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My Son (or better spelled "Mỹ Sơn") is a group of abandoned and ruined Hindu temples in the center of Vietnam. They were built between the 4th and the 14th century and are today listed as a World Heritage Site. They are located close to the major central city of Da Nang. Da Nang is a popular Vietnam city famous for its picturesque beaches and many Southeast Asian attractions and activities.

One can't see the temples of My Son without thinking about the most famous temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Angkor Wat really does have what is arguably the most impressive "lost city" temples in Southeast Asia. But Angkor Wat's lost Hindu temples overgrown by the jungle are hardly unique - they can be found throughout Southeast Asia - including My Son.

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My Son - Vietnam's Greatest Archeological Treasure

The story of My Son is an enchanting one, it is not only in a setting worthy of any movie, but it is also one of a lost city and lost civilization. Like other ancient cities in Southeast Asia, they have been lost to the tangles of the lush jungle and look like something out of an Indiana Jones movie.

The Hindu temples at My Son were built over a 1,000-year period between the 4th and 14th centuries by the Kings of Champa. Those kings were an Indianized kingdom of Cham people who eventually succumbed to the pressures of the Vietnamese kingdom of the north.

  • Built: Between The 4th and 14th Centuries
  • Built By: The Kings of Champa
  • Dedicated: To The Hindu God Shiva

The temples are dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva (also known by other local names like Bhadreshvara). It is home to the most important Hindu temple complexes in all of Southeast Asia and is sometimes compared to the more famous Hindu temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

But not only was My Son an important religious site, but it was also a burial site for the Cham royalty and the kingdom's national heroes. It is also perhaps the longest inhabited archeological site in the region.

Related: A Travel Guide To Vietnam: 11 Things To Know While Planning Your Trip

Number Of Temples & American Bombing

At one point, there were over 70 temples here as well as many steles with important inscriptions carved into them in Cham and Sanskrit. My Son was rediscovered by the French in the 19th century. They then restored parts of the ancient complex. Unfortunately, much of the ancient architecture here was destroyed by American bombing during the Vietnam War. Today of the 70 or so temples that once stood there, only around 20 remain.

Number of Temples:

  • Originally: Around 70 Temples
  • Today: Around 20 Temples
  • American Bombing: Devastated The Site

Still, 20 temples remain an impressive sight to behold. While there, let one's imagination run wild and try to imagine what the site used to look like during its heyday many hundreds of years ago.

Related: Visit Vietnam's Off-The-Beaten-Track Gem: Mekong Delta

Visiting My Son Temples In Vietnam

My Son is located around 69 km southwest of the popular tourist city of Da Nang and around 10 km from the historic Champa capital of Tra Kieu.

  • Location: 69 km Southwest Of Da Nang, Central Vietnam

Like Angkor Wat in Cambodia, My Son enjoys an enchanting setting in the lush tropical jungle valley. It has the backdrop of Cat's Tooth Mountain (called Hon Quap in Vietnamese).

There are plenty of affordable tours to My Son. One small group guided tour to My Son offers hotel pickup and a professional English-speaking guide. One will hear many interesting stories about the site from the guide who grew up near the site. Learn about the ancient temples and be taken to a local home restaurant to enjoy breakfast and coffee.

  • Duration: 4 to 5 Hours
  • Cost: From $29.90
  • Breakfast: Included
  • Entrance: 150,000 VND (6.5 US dollars) - Not Included
  • Pick Up: Around 5.30-5.45 am (Arrive at Around 7.00 am)

One arrives back early at one's hotel and will still have the rest of the day to explore more attractions in the area.

One can also make one's own way to the site, but having a guided tour takes all the hassle out of it while bringing the history of the site to life. While in the country, see Vietnam's own equivalent to Cambodia's wonder of the "lost city" of Angkor Wat.