If you have more time in Hoi An, you have plenty of options for day trips such as the ancient Hindu Sanctuary of My Son. It is located 40 km from Hoi An and it takes about 1.5 hours by car. I booked a local driver through my Airbnb host to take me there and drive me back, for US$15 for the day for 2 people. Once there, you pay for your entry fee and the whole tour can take around 1-3 hours, since it’s not very large and it doesn’t take too long to explore the whole site.
It is very interesting to see the change on the scenery, since My Son is surrounded by mountains and you will notice the misty forest with lower temperature than Hoi An. I visited My Son on a rainy day, which made the temperature drop even more.
My Son Hindu Sanctuary, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is a great example of the ancient Champa civilization. It was an independent state from around the 2nd to the 17th century, at which time it was occupied by Vietnam. The impressive Hindu-themed ruins feature many beautiful stone sculptures, temples and towers in tropical jungle surroundings. My Son was also a political center and a royal burial ground and the complex consists of more than 70 structures devoted to Hindu gods and goddesses and the most noticeable one, Shiva, was considered the protector of the Champa’s kings. Their skillful use of red bricks and sandstone is remarkable.
It is heart breaking to see that the temples are not well preserved, and many are covered by vegetation. During the tour you can notice marks from US bombs on the temples, and also large craters in the ground. I was told that the during the US Vietnam War, the Viet Cong were believed to have used this complex as repository of military supplies.
All the information I had about My Son is from a book that I read, but if you are interested to visit My Son and to learn more about the history you have the option to hire a guide to assist your tour. I started my tour in a clockwise direction and found it to a better option. Most people will start counter-clockwise. By going the opposite direction I was not following any large groups around and the complex seemed to reveal itself to me gradually rather than seeing the largest temples first. You can find more information about the tour in My Son here.