Taking the Long Way travel blog

My My son guide and a map of the site

Temple 1

One of the bomb craters courtesy of the Vietnam War




This was a female sacrificial altar inside one of the temples. I...

There is still alot of restoration work to be done after the...

The 2km walk to and from the ruins

The jungle has reclaimed some more than others

Heading back to Hoi An by boat

The Cam Kim Island ferry

Water buffalo swimming near the island

Petrol station; no confusing E10 and premium here.

This looks like a very slow painful process of cutting wood

Boats under repair (they look beyond repair to me)

Junior would-be woodcarvers

The master at work

Fisherman casting his net

Hoi An specialities; Cau Lau, Fried Wontons and White Rose. All for...

No I don't have a son and its pronounced 'Me Song'; a place not a person.

I took a bus from Hoi An out to My Son which is the major site in Vietnam from the ancient Champa Kingdom which flourished between the 2nd and 15th centuries. Descendants of the Champa civilisation still live along the coast of Vietnam though they are now fully integrated in Vietnamese society. We were told by the guide that The Champa people are distinguished from other Vietnamese by their more pointed noses, dark skin and big lips. And then pointed me out to everyone and said, 'Like her'. I wasn't sure if I should be insulted or not.

The Kingdom at My Son dates back to the 4th century and remained fully occupied through until the 13th century, which makes it the longest occupied of all the major monuments of SE Asia. It served as a religious and intellectual centre where Champa kings were crowned and buried. In 1999 it was named a UNESCO World Heritage site and is often compared with some of the other great Indian influenced archaeological sites of SE Asia including Borobodur in Indonesia, Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Ayutthaya in Thailand.

Unfortunately, events during the Vietnam War (or the American War, as the Vietnamese call it) destroyed many of the site's temples. The Viet Cong had used My Son as a key base which forced US bombing of the area, leaving only about 20 of the original 70 structures intact. Bomb craters next to some of the temples are clearly visible. The ruins are located about a 2km walk from the car park which seemed even longer when it started to rain. It was quite spectacular, though not in the league of the Mayan Ruins at Chichen Itza.

From there I took a boat trip back to Hoi An, stopping off at the island of Cam Kim on the way. Its only a 5 minute boat trip from Hoi An and there is a ferry that goes back and forth every 10 minutes so locals can get to work etc. Its an island that is mostly known for its wood carving and that is pretty much what you see everyone doing.

I'm heading off from Hoi An tomorrow on the sleeping bus ever southward to Nha Trang.

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