The sanctuary of My Son – or more precisely Mỹ Sơn (pronounced “mee-son”) is a beautiful archaeological site in central Vietnam. Accessible from Da Nang (50 km away) or Hoi An (35 km away), it can be a very interesting excursion if you are visiting the region.
The My Son Temples were built by a civilisation called the Chams, who were present on this site as early as the 4th century. For many generations, My Son was the most important sanctuary in the Champa Kingdom.
It is a quite extended complex of brick temples, that didn’t fail to remind me of some of the temples I explored in Angkor, Cambodia. The temples were discovered in 1889 by the French, who were ruling the country as that time. In 1999, they were put on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Unfortunately, recent history has not spared this archaeological wonder. If the temples were restored by the French in the 1930’s, it was badly damanged during the Vietnam War by American bombs. The part of the site you can see in the panorama is the best preserved. On other areas of the site, many temples have collapsed and the ruins are less flamboyant.
Nevertheless, My Son is definitely worth a visit, to explore the ruins, be amazed by the fine work that the Chals have accomplished, and learn more about their fascinating history. It is one of my best memories of Vietnam, but take a lot of water because it can be really hot!