The ancient red brick towers at My Son Cham make for an easy half day excursion from Hoi An (town or beach). To get to these Cham ruins, which date from the 4th – 13th centuries, you pass through some beautiful rural countryside as you head away from the coast. It’s worth stopping at Phuoc Kieu en route, a 500 year old village which specialises in bronze crafting – bells, gongs(and other indeterminate musical instruments), incense burners, lamp holders and vases. You have time to stroll along the several interesting alleys, visit workshops and visit a temple where locals worship their ancestors.
My Son is the cultural highlight of Central Vietnam, granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1999. The tower-temples in the sanctuary are surrounded by hills. Admittedly, they are not as spectacular as the great complexes in Cambodia – no others are! – but many of the structures actually pre-date Angkor, are atmospheric and conjure images of the majesty of the Champa Kingdom. You first visit the small museum near the entrance to the site and then are free to wander amongst the towers, before heading back to Hoi An.
This tour can be done either in the morning or afternoon.