I went and visited the My Son Sanctuary today as well as roamed around the Hoi An old city with my camera today. My Son was a bit disappointing. First, it rained which sort of made for difficult conditions taking photos. Second, it was much smaller than I expected. It was the size of a single one of the side temples you’d see in Angkor. The architecture is very similar to the older temples you see around Angkor, and in fact My Son is older than Angkor. There was a giant map of My Son where you could see the layout of the area, and the size of the map sort of gave the impression that it would take hours to stroll around the premises. In fact, we had only an hour and it was more than enough time. The ruins were pretty ruined and in a state of dilapidation well beyond what you’d find in Angkor. (which is to be expected given its age).
The ancient city of Hoi An is an old trading port. The building styles you find are a mix of Chinese and French, and very different from what you see in the rest of the country. A lot like Penang in that the whole city (or at least part of the city) is the attraction. You can walk around the areas near the riverfront and pretty get a flavor for the places in a few hours. There are lots of good restaurants in the area.
The third location of my central Vietnam World Heritage trifecta is Hue. The citadel in Hue is probably the biggest historical attraction in the country. For the first time in ages, I actually have a room booked in advance (my current hotel did it for me, as they get a finders fee).
After Hue I have two options: 1) Take a 12 hour bus ride to Hanoi. 2) Take a bus or fly from Hue to Dong Hoi to visit Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park on the way to Hanoi. I’m leaning towards #2, but I’ll get more information in Hue.