The Story of the Prince's Castle

By Christina Kim - February 23, 2016


From the Poshanu Cham Towers, one could catch a glimpse of a gray structure popping up from a little distance up on the hill.

This dilapidated building looks desolated from afar as it stands alone on top of the hill; away from the stares and buzzing crowds of tourists who flock to the group of Cham towers, stealing the limelight away with their bright red bricks and historical charms.

This tower seems forlorn and neglected; standing in a distance, away from all the attention as though it did not belong to the towers though it is in fact, a tower by itself.

It is definitely the case; for this tower has indeed no connection to the earlier Cham Towers despite it being located just a stone's throw away from the ancient towers.

Far from it, this is a striking contrast to the historical Cham Towers, and the tower tells a tale of her own history as she stands on the ground, perched at the highest point of the hill.

The building is known as the Prince's Castle and it only came into existence much later; in the 20th century, almost half a century after the ancient Cham Towers.


While the Cham Tower was based on the Champa and the Indian influences, the Prince's Castle hailed from the far west and was constructed by one of the powers with a stronghold in Vietnam at that time; the French themselves.

It was in 1911 when a French prince; also known as the Duke de Montpeiser who happened to travel to this particular area and hunted on the grounds.
He was awestruck by the natural beauty of the area that he wanted to claim a spot of his own; and thus purchased a piece of land where he could begin construction of his very own place, or villa as he wished.
The local authorities, run by the French at that time, under the arm of Ambassador Gamier, granted his wish by offering the Prince the entire Ba Nai Hill.

The groundbreaking ceremony took place and it was a year later; in 1912, when the villa was completed; with a total area coverage of 536 square meters, holding 13 rooms in the residence. 

Located just about 100 meters southwards of the Cham Towers, this villa was as modern as the towers were ancient.

It was considered the most modern building constructed in the Binh Thuan province at that time; with the availability of electricity and electric generators and even cisterns to store water for daily usage, based on technology from the West.

It was also said that in the construction process of the villa, the French had also destroyed part of the wall at the main entrance of the ancient towers; heading towards the main tower.

This area is then known as the Prince's Castle.


Incidents which took place at the Prince's Castle
Now while the building seems to be a symbol of grandeur and modernization, particularly to the French who owned it, it was also the place where a successful ambush took place.

An ambush which was planned and upstaged by the locals in what was then known as one of the most successful resistance movements against the French in the Binh Thuan district.

It was a victorious moment for the locals that they erected a monument in memory of this attack; in which they successfully ambushed and annihilated a total of 35 men and seized various weapons from the Prince's Castle.


This very battle was victorious and celebrated the courage of the Hoang Hoa Tham Company, regiment 82 of Binh Thuan in the attack which took place on June 14, 1947.

It was marked as one of the important resistances against the French invasion in the Binh Thuan area.

One can observe from the surroundings of the Prince's Castle which are designed for military purposes; a design which came into place during the recent warring years where the area was used as a military observation area and stronghold though it is now isolated.


*Note of Caution*:
It is advised to not explore the underground tunnels which are lightly visible to avoid any accidents due to the unknown underlying conditions.

Today, the Prince's Castle refers to the entire area encompassing the general area of a group of hills, the Cham Towers, the pagoda which is located nearby, a famous poet; Nguyen Thong's tomb and also ruins of an old French estate.

Located in the Phu Hai district of Phan Thiet, this is one of the best locations for the views of the entire city and the surrounding nature.


Don't forget to take a short hike up the hill from the Cham Tower, though be wary as it is a quiet stretch as most tourists would only linger in the main compound of the Cham Towers.


Stick to the path and not stray to the sides for there are holes which could lead to underground tunnels or dungeons which are unknown and there is no one to guide or help if there is any mishap as the castle is located quite a distance away from the main towers and as mentioned, rarely visited.

Standing in all its former glory, the lonely Prince's Castle still remains numb as it hides all the secrets from the past as it stands overlooking the town.


The many laughter, fears, victories, and defeats which took place, are only seen by the eyes of the walls, of the Prince's Castle.



Featured in this post: 
Prince's Castle
Location: Ba Nai Hill, Phu Hai, Phan Thiet, Vietnam

Sources of information:
Mui Ne

*Author's Note: 

This is not a sponsored/promotional post, and solely based on author's personal opinions and do not represent the general public. 
Experiences vary from one individual to another.
You do not have to agree with me.

Art Direction and Photography Styling by Me.
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