Here's Why This Offbeat Gem Should Be On Your Vietnam Tour

While Vietnam's modern cities and pristine landscapes beckon travellers from around the world, My Son Sanctuary stands as a testament to the nation's ancient soul.
My Son Sanctuary, Vietnam
My Son Sanctuary,

"My Son" is a group of ancient Hindu temples in Vietnam, built between the 4th and 14th centuries by Champa kings. These temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva, known locally as Bhadreshvara. Located near Duy Phú village in Quảng Nam Province, Central Vietnam, these temples are known for their historical significance.


From the 4th to the 14th century AD, My Son Valley was a sacred place for the ruling class of Champa, used for religious ceremonies and as a burial ground for Cham royalty and national heroes. Its origins can be traced back to the ancient cities of Indrapura (Đồng Dương) and Simhapura (Trà Kiệu). However, after the Vietnamese conquered central Vietnam and Champa declined, My Son was abandoned and forgotten. It was reportedly rediscovered in 1898 by a Frenchman named M. C. Paris. At its peak, the complex was closely connected to Indrapura and Simhapura and included about 71 temples along with several stone inscriptions in Sanskrit and Cham.

Ruins of temples at My Son Sanctuary in Hoi An
Ruins of temples at My Son Sanctuary in Hoi

Recognition Over The Years

Today, My Son is a UNESCO World Heritage site, a valuable resource for historians, a significant religious temple, a historic monument in Vietnamese history, and a top-rated tourist destination in Vietnam.

Since the reunification of Vietnam in 1975, there has been a strong effort to conserve the My Son site. Both national and international teams are working on its preservation. In 1979, it was recognized as a National Site by Vietnam's Culture Ministry, and in 2009, it gained the status of a Special National Site from the national government. There's a plan in progress to revise the Conservation Master Plan for My Son as part of a UNESCO Asia-Pacific World Heritage site project.

Things To Do Here

Remains of Hindu Temples
Remains of Hindu

Go Hiking

My Son is located in a high valley encircled by mountains, where the sacred Thu Bon River begins. You can explore the surrounding peaks, camp in the jungle, stroll along the streams, and admire the temple's beauty. Don't miss the nearby Marble Mountains and the Thu Bon River–they're also worth visiting.

Learn About Its Past

Mỹ Sơn is an ideal destination for history enthusiasts. This site is home to Hindu tower temples, all within a well-preserved area with clear boundaries. There are eight groups of 71 standing monuments here, along with significant buried archaeological remains that trace the entire history of the construction of these tower temples. 

See The Museum

Close to the entrance, there's a Champa museum displaying various objects and statues. It's a great place to learn about the site's history and understand how it used to look. Most of the well-preserved sculptures from the ruins can be seen here.

The Remnants Of The Past

Inside lies a complete temple complex with about a dozen buildings, each serving different stages of worshipping Shiva and aligned with the sun's movements. Some ancient Hindu religious symbols are still visible on the walls. There is also an area where the US bombing destroyed a temple complex. It looks untended, with plants growing, making it hard to imagine how it appeared in ancient times. 

Nearby Attractions

You can take a day trip from Hoi An to Hue, a three-hour journey, and make stops to see various attractions along the way. Places like Lang Co, Hai Van, Marble Mountain, and more are worth visiting.

Getting There

Book a flight from major Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, or Chennai to one of Vietnam's major international airports, such as Hanoi (Noi Bai International Airport) or Ho Chi Minh City (Tan Son Nhat International Airport). After arriving in Vietnam, book a taxi or a bus to reach your destination within the country.

Related Stories

No stories found.
Outlook Traveller