Taking a My Son Tour from Hoi An is a must when in Vietnam. The World Heritage site is easily accessible from Hoi An and provides a small window into life in the Champa kingdom. The Hindu temples you’ll see in My Son were commissioned by the Champa kings and mainly date to between the 4th and 14th centuries. However, the site has been inhabited since the 4th century and is thought to be the longest inhabited archaeological site in Indochina. So, as a history nerd I had to make sure I saw My Son while we were in Vietnam.
While not a part of our G Adventures tour itinerary, it was super easy to arrange a visit through our hotel. We were picked up by a guide and driver who began the drive of around 1 hour to the temple complex. On the way our guide started telling us about the history of the site and also his own history. He had worked with American troops during the war and had many fascinating stories to tell. He would always reach a moment of suspense and then tell us he had to explain something new about the temples.
My Son was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999 and it is still being restored. The sad thing is that what you will see is only a small fraction of what was there just over a hundred years previously. The area was heavily bombed during the Vietnam war and there are still plenty of bomb craters dotted through the landscape that you can see. Yet, the area now seems so tranquil that I would never have noticed them had our guide not been there to point them out.
I highly recommend taking a My Son tour in the afternoon as we did since most of the tourists are gone by 2pm. It’s great to be able to experience the site in peace and quiet. The only issue with this is that it was over 40 degrees when we were there and we were definitely struggling with that. Our guide did his best to find us shady spots to sit and listen to his tales, though. The way he drew out the story of his experiences during the war kept us enthralled despite how sweaty we were all becoming. We became very nervous for the ‘characters’ involved at several points and felt physically relieved to learn everyone came out relatively safely.
After finishing our explorations we stopped at a cafe outside the ticketing office to enjoy an iceblock and cool ourselves down.
My Son Tour from Hoi An: Practicalities
Your hotel or guesthouse will most likely be able to arrange this for you – we paid $30 each for entrance to the site, transport and guiding.
The drive from Hoi An to My Son takes around a hour so the time you are out of Hoi An will depend on how long you want to spend at My Son. We spent just over an hour there and could easily have stayed longer if we weren’t so hot.