Mỹ Sơn

This morning we visited Mỹ Sơn which is a cluster of ruined Hindu temples constructed by the kings of Champa between the 4th and 14th centuries AD.

We organised a private car and driver and left Hoi An at 5.30am, arriving just as it opened at 6.30am. The early bird gets to see the attraction before the big tourist rush. It’s also much less hot than the middle of the day, almost bearable in fact.

The tour buses were only just starting to arrive as we left, so it was definitely $28 well spent.

Some internet sources will tell you that Mỹ Sơn is ‘rubbish’ and in no way compares to other historic temple complexes in SE Asia such as Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Ayutthaya in Thailand.

I’m not one for ruin shaming, I try to accept each site for what it is without ranking or comparison. That said, it’s a shame the Vietcong used the site as a base during the Vietnamese war which prompted the Americans to bomb the hell out of it, but I doubt they were concerned with its future UNESCO world heritage status.

Of the 70 original buildings only a few remain, and several of those have been clumsily restored with house bricks. However, the setting in a lush jungle valley surrounded by gurgling streams is enchanting, especially very early morning with nobody else around.

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