My Son Sanctuary was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in December 1999. Among Vietnam’s stunning Cham temples, this tower complex stands out as one of the most beautiful and impressive, with unique architecture representing different historical periods of the Champa kingdoms. Unfortunately, due to natural disasters and war-related damage, only about 20 temple towers remain at My Son. Nonetheless, it remains a highly sought-after destination for tourists from all corners of the world.
About My Son Sanctuary Vietnam
History of My Son Sanctuary
My Son Sanctuary, which consists of a series of magnificent tower temples, was constructed between the 4th and 13th centuries CE.
It served as the political and religious center of the Champa Kingdom, a unique culture that developed along the coast of modern-day Vietnam with spiritual origins tracing back to Indian Hinduism.
The Cham royal dynasties’ stone stele have confirmed My Son’s significance as the Cham people’s most important holy site during that time, reflecting their distinct style and history.
Where is My Son Sanctuary Vietnam?
My Son Sanctuary, a collection of ancient Cham temples, spans across a 2-kilometer-wide valley surrounded by hills and mountains. Although the ravages of time and war have taken their toll on these relics, what remains at My Son is of immense historical and cultural significance.
Location: Duy Phu village, Duy Xuyen district, Quang Nam province
Opening hours, and ticket prices of My Son Sanctuary
Operating hours: 6:30 am – 5:30 pm (daily, including holidays and Tet)
Admission fee: 150,000 VND (includes entrance to My Son Sanctuary and the Champa Museum), applicable only for self-guided visits without tour guide services. The fee also covers a 2-kilometer-long electric car ride to My Son’s center and the performing arts areas.
Best time to visit My Son Sanctuary
The weather in Quang Nam has two distinct seasons: the rainy season (from September to December) and the dry season (from February to August). The best time to visit My Son Sanctuary is usually from February to April when the weather is cool and not too hot.
Tip: Don’t forget to bring an umbrella, a light jacket, and sunscreen with you.
How to get to My Son Sanctuary?
My Son, an archaeological site of immense historical significance, is located approximately 69 kilometers from Da Nang and 45 kilometers from Hoi An Ancient Town. Owing to its favorable geographical location, visitors can conveniently access this UNESCO World Heritage Site from both cities.
From Hoi An
There are three transportation options for travelers to choose from when traveling from Hoi An to My Son Sanctuary:
+ Motorbike: This is the ideal choice for many tourists who want to save money and experience the feeling of driving on the busy roads of Vietnam. To get to My Son, follow Tran Hung Dao street to Hung Vuong street, cross Vinh Dien River, turn left onto Tran Quy Cap street, and continue until you reach Quang Trung street. Then, follow the signs to My Son. The cost to rent a motorbike in Hoi An is about $5 – $8 per day.
+ Bus: The shuttle bus departs at 8:30 am and returns at 1:45 pm, with a cost of $8. Please note that entrance tickets must be purchased separately. The drawback of this option is that public buses from Hoi An to My Son Sanctuary don’t stop at the gates, so it’s not the best option for travelers.
+ Car: Renting a car to visit My Son Sanctuary is not recommended unless you’re planning a multi-day trip through Central Vietnam. There are no car rental companies in Hoi An, so you’ll need to rent a car from Da Nang, and the cost can be up to $100 per day.
From Da Nang
There are two options for traveling from Da Nang to My Son:
+ By Motorbike or car: Head south on National Highway 1 towards Nam Phuoc town for approximately 39 kilometers, then turn west onto Route 537 and continue for about 9 kilometers to Tra Kieu. After traveling 12 kilometers, take a left at the fork indicated by the signboard and continue for another 9 kilometers until you reach My Son.
+ By bus: Bus number 06 runs from Da Nang to My Son every 30 minutes between 5:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. The fare ranges from 8,000VND to 30,000VND, but the journey may take longer than other modes of transportation.
Additionally, to ensure safety and gain deeper insights about this fascinating destination, you can choose to book a one-day tour to My Son Sanctuary. The tour price includes pick-up and drop-off by vehicle, an experienced guide to accompany and assist you throughout the trip, meals according to the program, travel insurance, and other amenities.
- Book a tour: My Son Sanctuary Tour
What makes My Son Sanctuary attractive to tourists?
The architecture of My Son Sanctuary features unique and sophisticated designs that bear the hallmark of six distinctive styles: ancient, Hoa Lai, My Son, Po Nagar, Dong Duong, and the style of the people of Binh Dinh. When tourists visit My Son Sanctuary, they will notice the characteristics of this architectural form, which include stone sculptures, statues of the god Shiva, and stone carvings of dancing apsaras in the Cham Pa style.
Over time, the site has been partially destroyed by the bombing campaigns of the US military during the Vietnam War. However, there are still many intact towers with fascinating and unique architectural designs that attract visitors.
Discover the panoramic view of My Son Holy Land
My Son holy land features over 70 meticulously carved and intricate temples with important inscriptions in both Sanskrit and Cham languages. The site was forgotten until 1898, when a Frenchman and his colleague stumbled upon the hidden ruins nestled in a valley surrounded by two majestic mountains.
In addition, another remarkable feature that makes My Son holy land famous is the bricks used to construct the ancient towers. The bricks were fired and cut into blocks, then ingeniously stacked on top of each other without any binding materials. Over the centuries, the My Son site has not been eroded but only partially cracked.
Experience the unique 8m-wide ancient street
This is the ancient road leading to the My Son holy land heritage site, discovered by an Indian expert during the process of restoring and repairing the central towers in the heart of the heritage site. The ancient road is up to 8m wide, with two parallel walls buried 1m deep in the ground.
According to historical records, this road leads straight to the central area of the heritage site, where the large gate tower is located for worship, which only kings and high-ranking members of the ancient Champa dynasty were allowed to enter. The system of walls on both sides of the road is finely and skillfully carved. This important discovery has contributed to increasing the long-standing historical values that the My Son holy land heritage site brings.
Experience the mesmerizing Apsara dance
Here, there is a dance called Apsara which is inspired by the stone carvings of Apsara. This is considered a graceful and fluid dance with the title “Soul of Stone” to honor the graceful curves of the female form.
This dance is now used to perform in important art programs in Quang Nam province as well as serving tourist groups visiting the My Son Sanctuary. You will feel like being lost in the ancient Champa land with images of girls with slender fingers, firm breasts and charming curves in sparkling and colorful costumes, combined with the sound of Paranung drum and Saranai horn, making visitors completely mesmerized.
The traditional Cham festival of Kate
The Kate Festival is one of the important traditional festivals of the Cham people, which is usually held in July according to the Cham calendar.
If your travel itinerary coincides with the Katê Festival, not only can you visit unique cultural heritage sites, but you can also participate in various ceremonies such as worship rituals, processions of traditional costumes and Katê, water processions, etc.
The festival features many spectacular performances with traditional props and graceful dances by talented artists that will captivate your attention.
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What to eat when visiting My Son Sanctuary
When exploring My Son Sanctuary, make sure to treat yourself to these iconic traditional dishes from the central region of Vietnam that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. You can find several restaurants at the entrance of My Son, as well as some eateries in the nearby towns.
Be sure to try these renowned dishes:
+ Cau Mong smoked calf (Be thui Cau Mong)
+ Phu Chiem noodle (mi Phu Chiem)
+ Quang noodle (mi Quang)
+ Vietnamese pancake (Banh xeo)
+ Rice cracker (Banh trang dap)
The above are some tips and suggestions for traveling to My Son Sanctuary, a cultural heritage site in Da Nang. Hopefully, this article will be helpful for you in your upcoming discovery journey.