My Son is considered the most important archaeological site in Vietnam with many ancient Hindu temples claimed by the jungle.
My Son (or better spelled “Mỹ Sơn”) is a group of abandoned and crumbling Hindu temples in central Vietnam. They were built between the 4th and 14th centuries and are now listed as World Heritage. They are located close to the big central city of Da Nang. Da Nang is a popular Vietnamese city famous for its scenic beaches and many Southeast Asian attractions and activities.
One cannot see the temples of My Son without thinking of the most famous temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Angkor Wat truly has what are arguably the most impressive “lost city” temples in Southeast Asia. But the lost Hindu temples of Angkor Wat overrun by jungle are not unique – they can be found all over Southeast Asia – including My Son.
My Son – Vietnam’s greatest archaeological treasure
The my son’s story is enchanting, it is not only in a setting worthy of any film, but it is also that of a lost city and a lost civilization. Like other ancient cities in Southeast Asia, they have been lost in the tangles of lush jungle and look like something out of an Indiana Jones movie.
The Hindu temples of My Son were built over a period of 1,000 years between the 4th and 14th centuries by the kings of Champa. These kings were an Indianized kingdom of the Cham people who eventually succumbed to pressure from the northern Vietnamese kingdom.
- Built: Between the 4th and 14th centuries
- Built by: The Kings of Champa
- Dedicated: To the Hindu god Shiva
The temples are dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva (also known by other local names like Bhadreshvara). It is home to the most important Hindu temple complexes in all of Southeast Asia and is sometimes compared to the most famous Hindu temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
But not only was My Son an important religious site, it was also a burial place for Cham royalty and national heroes of the kingdom. It is also perhaps the oldest inhabited archaeological site in the region.
Number of US temples and bombings
At one time there were over 70 temples here as well as many stelae with important inscriptions carved in Cham and Sanskrit. My Son was rediscovered by the French in the 19th century. They then restored parts of the old complex. Unfortunately, much of the old architecture was destroyed by American bombing during the Vietnam War. Today, of the approximately 70 temples that once stood there, only about 20 remain.
Number of Temples:
- Originally: About 70 temples
- Today: About 20 temples
- American bombardment: The devastated site
Still, 20 temples remain an impressive sight to behold. There, let your imagination run wild and try to imagine what the site looked like in its heyday several hundred years ago.
Visit the temples of My Son in Vietnam
My Son is located about 69 km southwest of the popular tourist city of Da Nang and about 10 km from the historical capital of Champa, Tra Kieu.
- Location: 69 km southwest of Da Nang, central Vietnam
Like Angkor Wat in Cambodia, My Son enjoys an enchanting setting in the lush tropical jungle valley. It has Cat’s Tooth Mountain (called Hon Quap in Vietnamese) as its backdrop.
There are many affordable tours in My Son. A small-group guided tour at My Son offers hotel pick-up and a professional English-speaking guide. Many interesting stories will be heard at the site from the guide who grew up near the site. See ancient temples and head to a local restaurant for breakfast and coffee.
- Duration: 4 to 5 hours
- Cost: From $29.90
- Breakfast: Included
- Hall: 150,000 VND (6.5 US dollars) – Not included
- Retrieve: Around 5:30-5:45 a.m. (Arrival around 7:00 a.m.)
We arrive early at his hotel and we will still have the rest of the day to explore more attractions in the region.
One can also get to the site on their own, but a guided tour takes all the hassle out of it while bringing the site’s history to life. While in the country, experience the Vietnamese equivalent of the Cambodian marvel of the “lost city” of Angkor Wat.