If you are spending a few days in Hoi An then a morning trip out to My Son is a great way to see a bit of the surrounding countryside and take in some of the ancient history of Vietnam. My Son was once the most important religious centres in the Kingdom of Champa. It was the longest inhabited city spanning from the 4th to the 13th centuries. The temples nestled in the lush jungle were places of worship of Lord Vishnu.
After the fall of the Champa Kingdom, the jungle claimed most of the buildings. When the Americans arrived and began to bomb the surrounding area the Viet Cong used the site as a base. Most of the buildings at My Son were built out of bricks without the aid of mortar. Many of the temples were destroyed in a short span of time. Today only 20 of the original 68 remain.
My Son is now a world UNESCO site. While it may not have the same size or spectacular grandness of Angkor Wat in nearby Cambodia, it does have a certain charm and peacefulness that has just as much to do with the ruins as it does the lush jungle and streams.
You can make your way out to the My Son ruins by yourself. It takes about an hour by motorbike and the trip, once you get off the main road, is a pretty one. The downside of visiting on your own is that there are no information plaques at the site. Information is difficult to come by once you’re there without a guide.
Whether you choose to go to My Son on your own or to go with organised tour– it is better to go early and avoid any crowds. You can book through most hotels in Hoi An. The round trip usually takes around four hours.