Foremost among the attractions around Hoi An are the ruins of ancient My Son, an important Cham religious centre between the 4th and 13th century, which was badly damaged by American bombing in 1968. Classed as a World Heritage monument by UNESCO, the site originally comprised 70 structures, although only around 20 remain intact today.
The most striking of them feature tall sanctuary towers, or kalan, adorned with decorative brickwork and exquisite sculpture. Depicting Hindu deities, celestial nymphs (apsaras), dancing girls, demons and musicians, the figures exhibit traits drawn from both Javanese and Indian tradition. The valley setting of My Son is wonderful: lush forested hills enfold the ruins, which are thought to have been the longest inhabited ancient city in Southeast Asia.
Hoi An, or the resort of Cua Dai Beach, are around 40 minutes’ drive away and make ideal bases for visits.
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