Fri, 06 Feb 2015. Last updated Fri, 19 Oct 2018 15:19
AloTrip is a reputable and favorable travel advisor with AloTrip.com as its official website. In list of top things to see in Phan Thiet, AloTrip suggests visitors to drop by Van Thuy Tu Temple, a famous tourist attraction in Phan Thiet. The temple is seen as the biggest whale museum in South East Asia. Built in 1762, Van Thuy Tu Temple was located near coastal area with its facade towards the South China Sea. The present-day temple is situated on Ngu Ong Street in Duc Thang Ward of Phan Thiet City. In the past, here was the place where a huge whale (22m long) drifted into. Van Thuy Tu Temple and Whale Museum is one of should not miss things to see in Vietnam tours to Phan Thiet. The museum has the biggest whale skeleton in Vietnam and in South East Asia. Van Thuy Tu Temple was honored as one of Vietnam national historical relic in 1996.
According to the local belief of worshiping Nam Hai God (Sea’s god), the temple was constructed to express locals' gratitude to the god who protected local fishermen in days of sailing offshore. Also, Van Thuy Tu is an ancient relic honored by many awards from Kings of Nguyen Dynasty. There were 24 times that the Van Thuy Tu Temple was honored under the empires of Thieu Tri (10 times), Tu Duc, Dong Khanh, Duy Tan, and Khai Dinh. It is believed that in the conflict of Nguyen Dynasty and Tay Son Rebellion, generals of Nguyen Dynasty had repeatedly protected by a whale. The temple is famous across Vietnam and abroad by its unique rare features, preserving many valuable artifacts of history and culture related to the formation and development of Binh Thuan fishery in particular and the South Central Coast in general. In addition, there are other Han - Nom cultural heritages, horizontal and parallel sentences on an over 140-year-old bell presented in the temple.
On popping in the relic, visitors will be surprised by the architecture of the temple museum. Unlike modern museums in Vietnam with contemporary architectural style, Van Thuy Tu is a temple. The most impressive exhibition area to visitors is a huge whale skeleton of 22 meter length. The skeleton was reconstructed nearly completely so far. In the central area of Van Thuy Tu Temple, there is a large land in front of the displaying house called Ngoc Lan Thanh Dia (Ngoc Lan Holy Land) where the Whale was buried. On the right, it is the exhibition area of Nam Hai God's gauss. It is a huge whale skeleton with the length of 22m and the weight of 65 tones. Moving further deeper, visitors will contemplate the worshiping place of Nam Hai God with Thuy Long Thanh Phi Princess on the left, and Hi Hoan Thai Hieu on the right. This is the feature different from other temples in Vietnam in particular and in Central part of Vietnam in general.
So far, the central area of Van Thuy Tu Temple as Whale Museum in Phan Thiet stores more than 100 skeletons of whales, nearly a half of which dates back 100 to 150 years ago. There are big skeleton worshiped in solemnity. Behind the area, it is the altar honoring those who contributed to the exploration and establishment of the fishing village. Here, visitors have a chance to hold an ancient pottery vase. And, there are some artifacts, such as boats and local conical hats, which creates an nostalgic atmosphere to visitors when entering here. According to the legend of the whale, when the temple's construction finished, the coastal area had to suffer big storms and thunderstorms throughout three days. Some boats of fishermen stranded offshore and was rescued by a big whale. However, after that the whale died for distress when protecting local fishermen's boat.
Annually, in the Van Thuy Tu Temple, many festive events are held. These festivals take place at Ngoc Lan Holy Land in front of the main temple. The most important festival here is Cau Ngu Festival (a.k.a Whale Festival), the most important festivals in Phan Thiet. The festival is organized to honor Nam Hai God and pray best wishes for fishermen when sailing offshore, and for good weather. Cau Ngu Festival is a traditional festive event of fishermen. The festival reflects interestingly the traditional customs of worshipping the Whale. In the festival, there are many exciting activities such as traditional games, folk singing (Bai Choi singing, Boi singing…). It is one of meaningful Vietnam tour packages to visit Van Thuy Tu, contemplate the biggest skeleton of whale, and listen to the legend of Whale in this land.
To get Van Thuy Tu Temple, visitors from Phan Thiet City can travel by bike or walking. The Whale Museum is about 1km far from the city center at the corner of Ngu Ong Street and Phan Chu Trinh Street in Duc Thang Ward. The museum is open from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM.