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My Son Sanctuary is a complex consisting of many ancient Cham Pa temples located in the heart of a 2 square km valley, surrounded by hills and mountains. The sanctuary is always considered as one of the most culturally, historically significant temple centers in Vietnam in particular and in Southeast Asia in general. In 1999, My Son Sanctuary was recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and listed as one of the 23 national monuments of special conservation for its long-lasting values. It is considered to be one of the best examples of Hindu architecture in Southeast Asia.

Why did My Son become the mecca of the Champa kingdom?

Why did Bhadravarman – the first Champa king choose My Son valley as a holy land base to worship the god-king Bhadresvara but any other places?

My Son Sanctuary meets all the requirements in Hinduism about an ideal location which has to be hidden right in the middle of a closed, craggy valley, perfectly protected by Mother nature around, far enough from human’s chaotic daily life. According to Hinduism, anywhere there are gods and goddesses worshiped, the whole area with its atmosphere becomes sacred and that ordinary human beings can also one day be a God if they show absolute loyalty and complete faith in their Gods. They would need to find a completely quiet place deep in the forest, under the tree shades or on the rocks to practice meditation, stay as far away from normal human’s life as possible, let go all of the connection to the world out there that they used to have just to focus all their mind on meditation and contemplation. What My Son has meets all the above demands of Brahmanical believers.

Moreover, the Sacred River nearby also symbolizes the goddess Ganga, God Siva’s wife. In My Son Sanctuary, Khe The stream which originates from a sacred mountain (Mahaparvata), flows into the valley northwards to merge with Thu Bon River – same as when the sacred Ganga river on heaven flows into the Ganges. Therefore, it is important to choose a place near the river, where there is a Sacred Water source like My Son basin to hold the sacrificial ceremony.

Top 5 Things to do in My Son Sanctuary

  1. Discover My Son Sanctuary architecture

The temple towers in My Son were built with red bricks with no coating, no mortar for connecting between bricks. All of them were built in the quadrilateral pyramid shape. The roof is structured in many layers on top of each other, on the lower hollow characteristics, the higher the smaller the tower is. The outside of the towers has sophisticated carved figures depicting humans, animals, flowers, and plants.

The sanctuary has a main tower (Kalan) and many smaller auxiliary towers surrounding it. There are separate towers that stand far from others, while some would be built stick to another tower as twin style, or a cluster of 3 towers together. Many towers had been seriously weathered but still, the vestige of the lower base remains.

2.    Visit the museums at My Son Sanctuary

Behind the ticket counter, about 100 meters is a museum displaying artifacts found in the place. Here visitors can admire the beauty of ancient artifacts such as reliefs, tiles, bricks, Linga statues, etc that dated back centuries ago and get a better understanding of archeology, Cham people’s history, religion, and culture. 

3.    Enjoy cultural shows performed here

If you come at the right time, besides being able to discover the unique monuments listed above, you also have the opportunity to participate in the unique Kate festival of Cham people performing at the tower with other special rituals like peace-praying, palanquin carrying, water procession, vestment performing and Kate celebration, etc. Also, there are many traditional musical instrument performances, skillful, lightsome and graceful Apsara dances. There are 02 Cham Folk Dance shows at 09:30 AM; 10:30 AM

4.    Visit the Tra Kieu temple which is famous for its mystery.

Located in Tra Kieu village – Duy Son commune – Duy Xuyen district, about 7km from My Son sanctuary, Temple of Tra Kieu Mother Goddess is a famous destination visited by many tourists on the journey to explore the heritages in the Central Viet Nam.  

The temple was built on the top of a 60m high hill, surrounded by a garden full of big ancient trees all year round that give shades all year round. To reach the temple, you must take hundreds of stone steps starting at the foothill.

From the temple front yard, you can inhale fresh air and contemplate the amazing natural sceneries of the vast fertile land. You can find a water well containing “holy water” that is believed to cure all kinds of drinkers’ diseases and strengthen their bodies. The reputation of “this holy water” associated with a mysterious historical event in September 1885.  

According to the parishioners, on September 11, 1885, Mother Goddess showed up on the roof of the temple. All the parishioners took this event as a rare miracle. From 1889 to 1892, Tra Kieu parishioners had kept restoring the temple very often after Mother Goddess’ appearance. In 1970, the temple was rebuilt and remains the same till now. Since the Mother Goddess event, Tra Kieu temple has had great fame for its holiness. parishioners believe that their prayers will come true if they say them at the temple, to the Mother Goddess. There are tropical pine trees grown around the temple which are used by parishioners in many different medicinal recipes.

Many artifacts such as statues, products made of gold, and beautiful relief carvings have been found at the site, and just like the names, all of them show extremely clear influence from Hindu empires to the west. While there isn’t a Cham tower there today, one can still go up to the church, on top of the hill, and get a great view of the surrounding countryside. When you do this, it’s easy to understand why there was a city and tower here.

5.    Visit Hoi An Ancient Town 

My Son Sanctuary is about 40km from Hoi An Ancient Town. You can make the most of your day by visiting Hoi An in the late afternoon and spending all your night there. 2 ways to reach Hoi An from My Son

5.1 Shared shuttle bus to My Son – Hoi An from Da Nang

The bus will pick up guests at all hotels in Da Nang then depart for My Son, Hoi An. You will have the opportunity to discover 2 world cultural heritages in a day with the cheapest travel expenses. From My Son, you will be taken to Hoi An by boat. On the boat ride, sightseeing the countryside sceneries along the river banks cannot be a better idea. The boat dock is located right in the heart of Hoi An ancient town. You only need to walk 300m to come to visit the town’s iconic Japanese covered bridge.

Book Shared Shuttle Bus to My Son- Hoi An from Da Nang city. Link 

5.2 Private car rental to My Son and Hoi An from Da Nang

 If you want to explore Hoi An at night, and avoid the crowds in My Son, you can rent a car and depart at 1.00 PM. With this car charter, pickup and drop off time are flexibly under your total control.

Read more: How to get to My Son Sanctuary from Da Nang City 

Great experiences in Hoi An in the evening:

–        Check-in Japanese Covered Bridge

–        Take a boat ride on Hoai river at night and release lotus-shaped paper lantern for making a wish in the middle of a romantic evening view

–        Shopping and tasting local street foods at Nguyen Hoang night market

–        Enjoy a cocktail or a glass of draft beer at the bar or a rooftop cafe

–        Play Bài Chòi – local traditional bingo game (takes place at a little square near An Hoi bridge from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM every night)

Top Things to do in Hoi An Ancient Town 

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