It seems unfair to compare My Son to other UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the region like Angkor Wat in Cambodia (3 days is required to explore this), Borobudur in Indonesia (the carvings on the temple and the number of Buddhas in a single place is amazing) and the Bagan in Myanmar (I have yet to go there).
My Son consists of 4 groups of structures. Unfortunately, I was less than impressed by the temple compound. The temple compound was bombed during the Vietnam War and parts of it are being recreated with the same material used 2000 years ago. The problem was that the builders did not “age” the new material enough so that it blends in with the older bricks. The new bricks look new.
The contrast between the new bricks and the old is disconcerting.
The Cham still worship at the temple.
Still, all is not lost. There is some value in My Son – just not as much as with Angkor Wat or Borobudur.
I am quite undecided about My Son. It is interesting to see how the local government and the local community treat the site, but it pales in comparison with Angkor Wat or Borobudur. The structures are more well-preserved at Angkor Wat and Borobudur, and the local government are more strict on tourists who visit these monuments.
My Son felt like a tourist attraction instead of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It is good for one visit, but I will not visit it again when I am next in Central Vietnam.
Cost of tour: USD$5 – according to the internet. I paid more for the tour at my hostel (DK House)
Duration of tour: 8.30am to 2pm – this included a river boat trip to tourist traps