My Son Description:
Between the 4th and 13th centuries the Champa Kingdom flourished in what is now known as Central and Southern Vietnam creating a unique culture heavily influenced by the Hindu religion.
Champa profited greatly from the goods traded through the kingdom’s main port city now called Hoi An (Faifoo), and the Kings of Champa began funneling their wealth into a towering series of temple structures in an a mountain basin ringed by rugged peaks called My Son. The Champa Kingdom was heavily influenced by the Hindu religion from India, and the sprawling temple complex the Champa people erected in Central Vietnam was dedicated to the pantheon of Hindu gods.
The Champas used bricks and mortar to complete the towering edifices of hundreds of temples cunningly built to resemble Mount Meru (the spiritual and physical center of the universe in Hinduism) in India. The largest and most complex of these temple structures were dedicated to Lord Shiva, the greatest of the Hindu deities. Artisans cut bas-relief sculptures into the exteriors and interiors of the temple structures depicting mythological stories as well as daily life signifying the temple compound as the religious and creative heart of the kingdom.
By the 14th century the Kingdom of Champa and Hinduism were falling out of sway, and the growing power of the Nguyen Dynasty of Central Vietnam was eclipsing Champa’s former glory. By the 15th century, Hinduism had all but vanished from the region, and My Son was abandoned to be consumed by the forest that birthed it.
My Son was left largely to ruin until the 20th century when colonial French archeologists began conservation and restoration efforts in the area. These efforts were put on hold, and finally completely abandoned when the First French Indo-China War broke out. During the Vietnam War Viet Cong forces used the temple complex as a base, and U.S. carpet bombing led to many of the ancient structures being damaged.
In 1999 My Son was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list, and reconstruction and preservation efforts are ongoing.
Best Time to Visit My Son:
For the best weather, plan on visiting Central Vietnam during the temperate months between October and March. The temperature steadily rises from May until September, but the chance of early morning and afternoon rainfall is equally high, and this often cools the region considerably.
How to get to My Son:
My Son is located in Central Vietnam. The ancient complex of Hindu temples can be reached by guests traveling on our luxury tours of Vietnam via a private vehicle leaving from the city of Hui An on the coast of the South China Sea.
My Son Highlights:
My Son is a unique cultural destination in Central Vietnam that does not have a counterpart within the country. While other Hindu influenced temple complexes exist in Southeast Asia, few are as old or as well preserved as My Son. As with all UNESCO World Heritage Sites, we consider My Son to be a must-see on our Vietnam tours.
Appropriate Attire :
While My Son was the heart of religious activity in Central Vietnam for almost 1,000 years, today the numerous temples no longer have active parishioners. This means western-style clothing options are fine while exploring the ruins, but we recommend wearing a stout pair of shoes as some light hiking will be in order to fully appreciate the sprawling temple compound.