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Journey from Hoi An to My Son: A Must-See Escape

Immerse yourself in Central Vietnam’s history, culture and nature with a visit to an iconic destination: My Son.

With the ancient archaeological site of My Son, a UNESCO World Heritage treasure, this tour promises a unique and rewarding adventure.

Before moving on to the next topic, let me briefly review the use of organized tours in Vietnam. I’ve already talked about this in a previous article on Mai Chau. I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of these tours, and I enjoyed doing them during my trip to Vietnam. Not only did they punctuate my itinerary, but they also saved me an enormous amount of time travelling around, all at very reasonable rates. So I urge you to consider this option for your travels in this country.

My Son, an archaeological vestige in Vietnam

In the heart of the Vietnamese jungle, an adventure worthy of Indiana Jones awaits intrepid souls, and I, an adventurer (albeit a wannabe one), couldn’t resist the call of My Son. Located around 40 kilometres west of Hoi An, in Quang Nam province, this ancient site has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 1999. More than just a collection of ancient ruins – it’s a hidden treasure trove, ready to be discovered and bear witness to the past grandeur of Cham civilization.

The history of My Son dates back to the golden age of the Cham kingdom, which ruled much of what is now central and southern Vietnam, from the 4th to the 13th century. The site was an important religious, political and cultural centre of Cham civilization for centuries, dedicated primarily to the worship of Shiva, a Hindu deity.

When we arrived, I was immediately struck by the grandeur of the brick towers emerging from the green canopy. Like an explorer in search of treasures, I imagined myself wandering along the shady paths, discovering stone and terracotta sculptures, relics of a distant past bearing witness to the past splendour of Cham civilization. However, although my mind was wandering towards daring adventures (yes, the intrepid dreamer still slumbers in me), I diligently followed the group and our guide’s explanations.

The architectural structures of My Son are remarkable for their ingenuity and beauty. The temples, towers and sanctuaries are built in brick, some of them red, without the use of mortar, a testament to the mastery of Cham craftsmen. Furthermore, the stone and terracotta sculptures that adorn the temples are also exceptional, depicting scenes from Hindu mythology and Cham deities.

Despite its past splendour, My Son has been seriously damaged over the centuries, mainly as a result of armed conflict and natural erosion. During the Vietnam War, the site was heavily bombed and many structures were severely damaged. However, preservation and restoration efforts have been made to protect this historic site.

Explore My Son today

Today, My Son has become a popular tourist destination in Vietnam, attracting visitors from all over the world keen to discover its fascinating history and Cham architecture. On the downside, there are a lot of tourists visiting the complex. I greatly appreciated arriving early with a tour, as this allowed us to enjoy almost all the historic sites before the busloads of tourists arrived. Indeed, once the visitors arrive in large numbers, the peaceful atmosphere of the site is quickly disturbed.

Apart from the puns that sprinkled the (very interesting) speech of our guide, Quinn (who liked to think she was a queen, and rightly so), there’s no denying that My Son is much more than just a collection of ancient ruins. It’s a living testimony to the richness and diversity of Vietnamese history. Whether you’re a history buff, an architecture enthusiast or simply a curious traveller, a visit to My Son is an experience that will transport you back to a bygone era of splendour and mystery.

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