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Introducing My Son

The site of Vietnam’s most extensive Cham remains, My Son enjoys an enchanting setting in a lush jungle valley, overlooked by Cat’s Tooth Mountain (Hon Quap). The temples are in poor shape – only about 20 structures survive where at least 68 once stood – but the intimate nature of the site, surrounded by gurgling streams, is still enthralling.

My Son was once the most important intellectual and religious centre of the kingdom of Champa and may also have served as a burial place for Cham monarchs. It was rediscovered in the late 19th century by the French, who restored parts of the complex, but American bombing later devastated the temples. Today it is a Unesco World Heritage site.

The ruins get very busy, so go early or late if you can. By departing from Hoi An at 5am or 6am, you will arrive to wake up the gods (and the guards) for sunrise and could be leaving just as the tour groups hit the area.

Archaeologists have divided My Son’s monuments into 10 main groups, uninspiringly named A, A’, B, C, D, E, F, G, H and K. Each structure within that group is given a number.

Note that only a handful of the monuments are properly labelled and there are virtually no information panels on-site.