Central Vietnam dost not offer only the most beautiful beaches but appeal to tourists by the interesting things including historical sites. I have had the unforgettable days in this land, follow me to know more about three well-known sites: My Son Sanctuary, Non Nuoc Mountain and Tra Que Vegetable Village.
I heard that My Son Sanctuary is so small in comparison to Angkor in Cambodia, but I still paid a visit to see how small it is. I book a ticket for Camel Bus at the cost of 70,000 VND including lunch which make me excited to travel from Hoi An to visit the relic.
I got up at 5 am to be able to admire sunrise at My Son Sanctuary. My breakfast on bus included in the ticket price is a little pack of steamed sticky rice which is not tasty anymore. I then need to pay 30,000 VND for entrance ticket to My Son Sanctuary. Total cost for visiting the sanctuary is 100,000 VND.
My Son Sanctuary is the region of Hinduism of Champa Kingdom in the past. The marks and letters carved on the stone stela here show that they appear from the 4th century. According to history, the temple built to worship Siva God was destroyed by a fire. Until 7th century, under the rule of Sambhuvarman King, the temple was restored. From that time, the next dynasties of the country kept maintaining to protect and built more 70 temples and towers in the area until 8th century, creating a majestic complex of constructions in Champa Kingdom.
The Champa temples and towers remaining at My Son Sanctuary are divided into many groups of different architecture and styles including Binh Dinh style, Dong Duong style, Hoa Lai style, My Son A, A, C styles and so on. In general, there relics are almost built up on the ground, facing the East. The center of each construction is always a tower with square body and a worshipping temple in the middle.
Seen from outside, each relic is a multi – floor – construction decorated with carving patterns or images of people with their clasped hands that make the temples and towers more sacred. Almost all the decorations and worshipping items inside the temples and towers are damaged. The feeling of standing on that ruin is quite the same as when standing in the middle of Angkor, but of course Angkor is more majestic and sacred. The similarities are the sound of wind, the quiet and vast space.
The second secret of these Champa temples and towers is the carving art on tiles. The sophisticated decoration patterns were directly made by the Cham people on the tiles. It is said that, the tiles were made from the special material and heated in a unique technique that made the tile surfaces an ideal ground for carving. The tiles are light and spongy that are difficult to be broken when being carved on.
After around 1 hour at My Son Sanctuary, I got on a bus getting back to Hoi An and I reached the town at less than 10 am. My next destinations are Ngu Hanh Son Mountain or Monkey Mountain and Tra Que Vegetable Village.
Arriving at the village, you will smell the fragrance of various types of herbs. The special thing is the clean growing and nurturing methods of the locals. Vegetables here are nurtured with algae from Tra Que River without any fertilizer or pesticides. Try to walk to visit all the lots of vegetables, you will see how beautiful they are.
Algae is place in the middle of the land lots with sand. The sand is clean which shall give you an interesting experience when walking on bare foot. In the past, people needed to carry the water from the nearby pond by hand to water the vegetable. It is now easier with the support of machines.
The herbs here have long been famous for being fresh and clean. They are best served with duck porridge. The final destination in my route is Ngu Hanh Son range of mountain (5 elements mountain) which is also known as Monkey Mountain. The name starts from the fact that there are 5 mountain peaks located nearby each other, creating a complex.
Stone got from Ngu Hanh Son Mountain is a famous product here. Almost tourists coming here shall buy this product as gift from Da Nang. By night these stones are able to lighten the space. However, some traders here now may mix their products with stones from other place that reduce the quality of the original stones.
There are also some caves to visit but I just forget the names. Climb through these cave, and trek to the mountain top, you will have a gorgeous view of My Khe Beach below, right in front of you.