Quang Trung Museum

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Nguyen Hue, the second-oldest of the three brothers who led the Tay Son Rebellion, crowned himself Emperor Quang Trung in 1788. In 1789, Quang Trung led the campaign that overwhelmingly defeated a Chinese invasion of 200,000 troops near Hanoi. This epic battle is still celebrated as one of the greatest triumphs in Vietnamese history.

During his reign, Quang Trung was something of a social reformer. He encouraged land reform, revised the system of taxation, improved the army and emphasised education, opening many schools and encouraging the development of Vietnamese poetry and literature. He died in 1792 at the age of 40. Communist literature portrays him as the leader of a peasant revolution whose progressive policies were crushed by the reactionary Nguyen dynasty, which came to power in 1802 and was overthrown by Ho Chi Minh in 1945.

The Quang Trung Museum (Phu Phong; admission 10,000d;  8-11.30am & 1-4.30pm Mon-Fri) is built on the site of the brothers’ house and encloses the original well and an ancient tamarind tree said to have been planted by the brothers. Displays include various statues, costumes, documents and artefacts from the 18th century, most of them labelled in English. Especially notable are the elephant -skin battle drums and gongs from the Bahnar tribe. The museum is also known for its demonstrations of vo binh dinh, a traditional martial art that is performed with a bamboo stick.

The museum is about 50km from Quy Nhon. Take Hwy 19 west for 40km towards Pleiku. The museum is about 5km north of the highway (the turn-off is signposted) in Phu Phong, Tay Son district.

  • WORTH A TRIP

HAM HO NATURE RESERVE

A beautiful nature reserve 55km from Quy Nhon, Ham Ho ( 057-388 0860; Tay Phu; admission 15,000d;  7-11.30am & 1-4.30pm) can easily be combined with a trip to the Quang Trung Museum. Taking up a jungle-lined 3km stretch of clean, fish-filled river, the park is best enjoyed by kayak (70,000d). The further upriver you travel, the better the swimming spots. Accommodation (260,000d for a twin room) is available.

The road to Ham Ho is signposted to the south of Hwy 19 at Tay Son.

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