My Son Sanctuary in the central province of Quang Nam was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999 is one of the most popular architectural complex of the Cham people and a famous tourist attraction in Vietnam. Despite of the ravages of war and time, what remains in My Son plays an important role in world history and culture.
1. Where is My Son Sanctuary Vietnam?
My Son Sanctuary is located in a closed valley with a diameter of about 02 km, arcing mountains surround the center of the temple complex, separate from the outside world. It is located about 70 km southwest of central Da Nang city and 40 km from Hoi An city.
+ Address: Duy Phu Village, Duy Xuyen District, Quang Nam Province
+ Opening hours: 6:30 am – 5:30 pm (every day, including holidays)
+ Entrance fees: 150,000 VND (including the fees to My Son Sanctuary and the Champa Museum). The price is included a 2-kilometer-long electric car ride to the center of My Son and art performing areas.
2. History of My Son Sanctuary
My Son temple complex consists of more than 70 architectural works ranging from small to great size built throughout the 7th to 13th centuries. The Champas were built their temple complexes mainly in Central Vietnam in a style that is influenced by Hinduism. My Son temple complex used to be the most important in the Champa Kingdom.
The temples was built by red bricks without cement with sculptures of animals, gods and priests. The walls is built soft stones that were baked at a low temperature and placed on top of each other. When the temple was completed, they use fire to make the stones hard.
3. Highlights of My Son Sanctuary
The temple complex’s area covers 1158 hectares. Because the area is quite large, it will take you 2 to 3 hours to explore its highlights. My Son Sanctuary is located in a green jungle under a cluster of magnificent peaks. The plants dominate everything, plant life grows from the cracks of every original building. It makes My Son become an extra magical place to visit.
- Ancient Cham-style Architecture
The most attractive element of My Son is its unique Cham-style Art of Architecture, which was affected by Indian style. Each historical period has its own identification, so each temple worshiping a god or a king of a different dynasty has its own architectural style.
All of the Cham towers were built on a quadrilateral foundations. Each tower comprises three parts: a solid base which representing the mortal world, the mysterious and sacred tower body representing the world of spirits, and the tower top built in the shape of a man symbolizing things that are close to the spirits and human beings.
- My Son Sanctuary Museum
There is a Champa museum near the ticket office, with many objects and statues. You have a chance to know more about the history here with general information about My Son relics and culture. Almost all the preserved sculptures can be found in the ruins and can be found here or in the second small museum in group A. Keep in mind that you should go to visit the museum first before walking around the ruins.
- Fanciful Apsara Dance
Inspired by the Apsara stone statues in the sandstone reliefs, transforming from the rock into smoother dances, softer than ever showing the beauty of the road. Local dancers perform the dances which vary from Cham’s iconic Shiva and Aspara dances that date back hundreds of years, to joyful fan dances and water dances. The dance is unique, creating a gleaming and fanciful Champa cultural space. It is an fascinating experience: to enjoy the local dancer’s flexibility and attractiveness while listening to folk music in a sacred space.
- Kate Festival
If you come to My Son Sanctuary on the occasion of the festival taking place, the trip will become much more enjoyable and perfect. At the beginning of the festival, Cham religious dignitaries perform rituals to pray for peace at the tower. Many other traditional rituals are held such as ceremony, water procession, and Kate rituals, cultural exchanges and the performances of Cham ethnic musical instruments, and Cham dance performances of local artists. The festival is an opportunity for domestic and foreign tourists to have more knowledge about this place as well as contribute to maintaining and protecting artistic values and pure art of the ancient Cham culture.
4. How to get to My Son Sanctuary?
There are three ways to reach My Son Temple Complex:
- A tour from Hoi An or Da Nang
If you want to join a tour to visit My Son Sanctuary, it is important to know the details of the tour in advance, what kind of tour it is, big or small group tour . There are some cheap tours starting at 5 dollar, but you are traveling in a large group, are on the road for more than half a day, but often only get a short time (an hour) at the temples themselves. The best tours you should take are those in small groups combined with a visit to the countryside.
- Taxi/ Private car
You can take a taxi/ private car to My Son from Hoi An or Danang, but this can also be quite expensive. However, you can choose the time to start to go to My Son and have more time to explore the complex.
- Rent a scooter or motorbike
You can rent a motorbike at Danang to Hoi An and then drive to My Son Sanctuary. The price is around $ 5 (100,000 VND) for one day, and gasoline from Hoi An will cost you around $ 3-4 for round trip.