We decided to visit Central Vietnam as there were three UNESCO World Heritage Sites located there. However, in the end, due to the distance, we decided only to visit two, Hoi An and Mỹ Sơn, and regrettably had to miss Hue.
Our guide planned a half day visit to Mỹ Sơn followed by a city tour around Danang. That morning, there was a heavy downpour. We arrived at Mỹ Sơn just in time for a cultural show. Due to the rain, the simple hall with a stage was packed with tourists sitting on plastic chairs. The song and dance performance depicted the Champa era, where the people were Hindus.
Mỹ Sơn comprises of a cluster of Hindu Temples built during the 4-16 AD by the Champa King. It is purely for religious use and unfortunately, many of the structures were demolished during the Vietnam. With aids from the Italians, a few were being reconstructed. Visiting the site, which consisted of an indoor museum, one marvels at the architectural brilliance of the people at that time.
After the visit to Mỹ Sơn, we were taken to lunch at Apsara at Danang, where the owner has a fascination with Mỹ Sơn and replicated a miniature copy of one of the Hindu Temples.
Marble Mountain followed immediately after lunch. The mountain is so named as it sits on a site where marble is found. As such, surrounding Marble Mountain is a large marble industry of factories and marble retail shops. Mining for marble has since stopped but noise of the grinding machines continues from marble imported from elsewhere. Located at Marble Mountain are a few Chinese temples, As we climbed up to the peak, we got a wonderful panoramic view of Danang City and its coast, the view only marred by the grinding noise from the factories below. Hidden within the mountains are a few caves, with Toaist and Buddhist shrines for prayers.Danang City is developing into a venue for Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE). Large hotels, casinos and wedding halls line the coastal roads and excursion to UNESCO Sites like Hue, Mỹ Sơn and Hoi An are close by. The cool months of December is a wonderful time to visit and we certainly wouldn’t mind returning for more exploration.