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My Son Sanctuary is a breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage site in a valley surrounded by mountains and forests. A testament to the architecture and craftsmanship of the Champa dynasty, this sanctuary was home to 70 temples and now has only a few in their original form. Built between the 4th to 13th centuries, this place is a testimony of Vietnam’s rich heritage and culture. An escape from the fast city life, this place offers a glimpse into the ancient life and region. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this treasure trove shows the influence of Hinduism on the Champa dynasty.

Delve Into The Enriching History Of My Son Sanctuary

Ancient ruins of My Son Sanctuary in Vietnam

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My Son Sanctuary is a series of temples built around the 4th to 13th centuries under the reign of the Champapura kingdom. The Cham dynasty ruled Vietnam and Cambodia from the 2nd to the 7th centuries. The kingdom’s people were devotees of Lord Shiva, Krishna and Vishnu. The sanctuary became a centre for religion and spirituality. The grandeur of the Seventh Tower temples shows the influence of the Indian religion. However, the refuge was majorly destroyed and deserted after the Dai Vietnam invasion.

Some French archaeologists discovered these towers in the late 19th century. Despite several attacks and invasions, the sanctuary stands as a testament to resilience and culture. Now, only 20 towers are in their original form out of the 32 remaining. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site to protect the temple in 1999. The ruins of these towers exude royalty and sophistication in every aspect.

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Marvel At My Son Sanctuary Architecture

My Son Sanctuary Pedestal.

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My Son Sanctuary is an amalgamation of Indian and Vietnamese architecture, with each temple dedicated to a god or another kingdom. Each temple is made of red bricks and sandstones, with a contrasting hue of greenery and mountains as the backdrop. The methods and substances used for laying the bricks are beyond our comprehension, yet this shows the advancement of the Cham dynasty.

The temple is beautifully adorned with intricate designs and carvings, which provide insight into the people’s culture, religion, and beliefs. Writings in Sanskrit and Cham language are also seen. All the temples were built to face the east direction. The main temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, and other temples are cardinal and arranged to align with each other.

As you enter, you can explore the sanctuary in three sections:

  • Zone A: For viewing and visiting the entire temple complex
  • Zone B: Located west of zone A, here you can see one main temple and 3 subsidiary temples.
  • Zone C: Located in the southern area, here you can witness the architecture of many temples carved with scriptures and inscriptions.

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My Son Sanctuary Entrance Fee & Opening Hours

Artefacts in Vietnam

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My Son Sanctuary entrance fee is 150,000 VND, approximately USD 6. With this entrance ticket, you will get the My Son sanctuary tour, entry into the museum, and an electric vehicle ride from the entrance to the sanctuary. The ticket also covers the traditional dance show. The distance from the entrance to the sanctuary is 2 km with a hilly slope. You can go on a walk, but it is better to go for an electric vehicle due to Vietnam’s hot and humid weather.

The sanctuary is open from 6 AM to 5 PM, and you can get the last ticket until 4:50 PM. It is open all day throughout the year and closes only during extreme weather conditions.

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My Son Sanctuary Tour: What To See

Spread over a massive 350 acres, My Son sanctuary is a scenic beauty with each corner worth spending time with. Here are some of the best things to see in here:

1. Champa Temples and Towers

Champa Temple at My Son Sanctuary.

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These are ancient brick structures built between the 7th and 13th centuries during the Cham Kingdom. The towers were mainly built using red bricks with decorative carvings. Sandstone sculptures representing different Hindu and Buddhist deities can also be found here. Despite significant damage during the Vietnam War, ongoing restoration efforts have preserved many temples, attracting many visitors.

2. My Son Sanctuary Museum

Lord Kubera sculpture at Museum in Vietnam

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Holding a large number of artefacts of the Cham dynasty going through the museum first would help you understand the place better. With multiple paintings and their description, you would come across the heritage and power of this ancient kingdom.

3. Apsara Dance

Apsara Dance is must see.

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Deriving its name from the apsara stone sculptures, this elegant dance performance is accompanied by drums and trumpets. With graceful movements, the dance is dedicated to honouring women’s curves. This is another important feature which highlights the values of the Cham dynasty.

4. Kate Festival

vibrant festival scene at My Son Sanctuary.

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Celebrated in July, the Kate Festival is an important festival paying tribute to the ancestors of the Cham dynasty. The festival is vibrant yet simple, with people praying for peace, water, and safety. Participating in the festival gives a deeper understanding of the region’s unique culture and values.

How To Reach

A road in Vietnam

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It is convenient to reach My Son Sanctuary irrespective of the mode of transportation. Here is how you can reach the destination easily:-

By Bike: You can rent a motorbike for your trip duration. Being the cheapest and quickest transport, a road trip to My Son Sanctuary would allow you to witness Vietnam’s beauty. It would take around one hour to reach your destination. You can rent a bike from Da Nang or Hoi An at the rate of USD 5 per hour. Make sure to be cautious and follow the map as the roads are not smooth and have multiple potholes.

By Bus: You can get a bus from Hoi An or Danang to reach My Son sanctuary. The buses are available from 5:30 AM to 5 PM. Go for bus number 06, which departs from the stop every 30 minutes. The bus tickets are USD 8.

By Car: If you are looking for a more comfortable drive and are ready to splurge some money on it, you can get a private cab for your journey. The cab will pick you up from Hoi An and wait for you as you tour My Son sanctuary and take you back to Hoi An. My son’s canister is 60 km away from Hoi An and takes an hour to drive to reach. The price ranges from USD 40 to 45.

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My Son Sanctuary: Useful Tips

My Son Sanctuary embodies art and culture of great significance. This architectural marvel would leave you captivated by the techniques used by the ancient civilisations. We have compiled some useful tips for your next trip to My Son Sanctuary:

  • To enjoy the most, either visit early morning or late afternoon. The sanctuary has a small space so it can get crowded with fewer people as well.
  • Most of the refreshment stalls close around 3 p.m., so remember to carry some snacks or visit on time.
  • Marked paths are made for the tourists to explore in the best way. Make sure to follow them and not wander around in the forest.
  • If you want to explore and understand My Son Sanctuary’s history better, it is best to book a tour guide.

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The beauty and splendour of My Son sanctuary fall short of words, you would experience it the best while walking through it. Even after going through wars, it is a prime example of Indian architecture. The harmonious blending of the temples with the nature-worshipping deities and mythical creatures creates a sense of peace. If this guide about My Son Sanctuary excites you, here are some of the plans for a trip to Vietnam. Spend your next vacation exploring the rich and diverse culture of Vietnam.

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Frequently Asked Questions About My Son Sanctuary

Why should one visit My Son Sanctuary?

At My Son Sanctuary, you are treated with scenic views, architectural marvels and entertainment. As the attraction offers a lot to travellers, one should definitely visit it.

What is the dress code to follow for My Son Sanctuary tour?

My Son Sanctuary was a holy place before the Vietnam War. Even though there is no strict checking, it is suggested to wear clothes covering the upper body and knees. Make sure to wear sturdy shoes to explore the uneven terrain of this gem.

How much time is required for the My Son Sanctuary tour?

For a complete tour, 6 to 7 hours are required. If you are short on time, you can visit the My Son temple only which would take one to two hours.

What other places can I visit near My Son Sanctuary?

If you are done with your trip to the centre, you can also visit Mui Ne. It is a tropical beach ideal for surfing, sailing and watersports.

What is the best time to visit My Son Sanctuary?

The best time to visit My Son Sanctuary is during February, March and April. The weather is dry and pleasant with minimal rain. While visiting, try to escape the peak heat hours for a comfortable trip.

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