy hoa phu yen
Spectacular view from Nhan Mountain. From here you have the view of Tuy Hoa city and Chop Chai Mountain. Original Photo Source: Internet

A common joke is that you would rather live outside something beautiful (a palace for example) instead of inside it because then you get to look at the beauty all day while if you’re inside you only get to look at the ugly outside.

Luckily, you won’t have to worry about that with Nhan Tower as it is just as beautiful up close as far away. At night, Nhan tower is a shimmering beacon of light due to an advanced light system. Even far away, several kilometers, you can clearly see Nhan mountain shine bright in the night.

Especially, when Nhan mountain is used to celebrate cultural and recreational activities. And it often is.

To give a few examples:
A cultural performance show is celebrated from 6-8pm every Saturday

shows at nhan mountain tuy hoa phu yen
Shows and other celebrations on Nhan Moutain. Original Photo Source: Internet

Nguyen Tieu poetic festival takes place annually on the first full moon day of the lunar new year (Tet). This poetic night is the annual meeting event for poets and supporters gathering under the full moonlight, chanting the lyrical rhymes or discussing the art of poetry. You can experience these magnetic cultural activities and have a chance to harmonize with the rich Vietnamese culture.

poetry night on nhan mountain tuy hoa phu yen
Poetry night on Nhan Mountain. Original Photo Source: Internet

Finally, there is yet an amazing piece of architecture located on the way to the top of the mountain that shouldn’t be missed when traveling to Phu Yen. The monument is called The Heroic Martyrs Monument, is 30 meters high and stands out white under the blue sky. With its elaborate and majestic dimensions, this creative, artsy design, looks like a giant sail and should by all means not be missed.

heroic martyrs monument on nhan mountain tuy hoa phu yen
Heroic Martyrs Monument on Nhan Mountain. Original Photo Source: Internet



Red Reef (or Ganh Do), Part of Xuan Dai Bay

Few people have heard of Song Cau in the Phu Yen province in eastern Vietnam but that’s far from the same as saying the area has nothing to offer. Xuan Dai Bay with its gorgeous sceneries is a must visit.

So what’s so special about it?

“The landscape and scenery is outstanding and unlike anything you’ve seen before – unless you’ve been to paradise that is.”

In the bay, there is a small fishing village called Ganh Đo or “Red Reef”, known for fishing and famous for its fish sauce. In fact, so well-known that the locals are able to lead a comfortable life in an otherwise poor province. However, Ganh Do is so much more than fishing and fish sauce. The landscape and scenery is outstanding and unlike anything you’ve seen before – unless you’ve been to paradise that is.

aerial photo of red reef in xuan dai bay in phu yen province
Aerial photo of Red reef, comfortably located in the peaceful Xuan Dai Bay. Photo: Lee Nguyen Tran

How did Red Reef get its name?

If you’re wondering how Red Reef got its name it’s due to the many reddish – brown reefs scattered around the area.

reddish brown reefs that give red reef its name
The reddish-brown reefs responsible for giving Red Reef its name. Photo: Le Nguyen Tran

Red Reef Beach

Aside from it’s unique beauty and quaint atmosphere, another appealing feature is the Red Reef beach. It has very smooth sand and mild waves, it’s flat, clean, and with shallow waters; even at 50 meters from the beach, the water is only waist deep.

picture of corner of red reef beach in phu yen vietnam
A picturesque corner of the quiet beach. Photo: Lee Nguyen Tran

In the morning, the life in Red Reef is tranquil and gentle. The fishermen, out catching squids, paddle slowly along the shore. Early risers are out and about in the relaxing environment, breathing the fresh air and swimming in the cool water.

sunrise a red reef beach in phu yen province, vietnam
Red Reef beach at sunrise. Photo: Lee Nguyen Tran

Meet the friendly fishermen

“It’s so rare that foreign tourists come to visit their place that being invited in for food and accommodation without even asking for it, is highly likely.”

Red reef is an accommodating destination for those who’d like to explore Vietnamese life far away from the tourist circuits. The local fishermen are very kind and friendly here – far beyond what you’d expect. It’s so rare that foreign tourists come to visit their place that being invited in for food and accommodation without even asking for it, is highly likely. They have no other reason than wanting to talk to you and because of their extraordinary hospitality.

fishermen getting ready in the morning at red reef beach, phu yen, vietnam
Fishermen getting ready for the day. Photo: Lee Nguyen Tran

Don’t forget the surrounding area

If you’re not already packing your bags to go see this gem, this should convince you. Red Reef has a special terrain. Not only does it have the before mentioned dream of a beach but mountains and rice fields can be found in the area as well so there are landscapes to please anyone. It’s not often you have so much beauty and variety packed into one place.

surrounding area of red reef
The outstanding terrain in the are surrounding Red Reef. Photo: Lee Nguyen Tran

When you have the chance, set foot on these lands. You will instantly feel the rustic charm of both the landscape and the people here.