After a few awesome days backpacking in Hoi An and camping in Cham island, it was time to continue my solo travel adventures in Vietnam and a short trip to do a My Son Sanctuary Tour couldn’t be missed!
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I planned to leave the ancient town of Hoi An by motorbike towards Hue to complete the popular Hai Van Pass route, but before that I took a small detour for a quick My Son Sanctuary tour, which is about 40 Km away from Hoi An.
This is an Unesco World Heritage Site that unfortunately was badly destroyed during the Vietnam War.
The religious complex was built by the Champa Kingdom between 4-14th AD and had a refined building technique where the mortar is almost invisible to see and the temples seem to be made of stacked bricks.
To this day it is still a mystery on how the Cham builders made their bricks, glued them together and at which point the decorative carvings on the bricks were made.
To go there, the best way is to rent a motorbike. You could do this as a short trip returning to Hoi An or adding it to a longer trip towards Hue via the Hai Van Pass as I did.
There are lots of places in Hoi An to rent motorbikes, shop around as the prices vary and the quality as well! I ended up renting in a small tour agency near the Hoa Binh Hostel as it was almost half price than what they were asking at the hostel and the scooter was ok.
You can expect the trip for your My Son Sanctuary tour to last anything from 1 hour onwards, the road is mostly in good condition but you need to be careful with the traffic in Vietnam and take it slowly as most drivers simply do not follow any driving regulations so you need to be overly cautious.
There are pretty much no signs at all pointing in the direction to follow, and although the route doesn’t have many turns, it’s good to check maps.me every now and then to make sure you’re on the right road.
Upon arrival to the visitor’s centre you will find a couple of restaurants and the ticket offices. As of Feb ’19 the entrance fee is 150k VND (less than US $7).
It’s good to either go early in the morning or late so you avoid the tours, as the complex is relatively small, it doesn’t take much people for it to feel crowded.
As soon as you enter the complex there’s a museum explaining a bit of the history of the place. It’s a good introduction into what you will see later and also helps you understand the scale of the now destroyed temples.
After you leave the museum there’s a shuttle service (free of charge) that will take you to the archaeological area.
Once the shuttle drops you, most tourists go straight to the main areas, but I recommend taking a path going left which is very easy to spot and you start from smaller (reconstructed) areas and finish with the most visited ones.
The visitor’s area is not huge, is mainly 4 sectors and you can do the entire site in about an hour or two. When you finish the loop around the complex there is a small market to buy drinks and snacks and there’s also some typical dancing performances in a small theatre.
I enjoyed visiting this piece of Vietnamese history. Having said that, If you’re not into ruins and have already visited the “big ones” such as Angkor Wat, Bagan, Ayutthaya…then perhaps you can skip this destination as it could be disappointing if you’re expecting to see larger temples.
Feel free to drop any questions or comments if you’re planning a My Son Sanctuary Tour!
Check out the rest of my adventures when backpacking in Vietnam for more inspiration!