Day 22, Vietnam/Cambodia trip, Jan – March 2011
Day 24 – Mỹ Sơn, Đà Nẵng, Vietnam
I’ve passed by Mỹ Sơn on numerous occasions on previous trips into neighboring area. There was signage indicating it was a World Cultural Heritage site yet I couldn’t make it there. It’s really out-of-the-way if you don’t own a scooter or a car in Vietnam.
Admission stub to Mỹ Sơn – the Champa ruins in Quang Nam province
Are you a movie fan? Are you a fan of actress Angelina Jolie like I am? Have you heard of Angkor Wat, the largest Wat in Cambodia featured in her Tomb Raider movie? Did I hear yes and yes and yes?
Here we are in Mỹ Sơn where remnant of the old Champa (shorten to Cham in Vietnamese) Kingdom remains. History said that the current Vietnam, from the Central province of Quang Nam on toward Nha Trang, Phan Rang, Phan Thiet used to belong to the Champa kingdom back in the day. I grew up in the States so I must admit, my knowledge of Vietnam modern-day history is through my best friend – Google and words of mouth passed down from our parents.
Although not as grand nor sophisticate in design as Angkor Wat, Mỹ Sơn of Đà Nẵng, Vietnam is a league of its own. Simple in structure and size, but Mỹ Sơn is unique on its own due to the fact that all the temple remaining build structures here are built with just bricks, stacked on each other. No cement or mortar or glue whatsoever to hold it in yet they were able to weather the environment til this day.
Champa archaeological ruins in Mỹ Sơn, Vietnam
How many of us have heard of Mỹ Sơn Relic, (Mee Son) aka Mỹ Sơn Champa ancient Holy ground in Đà Nẵng province? Believed it or not, but most people only made it to China beach in Đà Nẵng and possibly Hoi An. Once I am in Mỹ Sơn relic & ruin, (Mee Son) aka Mỹ Sơn Champa ancient Holy ground, I am amazed at how under market or unnder-advertised it is to tourists. It is truly a hidden gem in the Quang Nam province.
My cousin, bé Trang (cậu Tùng’s oldest daughter) invited me to join her and friends to Mỹ Sơn Relic (pronounce as Mee Son) (aka Mỹ Sơn Champa ancient Holy ground) through her mom the day before, when I was still in Đà Nẵng. The invitation couldn’t be more timely.
I took the chicen bus from Đà Nẵng around 5:30 am into the village to meet bé Trang at 7 am at my grandparents’ house. Our group will ride the motorbikes to Mỹ Sơn.The bus ride from Đà Nẵng into the village cost me $10,000 VND, or $0.50 USD.
Mỹ Sơn Relic, (Mee Son) aka Mỹ Sơn Champa ancient Holy ground – Welcome gate
I paid oversea Vietnamese tourist entrance fee of $60,000 VND = $3.00 USD. My cousin paid Vietnamese national (domestic) entrance fee of $15,000 VND – $0.75 USD.
A former co-worker once told me: if you travel and see any thing that’s “World Heritage”, do no miss it and I have to agree with him. I personally think that Mỹ Sơn Relic’s admission (Mee Son) at $3.00 USD for tourist is a basement bargain comparing to Angkor Wat in Cambodia which comes in at $20 USD (circa 2011). Granted that Mỹ Sơn is not as sizable or grandeur as Angkor Wat, but it is still a “World Heritage” site and worth a visit if you’re in the vicinity of Hoi An, Đà Nẵng or central Vietnam (including the former imperial city of Hue).
Our light hike from the gate entrance to the relic site
Green and shady trees embraced our walking path.
The warm sun came out to greet us for a nice change after weeks of gloomy weather.
The complimentary Apsara cultural dance show, took place in the above gazebo
Traditional Champa dance show, twice a day: 9:30 am & 11:30 am included in the admission price.
Overall, if you’re in the Quang Nam and Da Nang provinces, visiting the hi-light attractions in the areas such as Hoi An, do consider visit My Son champa ruins as it’s possible to visit both places in one day. You can visit My Son in the first part of the morning to avoid the heat, then return to Hoi An, stroll around in the “motor off” old town wrapped with river banks on both side of town. Don’t forget to reward your self a hearty of lunch with Hoi An’s specialty of Mi Quang or Cau Lau. Or get yourself a new wardrobe with custom tailoring suits or outfits at the many tailoring boutiques.