In the South Central Coast Region of Vietnam, Quang Nam Province is a famous tourist destination known for its cultural sites, agricultural products, and manufacturing empires. Tourism is well established in the province and travelers can explore cultural sites like Hoi An (Hôi An) and My Son Sanctuary.
Additionally, many destinations in Quang Nam have become famous for their amazing natural landscapes, which spread from the border of Laos to the East Sea.
How to Get to Quang Nam
Rural river landscape in the Quang Nam Province. Photo: Robin Hickmott
Covering roughly a total area of 10,438 sq km (4,030 sq mi), Quang Nam Province is prominently comprised of coastal flatlands in the east and high mountains to the west. More than half the province is covered in forests and rivers. Flowing through the valleys, the Thu Bon River System (Thu Bôn) is an important source of water for the communities and agricultural crops.
Major cities in Quang Nam include the provincial capital, Tam Ky and Hoi An, an important historical city. The country’s capital city, Hanoi is 839 km (521 mi) north of the city and Ho Chi Minh City is 887 km (551 mi) to the south. Most travelers touring the Quang Nam Province will either already be in the South Central Coast Region or they will fly in from other parts of the country.
Quang Nam’s busiest cities, Hoi An and Tam Ky, are connected to neighboring provinces by the National Route 1A and the North-South Railway. Flying into the Quang Nam Province is also an option for travelers who are coming from Northern or Southern Vietnam. Chu Lai Airport and Da Nang International Airport serve the area.
Travelers can arrange to take public or private transportation from either airport to provincial destinations like Tam Ky or Hoi An. Most travelers will fly into the Da Nang International Airport, which is 1 and a ½ hours from Tam Ky and 45 minutes from Hoi An.
A farmer in Hoa Ninh Village. Photo: ChrisGoldNY
Human habitation of Quang Nam Province started with the Sa Huynh culture, which began 2,200 years ago. Thought to be a predecessor of the Cham people, the Sa Huynh culture was discovered in 1909 when historians and archeologists uncovered artifacts like axes, swords, jewelry, and cremated human remains.
Important to the growth of the local economy, the Sa Huynh culture traded for more than 1,000 years with Masbate, Philippines. This created the Sa Huynh-Kalanay Interaction Sphere. After the Sa Huynh culture ended, the Cham people moved into the area.
Quang Nam Province was an integral part of the Champa Empire due to its proximity to Hoi An, which was the busiest port for several centuries. Under the Cham, luxury trade in Vietnam flourished and it made Quang Nam a hub for business. Putting the province on the map, Western influences began to affect the country after they entered through ports like Hoi An.
In 1962 and throughout the Vietnam War, the Quang Nam Province was divided into two parts, with the southern half named Quang Tin (Quang Tín). Deeply affected by the war, much of the province experienced heavy fighting until it was captured by Northern Vietnam’s People Army of Vietnam (PAVN) forces during the Hue-Da Nang Campaign.
Japanese Covered Bridge in Hoi An in the 1920s. Photo: manhhai
In 1976, the two provinces were merged to become one entity – Quang Nam Province, with Da Nang as the capital. After 1997, the capital was moved to Tam Ky and Da Nang City became a separate administration.
- As of 2019, the estimated population of Quang Nam Province is 1,840,265 people.
- Quang noodles are a famous Vietnamese dish that originated in Quang Nam Province.
- Traditional products that are grown and manufactured in Quang Nam Province are Tra My cinnamon and Ngoc Linh ginseng.
In the flat coastal landscape of the Quang Nam, Tam Ky is the provincial capital city. Established under the rule of Vietnam’s last dynasty, the city is frequently overlooked as a tourist destination because of its proximity to Hoi An, which is less than 1 hour north. Smaller and less busy than Hoi An, Tam Ky is a beautiful destination that has been nicknamed the “City of Dreams”.
Tam Ky City, capital of the Quang Nam Province. Photo: Nguyễn Đông Sơn
Uniquely structured, this central city sits at a junction where three rivers flow into the East Sea. Although Tam Ky isn’t as famous as Hoi An, the city still has significant historic and natural attractions. Previously a military base used by South Vietnam and allied forces during the Vietnam War, Tam Ky has emerged from its tragic past to become a peaceful tourist destination.
Attractions in the capital city include the Ky Anh Tunnels, Tam Thanh Beach, Van Thanh Temple, and Tam Tanh Mural Village. Additionally, Tam Ky is known for producing traditional Vietnamese products like golden flowers, chicken rice, and Mi Quang noodles(Mì Quang). Well-developed, Tam Ky has plenty of options for accommodation where travelers can comfortably stay the night.
Varying in price, there are boutique hotels, quiet homestays, and affordable hostels in the city. Accommodations with the highest ratings include the Ba Co Boutique Hotel, Golden Lantern Tam Thanh Homestay, Muong Thanh Grand Quang Nam, Tui Blue Nam Hoi An, and the Tubotel Bao Han.
Tui Blue Nam Hoi An. Photo: TUI BLUE Nam Hoi An
Food in Tam Ky is a unique blend of international inspiration and traditional Vietnamese meals. Mi Quang noodles, chicken rice, jasmine tea, Banh dap, and banh vac are all traditional culinary dishes that come from the area. Tam Ky’s best places to eat where tourists can try these local favorites are the Eat Pizza Tam Ky, Bun Quay Phu Quoc, and An Ha Restaurant.
Famous Places in the Quang Nam Province
There are many tourist attractions in Quang Nam Province with many destinations closely related to the area’s history, culture, and natural landscapes. Hoi An is the number one tourist attraction in the province, but there are a few other places that are worth exploring too.
Of all the famous places in Quang Nam, travelers should include Hoi An, the Tra Que Village, and the Cham Islands (Chàm Islands) in their itinerary.
Hoi An riverfront. Photo: Andrey Samsonov
One called Faifo, Hoi An is one of the most famous World Heritage Sites in Vietnam. Protected by UNESCO, the city is combined with the Cu Lao Cham archipelago to create the Cu Lao Cham-Hoi An Biosphere Reserve. Old Town Hoi An is where most tourists go to learn more about the history and culture of the city.
Dating back to the 15th century, Hoi An used to be one of the busiest ports in Southeast Asia. Meaning, a “peaceful meeting place”, it became the site where many foreign influences entered the country. Exceptionally preserved, Hoi An keeps Vietnamese tradition and culture alive. Aside from the Old Town, there are multiple attractions for tourists in the area.
Some of the most visited places in Hoi An include the Japanese Covered Bridge, Hoi An Museum, Hoi An Night Market, Silk Village, and An Bang Beach.
Tra Que Village
Tra Que Village has become a tourist attraction in Quang Nam Province. Called the Tra Que Minty Garden, the village is known for its unique cultural tours which include farm-to-table cooking demonstrations, agricultural education, and countryside landscapes. At Tra Que Minty Garden, a local family excels in hospitality while the owner cooks traditional Vietnamese dishes tableside.
Sandy beach at the Cham Islands. Photo: Guerretto
A part of the Cu Lao Cham Marine Park, the Cham Islands are a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in the Quang Nam Province. Consisting of 8 islands, tourists can take a boat from Cua Dai Beach to Bai Chong Beach, which is the main tourist area in the Cham Islands. Small communities living on the island rely on fishing and tourism to fuel the local economy.
At Bai Chong Beach, there are homestays for guests to spend the night. The best tourist activities at the Cham Islands are camping, swimming, and diving.
Pink pagoda gate in Hoi An. Photo by: ChrisGoldNY.
Adding to the list of famous places, there is a myriad of activities open to tourists in Quang Nam Province. Must-see attractions in Quang Nam include the My Son Sanctuary, Trau Kieu Old Champa Capital, Cua Dai Beach, Montgomerie Links Vietnam, and the Old House of Tan Ky.
Boasting a little bit of everything, tourists visiting these sites can engage with the province’s culture, history, and landscapes.
My Son Sanctuary
Considered to be the “Angkor Wat of Vietnam”, My Son Sanctuary is a World Heritage Site that is about 1 hour to the west of Hoi An. Surrounded by fresh springs, green mountains, and thick jungle, the site houses multiple Cham towers, carved statues, and old temples. Tourists can book whole and half-day trips to the My Son Sanctuary or they can visit independently.
Ancient Cham Tower at the My Son Sanctuary. Photo: Shawn Harquail
An on-site museum provides more information about the site, its history, discovery, and preservation.
Tra Kieu Old Champa Capital
A short distance from the My Son Sanctuary, the Tra Kieu Old Champa Capital is another historic site where tourists can get up close to one of the country’s ancient cities. Known as the Lion Citadel, the area was once called Simhapura by the Cham people. Not much remains at Tra Kieu, but there are a few bases of old Cham Towers.
The Van Hoa Cham Museum is located at the site and it houses ancient artifacts that were found at Tra Kieu.
Cua Dai Beach
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Quang Nam Province is Cua Dai Beach. Located on the shoreline of Hoi An, the beach stretches for over 3 km (1.8 mi). Often described as a slice of paradise, Cua Dai is renowned for its clear blue water and pristine white sand. Along the beachfront, there are local restaurants serving fresh and locally sourced food.
Cua Dai Beach. Photo by: Robin Hickmott.
Sun loungers are available to rent or travelers can bring their own towel to relax for free.
Montgomerie Links Vietnam
A modern feature in Quang Nam Province is the Montgomerie Links Vietnam Golf Course, which was completed in 2009. Known to be the best course in Vietnam, the layout and design were created by Colin Montgomerie who is an internationally famous professional golfer. Built beachfront, the course has 18 holes and a par-72.
Tourists who wish to play the course will need to book a tee time prior to arriving at the course. Caddies are available for hire and there is a luxury clubhouse on-site.
Old House of Tan Ky
Featuring ornate architecture inspired by Vietnamese, Japanese, and Chinese culture, the Tan Ky Old House is the oldest known home in Hoi An. A beautiful structure made of wood, the home is filled with priceless antiques and a quiet garden. The old house was originally built in 1741 and 7 generations of the Le family have lived in the building.
Entrance to the Old House of Tan Ky. Photo by: Kent MacElwee.
When Hoi An was an ancient trading port, the home was used to house agricultural goods. For the most part, the original architecture is intact, but because of flooding and damage during the war, parts of the home have been restored.
Festivals are a great way for the older generations to teach new generations about ancient traditions and cultures. In the Quang Nam Province, culture is an integral part of the area’s tourism industry. The biggest celebration for locals and tourists in the province is the Quang Nam Heritage Festival in Hoi An.
Typically held for a week in June, the festival gathers more than 30 countries in Hoi An to celebrate the diversity of the local and foreign cultures. The main activities take place in Hoi An, but celebrations are also held at the Tam Tanh Village, Ky Anh Tunnels, Tam Ky City, and various other communities in the province.
Bridge over the river in Hoi An. Photo: David McKelvey
In Quang Nam, tourism is dependent on the weather. While people visit the South Central Coast Region throughout the year, the wet season tends to be the least busy. During the months of June, July, and August, hot weather and monsoons are common.
With the high temperatures and plenty of rain, tourism is concentrated along the coast as people head to the beach to cool off. Tourism in Quang Nam peaks during the dry season, which begins in late October and lasts until late April. During the dry months, temperatures in the region are lower.
December and January are especially busy due to major festivals and New Year celebrations. During peak season, travelers will need to book accommodation and tours in advance.
Panoramic of the Cua Dai Beach. Photo: Edgardo W. Olivera
Host to numerous World Heritage sites, the Quang Nam Province is the country’s gateway to ancient Vietnamese culture and traditions. Acclaimed for the ancient city of Hoi An, there are numerous historical sites throughout the province that predate even the Cham Empire.
Adding to the charm of the province, travelers can also explore the area’s stunning scenery and ethnic communities. For tourists in Vietnam, Quang Nam is one province that can’t be missed.
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