The My Son Sanctuary is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located near the city of Hoi An. Constructed between the 4th and 14th centuries, these preserved ruins are remnants from the long-departed Champa civilization, whose presence in Vietnam lasted until 1832.
The My Son Sanctuary was primarily built as a tribute to the Hindu gods. It features more than 70 impressively built brick structures, each one intricately carved and arranged.
During its heyday, the My Son Sanctuary would have been quite the architectural marvel, acting as an area for reflection and pensiveness for the Cham people. This site served as a center stage for politics as well as the final resting place for many royals. Even today, My Son is said to have a somber and respectful atmosphere.
The beautiful, secluded landscape surrounding the sanctuary only adds to the overall feeling of tranquility. Dense mountains and flowing greenery await its visitors, making the nearby modern cities feel like a distant memory. While My Son Sanctuary can be difficult to reach on your own, its isolation has actually played a large role in its survival.
Following its initial abandonment, the sanctuary lay undiscovered until 1898, when unsuspecting French colonialists stumbled across its ruins. The ensuing decades, and subsequent American War, brought considerable damage to the sanctuary as U.S. forces believed that My Son had become a hiding place for the Viet Cong.
Luckily, the majority of the buildings escaped the War unscathed, and the My Son Sanctuary was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site shortly after.
The site is about an hour’s drive from the Old Town of Hoi An. After traversing through 40 km of rainforest-like climate, the village of Duy Phu will start to reveal itself and it’s here that the undisturbed sanctuary can be found.
Several organized tours will take you to the site and provide you with insights into its rich history. Whilst these tours are informative and affordable, they can be quite restricting and only allow you to travel in a group. It’s possible to travel there independently but the site can be difficult to find and you may risk getting lost.
The optimal time to visit the My Son Sanctuary is in the early morning. The intense Vietnamese heat will be kept at bay, and you’ll still have plenty of natural light to explore its wonders.
If you’re a history buff who loves getting immersed into long-lost worlds, then the My Son Sanctuary is for you. Its impressive architecture and status as a royal burial ground make it one of Hoi An’s most storied attractions.
Address: Thôn, Mỹ Sơn, Duy Xuyên, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
Phone: (0235) 3731 309
Season: Year-Round | 6 AM – 5 PM
Admission: Minimal fee