The ancient temples of My Son, Vietnam

My Son, pronounced Mee Son, is an ancient temple area about 55km away from Hoi An. The tour bus picked us up from our hotel at about 8am. I guess there were about 25 of us on the bus and our guide, Tony, who introduced himself as ‘the most handsome guide in My Son’.

It took about an hour to drive to the site and we then switched to an electric car which took us a further two kilometres to the actual ruins.

Tony explained that the black rock, which looks older, is actually the restoration work and the pristine pink brick is the original material. Restoration work in the 1980s used cement and there are now gaps where the cement has eroded.

Scientists have been studying it for years to work out how the buildings were originally constructed without cement. They have concluded that the bricks are rubbed together to provide a smooth finish and the dust was mixed with resin to join them together. The whole building was then covered in resin from the trees and set alight to seal it.

Incredibly, the buildings had survived since the fourth century but 50 of the 70 monuments were destroyed in the Vietnam War. You could even see craters left by the bombs.

There were quite a few ruins left to see and it was a beautiful setting in the jungle. We returned to Hoi An by boat, and were given a light lunch of fried rice, so it was a very good day out, and excellent value at £7 per person.

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