My Son Tour from Hoi An is the most interesting activity when visiting the ancient town. My Son sanctuary is a piece of historical art that blends Indian Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism architecture.

In this article, we will provide the most important things about My Son. It includes its history, myths, gods, and culture. Moreover, you can find some local tips as well as guidance on how to travel there.

My Son Sanctuary Hoi An
My Son Sanctuary Hoi An

Where is My Son Sancturary located?

Visiting My Son Sanctuary is one of the things to do when tourists come to Vietnam. Normally, visitors will spend a day exploring the amazing My Son Sanctuary. 

My Son will be best suited with someone who loves historical outings and picturesque scenery. From Hoi An to My Son is very easy!

You can head to the west of Hoi An by car or motorbikes. If you depart from Da Nang, you can still travel to My Son Sanctuary Hoi An. It is just 43 kilometers to the north!

The roads to My Son sanctuary are wonderful. You will go through corn and sunflower fields, rice paddies, or majestic mountain peaks. Your eyes will be satisfied with the beauties of Vietnam’s nature.  

We highly recommend you to travel in the early morning (about 5 to 6 A.M.). Therefore, you can capture farmers working and their daily life during your trip.

Detailed information before joining a My Son Tour Hoi An

Older than Angkor Wat temple

My Son sanctuary is well known as a temple complex carrying rich and various historical values. Furthermore, it is considered one of the foremost Hindu temple complexes in Southeast Asia.

My Son sanctuary was built from the 4th to the 13th centuries CE. It means My Son sanctuary is even older than the Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia. Besides that, it is compared to other famous temple complexes. For instance:

  • Angkor Wat of Cambodia.
  • Borobudur of Java in Indonesia.
  • Bagan of Myanmar.
  • Ayutthaya of Thailand.

My Son Sanctuary is located in the mountainous border of Duy Xuyen District of Quang Nam Province, in central Viet Nam.  

The Thu Bon River’s source is in this plateau, which sits at the bottom of a steep-sided geological basin. My Son is covered by a ring of mountains on all sides. 

The Thu Bon river’s flow travels through the Champa Kingdom’s historical heartland, flowing into the South China Sea near Hoi An ancient port city’s mouth.

The complex has many temples that are older than the Angkor Wat temple
The complex has many temples that are older than the Angkor Wat temple

A part of Champa capital

Because of its rugged terrain features, the successive kings of Champa chose My Son as a part of their capital. From the 6th to the 8th century, My Son showed its strategic significance as an easily defensible stronghold.

As a result, most of the temples in My son sanctuary Vietnam were built during this time. However, the first temple had been built in the 4th century. Then, over ten centuries later, other temples were added to the My Son sanctuary. 

As a result, it was the religious and political capital of the Champa Kingdom. Until now, My Son sanctuary Hoi An remains as one of the most architectural and sculptural monuments in Viet Nam.

Unfortunately, My Son sanctuary was damaged by the continuous warfare in the 11th century. 

From 1190 to 1220, the Khmers occupied the Champa Kingdom. However, the king of Champa Harivarman IV still organized the restoration of the My Son sanctuary after moving Champa’s capital to Do Ban. 

From the 13th century, Vietnam slowly took control of this area. Hence, religious activities were suspended from the later 15th century. It also means My Son sanctuary was forgotten during this time. 

As mentioned in the introduction, taking a My son tour Hoi An will be worthwhile. Visitors can explore the rich historical value of the temple complex.

Even Vietnamese people are curious about My Son's history
Even Vietnamese people are curious about My Son’s history

UNESCO heritage site in 1999

Because of its value, My Son sanctuary has become a part of the UNESCO World Heritage site since 1999. Why don’t you join a My Son tour for once?

My Son now is one of the most attractive sightseeings when visitors come to Hoi An. Thus, the government strategically organizes tourist activities for protecting the sanctuary and making eco-friendly tourism. 

The My Son tour will lead you through not only My Son civilization but also the American war. Hence, you can rarely experience a double dose of history in one place like joining the My Son tour.  

Vietnam – US war

In 1855, French architect, archaeologist, and historian Henry Parmentier and his crew began work on the location. They discovered 72 monuments within a two-kilometer radius during this excavation and documentation process.

Unfortunately, the United States began carpet-bombing the region during the Vietnamese conflict. Within a week, almost all of My Son had been destroyed. 

Until now, there is much evidence of the American war in My Son sanctuary Vietnam. You may see them during the My Son tour Hoi An.

Many temples are now just the ruins
Many temples are now just the ruins

Cultural and historical values of My Son tour Hoi An

My Son sanctuary’s Functions

The Champa Kingdom was strongly influenced by Hinduism from the Indian subcontinent. From the 4th century CE, Shaivite Hinduism was considered the state religion. Therefore, many Cham people built a lot of temples for worshipping Hindu divinities such as:

  • Krishna: The God of compassion, love, and wisdom.
  • Vishnu: the god of protecting and transforming the universe.
  • Shiva: the supreme god – the destroyer who represents the infinite, transcendent, unchanging, and formless.

Because of the sacredness, locals were banned from living here. Instead, there were only Cham’s temples worshipping kings and gods here. 

But now, visitors can come to take wonderful pictures here
But now, visitors can come to take wonderful pictures here

My Son sanctuary Hoi An still was used to celebrate the kings of Champa during the occupying time. Furthermore, it is also the burial place for Cham royalty as well as national heroes.

Therefore, by joining a My Son tour Hoi An, you will have a chance to witness the ten-century culture of the Champa Kingdom.

Architecture

There is a reason to say My Son sanctuary Vietnam also shows a glorious part of South-East Asia’s history. It is because Champa’s culture was meticulously illustrated in a series of temples.

Fried brick, sandstone bas-reliefs, and stone pillars are the main materials of these towers. Cham people showed their technology development as well as craftsmanship through sandstone bas-reliefs.

The construction of Cham people is extremely diverse. Their imagination goes beyond our expectations! However, My Son sanctuary Hoi An still shows certain characteristics of the Champa Kingdom.

For example, a ring of mountain surrounds My Son is skillfully carved in the temple’s designs. Interestingly, it reflects the greatness and purity of Mount Meru which is the mythical sacred mountain home of Hindu gods at the center of the universe. It means that the mountainous homeland of the Cham people is the home of Hindu gods.

There are different series of towers worshipping various Gods
There are different series of towers worshipping various Gods

Besides that, the My Son tour Hoi An will reveal many sandstone bas-reliefs which depict scenes from Hindu mythology. The tower temples’ technological sophistication is proof of Cham’s technical abilities. Furthermore, the intricate iconography and symbolism of the tower temples provide insight into Cham’s religious and political ideas. 

Apsara dance

My Son’s civilization was affected by Khmers during the occupying period. Among many cultural characteristics of Khmers, the Apsara dance is the most significant one.

The Apsara dance will be performed by women wearing tight-fitting traditional dresses. The dance illustrates classical myths or religious stories in Hindu culture. Dancers will represent the temple guardians or custodians who are called devatas.

Apsara dance is often carved in temples. It can be found not only in My Son but also in Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Thus, it shows a strong influence of Khmers on My Son’s civilization.  

Apsara dance is one of the signature show in My Son Sanctuary Hoi An
Apsara dance is one of the signature show in My Son Sanctuary Hoi An

What to expect in My Son tour Hoi An?

My Son Sanctuary Museum

Right after you pass the entrance gate, you will notice the My Son sanctuary museum. There is a lot of information about My Son’s civilization as well as relics. Thus, you can understand and more appreciate its values while exploring temple structures. Besides that, there are some shops where you can come back to buy souvenirs.  

The halt hut

There is a resting house located on the way from the entrance. If you drive yourself to My son sanctuary Hoi An, do not rush to the relic area. You can refresh yourself in the halt hut and enjoy a little shade of the house.

The temple complex

The My Son sanctuary has different temples with various shapes and structures. However, they were built orderly with Kalan – the main building and other sub-towers surrounding it.

Each complex is distinguished by its styles and decoration. It means each of them has a sacred meaning about different king generations, cultures, or religions.

With a My Son tour Hoi An, the guide will absolutely lead you to the main temples. It is for worshipping the Shiva God which is mentioned above. The sub-temples and shrines are places to store sacrifice. Cham people also come here for the ceremony. Except for the king, they were banned from entering the Shiva God’s temple.

You can visit different complexes during the My Son tour Hoi An
You can visit different complexes during the My Son tour Hoi An

The ruins

If you take a My Son tour from Hoi An, you will see many ruins and items here. Due to the American war, many temples and statues were destroyed. 

You may still spot some statues of Shiva, Nadin, Linga, or Yoni God. However, many of the towers are only ruins awaiting restoration and excavation.

The relics 

You can enter some temples where have exhibitions. There are not only statues, sandstone bas-reliefs but also bombs in the American war. 

Therefore, it is the best place for you to witness two historical periods in the same place. A guide from My Son tour Hoi An may describe more details about each item.

Apsara show

Next to the sanctuary, you will have a chance to watch an Apsara show in My Son. Every two hours from 9 A.M., dancers will perform in various locations in the complex.  

It is a wonderful time to blend yourself with historical attractions, music, and dancing art. Dancers are trained and practiced for many years to perform graceful movements. They wear colorful traditional costumes and pyramid-shaped hats. 

Visitors love the Apsara dance in My Son
Visitors love the Apsara dance in My Son

They dance in highlighted Panpipes and Bandung drum sounds. Only they can illustrate and harmonize the melodic music of designed instruments with the majesty of the scenery here.

My Son tour from Hoi An

When does My Son Sanctuary open?

The My son sanctuary Hoi An opens all year round, including holidays and Tet. It normally starts welcoming visitors from 6:30 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. 

We highly recommend you to visit My son sanctuary in the early morning. Then, you can capture the sun beautifully rising over the valley. From green meadows to high temples, all will be awakened by the sunlight.

My Son tour Hoi An

There are many tours from Hoi An to My Son. The most popular tour is a half-day tour to explore My Son. It already includes transportation and a guide.

For our preferences, it is the best way to come to My Son Sanctuary. If you travel on your own, you may feel tired under the humid weather of Vietnam. Plus, there is no guide to lead you through My Son’s wonders.

Tips and costs

The My Son tour Hoi An only cost $16.5. It includes the entrance ticket which is $6.5. Therefore, just $10 more for transportation and a guide is absolutely a good deal!

As we recommend above, you do not want to miss the sunrise in My son sanctuary. Hence, you should take the earliest My Son tour Hoi An, which departs around 4 A.M. If not, you can take many tours later during the day, depending on the agency. All the My Son tour Hoi An will have a bus to pick you up from your hotel or agreed-on address. 

One keynote you should write down is that the trip will be outdoor. It means you may be under the heat of the sun. Thus, many visitors choose to visit My Son sanctuary in the morning instead of the afternoon to avoid the heat. Or you better prepare more water, hats, sunscreen, and schedule your plan carefully.

Hidden Hint: If you are scared of cramped spaces or just want some privacy, we advise you to not take shuttle vans or buses. The agency may fill the bus to maximum capacity with up to 50 people. A private tour may be a better option for you.

My Son tour Hoi An may have many people
My Son tour Hoi An may have many people

How much time should you spend on My Son tour Hoi An?

Two or three hours are enough to explore many things in Hoi An. Your trip will take around five to six hours in total for two ways. 

If you do not take a My Son tour Hoi An, you can also travel by yourself. Do not worry about the guide, there are many English signs that you can read more about the history of temples and My Son. Or, you can sometimes join a team to listen to information that you are interested in.  

Other options for getting to My Son Sanctuary

Besides the bus of My Son tour Hoi An, there are many options for you to come to the attraction. Let’s see the best fit for you!

Self Drive from Hoi An to My Son Sanctuary

Driving yourself to My Son is absolutely fine! Either by car or scooter. The road routes are almost the same. Thus, you can easily travel to My son sanctuary by Google Maps. The official parking fee is 5,000 VND.  

Hidden Hint: Scooter may be a better option to enjoy the trip. Besides that, you may want to download the route on Google Maps before departure. The 4G signal in rural areas may not be good.

When you arrive, the bathrooms outside the main entrance may cost some money to enter. However, if you can “hold” until you get inside, they are absolutely free!

Getting to My Son Sanctuary by a taxi or private car

If My Son tour Hoi An is not your favorite, then you can try to get there by booking a taxi or a private car. It will be more expensive if you instantly book a taxi without planning. 

There are numerous taxis in Hoi An ancient town. However, you can bargain a better price if you schedule your trip earlier. For a private car, it usually needs 24 hours’ notice to book a long ride. 

During the trip, you can ask the driver to stop sometimes to stretch, use restrooms, or grab a quick refreshment. 

A private My Son tour Hoi An normally costs $40 (900,000 VND) for a 4-seater car round trip. You may spend about $28 (640,000) on a one-way taxi. You can ask the reception or your host to help to book the transportation.      

Hidden Hint: The private booking cars will wait for you all day while the taxi only drives you one way. However, you can prearrange and ask them to wait. They may charge a waiting fee and a parking slot!

Visit My son sanctuary Vietnam from Danang

You can even get to My Son sanctuary Hoi An from Danang. There is a direct bus (number 06) from Danang to My Son. The route length is over 60 kilometers and costs you 30,000 VND. 

You will be amazed with the stunning view in My Son
You will be amazed with the stunning view in My Son

Conclusion

My Son sanctuary Hoi An is one of the most historical attractions in Vietnam. It is chosen to be a must-see when visitors come to Hoi An.

With a My Son tour Hoi An, you can enjoy both the countryside of Vietnam as well as the majesty of the scenery here. Good luck and have a nice trip!