Hue with many beautiful landscapes, especially imbued with feudal culture of Vietnam. The following article will give you a new look on the Countryside and the Craft Villages in Hoi An
The Countryside and the Craft Villages in Hoi An
Quite possibly as beautiful, if not more than the Old Town, Hoi An’s countryside is a sight not to be missed. You can rent motorbikes or walk, but the best way to see it is by bicycle. Hop on your two-wheeled ride and aim for anything that looks non-touristy. There is nothing more memorable than a sunny (or rainy, depending on the season) cruise through the rice paddies of Hoi An. Almost all paddies connect to another busy part of town, so you never have to worry about getting stuck out in the middle of nowhere. Locals are very friendly, so if you do get lost, they will just laugh and point you in the right direction.
A few great rides through Hoi An are in Cam Thanh Village, Tra Que Herb Village and on the islet of Cam Kim.
One of Hoi An’s villages, this area of town is known for its sprawling paddies, picturesque farm land, riverside roads and less populated areas. If you are riding out to Cua Dai Beach along Cua Dai Street from the Old Town, Cam Thanh is the halfway point. At the four-way traffic light with an Agribank on the corner, take a right (onto Le Thanh Tong); drive passed a local market on your right (Cho Ba Le), and head straight over the river. If you follow that road directly out, it will bring you into the heart of Cam Thanh with loads of rice paddy lanes, local hamlets and picturesque cruises. One of Hoi Ans most beautiful and least visited areas.
Tra Que Herb Village:
If you’ve eaten any Vietnamese food in Hoi An, then you’ve tasted Tra Que’s herbs. The town’s main producer of fresh herbs and vegetables, Tra Que is a must see for any visitor to Hoi An. Located off Hai Ba Trung Road, halfway between the Old Town and An Bang Beach (look for the Tra Que Herb Village signs), this small corner of town is absolutely stunning. Lush green, perfectly manicured gardens sprawl across acres of land, with endless photo opportunities along the way. Not only does Tra Que have some amazing sites inside, but the area also opens up to acres of rice paddies which reach from one side of Hoi An to the other. With the proper sun protection and biking skills, you can cross Hai Ba Trung’s unpaved rice paddy paths and reach Cua Dai Road in a scenic, quiet and unforgettable cruise.
A bit more out of the way, this part of Hoi An is truly stuck in the past (in a good way)… most likely because you need to take a ferry to get there. Bring your bicycle down to Hoi An’s Old Town and take the river ferry (directly across from 50 Bach Dang street) over to Cam Kim. A15 minute cruise brings you out to what Hoi An must have looked like 20 years ago… before tourism came to town. Peaceful is the best way to describe this part of town, and after you finish visiting the famous Kim Bong Carpentry village (right near the ferry drop), chances are you won’t see any tourists during the remainder of your bike ride.
Drive through the roads, streets, paddies and hamlets of Cam Kim, soak in the local culture, watch the dyeing and weaving of straw mats and take loads of photos. Enjoy a quiet beer or coffee, eat some local cuisine and take the ferry back to the ‘bustling’ streets of Hoi An.
Ferry Cost: 1,000-3,000 VND per Bicycle/Motorbike… that’s One/Three Thousand Vietnam Dong, not Ten Thousand, Twenty Thousand or more… the ferry is an infamous place for foreigners to get overcharged!!
On all your bicycle cruises, bring some water, a hat & sunscreen, your camera and some basic Viet-phrases. If you’re taking off in the morning or early afternoon, ti’y your hardest to get lost! You will uncover parts of Hoi An that look like they’ve never even heard of tourism. If it’s getting somewhat late, try and stay close to a main area; Hoi An is not a dangerous place, but it’s always more stressful to get lost at night.
Not ready to head out into the countryside on your own?
Heaven and Earth Bicycle Tours is a fantastic and reputable company that operate truly memorable bicycle tours throughout Hoi An. Allow the locals to show you what they know best! Book ahead at 57 Ngo Quven Street. Great for family trips!
The Craft Villages
Hoi An is famous for holding on to its ancient traditions, practices and customs. You can learn all about them in the Old Town museums or you can visit the actual villages themselves. Ride out to Kim Bong and Thanh Ha and become a part of the tradition!
Thanh Ha Pottery Village:
The Pottery Village is located 2 kilometers outside the Old Town area (follow Phan Chau Trinh which turns into Hung Vuong Street). You can walk or bike around the small lanes of houses, selling traditional and modern pieces of pottery (many of which are thrown on site). Give a go at the foot-spun wheel, throw or mold your own piece of clay, decorate it, let it bake out in the sun and bring back home a hand-crafted souvenir. You can also buy anything from dishes and bowls to mugs and animal-shaped clay whistles here. A fun way to spend a few hours outside of the Old Town.
Kim Bong Carpentry Village:
Located on Cam Kim Island, this carpentry village has some amazing carvings, pieces of furniture and works of art on display and for sale. With all products carved on site, the Kim Bong wood workers still use traditional tools and practices handed down from previous generations of carpenters. If you cannot make it out to Cam Kim Island to see the workshop, there’s also a shop front on 52 Nguyen Thai Hoc in the Old Town.