Wednesday, December 26, 2012

My Son Sanctuary - An UNESCO Heritage Site

Since I was already here in central Vietnam, why not explore other places within close vicinity? I have every intention of going to My Son Sanctuary during my stay in Hoi An. Located about 40 to 50 km away from the quaint town, there are many ways for you to go from one UNESCO Heritage Site to another UNESCO Heritage Site and I chose one of the least common mode of transportation: cycling.

Mi Quang for breakfast to fuel my day

The idiotic and egoistic side of me thought that 40-50 km was a manageable distance, and I did reach the temple ruins, with times and my body being the only casualties. I cycled for almost 4 hours to reach my destination and my legs were sore, to say the least. Imagine my horror when I realized I have to do another 4 hours of cycling to go back to Hoi An. (I 'hitchhiked' back to Hoi An with a Malaysian couple in their rented van. Their driver was not very friendly to me.) I now understood why the owner of the hotel gave me a smile when I said I wanted to cycle from Hoi An to My Son.

Beautiful paddy field while cycling

This is NOT the sign you want to see for it means you're lost

Even though it was a strenuous work, I have no regret in doing so (at least when I finally reached the location. I had tempted to turn back to Hoi An throughout the journey). This cycling expedition was an eye-opening to the kind-hearted and friendly peoples of Vietnam.

It's not that unusual to have the whole road to yourself

The Vietnamese were very willing in helping me whenever I got lost or detoured on my way heading there. Even though there was language barrier, we managed to understand each other perfectly well, with a lot of hand gestures and body languages. Asking for direction with all sorts of hand movements can be fun and entertaining.

Thanks to the locals, I was getting nearer

As for the reason of this adventure of mine, the temples in My Son Sanctuary were built by the Cham people for religious and spiritual purposes. Hindu influences were significant in its architectural designs and most of the temples were dedicated to Hindu deities. However, after the end of the Champa kingdom, most of these structures were reclaimed by the jungle and left unattended. Wars during the tiring times were of no help with damages being done on these temples.

The designation of the UNESCO Heritage Site title to the ancient ruins of My Son introduced the world to these temples. While not as magnificent in term of magnitude and scales when compared to other ancient ruins in the region such as Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the Bagan Archaeological Zone in Myanmar, Borobudur in Indonesia, et cetera, it worth making a day trip to the site if you happened to be in Danang or Hoi An. Here's the pictures of My Son Sanctuary.

Some of the temples are in better shape

Some artifacts inside one of the ancient temples on display

Not all ruins are in good conditions...

Definitely worth a visit when you are in central Vietnam.


Sharing is caring. A word of advice and a piece of information.

As My Son Sanctuary is about 40 to 50 km away from Hoi An, you can follow bus tour to the ruins. Most hotels offer bus trips to the site and if they do not have it, they can help arrange one for you. For the more adventurous one, you can consider renting a motorbike and ride to the sanctuary. For the extreme, do what I did and cycle your ways to My Son. As for the entrance fee to the site, it is VND 60,000 (about RM 9.60).

No comments:

Post a Comment