Why you should visit My Son
Less than 50km from the scenic, poetic UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hoi An is another UNESCO World Heritage Site, My Son. My Son is a collection of Champa ruins located amongst the mountainous area of central Vietnam Quang Nam Province. Frankly, it cannot compare with the magnificent temples of Angkor or Ayutthaya. But it still houses numerous unique monuments, which makes it a not-to-miss destination in your journey to discover Vietnam.
Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, the complex was occupied between the 4th and the 13th centuries as the dominant city for Cham people due to its defensible location.
Visiting the area is like exploring a decent museum with lively exhibits that are displayed in its original situation rather than in a glass box. The complex houses 8 groups of temples and 71 standing monuments. Statues and stele of Vishnu, Shiva and Krishna scatter throughout the whole area. You can find a combination of architecture originating from Indian Hinduism and Buddhism. The brick constructions were interestingly built without mortar. Unfortunately, it was heavily damaged during wartime. Now the reconstruction is being conducted.
There is also a museum at the entrance of the site with artefacts, old images, and detailed information in Vietnamese and English.
The complex is relatively crowded so you should consider visiting it out of peak time to have better photos and experience.
Visiting the sanctuary may be very hot so you should take water with you as there is nothing sold inside the sanctuary. You can buy bottled water at the entrance at the price of 15,000 a bottle.
Entrance fee is 100,000 VND (including the My Son Sanctuary and the Champa Museum)
How to get there from Hoi An
From Hoi An, people can reach My Son by booking a tour from Hoi An, hiring a taxi or motorbike.
A guided tour from Hoi An
You can book a guided tour from Hoi An to My Son via a travel agency. The tour is cheap, lasts 6 hours but actually you are given only one hour to explore the temples. Sometimes you may find the briefing about My Son is way too long, especially when compared with the time spared for visiting the complex. There may be a stopover halfway in the one hour drive. An organized tour costs about 80,000 VND with entrance ticket and food excluded.
To have a more flexible trip, you can rent a car to take a trip to My Son, especially when you go in groups. If you travel alone or with one friend, a rented car might be quite expensive. The rent includes fees for a return trip and the driver’s waiting time. Normally, a rented car will cost you from 30 to 50 dollar, depending on your bargaining.
It is highly recommended that you rent a motorbike or scooter to get to My Son. With a motorbike, you can start your trip whenever you wish to and spend as much time at My Son as you want or stop of anywhere halfway when you find something exciting. It gives you freedom with reasonable price.
You can rent one from Hoi An for about US$5 (100,000 VND), and fuel costs you about $3-4 for a return trip. Motorbike parking at My Son is 5000 VND.
To get there, make your way to Hung Vuong Street, the main road heading out of Hoi An, entering Route 1A and then Highway 1. After you have entered Highway 1, you can find signs showing the exact way to My Son. The road may get busy and challenging so you should take extra caution on driving.