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Offroad Vietnam Motorbike Adventures – Quang Ngai Province, Southern Vietnam

QUANG NGAI PROVINCE, SOUTHERN VIETNAM

General Information

Quang Ngai Province, South Central Coast
Region: South Central Coast
Capital: Quang Ngai
Area: 5,137.6 km² (1,983.6 sq mi)
Population: About 1.3 million
Density: 240/km² (610/sq mi)
Demographics: Vietnamese, Hrê, Co, Xo Đăng
Calling code: 55
Website: quangngai.gov.vn

Quang Ngai is a province in the South Central Coast region of Vietnam, on the coast of South China Sea. It is located 883 km south of Hanoi and 838 km north of Ho Chí Minh City.

History

The ancient Sa Huynh culture inhabited what is now Quang Ngai. Remains of it were found in Sa Huynh, Đuc Pho district. Within Champa, the region that is now Quang Ngai province was less significant than Quang Nam province and Vijaya. There are only a few Cham remains in the province. The area became part of Vietnam along with Vijaya (Bình Đinh province) in 1471. In the early 19th century the Long Wall of Quang Ngai was constructed in the province. It improved security among the Vietnamese and H’re people and facilitated trade.

Quang Ngai province was one of the first provinces in central Vietnam (together with Quang Tri) to organize self defense units in March 1945. The Ba To Guerrilla Unit mobilized tens of thousands of peasants. It was known as an NLF (Vietcong) stronghold during the Vietnam War and was the site of the infamous Binh Hoa massacre (1966), the Dien Nien-Phuoc Binh Massacre (1966) and the My Lai Massacre (1968), as well as Operations Malheur I and Malheur II and Operation Quyet Thang 202.

Quang Ngai was also a Viet Cong stronghold during the war, and the site of numerous ambushes and attacks against ARVN and American troops, particularly at night. The province produced famous war literature on both sides of the conflict: The now-famous wartime diary of NLF medic Đang Thùy Trâm was written here, and from an American perspective, Quang Ngai province is the major setting of Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried.

Administration

Quang Ngai has 13 districts:
– Ba To
– Bình Son
– Đuc Pho
– Minh Long
– Mo Đuc
– Nghia Hành
– Son Hà
– Tây Trà
– Son Tây
– Son Tinh
– Trà Bong
– Tu Nghia
– Ly Son (island district)
The city of Quang Ngai is its own municipality.

Geography

Quang Ngai’s topography is dominated by a large plain along the coast and in the center of the province and by mountains and hills in the west and along its borders with Quang Nam and Bình Đinh provinces. Lowlands extend further inland along Trà Khúc River. The province’s highest peak is at 1630m in the west of the province near the border to Quang Nam. The coastline is relatively straight in most of the south and central part of the province (unusual for the South Central Coast), but features several capes north of Quang Ngai City. The province’ largest river is the Trà Khúc. Other important rivers are the Trà Bong in the north and the Ve River in the south of the province.

Economy

Quang Ngai’s GDP per capita was 7.82 million VND in 2007, making it the second poorest province in the South Central Coast (after Ninh Thuan), due to weaknesses in all major sectors of the economy (agriculture, industry, services). However, Quang Ngai’s economy has been booming since then, due to a spectacular increase in industrial GDP from the Dung Quat Economic Zone. It grew by 21% in 2009, increasing GDP per capita to 15.2 million VND, higher than that of its neighbours, Quang Nam and Bình Đinh provinces. Exports increased from 31 million US$ in 2005 to 182 million in 2009.

The number of employed people increased from 571,400 in 2000 to 704,700, despite a significant decline agricultural and fishing employment. The booming industrial sector created 63,200 jobs in the period and employs 99,200 as of 2007. Despite lacking behind the industrial sector in terms of value-added, the service sector employed 180,500 people in 2007 compared to 57,900 in 2000.

Demography

The province had a population of 1,219,200 in 2009. Around 40% concentrates in Quang Ngai City and the two districts just north and south of it (Son Tinh and Tư Nghia), where population density ranges from over 500 to 3600/km²). Population density in most of coastal Quang Ngai is around 400/km². The five western districts have population densities of less than 100/km², three of them (Tây Trà, Son Tây, and Ba To) even less than 50/km². Quang Ngai is the least urbanized province of the South Central Coast, with only 14.4% of the population living in cities and towns. The population grew by an annual average of 1% between 2000 and 2007, while the growth of the urban population was 3.9% on average, one of the highest rates in the region.

The coastal lowlands are mostly ethnically homogeneous, with almost the entire population (>99%) made up of Kinh people. There are large Hrê communities in the southwest of the province. They made up the majority of the population in the districts of Ba To, Son Hà (which then also included Son Tây), and Minh Long as of 1996. A slight majority in Trà Bong District (which then also included the Tây Trà District) were Co people. There is also a small minority of Xê Đăng in Son Hà District.

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