These region in Vietnam was at the heart of the Champa kingdom. The Cham are an ethnic minority in Vietnam now, but at one point ruled the southern coast. Their kingdom began to solidify in the 2nd century AD and lasted into 18th century, with its height being the 11th and 12th century. What is unique about the Cham is their precipitous fall from power and their belief in the Hindu religion. The south eastern coast of Vietnam is dotted with Cham towers exhibiting medieval Hindu art. The Cham kingdom for centuries was a stop for merchants travelling and sailing along the spice route. Columbus could have stopped in Phan Rang had he gone in the right direction.
On our way we made a short pit stop to inspect an old railroad bridge and interview some locals.