My Son Sanctuary is an amazing architectural piece that developed throughout ten centuries and represented a picture of spiritual and political life in a critical phase of the history of South-East Asia. The impressive Hindu-themed ruins feature many beautiful stone sculptures, temples, and towers in tropical jungle surroundings.
The place is located in the border Duy Xuyen District of Quang Nam Province, in central Viet Nam. It is situated within a lifted geological basin surrounded by a ring of mountains, which provides the water for the sacred Thu Bon river.
My Son Sanctuary of Vietnam ranks ninth in the top 10 most beautiful and famous temples in Southeast Asia, along with famous landmarks such as Borobudur (Java, Indonesia), Pagan (Myanmar), Angkor Wat (Cambodia) and Ayutthaya (Thailand). It is the sacred land of the ancient kingdom of Champa, includes some temples and tombs lying on a valley with about 2 km diameter long, surrounded by mountains. This place is one of the destinations when you go to Da Nang or Hoi An. If Hoi An enchants you by colorful lanterns along downtown streets by night, charming red towers in My Son surely amaze you in the sunset.
Most people visit My Son Sanctuary on tours. Since the ruins are somewhat small, the park is quickly filled by the large volume of tourists. It is better to visit in the late afternoon when the tour groups have left. Most tours leave by 2:00 PM.
My Son as a day’s travel from Hoi An, departing in the morning and coming back during the early afternoon.
Tour organizations can book a half or full day tour, but most hotels can easily book a car and driver for you. Hotel employees can only plan this tour once you reach Hoi An.
The most affordable means to get to My Son is by bus, with fares being as low as $3 per head. You will most likely make many stops in Hoi An picking up other customers, adding on as much as an hour in the morning and afternoon for this transport service.
Vehicles are allowed up to 100 meters from the temples. Only motorcycles are permitted within the park proper, and it will be necessary to convince park management that you have a good reason why you shouldn’t leave your vehicle in the parking lot like the rules state.
A few minutes past the ticketed entrance (past the museum and across a small bridge) is a trams station. Open-sided electric trams ferry tourists 2 kilometers along the paved jungle road to the relics. Tourists are allowed to walk instead of taking the tram; however, the way is wide enough to fix two trams side-by-side, and there are no sidewalks.
If you are climbing to see the temples, you will need to follow dirt hiking paths through the jungle underbrush. Except for the small Champa museum by the entrance, the My Son temple is not wheelchair accessible.
Best time to tour the sanctuary
The temperatures can get very hot in this part of Vietnam, so the best time of day to explore the My Son complex is indeed early morning or late afternoon.
If you are going alone, you will have moments where you have specific places in the temples to yourself. Though many tours leave at around 10.30am from Hoi An so expect crazy gatherings around those times as this indeed is an excellent attraction.
What to wear
As temperatures get moderately high around the area, it is advisable to wear light clothing and take shelter from the sun from time to time as it might get scorching hot at some point.
It can get chilly in the morning, in case you’re among the tourists who may decide to meet the sunrise for the tour. Thus it is recommended that you carry something warm before the sun decides to be too generous with the heat.
Trekking or hiking shoes are also recommended as the road is full of gravel, dirt, brick or asphalt.
Some other items may be necessary to bring along such as:
- Bottled water for hydration
- A cap or hat for the heat
- Small aid kit in the case of minor injuries
- Sunglasses for the sun
Avoid isolating yourself
The temple contains a vast number of tunnels and rooms which may be easy for you to get lost. Avoid detaching yourself from the tour group or straying further away from your tour guide. Wild animals may lark around this magnificent temple, and if you don’t take precaution, it may lead to severe injuries.