The Chams ruled a great part of Central Vietnam from the 2nd to the 15th centuries.
Influenced by Hinduism, their buildings and sculptures are reflective of the art of India.
As their land was agriculturally weak, they were known as pirates, and were more-or-less in a constant state of war with the Khmer and Vietnamese kingdoms.
By the 17th century, they were part of Vietnam.
My Son was the intellectual and religious capital of Champa, and has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2000.
Scholars compare My Son to other Old Kingdom cities in Southeast Asia, such as Bagan in Burma, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and Ayuttahaya in Thailand.
My Son suffered greatly during the AmeriViet War, but enough remains to be well worth the visit.
My Son can be seen in one day, on an easy bus trip from Hoi An.
Most of the significant sculptures have been removed from My Son, and the best of them are to be seen in the Cham Museum in Da Nang.
As there is little else to see in Da Nang, savvy travelers visit the museum while traveling to or from the airport in Da Nang.
Corner of Trung Nu Vuong and Bach Dang streets. Open daily from 8-11 am and 1-5 pm.
This open-air museum was founded in 1915, and contains sculptures, altars, and other Cham items.
It's highly recommended for anyone interested in Cham art and culture.
Emmanuel Guillon'sCham Art: Treasures from the Da Nang Museum (2001, ISBN 974-8225-46-1) chronicles art and architecture, both inside the museum, and in the field.
Getting to My Son
My Son can be easily reached by minibus, which leaves at 8 am, returning at 3pm, or by taxi (book at your hotel).