Jim, Andrew and I decided to organise a trip to Mỹ Sơn (beautiful mountain in Vietnamese) Sanctuary. The sanctuary is in a valley surrounded by mountains and was listed as a World Heritage site in 1999. It takes about 1 hour from where we are in Da Nang (finer details regarding prices and driver details are below for anyone interested in doing the same trip – and we certainly recommend Mr Vu – comfortable car at the right price).
From what I’ve read, Viet Nam was trying to market this area as their ‘Angkor Wat’ but it really falls short of anything like the magnificent creation in Angkor.
A LITTLE HISTORY
Back in the 4th Century, the Sanctuary was used for offerings and worship of the Hindu gods. Originally built with wood, the temples of Mỹ Sơn were completely destroyed by fire in the 6th century and restored in the 7th century with bricks. Up to the 13th century, more than 70 similar temples were built, establishing Mỹ Sơn as a sanctuary of Hinduism in the Champa Kingdom.
Much of the site was destroyed by US bombing during the American War (Vietnam War) so you can see the various stages of restoration taking place. It is recommended not to venture too far from the walking tracks between the sites as unexploded mines may still be there.
COSTS AND FINER DETAILS
- Private driver, Mr Vu, ph. 0905 140 488 offered the best price of 750,000 VND (around $45AUD) for a return trip and a 2 hour wait from Da Nang. From Hoi An, the price is less @ 550,000 VND, as that is where he is located. Three other private drivers quoted me 1,200,000 VND, so he was by far the best and Mr Vu was also recommended on the expats page. Be nice – leave a tip for the driver.
- The park is open from 6:30 to 17:00 and is uncomfortably hot in the hotter season, which we are leading into now.
- Admission fee is 150,000 VND p/p ($9 AUD).
- Clean toilets are available at the entrance and there is a Champa museum to wander through but we didn’t allow enough time after a couple of beers to cool down!
- Past the museum you catch transport to the foot of the site. We chose to walk it and it was a comfortable and reasonable walk if you’re mobile. Probably a bit far if you’re not.
- Guides are available for hire for 100,000 VND. While hired a guide at Angkor Wat, I’m glad we didn’t here – I’m not sure it would have been of much benefit here because it’s so much smaller and we’d looked up the history before heading out there plus we had our very own English & History teacher with us 😛
Would we recommend this as a ‘must see’ if you visit this way….. not if you’re here for a quick visit but if you are a history buff you might like to have it on your list.