Introducing Quang Ngai
The eponymous capital of Quang Ngai (aka Quang Nhia or Quangai) province only earned city status in 2005, so the impression of a large country town is not far off the mark. The city itself offers no obvious attractions, so most visitors only drop by for a spot of grazing at lunchtime. The few travellers that venture here come to pay their respects to the victims of the most famous atrocity of the American War. Perhaps it’s the sombre mood induced by the memorial that has caused tourists to overlook one of Vietnam’s less celebrated beaches, My Khe, just a couple of kilometres away.
Even before WWII, Quang Ngai was an important centre of resistance against the French. During the Franco–Viet Minh War, the area was a Viet Minh stronghold. In 1962 the South Vietnamese government introduced its ill-fated Strategic Hamlets Program. Villagers were forcibly removed from their homes and resettled in fortified hamlets, infuriating and alienating the local population and increasing popular support for the Viet Cong. Some of the bitterest fighting of the war took place here.