Hoi An Countryside: Villages, Rice Fields & Tours

By the coast, Hoi An is at the confluence of 3 rivers: Thu Bon river, Truong Giang river and De Vong river. This economically strategic location has supported trading activities in the town from first years BC to the present. From the 1400s to 1800s, Hoi An played its important role in South-east Asia, as a regional port and a center of commerce.

In addition, the delta where it sits is also fertile, occupied by Cham and then Viet populations over time. That means, its location supports agriculture and raising animals. Throughout the year, locals can grow rice, nuts, corn, vegetables, flowers, and others. Sedges are grown by many households, for making traditional sleeping matches. Nipa palm forests provide the leaf to cover house roofs and to get around them, round basket boats are used. Making full use of dense waterways and canals, fishermans set their nets and traps. Altogether, all of these features form a mosaic of differences, colors and diversity. In villages, residents are still keeping their daily ways of life, againsts increasing tourists.

Thus, Hoi An’s countryside is a great interest and deserves to be known better by travelers. For those who live in cities or another country, they have the chance to see real slices of Vietnamese rural life.

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Table of content

Tra Que Vegetable Village

2 kilometers north of Hoi An ancient town, on the way to An Bang beach, Tra Que vegetable village is a well-known rural village. Here, Vietnamese farmers have grown vegetables and herbs since 16th century. They still use traditional techniques in the gardens daily that are organic, friendly to the environment. One of them is the use of seaweed to fertilize. Thanks to the village’s location – an island on the river, the soil is rich in nutrients. Locals believe that veggies from Tra Que village are of the best qualities. The ones are also tiny. Many Hoi An’s food specialties require them, including Cao lau – the signature dish of the town, Mi quang noodle, banh mi sandwich, banh xeo pancakes, etc. Read further information in Tra Que vegetable village visitor guide.

Things to do in Tra Que vegetable village:

– See lush, green gardens with a variety of vegetables and photograph farmers at work

– Be a farmer and learn how to grow vegetables

– Learn to make some classic Vietnamese dishes, including the specialty of the village – Tam huu (a roll of boiled pork, boiled shrimp and herbs)

– Have a foot massage

– Have lunch prepared by vegetables hand-picked from nearby gardens and enjoy a peacefulness at thatched restaurants

How to get there: By Hai Ba Trung road, from the town to the beach, Tra Que village is accessible by all road vehicles. Riding a bicycle allows visitors to tour rice fields and other rural areas, after a visit around the village.

History: Vietnamese people have settled down in the village since 17th century. Name of the village was made by the king who loved the taste of local herbs.

Special events: Cau Bong festival takes place on the 7th day of the first lunar month in which every family makes Tam huu rolls to compete.

Read also: My Son sanctuary travel guide


Thanh Ha Pottery Village

2 kilometers west of the Hoi An ancient town, Thanh Ha pottery village is famous for its 400-years traditional craft in making pottery. People of this village moved from another place to the present location due to a rich source of clay soil. Today, they have to buy the material from somewhere else. 30 families have preserved their ancestor handicraft, and many of them welcome visitors. This intangible cultural heritage was protected by the government at a national level, in 2019. In an artisan’s house, visitors are guided to make something by a potter’s wheel, spinned by hands or foot. Entrance fee to enter the village includes the class, costing 35,000 VND now. Read further information in Thanh Ha pottery village visitor guide.

Things to do in Thanh Ha pottery village:

– Learn to make pottery at your hands (such as a pot, tea pot, vase, etc) with an instruction from artisans.

– Visit the Thanh Ha terracotta park (an entrance ticket required)

– Sightsee historical buildings, including Nam Dieu temple or Xuan My communal house, in honour to ancestors of the villagers

– Wander around and buy unique souvenirs

– Thanh Ha fish market in the early morning.

How to get there: Hung Vuong street and then Duy Tan street lead to the village from the town centre. All road vehicles are convenient. By the river, visitors can reach it by boat (cruise) from Bach Dang quay.

Special events: On 10th day of 7th lunar month, people celebrate a festival to honour those who first made pottery in the village

Read also: Thu Bon river cruise


Cam Thanh Water Coconut Village

5 kilometers east of Hoi An’s old quarters, Cam Thanh’s coconut village is home of a vast, dense water palm forest. It’s a part of the Unesco world biosphere reserve designated in 2009. Historically, in the Vietnam war, this area was the hiding place of Vietcong communists. In colonial times, locals created a round boat by bamboo (like a basket) to avoid taxes from the French. Today, they use it to carry visitors around peaceful canals inside the forest and make fun-filled entertainments. Increasing visitors encourage locals to build restaurants, shops, spas and open cooking schools. Besides that, they also row the boat to catch fish and other seafood for living. Palm leaves are chopped and then sun dried for roofing and fruits of the palm are used for food preparation. Read more information in Cam Thanh coconut village traveler guide.

Things to do in Cam Thanh water coconut village:

– Discover the palm forest by a basket boat, propelled by local fishermans. See details in Hoi An basket boat ride.

– Learn to make Vietnamese foods

– Have a foot massage

– Join a class to make bamboo stuff by your hands in the Taboo Bamboo workshop. The founder and his passion are inherited from his father and grandfather.

How to get there: Visitors can choose to reach the village by one of these directions: Tran Nhan Tong road and Cua Dai – Vo Chi Cong road. All road vehicles are convenient, including bicycles and electric shuttle buses.

History: Traces of humans found in Cam Thanh’s village dated to 2,000 years ago. The first proof of Vietnamese presence in Hoi An is also seen here, a tomb built in 15th century. Many families and the palm forest accommodated Vietcong communists in the Vietnam war, more than anywhere in the area.

Read also: Hoi An cooking classes


Cam Kim Island

Surrounded by the Thu Bon river, the largest river of the province, Cam Kim island is a peaceful and green land. It’s accessible by bridges and ferry boat from the Hoi An ancient town world heritage. In addition to Kim Bong carpentry village, this fertile island houses farmer’s villages, rice, peanut and corn fields. Thanks to being nearly-isolated (by 2015), its rural scenery and ways of life of the locals are authentic, providing a real slice of Vietnam’s countryside. Many families here have been making sedge matches or rice noodles, besides fishing. Tra Nhieu is the furthest village from Hoi An, drawing visitors by friendly people, their daily life and a non-touristy water coconut forest. Read everything you need to know in Cam Kim island traveler guide.

Read also: Cham Islands Travel Guide

Kim Bong Carpentry Village

Located by the northern edge of Cam Kim island, in the opposite to the Hoi An old town, Kim Bong carpentry village has its own carpenter community. Since a few centuries ago, Vietnamese people here have carved sculptures by wood and built fishing boats. Today, besides producing souvenirs and household stuff, local artisans also assist in renovating wooden heritages in the world heritage town. There are two ways to get there: ferry boat from Bach Dang quay and riding across one of two Cam Kim bridges. See more details in Kim Bong carpentry village visitor guide.

Things to do in Thanh Ha pottery village:

– See real carvers and boat builders at work, and photograph

– Visit private galleries of wood works owned by famous artisans of the village

– Buy souvenirs made of wood

History: Four families from the north moved here in 15th century, including Nguyen, Huynh, Phan and Truong.

Special events: On the 6th day of the lunar new year, inhabitants of the Kim Bong carpentry village celebrate ceremonies to honour the first carpenters.

Read also: Hoi An Handicraft Workshop

Triem Tay “Bamboo” Village

3 kilometers from Hoi An center, Triem Tay village is also known as the Bamboo village. It’s home of 140 households who live in a piece of land that is by a confluence of the Thu Bon river, opposite to Thanh Ha pottery village. While cycling around, visitors will realize that many buildings are made of bamboo here. There are homestays, restaurants, coffee shops and cooking schools. The new Cam Kim bridge was completed, allowing easy access from any banks. Riding across this village is one of the shortest ways to get from Hoi An to My Son’s Hindu sanctuary. Hidden away in lush gardens, rice fields and bamboo groves, traditional temples are for worship of the family’s ancestors and the whale. Read more information in Triem Tay village visitor guide.

Tra Nhieu Fishing Village

By the easternmost point of the Cam Kim island, Tra Nhieu fishing village (or Tra Dong village) is home of 440 families, around 2,000 people. It’s 10 kilometers away from Hoi An’s centre via the new Cam Kim bridge. Thanks to a nearly-isolated location, this village is still unknown by tourists until recent years. Most of the population here are fishermen and farmers who cultivate sweet corn, rice or peanuts. Fisherman’s culture lies on fishing nets and boats on Thu Bon river, and a temple built in the shape of a boat. In its heart, there is a water coconut forest that is better preserved than the famous one in Cam Thanh. Locals can carry visitors in a basket boat along a noise-free, palm-lined canal. Read more information in Tra Nhieu fishing village traveler guide.

Visitors can get to Tra Nhieu village by road or direct by boat on the Thu Bon river from Bach Dang harbour (the Old town). Some guided bicycle tours are organized here daily.

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Hoi An’s Rice Fields

Rice fields are around Hoi An’s residential areas. To see them, visitors only need a couple of minutes by bicycle or motorcycle. The easiest field to get is the one Hai Ba Trung St goes across, from the Old town to An Bang beach. Not only paddies, it’s also possible to see farmers, water buffalos, white forks, wild flowers and even childrens flying the kite. Depending on different times of the year, visitors will see different stages in the growth of rice, so what they see is also unsimilar. By the traffic light of the Tra Que vegetable village, there are fish traps made of bamboo. This north section of Hoi An’s countryside is perfect to watch the sunset during sunny months, February to August. Rice fields here stretch until Cam Thanh – the eastern countryside where the water coconut forests and shrimp ponds are visible.

Southern countryside of Hoi An is on Cam Kim island. Two bridges and a ferry boat provide access to it, from the city centre and Old town. Read about Cam Kim island in the above section for further information.  

Tong Van Suong street, from Ba Le market to Vo Chi Cong St, goes across green and lush rice fields of Cam Thanh. Its branch roads to the south lead to Vietnamese villages and gardens, studded with private villas and eco-friendly cottages. Some cooking schools are based here.

A small piece of rice fields is by Hung Vuong St, from the Old town to Thanh Ha pottery village.

Read also: Guide to Hoi An’s Beaches

Getting Around Hoi An’s Countryside

By Bicycle

The best way to tour around Hoi An’s countryside is by bicycle or motorcycle. Many hotels and homestays in town provide free-of-charge bicycles for the guests (come first serve first!). The bicycles there have a basket in the front, to carry bags and bottles of water, a hard seat in the back, and a bell to warn people. If not available in the hotel, visitors can walk in major streets, and it’s easy to see a place to rent a bicycle. The price ranges from 20,000 to 40,000 VND each. Helmets are not compulsory in Vietnam’s traffic law, so for safety, ask for them. In providers whose collection is of a higher quality, visitors will pay more. Contact to reliable cycling tour companies, the service is professional, with well-maintained, brand new bicycles and English speaking mechanics.

Read our article Hoi An bicycle routes to know our recommended directions to tour around the countryside of Hoi An.

By Motorbike

Like bicycles, riding a motorcycle is also flexible. However, travelers need to be a little bit more confident, carefully observe and sure, it’s harder than bicycles. All hotels don’t provide motorcycles for free but in the reception, the guests can ask for some contacts for rental. If hiring a motorbike for one day (24hrs up to different places), the pay ranges from 100,000 to 200,000 VND. It includes a helmet that is a must while driving in Vietnam and excludes gasoline. Automatic motorcycle rentals are more expensive than scooters. These kinds of motorcycles are similar to the ones in the streets. If require better quality or styles, should seek professional shops that the city has some.

Read our article Hoi An bike routes to know our recommended directions to tour around the country of Hoi An on wheels of a motorcycle.

Bicycle or Motorcycle?

Many travelers ride a bicycle to explore Hoi An’s country, but many others also enjoy touring by motorcycle. Both these wheeled vehicles allow people to access villages, laneways, roads across rice fields, and unpaved, dirty paths. Flexibility and freedom are other advantages. However, about the cost, bicycles are cheaper to hire. In many places in Hoi An, the guests can take them for free. If hire one, the price is not really a big deal (just 1-2 dollars!). Not only traveling, bicycle riders will do exercise too, and it’s good for physical and mental health. Adrenaline seekers may not miss a bicycle tour in their time at Hoi An. Keep in mind to check the weather forecast in advance and ensure that the day you go is sunny or at least dry.

The entire drive is shorter if travelers ride a motorcycle instead of a bicycle. For those who have physical problems, a motorbike balances “adventure” and “fitness”. By that, they can stop at more places and stay longer there. In guided motorbike tours, travelers have a pillion ride (sitting in the back!). So, they can take so many pictures, videos and expect a safer trip.

Countryside Tours in Hoi An

Visitors have many guided tour options to discover peaceful, charming countryside of Hoi An. Much of them are run on a half-day basis, morning or afternoon. One of the reasons is to avoid the heat of midday. Bicycles are the most selected vehicle because riding them allows to approach villages, see rural sceneries and the life of locals, at a slower pace. In a bicycle tour, local guides will recommend quiet backroads or scenic routes, instead of busy ones. The riders definitely have a great time while riding across villages, rice fields, gardens, forests and along rivers. It’s better for traffic safety too. In order to know better the daily life and work of locals, some families are visited, to interact and have hands-on experiences. Highly recommended to adrenaline seekers!

Traveling by motorcycle is another popular way. Motorcycles allow travelers to reach further, but still retain the flexibility and freedom of the bicycles. Mostly, a local licensed driver is organized, to carry a foreign traveler behind. For people who don’t have good fitness, this is a suitable option, for exploration and health.

Read also: – Typical Hoi An countryside tour (3 villages)

– Cam Kim island tour

Self-Guided Cycling Tours in Hoi An

With a bicycle and our Hoi An’s cycling routes map, travelers can discover the countryside of Hoi An by themselves. They customize the itinerary: time to start, length of the ride and the places they want to see. By that, the trip can be extended, longer or shorter than a half-day, and is fitted to personal requirements and likings. Many experiences (even in the countryside) that tourists need to pay or donate, so sometimes, it’s cheaper if traveling by yourself.

However, if traveling by yourself, it takes a longer time to design the best route that avoids the hustles and bustles. Following a local guide, you can experience a moderate drive through quaint villages, laneways, rice fields, gardens, and especially, see local families there. There, you can learn about their own life stories, and join their daily works that help them to earn for living. Thus, without a local, it’s really not easy to look for and interact with (rustics don’t know English!). The guide, he or she also assists in different situations, for example, the bicycle breaks down suddenly. Some of them are mechanics.

Read also: Hoi An Self Guided Walking Tour

Hoi An Countryside Map

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