Over the years, Hoi An grew in fame as a destination for people from all walks of life. That means no matter what is your travelling interest, Hoi An always has something to offer. There are many local villages around Hoi An. Take a bike and go!
In my previous trip in 2013, I was obsessed with the magnificent view of Hoi An as well as the generosity and hospitality of people living there. It urged me to get back this little gem in last July to view the city in a different perspective by exploring its villages. Follow me and see how I spend amazing time there.
Hoi An is quite small so a bicycle or a scooter is enough to get around the city. If you travel in summer when the temperature is always high, renting a motorbike is a good option to avoid the heat. On the Hai Ba Trung street, there are many shops offering motorbike rental service at 100,000 VND/ 1 day (gas is paid by yourself). We chose a Nova motorbike which is good for a long journey.
The village is easily accessible from city center. To get in the village, you need pay 20,000 VND.
Tra Que hosts more than 200 households and 40 ha of land. It’s where you can observe how the organic vegetables used over the city are made.
Photo by Sylvain Marcelle
Once I got in the village, I was surprised with tens of vegetables grew over the area. Most impressive of all, I was offered a chance to be a farmer. It was an eye-opening experience to me. I watered the crop under direction of a farmer. He is so nice and generous to me even though I didn’t do a good job. You know, it is not easy as it looks. I barely fell over many times as the water pots were really big. I wondered how local skinny farmers can do this job (and other hard tasks) every day? They are real supermen!!!
Even though you can do a trip to Tra Que by yourself, I think it’s much more informative when we go with a tour. A tour to Tra Que costs 34 usd. I saw other tourists were explained of what technique used to plant vegetables and how the procedure works. They also joined in more farming activities than I did. Maybe next time I will try it.
If you can’t stand on the heat, it’s advisable to get there in the early morning. As always, Tra Que appears at its best in the morning sunshine.
It takes about 15 mins from city center to Tra Que by bike and 10 mins by scooter.
Next up is Cam Thanh fishing and coconut tree village. As its name refers, Cam Thanh is well-known for hundreds of water coconut trees around the village.
To me, it was fascinating to drag along the road and fully enjoy the peaceful atmosphere on the way. From here, the rest of the city opens up. Most of the time, the village is empty so those who get there early can get it to themselves, like me.
Photo by DaNang HoiAn
Be sure you make some contacts with local people. Though many of them can’t speak English, they will happily show you how to make bags from coconut leaves or where to go in case you get lost.
Some parts of the road are not easy to go so be prepared.
To explore Cam Thanh in depth, you should go with a tour which provides a great way to get closer with the local lives and local cuisine through cooking classes. A tour to Cam Thanh costs 40 usd.
I was really amazed at how a small town as Hoi An has so many unique villages. I mean, every time I lead a way to one village, there is something new to see and try.
Photo by Phạm Hồ Thanh
In Thanh Ha, we are offered to make pottery by ourselves. At this term, I did a better job compared with the time in Tra Que. It is a MUST thing to do. My hand got dirty, but it was so fun to see my “ugly cute” product after all. There is also a pottery museum inside the village, which hosts displays of pottery and the history of Thanh Ha village.
The entrance fee is 20,000 VND per person.
There are many local houses so you can drag around to observe the local lives.
4. Cam Kim island
Cam Kim Island is characterized by as a woodworking village. Only 15 mins by boat from the city center, you can see a completely different face of Hoi An. Not touristy and busy as the old quarter, Cam Kim with its wide roads and woodworking spots made my trip awesome.
I made a free tour to Cam Kim with Hoi An free tour. It’s a non-profit organization of the university students in Da Nang and Hoi An. I have had the best time ever with them. They are so lively and informative with excellent English skill. We were introduced to the boat making place, local temple, mat and noodle making houses, which you can’t go by yourself.
Photo by Justgola
What I loved most in Cam Kim is the friendliness of the local citizen. Every time I passed by local kids, they always screamed: “Hi, Hello, how are you? I’m fine, thank you. And you”. I couldn’t stand on laughing with that greeting. They asked and replied by themselves with smiling faces. How cute they are!
As you don’t have to pay any fees for the guide. You need to give 50,00 VND for the ferry fee and donation to the local people in mat and noodle making houses.
Bring bottles of water as you may ride under the sun.
Make sure you go with your group. When you want to stop by for a photo, inform your guide.
You can ask the guide to rent a bicycle for you.
5. Duy Hai fishing village
As Hoi An is a well-worn destination on the backpacking trails, not many tourists acknowledge of Duy Hai fishing village.
Untouched by tourism, Duy Hai maintains its original layout with the fishing activity. It was such a memorable experience to see the fishermen doing their traditional methods of using cormorants to catch fish in the day’s final warmth from the sun. No rush, only you and an opening view. Such an unforgettable experience to me.
It’s much more amazing when you can get there by a cyclo and set on boat to view the majestic surrounding. To do that, Hoi An Cyclo Tour and Boat Cruise On The River is a good option for a relaxing stroll.
People asked me why I keep returning Hoi An for many times. It’s because no place is fully explored, discovered, or understood. There are always hidden places waiting for us to set foot on. And that principle is the same on Hoi An. This lovely town with its far off the beaten track places always make my heartbeat a little faster. And, I will leave Hoi An an extra room for my future journey, for sure.
And you? Have you visited any villages mentioned above? Feel free to share with me your memory in Hoi An in the comments box.