THE jungle peaks soaring out of the South China Sea above Danang describe the border where, it is said, the ancient cultures of China and India once met. Now tourists are flocking here, to Vietnam's under-developed centre. They pad barefoot down China Beach and kilometres of deserted, golden sands, and ride by minibus on day-trips to the silent wastes of battlefields like Khe Sanh and Hamburger Hill. But there are things far older pulling in the growing crowds. They are the remnants of the ancient Cham civilisation, a highly sensual band of Hindu-influenced traders. Great sandstone temples and statues pepper the countryside, shimmering against the azure skies. They remain among the country's few cultural relics. The Cham group thrived from the second to the 15th centuries, trading with Indonesia and fuelling a society based around music and dance. The temples have survived, despite the destruction of the Champa kingdom as the Confucian and more war-like Vietnamese migrated southwards. More threats came centuries later. French colonialists shipped out many of the best statues of curvaceous Hindu-style goddesses, animals and warriors. Many are still said to grace the best homes in Paris. Some sites were heavily bombed as northern communist guerillas hid in them during the Vietnam War. Little has survived intact, and many locals fear new market pressures will see more remnants smuggled to dealers in Hong Kong or Bangkok. But the best remains are on display in a sleepy, open-air museum in the heart of Danang. The Cham museum is one of the best in the country. The 80-year-old, French-built institution provides a striking glimpse of a long-dead, liberal culture. Fertility was obviously a cornerstone, and the museum features several phalluses thrusting from altars ringed by sandstone breasts. 'We Vietnamese are still very Confucian, and very conservative. Even now many Vietnamese people come here in wonder,' said Andre, a guide. 'It's hard to think of all this going on in our own land.'