My Son Sanctuary From Hoi An: Is It Worth Visiting?

Come discover the incredible history, a short drive away from Hoi An, at My Son Sanctuary Vietnam.

I will let you know all there is about visiting such as booking a My Son tour, how to get there by yourself, entry fees, opening hours, and most importantly, is it really worth the early wake-up for the sunrise tour!?


Located in a rainforest-like setting, the amazing complex of the My Son Sanctuary is certainly a highlight when visiting Hoi An in Vietnam. Get ready to be transported from the busy Vietnam city life to a Jurassic park setting rich in history.

However many travelers struggle with logistics, such as choosing the best time to visit to avoid crowds or understanding the historical context behind the ruins, which can affect the depth of their experience. It’s a pretty cool place so no doubt you want to make the most out of your visit.

I was lucky enough to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of My Son Sanctuary from Hoi An when I was traveling Vietnam from North to South. These are no doubt the most impressive ruins I have seen in the country and well worth the adventure.

However, there are certainly some things worth knowing which I will share in this article! This includes how you are actually going to get there, if you are going to do a My Son tour, entrance fees, opening hours, what to expect, and if it is even worth visiting!



🚗 How I Book Cheap Transport In Vietnam: Baolau & 12.Go Asia


dog guarding one of the temples at my son sanctuary from hoi an
dog guarding one of the temples at my son sanctuary from hoi an

Need A Quick Answer?

If you perhaps don’t have time to read this entire guide on Mỹ Sơn Sanctuary, no worries, here are the top tips:

🔎 Easiest & Best Way to See My Son Sanctuary: I recommend booking a Small Group Tour of My Son Sanctuary Including a Lunch and a Boat Trip with Hoi An Food Tours. Book now with Viator. If you are not a group tour person, you can also book a shuttle service from Hoi An or Da Nang to My Son for just $9.00 where you will be free to explore by yourself.

🏠 Where to Stay in Hoi An: Top hostel choices for backpackers in Hoi An include Mad Monkey Hoi An (dorms start from $8.00) and Backhome Hostel Bar (dorms start from $6.50)

🍜 For Foodies: Take a Hoi An cooking class with a market tour and a basket boat trip. Book now with GetYourGuide.

🚗 Easiest & Best Way to Reach Hoi An From Da Nang: I recommend booking a private or shared shuttle transfer with Hoi An Express. Book now with GetYourGuide. Read my guide for more options.


looking over at one of the temples at my son sanctuary over a stone bridge with a stream running underneath
newly built bridges connecting the paths around my son sanctuary vietnam
the incredible craftmanship of the temples at my son sanctuary hoi an
the incredible craftmanship of the temples at my son sanctuary hoi an

Is My Son Sanctuary Worth It

No doubt My Son Sanctuary is a popular attraction here in Central Vietnam. However is it actually worth visiting? Especially if you have already seen numerous other temples throughout Southeast Asia.

Well, I think so! Especially if you are already in Hoi An or Da Nang it is an easy half-day trip where you can experience the following…

Historical Significance: My Son Sanctuary stands as an important remnant of the ancient Champa Kingdom. It served as a religious and cultural center for centuries and now offers a glimpse into Vietnam’s past.

Architectural Marvels: The temples at My Son Sanctuary showcase incredible craftsmanship. Despite facing destruction during multiple conflicts, many structures still stand tall today. They proudly display exquisite carvings, patterns, and unique styles influenced by both Indian and Southeast Asian cultures.

Natural Beauty: Surrounded by forests and scenic landscapes, you will be immersed in nature while exploring centuries-old ruins. It’s a peaceful experience that you don’t often come across in Vietnam.

morning rays shinning bright on a staircase at my son sanctuary
morning rays shinning bright on a staircase at my son sanctuary
following the pathway around the temples at my son sanctuary vietnam
following the pathway around the temples at my son sanctuary vietnam

How To Get From Hoi An To My Son

Approximately an hour’s drive outside of the busy tourist city of Hoi An is My Son Ruins. Located within the village of Duy Phu the complex stretches out two kilometers within a valley and is surrounded by mountain ranges.

There are basically three options to get to My Son from Hoi An.

  • motorbike
  • taxi
  • organized tour


Riding A Motorbike To My Son Sanctuary

This option is basically up to your discretion based on your driving skills. Obviously, this is the cheapest option, even after paying for fuel and parking. Though, depending on your skillset it might not be the safest option.

The roads within Hoi An may be okay to drive. However, venture out onto rural roads and be prepared for massive trucks, potholes, and questionable driving techniques.

Before deciding whether or not to ride a motorbike to My Son I recommend checking out Nomadasaurus post in which he drove with directions, as well as PsychoTravellers video on her not-so-pleasant experience riding there.

OUR WORST DAY IN VIETNAM. PLEASE WATCH.

Book A Shared Shuttle From Hoi An Or Da Nang To My Son Sanctuary

Another option you have is to take a shared shuttle bus from Da Nang or Hoi An to My Son Sanctuary.

This shuttle bus is equipped with modern amenities and conveniences, including comfortable seats and free WiFi, to ensure a relaxing journey. The shuttle bus departs from Da Nang and Hoi An, and takes you to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site of My Son Sanctuary.

This is a great option for those who want their transport taken care of but also want to explore at their own pace without a guide. With it costing just $9.00 per person this is a super affordable option.

The schedule for the shuttle bus from Da Nang to My Son Sanctuary is:

  • 7:15-7:30: Pick up at meeting points in Da Nang and head to Hoi An City to join a group.
  • 8:15: Depart to My Son sanctuary.
  • 9:15: Arrive at My Son Sanctuary.
  • 12:00 PM: Meet the driver at My Son Ticket Booth and transfer to Hoi An.
  • 1:00 PM-1:30 PM: Drop off in Hoi An and Da Nang

You will have 2 and a half hours to experience the site, where you can avoid the large tour groups. Tickets for the shuttle bus to My Son can be booked on Get Your Guide.


Hiring A Taxi To Visit My Son

Hiring a private taxi is definitely the most expensive option, especially as you will have to pay the driver to wait around while you explore the complex.

Though, if you have it in the budget this is probably the best option as it will give you the freedom to stay as long or as short as you wish.

Just with all taxis in Vietnam and Asia, make sure to agree on a price with the driver beforehand.

If you are not too worried about money, then why not take a private My Son tour from Da Nang or Hoi An instead? You will still have transport, and a lot of freedom, but also a knowledgeable guide who can explain the incredible history.

If you think this could be a good choice for you why not check out this tour run by TC Travel Hoi An. From just $50.00 per person, you will have an excellent tour guide, and plenty of time to experience this place.

You can book this tour on Viator.

dogs sleeping in front of a temple at my son sanctuary hoi an
dogs sleeping in front of a temple at my son sanctuary hoi an

Booking A My Son Tour

Booking a My Son Sanctuary tour is probably the most popular option and is surprisingly affordable. Though, you will have the restraint of being with a large group. Ultimately, restricting the amount of time you can explore.

When I visited I decided to do it with a My Son tour from Hoi An I booked through the hostel I was staying at for my Hoi An itinerary.

As it was a sunrise tour I certainly would not have wanted to drive there myself, especially in the dark. Also, my budget certainly did not stretch far enough to afford a taxi.

In all honesty, if you are a bit of a history buff I recommend taking a reputable tour as the guide will have a lot of knowledge, as ours did.

You can still walk around staring at the amazing structure. Though, when you gain important information about relevant attributes you certainly gain a wider understanding and a greater appreciation for the complex.

BOOK YOUR TOUR:


Map Of My Son Sanctuary Vietnam

Now if you are perhaps exploring My Son Sanctuary by yourself rather than on a guided tour here is a little map you can use to navigate around between the temples:


My Son Sanctuary Entrance Fee

To get your My Son Sanctuary ticket you must pay an entry fee of $6.20 / 150,000 VND, so it is a little on the pricey side.

However, it is unlike any other temple you will see in Vietnam and is well worth the money. Included in this fee is the admission to the temple complex itself as well as a museum.

getting at closer look at the brickwork at my son vietnam
getting at closer look at the brickwork at my son vietnam
appreciating the beauty of the temples at my son sanctuary in the morning light
appreciating the beauty of the temples at my son sanctuary in the morning light

Opening Hours Of My Son Sanctuary

My Son Sanctuary is open from 6.30 am to 5.30 pm daily, including during Tet and other holidays.

If you decide to book the sunrise My Son tour you will arrive just in time for opening, so it is a very early start considering it is approximately an hour’s drive from Da Nang or Hoi An.


🚗 How I Book Cheap Transport In Vietnam: Baolau & 12.Go Asia


When To Visit My Son Sanctuary From Hoi An

The best time to visit My Son Sanctuary is during the dry season, which runs from January to the end of September. During this period, visitors can expect clear skies and many sunny hours, making it ideal for sightseeing and photography.

Rains rarely occur, and temperatures are always high, reaching their peak from April to July.

Personally, I visited during the month of March and the weather was a bit overcast in Hoi An. However this provided some great relief for the midday sun, and we didn’t actually get any rain.


Best Time Of Day To Visit

The temperatures can get quite hot in Central Vietnam, so the best time of day to explore the My Son complex is certainly early morning or late afternoon.

When I went on the sunrise tour there were only a couple of large groups there, so if you are going solo you will have moments where you have certain temples to yourself.

Though many tours leave at around 10.30 am from Hoi An expect crazy crowds around those times as this truly is a must-see attraction.

the morning light is the best time for photos at my son sanctuary
the morning light is the best time for photos at my son sanctuary
a tree growing out the top of one of the temples at my son sanctuary
a tree growing out the top of one of the temples at my son sanctuary

What To Wear To My Son Sanctuary?

I was honestly not sure what to wear when I was visiting My Son.

Coming from Thailand where I was used to covering up when visiting religious and important buildings, I thought it would be necessary to cover up the shoulders and knees. However, this proved irrelevant as people were wearing shorts and singlets with no worries.

This was not a one-off experience as well, if you search My Son Sanctuary on Instagram you can find people wearing everything from crop tops to mini shorts and tiny dresses.

So, you do not have to be like me, covered completely up, though in the mornings it can be chilly so does pay to bring something warm, an important note when deciding what to wear in Vietnam.

rocking the covered shoulders and keen in your typical tourist clothes at my son sanctuary
rocking the covered shoulders and keen in your typical tourist clothes at my son sanctuary
tasha amy covered shoulders with a scarf while at my son sanctuary
covered shoulders with a scarf while at my son sanctuary

My Experience At My Son Sanctuary Vietnam

I booked my tour to My Son through my hostel in Hoi An. My partner and I did the sunrise tour which cost us $11.00 / 250,000 VND. Generally, it is cheaper to book once you arrive rather than online, though it can be a bit hit and miss whether you end up on a good tour.

This price included a basic breakfast, a sunrise group tour to My Son, transport and a boat ride back. It did not include the entrance fee. In all honesty, I would take the bus back next time instead of the boat.

That morning we were picked up early and dropped at a building where we had jam sandwiches. Then we drove the hour towards My Son in the pitch black morning. On arrival, the sun had begun to rise.

We jumped on a buggy which took us five or so minutes to the beginning of the complex from the entrance.

We walked a few minutes along the pathway, joined by multiple dogs to the first complex. It reminded me of the pagodas in Bagan, Myanmar, though the landscape was completely different.

There were no dry desert-like surrounds. Instead, rivers were flowing and the lush greenery was covered in morning mist.

However, not all the temples are intact, thanks to the bombings that went on in the Vietnamese War. Crumbles of bricks are stacked up and cordoned off.

It is easy to tell which temples have been restored thanks to the difference in bricks used. Hopefully, over time the the colors will lessen and they will become worn, matching in with the original materials.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to My Son Temples. Though, next time I would not do a sunrise tour, just because I am not my best self before 6 am.

In all honesty, I was either having to rush in front of the group or lag way behind to get a decent photo. I will say that taking a tour did mean not having to organize anything.

tasha amy in front one of the temples at my son sanctuary vietnam
standing in front one of the temples at my son sanctuary vietnam
hanging out with the friendly dogs who are residents at my son sanctuary hoi an
hanging out with the friendly dogs who are residents at my son sanctuary hoi an

Highlights Of My Son Sanctuary Hoi An

No doubt My Son Sanctuary is a pretty epic half-day trip from Hoi An. However, there are certainly some aspects that make it stand out.


The Temples

Tower Group A: This group of temples is the most well-preserved and is located in the center of the sanctuary. It consists of four towers, each dedicated to a different deity. The towers are decorated with intricate carvings depicting scenes from Hindu mythology. The tallest tower in this group is 24 meters high and is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Tower Group B: This group of temples is located to the east of Tower Group A and consists of five towers. The towers in this group are smaller than those in Group A and are dedicated to the god Shiva. They are decorated with carvings of animals and humans, as well as depictions of Hindu gods and goddesses.

Tower Group C: This group of temples is located to the west of Tower Group A and consists of three towers. The towers in this group are the oldest and are dedicated to the god Krishna.

Tower Group D: This group of temples is located to the south of Tower Group A and consists of four towers. The towers in this group are dedicated to the god Vishnu.

a man in front of one of the temples at my son sanctuary
a cheeky photo in front of one of the temples at my son

Visit The Museum At My Son Sanctuary

Before making your way to the temples, it is recommended to visit the museum located 100 meters behind the ticket booth on the right-hand side of the road.

The museum provides historical, archaeological, and religious information about My Son and the Cham civilization.

It has a permanent and thematic exhibition that showcases carvings of Hindu gods and displays two US missile casings, the first found on the premises in 1988 and the second just in 2007!


Visit My Son Sanctuary Lake

Now when you are walking around My Son Da Nang you will notice a small stream flowing through the site. Now these actually lead to a small lake.

This is a secluded part of the valley where minimal tourists venture to.

The lake is 3 kilometers long and is perfect for kayaking. You will find places around My Son that hire out these kayaks.

Just be aware that if you are on a group tour you won’t have the opportunity to visit the lake.

looking upriver at one of the stream which one through my son sanctuary
looking upriver at one of the stream which one through my son sanctuary
looking over a hill to a temple at my son sanctuary vietnam
looking over a hill to a temple at my son sanctuary vietnam

Cultural Dance Show

There is a traditional dance show every day at 9:30 am and 10:30 am for the tour groups that come here in the morning.

It is held at the stage before you reach the first group of ruins, opposite the souvenir shop.

During the show, visitors can enjoy the captivating Apsara dance, performed by skilled artists in sync with the rhythms of Ginang drums, Baranung drums, and Saranai trumpets.


The History Of My Son Sanctuary In Hoi An

My Son Sanctuary is the most significant Cham site within Vietnam, and one of the most important in South East Asia as well. The temples were built between the 4th and 14th century AD by the King Bhadravarman.

They were constructed out of fired brick, sandstone bas-reliefs, and stone pillars. The purpose of building the complex known as My Son was to worship the Hindu God Shiva.

During the time that My Son was occupied, it was used for religious ceremonies by the kings of Champa. As well as this, it was also used as a burial place for those considered Cham royalty and national heroes.

In 1885, French architect, archaeologist, and historian, Henri Parmentier and his colleagues began work on the site. During this excavating and documentation period, they discovered 72 monuments within a two-kilometer-wide valley.

close up of flowers in the sun at my son sanctuary from da nang
close up of flowers in the sun at my son sanctuary from da nang

My Son Sanctuary And The War In Vietnam

During the Vietnam War, the My Son Sanctuary was severely damaged. This was particularly so by the United States, which relentlessly bombed these monuments as it was a former Viet Cong base.

Within a week the majority of My Son had been destroyed.

Even today, you can see the massive craters in the ground from bombs. As a result, only 17 of the original 71 structures remain.

one of the temples at my son sanctuary roped off while being renovated
one of the temples at my son sanctuary roped off while being renovated
a man exploring the interior of one of the temples at my son sanctuary
xploring the interior of one of the temples at my son sanctuary

Where To Stay In Hoi An

Now you know all about My Son Sanctuary Vietnam it’s time to get into planning your stay. More specifically where to stay.

Luckily enough you will be spoilt for choice in Hoi An! Whether you are looking for an affordable hostel, or something a bit more luxe, no doubt you will find the ideal stay here.

These are some of my favorite spots in Hoi An:

Mad Monkey Hoi An

Mad Monkey Hoi An

A fun and tropical hostel with a pool. Dorm rooms start at $8.00 per night.

BOOK NOW
Backhome Hostel & Bar

Backhome Hostel & Bar

A family-style hostel for more of a relaxed stay. Dorm rooms start at $6.50 per night including breakfast.

BOOK NOW
Hoianese Center Hotel – Truly Hoi An

Hoianese Center Hotel – Truly Hoi An

A social hotel stay with plenty of activities. Rooms start from $21.00 per night.

BOOK NOW
Quynh Chau Homestay Hội An

Quynh Chau Homestay Hội An

A lovely and affordable homestay in Hoi An. Prices start from $24.00 per night.

BOOK NOW

Other Things To Do In Hoi An

Now visiting My Son Hoi An will certainly tick one thing off your list, however, there are plenty of other things to do here as well:

Hoi An Old Town: One of the highlights is exploring the Hoi An Old Town which is considered one of the most beautiful places in Vietnam. It is another UNESCO World Heritage Site like My Son, so you know walking through Hoi An Old Town you will be in awe.

Night Market: Located within the Hoi An Old Town is the Night Market where you can find any Vietnamese souvenir your heart requires. It is held every night from 5 pm to 11 pm and can’t be missed!

Thanh Ha Pottery Village: Thanh Ha Pottery Village is an integral place in Vietnamese history. The skilled craftsmen who lived here even contributed pieces to the Imperial City of Hue! It is pretty cool walking around admiring their skills and hard work.

Beach Day: This coastal town is lucky enough to be close to some amazing beaches. The most popular beach is definitely An Bang where you can enjoy a dip in the ocean.

Tra Que Vegetable Village: Sometimes you just need to get out of the city and a visit to Tra Que Vegetable Village is the perfect way to do this! It is a short distance away from the old town where you can learn about unique horticultural techniques.


🚗 How I Book Cheap Transport In Vietnam: Baolau & 12.Go Asia


FAQs About My Son Vietnam

Is My Son Vietnam worth visiting?

No doubt My Son Vietnam is worth visiting if you are in Da Nang or Hoi An. It is a historically significant site where you can appreciate the beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, one thing to note is it’s not as impressive as Angkor Wat in Cambodia due to the volatile history that destroyed many of the temples. 

What is the significance of the My Son Sanctuary?

My Son Sanctuary is a collection of tower temples that were built between the 4th and 13th centuries CE by the Champa Kingdom. They present a picture of spiritual and political life in an important phase of the history of Southeast Asia. The monuments of the My Son sanctuary are the most important constructions of the My Son civilization.

How long to spend at My Son Sanctuary?

Depending if you are on a tour or not will affect how long you spend at My Son Sanctuary. However, most visitors seem to spend between three to four hours exploring the impressive site.

Is My Son older than Angkor Wat?

Yes, My Son is older than Angkor Wat. My Son Sanctuary dates back to the 4th to 13th centuries CE, whilst Angkor Wat was built in the 12th century.

How much does it cost to go to my son in Vietnam?

A visit to My Son Vietnam can be quite an affordable day trip from Hoi An or Da Nang. If traveling on a tour you will find prices starting around $30.00. However, if you wait to book until you arrive in the city, you will find it cheaper again.

Who built my son sanctuary?

My Son Sanctuary was built in the 4th century by King Bhadravarman and completed in the late 13th and early 14th centuries under the reign of King Jaya Simhavarman III. They were built in the heart of the Cham people’s homeland, which is now in Vietnam.

Who discovered My Son in Vietnam?

In 1898 French scholar, M. C. Paris originally found the ruins, but not without the help of the local farmers. The French then embarked on a restoration project, realizing the significance of the site, and comparing it to places like Angkor in Cambodia, Borobudur in Indonesia, and Ayutthaya in Thailand.

close up of a dog guarding my son sanctuary
close up of a dog guarding my son sanctuary

Should You Visit My Son: Wrap-Up

I think everyone should visit My Son if they are in Hoi An or Da Nang.

It is a great way to spend half a day learning about the Champa people and Hinduism. The My Son Cham Ruins provides a glimpse into the history of the area, and are well worth a visit.

Though, you should think about what is the best way to get to My Son and explore it. Whether that is going solo or taking a tour.

Depending on your travel style and your true intentions in visiting this amazing site will result in what is the best for you.


LIKE IT? PIN IT!

Come discover the incredible history, a short drive away from Hoi An, at My Son Sanctuary Vietnam. I will let you know all there is about visiting such as booking a My Son tour, how to get there by yourself, entry fees, opening hours, and most importantly, is it really worth the early wake-up for the sunrise tour!?


Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. So, if you click on it and purchase something, I get a small percentage at no extra cost to you. As always all opinions are my own and your support is much appreciated.


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5 thoughts on “My Son Sanctuary From Hoi An: Is It Worth Visiting?

  1. Avatar for AINESS AQUINO DUYA
    AINESS AQUINO DUYA says:

    hi. I have been following your writings from hanoi to hue.. then this hoi an.. how did you transfer from hue to hoi an? thanks!

  2. Avatar for Katie Dickinson
    Katie Dickinson says:

    Ahh! I can’t believe I missed this when I visited Hoi An. I love temples (and adore Angkor) so I’m sure this would’ve been right up my alley. Guess I’ll have to go back lol

  3. Avatar for Char
    Char says:

    I love following your Vietnam adventures SO much! Your photos capture SO much beauty and really make me feel at peace with the world. My Son is somewhere I’ve never heard of but I will be bookmarking for the future.

  4. Avatar for Sarah Shumate
    Sarah Shumate says:

    We decided against visiting My Son on our trip to Hoi An since we were only staying 5 days and already had a very full schedule. Had we had an extra day on our itinerary, I totally would have visited, though.

    There are private car tours you can take to My Son as well that cost around the same price as a taxi, but include a guide who will take you around My Son at your own pace. Certainly pricier than a group tour, but would definitely solve the problem of feeling rushed or having to lag behind a big group to get decent photos. (I’ve done that before, too. Def not my cup of tea!)

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