My Son

My Son Travel Blog

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The ruins of My Son (My Son, Vietnam)

I’ve dreamed of going to Angkor Wat in Cambodia for longer than I can remember. If I had received a penny for every time my husband and I fantasized and talked about this magical place, well… than we would have been there already I suppose!

Unfortunately, somehow we always ended up at some other place in the world because it wasn’t the best travel season for Cambodia or budget was too tight for a flight to Phnom Penh. It doesn’t matter though, because when a person no longer has anything to wish for, his or her life is over if you ask me.  

Rens and I continue to dream of Angkor Wat, convinced that some day we will make it. In the meantime we enjoy sights that may resemble Angkor, but at the same time wouldn’t be imposing enough to follow Angkor’s massive footsteps. In my opinion My Son is such a place.

It is a cluster of abandoned and for some part ruined Hindu temples that were constructed between the 4th and 14th century A.

The ruins of My Son (My Son, Vietnam)
D. They were constructed by the kings of Champa. This Indianized kingdom controlled what is now southern and central Vietnam. The highlight of the Champa power was reached during the 9th and 10th century, which was followed by a gradual decline. In 1832, the Vietnamese emperor Minh Mang occupied the last Cham territories.

My Son is located at an hour and half drive by bus from Hoi’An. We booked a morning tour at the reception of the hotel we were staying in, The Long Life Hotel, and were surprised to be welcomed by a tour guide that spoke English we could actually understand. We have found out guides like this are quite rare in Vietnam.

The tour took us to a valley roughly two kilometers wide, surrounded by two mountain ranges.  This valley was a site of religious ceremony for Champa kings, as well as a burial place for Cham royalty and national heroes. At one time, the site contained over 70 temples!

Today, the site is divided in several areas: area A, B, C, D, F, G, H and L. Group C and B are the most interesting. We truly enjoyed the stories of our guide, who took his time to speak slowly and repeat the last word of every sentence.

The ruins of My Son (My Son, Vietnam)
We then walked around on our own, looking at every tiny detail, even though the heat was killing us. It didn’t take us long to recognize the several buildings the guide had told us about:

-          Kalan – a brick sanctuary in the form of a tower, to house a deity.

-          Mandapa – a hallway attached to a sanctuary

-          Kosagrha – with saddle-shaped roofs, used to house the valuables of a deity or to cook for a deity.

The ruins of My Son (My Son, Vietnam)

-          Gopura – a gate-tower leading into the walled temple complex.

My Son may not be the same as Angkor Wat, but we sure felt close while walking around this impressive complex. Experts don’t call these ruins the little brother of Angkor for nothing!

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My Son
photo by: Jeroenadmiraal