Last Updated on 3 years by Tam Le Van
Any experience about traditional crafts certainly makes your travel itenerary more fantastic. Moreover, you have the hands-on experience about learning how to make something by yourself with a help from local artisans. Ignore sleepy tourist workshops in town, let’s come to living communities.
In this article, Hoi An Life mentions the places recognized as craft villages in Hoi An and Da Nang. Both cities are holding a diversified inventory of craftmanships that is fair to Hanoi capital or multi-cultural Ho Chi Minh city. Besides, we also do not forget outlining defining characteristics, essential tips and advices of every village.
Craft villages in Hoi An
General scene of traditional crafts in Hoi An
Ever been an prominent stopping point on the Maritime Silk Road, Hoi An was a ‘big market’ for merchants. To cater this, the sheer weight of number in craft villages with their specific expertise developed in and around the city. Some of them have no longer in existence today, contrary, several cases still persist. There are lantern making, bird nest harvesting, mat weaving, bamboo root carving, leather crafting and much more. Lion’s share of these features the household production rather than in community.
Outstandingly, Lang gom Thanh Ha (Thanh Ha pottery making village), Lang rau Tra Que (Tra Que vegetable growing village), Lang moc Kim Bong (Kim Bong carpentry village) and Lang bich hoa Tam Thanh (Tam Thanh basket boat making village) are the most typical living craft villages in Hoi An. All four villages now are noted tourist attractions by their own enchantments. Farming experience at Tra Que, pottery making class in Thanh Ha for instance.
To help travellers have a clearer look into traditional crafts, many locals and organizations run the classes with/without fee. For further information, check our article about craft workshops in Hoi An here if you are interested in spending time with entertaining hands-on lessons.
Nowadays, the lanterns only are made by single households instead of a village-community
Must-see Hoi An’s traditional craft villages
Thanh Ha pottery village
To the West of the ancient quarter, Thanh Ha village boasts long-lasting pottery making tradition that uses one-of-a-kind techniques. Few centuries ago, its high quality products were not only well-known nationwide but also favoured by foreign traders to bring home for sale. When the city stopped functioning as an international trading port, many villagers changed over to produce building materials like roof tile, brick, etc but pottery making tradition still alive and passed on from father to son.
Nowadays, Thanh Ha village is one of must-see craft villages in Hoi An. Thousands tourists come each year attributes to increase the income of local people. More than that, its products have being helped us actively in reconstruction process of old houses within our UNESCO world heritage site.
The artisan at work in Thanh Ha pottery making village
How to get Thanh Ha pottery village
By bicycle, motorcycle and car
Due to its riverine and near-mainstreet location, Thanh Ha pottery making village very easily accessible either by boat or road vehicles. If pedal the bicycle or drive motorcycle, you just need to follow Hung Vuong and Duy Tan streets. It takes around 15 minutes plus 30 minutes in total from the ancient town and Hoi An’s beaches respectively.
When arrive, ticket booth will be right in the front of Thanh Ha terracota park (see ticket prices in below section). From here, turn left and keep going to come in core of the village. Dinh Xuan My (Xuan My communal house) as well as pottery workshops with free pottery making class are first noticeable points you should note in your list of things to see. To know place to hire, prices and tips for motorcycle rental, see our article via http://hoianlife.net/the-best-hoi-ans-motorbike-rental-shops/ to shorten your way to find out the bests.
In case of taxi/private car, approaching the village is also a piece of cake. Because there is a limited number of taxi in Thanh Ha, save telephone number of your driver to return or go to another place. With a pre-planned program, private car is better. Tailor it through effectively doing personal research will make both of your time and money well-spent.
Boat trip on Thu Bon river stands as the most selected form of transport to approach the village in guided tours. It boards daily from Bach Dang dock with an inexpensive price and usually stops over at Kim Bong carpentry village once land Thanh Ha. The journey on river brings you closer to rural sceneries mingling with lots of wind and fresh air at all time. It takes nearly two hours if being on a round-trip.
You may think of returning by taxi/private car instead. It’s more convenient to reach other attractions. Several packaged tours also combine the visit to My Son Sanctuary and crusing back to Hoi An with an outdoor set lunch. Find out more boat trips on our article through http://hoianlife.net/boat-trips-in-hoi-an/.
The boat heading towards Thanh Ha pottery village in the morning
Thanh Ha pottery village tickets
Ticketing of Thanh Ha pottery making village is 35.000 VND (1.5 USD) per person and 15.000 VND (0.65 USD) in case of children over 1.2m. If children with a height under 1.2m, it will be free of charge. This price includes the entry to historic buildings, pottery making lesson along with handmade clay whistle as a gift and excludes Cong vien dat nung Thanh Ha (Thanh Ha Terracota Park) entrance fee.
Taking note that only one place you can collect the present. Its positon is showed clearly on the map available at ticket booth. In our knowledge, it’s next to G.O.M Café in the heart of the village. At there, local artisan gives a board manifesting twelve different years of birth. The gift you given will be an animal-shaped whistle matching yours according to Vietnamese traditional philosophy. We are sure it’s a meaningful reminder about the trip to Thanh Ha pottery making village.
Map shows noticeable sites at Thanh Ha pottery village’s entrance ticket booth
Unique characteristics in pottery making
To make the finished potteries, handcraftmans must go all through different stages from clay mixing, forming to burning with much time and patience. Some their characteristics, clearly unlike to anywhere else. Firstly, clay material used is taken from surrounding riverbed. This tells us why ancestor potters moved here to settle in the past centuries. Then it’s processed with lots of care to reach the highest standard for future works.
Fact that because of modern technologies arrival, plentiful villages switched over to automatic machine to mass-produce. As a result, the handicraft practice has no longer strong life. Differentiate to other craft villages in Hoi An, it’s living well at Thanh Ha village. Here, artisans are still forming the clay creations by hands and the kick wheel. Meaning that there is no mould presence during whole steps people create works of art. As an important stage, it requires the formers experienced in the job from 3-5 years.
Further, clay handiworks of village is completely non-enamelled after burning stage done. Local potters only sun-dry them one day and heat in seven hours inside the wood-fired kiln, without electricity or gas. Depends on the temperature, we have different colors such as red-yellow, brick red, red-brown,…Traditionally, craftmans thermometer to measure it. They feel hotness radiating from the kiln plus ensure right time for each of pottery. When you wander on peaceful alleyways, perhaps see plenty of objects put neatly on house yard in the sun. It likes a prepared concept for shooting great instagram pictures.
Pottery making lesson-a must-do activity
This lesson is an inclusion in your entrance ticket. Actually, several local families provide this awesome kind of activity but it will be confused about how to find them. To make your selecting process easier, go directly to the house next to ‘The river coffee and smoothie’ by the river. Family members there is really hospitable and give detailed instructions to the guess. Their house owns a collection of pretty clay-made souvenirs to see-shop as well.
Processed clay is available at any workshops. For this reason, Thanh Ha pottery lesson mostly starts with forming stage manually. Craftman or craftwoman will help you to take proper amount of clay basing on size and shape of what you want. He/she gives a demonstration of throwing the pot, vase or small bowl once you give a try. Bring your completed one back to the hotel and keep it under sunshine. Air conditioned room is fine in case you are busy with going out.
Although admission fee covers the lesson, host family is still expect leaners to buy something. Support local business if their souvenirs match your taste and requirements.
Other things to do in Thanh Ha pottery village
Visit historic sites and early morning fishing market
Riding motorcycle or cycling throughout Thanh Ha pottery making village is a great chance to see daily life of locals. In the very early morning, Thanh Ha fishing market (the largest of its kind in Hoi An) opens. It gets chaotic and extremely abundant in seafoods and fresh water creatures catched from the sea as well as Thu Bon river. Getting on a taxi or self-driving your motorcycle/bicyle are the finest method to experience this fantastic place.
Besides, Dinh lang Xuan My (Xuan My communal house) and Mieu Nam Dieu (Nam Dieu temple) are sightseeing places nice to learn more about history of pottery making craftmanship as well as whole village. They share the same main worshiped figure, the Founders who established Thanh Ha. Particularly, Xuan My communal house was built in 16th century with traditional architecture that face the river and stand under the shade of a big banyan tree. There are typical characteristics of every communal house (Dinh lang) all over the country. Secondly, Nam Dieu temple is the most sacred site so always received great respect from residents. Whenever pass by, they bow down before the temple to express it.
Thanh Ha fish market -the largest fish market of Hoi An
Thanh Ha Terracotta Park
A newly constructed building but impressive, Thanh Ha Terracotta Park accommodates beautiful design inspired by age-old pottery tradition of Thanh Ha pottery making village. You will encounter red-brown terracotta sculptors in the shape of Sydney opera house, Taj Mahal or familiar Japanese covered bridge in its the outdoor space. Furthermore, the interior of two main halls also exhibit diversely the past, presence as well as features of Thanh Ha village. Entrance fee costs 40.000 VND (1.7 USD) for adult and 15.000 VND (1.26 USD) for children above 1.2m. It’s free-of-charge for children under 1.2m on the other hand.
Clay-made Sydney Opera House in the park
Shopping in Thanh Ha pottery making village
Apart from cultural stopovers and the terracotta park, shopping at family-run stores along narrow paths should be noted. They have wares, pots, trinkets, wind chimes, etc. When you buy these clay objects right at their birthplace, that’s interesting to start the conversation at home. The price often begins with 20.000 VND (0.86 USD) for small hand-crafted pieces. Hoi An Life would like to share that Thanh Ha pottery making village’s artisans usually leave an unique stamp at the bottom of their creations like a signature when made. Check out your souvenir to ensure its ‘authenticity’.
Souvenir stores line along tranquil alleyways of the village
Tra Que vegetable growing village
Location and how to get Tra Que vegetable growing village
Just about two kilometers away from city center, Tra Que vegetable growing village locates on a very fertile island bordered by De Vong river. Due to Hai Ba Trung mainroad goes across, travelling on bicycle, motorcycle, taxi or shuttle bus are largely convenient. Among them, cycling gets the most selected way of moving. Further, it is often combined with other things to do such as cooking class, massage, catching fishing ect. Taking a day here is really not a difficult job. Up to the present, Tra Que is one of the most visited traditional craft villages in Hoi An.
According to local populations, the highest quality vegetables of the city are produced at here. They spice up every delicious Hoi An specialties from Cao lau, Mi quang, Pho rice noodle soup to Banh mi. Villagers have used unique farming techniques not found anywhere else that you will have the chance to experience when visit.
Tra Que farmers produce the highest quality of vegetables in Hoi An
Customs and history of Tra Que vegetable growing village
Historically, Vietnamese migrants from the North established the village four centuries ago. Their first work was fishing because live near both the river and the sea. In addition to, they also started out with organic vegetable gardens on rich-nutrient soil gifted by Mother nature. Today, there are nearly 200 families doing farming as well as participate in tourism activities.
To pray for good weather, Tra Que vegetable village’s inhabitants yearly organize a grand ceremony in February namely Le hoi Cau Bong. Specially during its program, Tam hữu making competition between the families will be taken place. Tam huu means ‘three friends’ in local dialogue because it is made by three main ingredients as fresh shrimp, boiling pork with flavourful herbs (commonly the mint) and tied altogether by green spring onion. On cultural side, the food indicates the solidarity of Tra Que community and pride in agricultural production.
A lady is collecting Rau ram (peppermint)-a popularly-used herb for Hoi An food specialties
Farmer experience-the best things to do in Tra Que village
Activities in Tra Que vegetable growing village are relatively diverse and the farmer experience gets given the strongest attention from tourists among all. It’s well-suited for countryside seekers and who loves knowing rural ways of life. Kids have pleasure when see how people work manually making it proper to family travel too.
Every guided tour to Tra Que village includes a fascinating lesson to explore farming secrets what produce the best vegetables. Firstly, you are highly encouraged to change your clothes into local farmer’s style with Non la (leaf-made conical hat) and simply-colored shirt&pant. Then the local people performs his/her skills in land preparation. The river weed plays very vital role in the stage when it is used to fertilize soil once seed or transplant seedlings. These natual weeds are only found in nearby swamps. On the next step, you will witness the manual watering by two metal watering cans balanced with a bamboo yoke. There is quite challenging to put it on the shoulders, move around and distribute well water evenly on already planted seedlings. Before sit back and enjoy a herb-infused drink, you have the visit across lush gardens of Tra Que village to learn about different kind of herbs.
No worried when travel by yourself, almost villagers possibly understand English and more than that, they are very kind. Just tell anyone there if like to be a farmer and practice special farming techniques.
Childrens learning about how to plant a spring onion with local
The best cooking class in Tra Que village
Founded in 2016, Tra Que Garden Cooking Class now is the best cooking class arranged at Tra Que village. It is confident to bring a period of time worth-it to experience Vietnamese cuisine. For bookings, check out its official webpage, give a call to (+84) 902 866 603 or email to email@example.com.
There are three options Tra Que Garden Cooking Class currently offers us as following:
Option 1 (8:30 a.m, 4-5 hours, 2-6 participants) includes hotel pick-up, local market and Tra Que herb garden visits, joining with farmers to see&practice traditional farming methods, foot massage, all cooking ingredients, learning how to prepare 5 dishes (Nuoc cham-peanut sauce, Goi cuon-Tra Que fresh spring rolls, Goi hoa chuoi-banana flower sald, Cha gio-fried spring rolls and Banh xeo-crispy rice pancakes), food decoration instructions and a bottle of water. The price is 39 USD (900.000 VND). Hoi An Life thinks that this is the nicest choice for holiday makers who wants to a culinary experience from market to dining table.
Option 2 (9:30 a.m, 3-4 hours, 2-6 participants) encompasses of local special drink made from basil seeds, a tour around herb gardens of Tra Que village, foot massage, the ingredients to cook 5 dishes (Nuoc cham-peanut sauce, Goi cuon-Tra Que fresh spring rolls, Goi hoa chuoi-banana flower sald, Cha gio-fried spring rolls and Banh xeo-crispy rice pancakes) and a bottle of water. It costs 29 USD (670.000 VND) person excluding hotel pick-up, market tour, insurance and personal expenses.
Option 3 (1:30 p.m, 3 hours, 2-6 participants) consists of a visit around Tra Que village&its entrance ticket, intruductions to make four delicious Vietnamese foods (Banh xeo-rice pancakes, Goi hoa chuoi-banana flower salad, Ram-fried spring rolls, Ca kho nghe-fish cooked in clay pot with turmeric), additional steamed rice&tropical fruits for meal after cooking, local special drink created by basil seeds and every ingredients&tools and a bottle of water. The pricing covers 21 USD (485.000 VND) excluding hotel pick-up, market tour, insurance and personal expenses.
Note: Tra Que Garden Cooking Class’s policy applies a full charge for adult and childrens over 10 years-old, 50% off for kid/childrens from 6 to 10 years-old and free for kids under 6 years-old. Only cash accepted, so make sure you have cash enough to pay for the activity. In additon to, all its classes will be conducted in English.
Other noticeable cooking classes
#1 Cooking class (morning or afternoon) hosted by Tra Que Culinary Village focuses on beguine Vietnamese dishes in company with local creativities. It encompasses a welcome drink with herbal tea, bicycle tour around the village&its surroundings, full of steps farming experience, buffalo car ride and foot masage&herbal foot soaking. Steamed rice, Hoi An specialty-Cao lau or Ca kho to-fish cooked in clay pot will be added into your meal after cooking time too.
#2 Tra Que Waterwheel Organic Farm cooking class: You will have a gastromony experience on bike starting with a quick visit to Hoi An central market. Then cycle along scenic back roads leading to herb gardens of Tra Que where you dress up and pretend to be a farmer. When out-door activities end, it’s time for preparation of iconic local dishes under clear instruction of a talented Hoianese chef.
#3 Kumquat Hoi An cooking class covers hotel pick-up&drop-off, a market tour to interact with local sellers and purchase some of the ingredients and learn ways of cooking four tasty dishes within three hours. While oin-in-group lesson has a specific daily menu, you will select from list of 39 foods in the private one.
The lively scene of Tra Que Water Wheel cooking class
Anything else in Tra Que vegetable growing village?
Having meals in Tra Que vegetable village is another highlight. There are a couple of excellent-in-quality restaurants you should note, including various vegetarian friendly eateries. Their cooking ingredients are totally fresh grown in on-site gardens. The best time to eat here falls in midday and in the evening because it is extremely calm at these times. That’s good for who want to escape from hustle and bustle in touristy areas.
Tra Que’s restaurants provide authentic Vietnamese foods and refreshing vibes
Other things to do in Tra Que village
#1 Foot massage usually is an inclusion within cooking classes at Tra Que vegetable growing village. Like lots of Hoi An massages, the therapists used 100% natural ingredients for their treatment. Absolutely Tra Que is famous for it, that’s why smart travellers make full use of the chance to do massage right there. In reality, you are able to appreciate it without any tours. Tra Que Garden, Tra Que Waterwhell, Tra Que Culinary Village and plenty of others may independently provide it as well. Asking directly that places is the best method to know how much and availability in the day you expect.
#2 Watching sunset on nearby rice paddies is another thing to do in Tra Que village. Within a windy atmosphere, everybody definitely enjoy most the moments of sun down. Then think of getting drink in garden restaurants or a beer in riverfront Sessions Under The Bridge Bar.
Splendid sunset in Tra Que village’s vicinity
#3 Cool off in An Bang-one of the best beaches in Hoi An. Here you have the opportunity to immerce into the world of crystall-like sea water, fine sandy coastline, lively eateries and exciting water sports. If have own bike/motorbike, park for free at restaurant-bar you like spending time. You will be charged a small fee in other places. We also outline a completed guide for Hoi An beaches here to help you further details.
Sandy An Bang beach is often combined with Tra Que village for a day out
Kim Bong carpentry village
Brief introduction of Kim Bong carpentry village
This traditional handicraft village was estalished in 15th century by four clans adjoining Thu Bon river. Short time later, it became the largest carpentry workshop of the region thanks to extensive trading activities with foreign merchants. Particularly, specialize in fishing boat building and good-value civil woodworkings. Over ups and downs, its crafting tradition still remains unchanged that handed down from generation to generation. Presently, Kim Bong carpentry village stands as among the list of popular-chosen traditional craft villages in Hoi An. No entrance fee required to visitors.
Kim Bong carpenters are famous for their talent in boat building
How to get Kim Bong carpentry village from Hoi An?
To explore Kim Bong carpentry village, you have two selections: getting a boat ride or crossing Cau Cam Kim (Cam Kim bridge). For the first option, most tour operators possibly arrange the round trip to the village cycling, sightsee Thanh Ha pottery village, kayaking, etc). See our article about boat trips in Hoi An for more ideas. General cost covers a wide range likewise, depends on the inclusions. If you DIY, just need to approach Bach Dang dock in the ancient town. Boatmans there is highly available and happy with waiting for your visit (we recommend 30 minutes).
Cross Cam Kim bridge
Second choice takes a longer time, provides much beauty spots en route and easily combine with other activities. In fact, Cam Kim bridge (Cầu Cẩm Kim) is the most popular connector heading towards Kim Bong handicraft village. It’s relative narrow and fairly slippery. Be careful in rainy days and at when you avoid the vehicles from your opposite. After passing over the bridge, you will go across transquil rural settlements and rice fields for 1.5 km. If being an andrenaline seeker, ride your bicycle/motorcycle further inside beautiful Cam Kim island.
What to expect in Kim Bong carpentry village
Watching artists at work-the best experience at Kim Bong carpentry village
Kim Bong village offers the most real scenes of local handicraftmans at work, especially in boat building-repairing and wood carvings. Differ from other handicraft villages, you do not need to pay ticket or join a tour to appreciate these slices of life. In our experiences, the best time to visit spans from 8 a.m until 5 p.m, except at noon break. Usually this off-work period begins at around 11 a.m to 13:30 p.m. Carpenters go home to take a rest and lunch with his family during it.
Immediate on riverside, you will see groups of builders busy with their simple tools to complete the offshore fishing boat. It’s considered as a treasure of local fisherman on every long sea voyage. In addition to, Ghe bau (local style wooden sailboat) is also erecting by high-skilled craftmans here.
Nestle inwards, there are active wood carving areas coupled with shops. Generally, the creations are diverse in function (worship god statues/altar, house furnitures, etc) and material (mostly bamboo and jack fruit wood). It’s fun to watch intricate and intensely creative patterns on every masterpiece or different process to create them. No worried if you want to try because local people are welcoming to talk about and participate in their work.
Shopping at Kim Bong carpentry village
Kim Bong village is one more place to buy fair-priced souvenirs and gifts in Hoi An. Because of the island position, there is no touch of mass tourism so villagers are relatively anxious to make the sale. Given price gets slightly better than similar items in the downtown. Very close by, a morning open-air market is another village delights. It has several fresh tropical fruit stalls that great to sample. The price is quite pocket-friendly due to less touristy than anywhere else.
Local seller in Cam Kim market smiles before our camera
Kim Bong carpentry village wider area-Cam Kim island
Geographically, Kim Bong carpentry village itself is a part of wider Cam Kim island that gently embraced by Thu Bon river. It composes various peaceful folk villages, vast green rice fields and off-the-beaten-track sites. Suit to cycling journeys, family trips or adventurers.
Specifically, the expidition on bicycle throughout this island owns one account within bank of the best cycling tours in Hoi An. Guided trips often catch the boat ride to cross the river first. Then visit some houses to learn about local way of lifes acompanying their craftmanships like making rice paper, hot rice wine or sedge mat weaving.
Traveling on bicycle is the best way to explore Kim Bong vilage and Cam Kim island
Phuoc Kieu Bronze Casting Village
Ban Thach Sedge-mat Making Village
Tam Thanh basket boat making village
About Tam Thanh village and how to get there
Fourty-five kilometers away from Hoi An center, Tam Thanh village locates on a strip between the river and the sea. As a result, the inhabitants create bamboo basket boats in order to be used for daily work of fishermans and later for sale. Over time, they become the first choice from Central Vietnam’s boaters on account of their durability. More than that, lots of people in the North and the South find&buy as well. Not only decades tradition of basket boat making, Tam Thanh village also enjoys its reputation for fully-creative rural paintings. Wandering around and taking picture with these works of art proudly stands as one of hidden gems in Hoi An.
So how to get Tam Thanh village from Hoi An? Taking a motorcycle or car will be adventageous ways of transport because of its distant position. The road leading to Tam Thanh is wide and offers us ‘unusual’ sceneries of vast graves containing plentiful large tombs, endless white sand dunes coupled with green forests, but very dangerous especially in the evening. In fact, there is no public car park within the area therefore keeping at a local house makes your motorcycle/car in a good state of security.
Note: Just a few of mechanics along 45 km-long road to Tam Thanh basket boat making village. Check your motorcycle/car carefully before start. Addionally, arrange your travel timetable properly to avoid moving on that road by night. Quoc lo 1A (No.1 Highway/AH1) is the better choice anyway to keep safety.
Colorfully painted basket boats on the beach near Tam Thanh village
Basket boat making crafting in Tam Thanh village
Basket boat itself is one of best friends to every single fishermans across the Central coast of Vietnam. Initially it was made to avoid paying taxes on large boats regulated by former French colonial govermance. Over a long period of use, local residents of coastal fishing villages realized its outstanding values and then it got popular rapidly anywhere in greater region. From this point, people living around Vietnam knows of bamboo-created basket boats.
Because Tam Thanh village is sited in between Truong Giang river (meaning ‘long river’) and the sea therefore the needs for daily use here more than others else, a must-have facility. Last decades, villagers began making basket boats from increasing population. Specially, all materials used comes from different parts of Tam Thanh for example the bamboo planted along river banks. When do a ‘walking tour’ around the village, you will see artisans at work on its winding roads.
Things to do in Tam Thanh village
Explore the world of mural paintings
Tam Thanh is the first mural painting village in the country. At the moment, it contains nearly 200 colorful paintings on the wall of tile roof houses and 100 painted basket boats on display. Main content focuses on moments of life. Your experience will be like a treasure hunting game due to the frescoes are broadly distributed at every corners.
Paintings are the fruits of Vietnam-Korea friendship project started from 2016. Two years later, Korean artists came back and make more to transform the village into a tourist attraction. There is no doubt to say that these honorable works really do someone a good turn for improving life of Tam Thanh villagers.
Feast with local foods
Think of having a meal at Tam Thanh basket boat making village after spending time for walking and photographing imaginative wall paintings. Hoi An Life suggests lunch because of long distance to potential places. Actually not many restaurants in the village, but each dish you eat will be cooked in the most authentic local style. Moreover, locals have no idea to serve any others out of something made just like delicious cookings at home. For instance, if get a set of Ca nuc hap quan banh trang, you are recommended using hands to roll steamed fresh decapterous fish with rice paper, raw morning glory and dipped in spicy savoury fish sauce. Finally, internet for English translation is helpful. Search food’s name by Vienamese to see real photos to select your favourite.
Craft villages in Da Nang
Overall view of craft villages in Da Nang
Da Nang city’s outskirt and countryside accomodate couples of traditional handicraft villages like Lang dieu khac da my nghe Non Nuoc (Non Nuoc sculptor carving village), Lang mi quang Tuy Loan (Tuy Loan noodles making village), Lang nghe nuoc nam Nam O (Nam O fish sauce making village), Lang banh kho me Cam Le (Cam Le sesame cake making village) Lang chieu Cam Ne (Cam Ne mat weaving village), etc. Unlike Hoi An, their formation relates to serve local communities instead of merchants. Above all, Non Nuoc and Tuy Loan villages are two best places to dive into wonderful world of craftings.
Craftman at work @Non Nuoc scupture carving village
Da Nang’s traditional craft villages
Non Nuoc sculpture carving village
What is Non Nuoc sculpture carving village?
Twenty kilometers away from Hoi An city center, 17th century Non Nuoc sculpture carving village situates around breath-taking karst towers of Ngũ Hành Sơn (the Marble Mountains)-a must-see attraction in Da Nang and Hoi An.
Up to the present, there are hundreds of establishments with 3.000 carvers correspondingly carving sculptors, household items, accessories, etc in varying sizes, colors and models. Carvers themselves are devided into three categories according to his talent and experience-Tho nhat (freshman), Tho nhi (superior) and Tho chinh (main artisan). This hierarchy is still alive here while many parts of Vietnam disappeared due to mass production factory. In 2014, outstanding values of village’s carving tradition was rewarded as National intangible cultural heritage. Further, several ceremonies are celebrated yearly at the Founder temple next to cliffs of Moc Son (the wood mountain).
Non Nuoc sculpture carving village coupled with spectacular surrounding mountains is one of the brightest stars in the array of things to do in Da Nang. Day-to-day, bountiful holiday makers come from Hoi An to explore their secrets into the bargain.
How to get Non Nuoc sculpture carving village from Hoi An
You have a pair of wide-modern roads that are shortest to get Non Nuoc sculpture carving village from Hoi An: the coastal road (also called as ‘resort road’) and Nguyen Tat Thanh Street if make the trip on motorcycle/bicycle by yourself. Traffic on these roads are very smooth. Whichever way you pick, follow it and keep going until see the cluster of high marble-sculpted mountains. On the other hand, getting taxi or private car possibly provides you the convenience. Check info of the best motorbike rental shops in Hoi An here for most enjoyable trips.
Moreover, you are able to reach by public bus from Hoi An bus station on Le Hong Phong Street run every single 30 minutes. From stopping point (locals call as Non Nuoc bus station), turn left and follow Huyen Tran Cong Chua Street to get entrances of the Marble Mountains as well as go further into the village to admire unique artworks of Non Nuoc sculpture artists.
Note: Besides the craft village, we’re sure you want to see the Marble Mountains as well. Parking is official arranged nearby Dong Am Phu (the Hell cave) with a price under 5.000 VND-0.2 USD normally. Shophouses along the main road-Huyen Tran Cong Chua enable to keep their eyes on your motorcycle/bicycle, but you will pay more at these places (around 5-10.000 VND/0.2-0.4 USD).
The Marble Mountains-past marble mine of Non Nuoc village
Brief information about the Marble Mountains
The Marble Mountains (Ngu Hanh Son) consists of five spectacular marble towers emerging suddenly on surrounding flat land. They contain natural open-ceiling caves with stalactites, ancient Buddhist temples and a couple of [adj] panoramic viewpoints. To visit, tourists will trek with hundred steps and pay 40.000 VND (1.7 USD) for entrance fee. Extra payment (15.000 VND-0.65 USD) for elevator transfer, each way. Additionally, Dong Am Phu (Hell cave) at foot of the mountain also amazes people by its size and history relations to VC in the war. Ticket to see this natural monument is separated, 40.000 VND (1.7 USD).
To hold on hands futher information to travel smoothly the Marble Mountains, see our full guidance via http://hoianlife.net/the-marble-mountains-in-da-nang/.
History of Non Nuoc scupture carving village closely associates to the Marble Mountains
Relations between the Marble Mountains and Non Nuoc village
The first name ever given to the Marble Mountain is Non Nuoc meaning ‘mountain and water’ basing on its location close by Bien Dong sea and the river. This way of calling was unchanged until 19th century when Minh Mang king renamed it as Ngu Hanh Son (‘five elements mountains’) in accordance with Chinese Five Elements theory. To memorize the first name, local people keep Non Nuoc to call their home village until now.
Interestingly, basic colour of each marble block here well matches to this philosophy. There are red-Hoa Son (the fire mountain), pink-Thuy Son (the water mountain), brown-Tho Son (the earth mountain), blue-gray-Kim Son (the metal mountain) and lastly pure white-Tho Son (the wood mountain). That’s good to know about the origin of your mementos through and share with friends the story from miraculous arrangement of the Mother Nature.
History of Non Nuoc marble carving village-From farmer to artist
Current communities have established their permanent village since at least 16th century around the Marble Mountains. They did farming first to earn for living once quarried on-site marble for carving simple utensils such as pairs of pestle and mortar, fruit-placing plates and trinkets for sale. During this time, it is only considered as a part-time job when get free from working on rice paddies.
Nothing changed until Non Nuoc carvers had to work for the kings to build his new citadel. At there, they met richly experienced artisans coming from both in and outside of Vietnam. As a result, their handicrafting skills were upgraded to higher levels and taught next generations when back. More and more people look for elaborate creations over time making the job become a career. Here and now, the village’s reputation strongly widespreads all over the country and artisans directly carry out large projects. In 2010, the tallest lady buddha statue in Linh Ung Bai But pagoda was completed by Non Nuoc sculptors.
Where to see the artists and their works of art?
You may see the artists at work within many big shops where own a huge collection of sculptors on display. Taking a look into these places is not really difficult because they’re places for shopping, basically. Artists not all the time work with his brandchilds, so request politely to staffs for watching. Hoi An Life advises to stay there for couples of minutes in order to show we are caring their selling things. It’s win-win due to we have free-of-charge artist demonstration, visiting and taking photo with complicated sculptors or even rest room.
Workshops along Huyen Tran Cong Chua Street
Products of Non Nuoc sculture carving village has been being exported to many countries in the world including China, France, Japan or Australia. In reality, you may think of watching carvers at work in few locally-owned stores lining along Huyen Tran Cong Chua street. Basically no shop refuses tourists coming inside to see local works of art. If could not see any artisans, at least we have the chance to see up-close one-of-the-kind handmade objects that not seen anywhere else in Vietnam.
Off the main roads
Going further inside the village is another way to encounter Non Nuoc full of talent artisans. There is a collection of non-touristy sculpture carving workshops on Nguyen Duy Trinh, Su Van Hanh, Non Nuoc streets and small alleys that give us ‘authentic’ scenes.
Tuy Loan noodles making village
Information about Tuy Loan village
Tuy Loan noodles making village
30 kilometers away from Hoi An central core, Tuy Loan is one of the last villages in Da Nang retaining its long-established Mi quang making craft. When foodies hear about the noodles served coming from here, they will be very happy. This tells us the wide-spread reputation of qualitied noodles made in the village. Moreover, because of owning numerous ancient houses, therefore it has a nickname as Tuy Loan ancient village (Lang co Tuy Loan).
Get Tuy Loan village from Da Nang center
Twenty kilometer distance makes the motorcycle become the most selected vehicle to get Tuy Loan village from Da Nang downtown. Traveling by motorcycle brings a high level of flexibility, freedom and cheap expense. You can ask people in your hotel reception or contact to reputable rental shops to find a good one. The quickest road belongs to six-lane QL 14B (named Truong Son). Just follow it until you come to Tuy Loan intersection, keep going with Quang Xuong street for over one kilometer then. Turn right after meet the three-way junction near Lam Quang Thu primary school. Tuy Loan communal house, the best sightseeing place is immediate to the left-hand side.
Bus is another popular to reach Tuy Loan village from Da Nang center. Currently, only R17A is possible to get. It runs from 5:30 a.m until 9 p.m everyday, between Song Han harbour in the heart of the city and outlying Hoa Vang district’s administrative centre. Its rescheduled route includes a couple of stations near famous tourist attractions such as the Pink church, museum of Champa sculpture (or Dragon bride). See the full roadmap on Da Nang bus via https://www.danangbus.vn/home.html. Passengers just wait 20 minutes maximum to catch the bus in non-busy hours but less more, 10 minutes in rush times. The nearest stops to Tuy Loan village is around Mi Quang Ba Tinh restaurant, one kilometers away. You can walk or try Xe om motorcycle taxi (keep in mind to make sense the price prior to get on). Lastly, ticket price is 6.000 VND.
Forget something in Da Nang public bus? Call 1900969677 to annouce and take further instructions.
How to get Tuy Loan village from Hoi An
The most convenient ways to head towards Tuy Loan noodle making village are by motorcycle/bicyle and private car because it is weakly connected to the public transportation network of Hoi An. As following, we outline some pros&cons of each way of transport and you decide which is the most suitable one for yourself then.
#1 Self-driving motorcycle from Hoi An takes nearly an hour (30 kilometers) and make your expedition such easy when go around the village. In addition to, rental price to hire a motorcycle is much cheaper than booking a private car. But it’s dangerous anyway because of chaotic traffics. Try to combine your trip to Ba Na Hills with Tuy Loan village, it will be more awesome. For further information to make up your mind, visit our article about motorbike rental in Hoi An via http://hoianlife.net/the-best-hoi-ans-motorbike-rental-shops/.
#2 Getting a private car costs high and sometimes too much for solotravellers, nonetheless, extremely proper to a family or group of friends. You will feel relaxed and comfortable during thirty kilometers journey that free from danger. Although lots of parts within Tuy Loan village are inaccessible by car, walking around still is a highly-recommended activity. There is no doubt that when travel on foot, people have chance to get closer to rural slices of life.
Things to do in Tuy Loan village
Visit its cultural buildings and vegetable gardens
Hoi An Life team carried out a trip to Tuy Loan village in the morning to avoid the heat in midday. When asked about which building make locals proud of their 500 years-old hometown? They all answered that is Dinh lang Tuy Loan (Tuy Loan cummunal house) where the village founders and great contributors worshipped. It was constructed in 1470s by thatch and bamboo first once rebuilt by bricks with ceremic decorations two centuries ago. At the time, Chinese was still used as the main language that evident on its yellow walls. Architecture of the site generally looks similar to what we see in Hue’s royal monuments. We were shared that the most solemn festival (namely Le hoi Dinh lang Tuy Loan) is taken place at this place in October each year (Vietnamese lunar calendar).
Say goodbye to the communal house, we kept going further into the village to witness daily life of people and of course, pay a visit to vegetable gardens. Called as ‘salad dish’ of Da Nang, Tuy Loan have the largest number of farmers growing vegtables by traditional techiques. If Hoi An boasts of Tra Que organic vegetable growing village, it exactly is Da Nang’s muse. Leaving gardens, our experience was more stunning when drove through winding roads to get a family making rice noodles.
Try Mi quang Tuy Loan
Anywhere in Tuy Loan village, you may see plentiful places selling white thick noodles for cooking and mouth-watering Mi quang Tuy Loan. As same as Phu Chiem village, locals take the village name for its signature food. That’s a good way to know where it comes from. Differentiate to other members in Mi quang family, the sneakhead fish is also used besides traditional prawn, pork or chicken.
Nam O fish sauce making village
Nam O village location and how to get from Da Nang center
Located where the river meets the sea, Nam O fish sauce making village is one of the best known craft villages in Hoi An and Da Nang. Its history is linked with the city formation and settlement process of Vietnamese in the land. The craft, centuried cultural buildings clearly testifies these. In 15th and 16th days of second lunar month each year, villagers hold Cau ngu festival to pray for bumper catches from the sea. To get it from Da Nang center, just follow one among Nguyen Tat Thanh or Nguyen Luong Bang streets. Both are of six lanes, safe to drive no matter during the daytime or at night. If like to see beaches along the bay, first street offers you.
About getting bus from Da Nang center to Nam O village, the most convenient one is R16 between Vietnam-Korea University and Kim Lien area (close by Hai Van pass). It runs from 5:30 a.m until 9 p.m everyday. Waiting time to the passengers will be 15 minutes during busy hours like 6-7:30 a.m, 11:30 a.m-1 p.m or 4:30-6 p.m and more, 45 minutes in others. The nearest station is at 920 Nguyen Luong Bang street. Ticket costs 6.000 VND. Browse official webpage of Da Nang bus to see detailed roadmap and pick-up points via https://www.danangbus.vn/home.html.
Craft of making fish sauce in Nam O village
History of making fish sauce
Nam O villagers are not sure when fish sauce making craft started in the village, but according to elders, it’s produced by many households from between the end of 19th and beginning of 20th centuries. Historians believe that this traditional practice in regard to settlement history of first Viet communities four hundred years ago. On the another hand, the craft is shared by Cham populations to locals at the time of co-inhabitation after historic marriage of Vietnamese princess Huyen Tran with Champa kingdom’s king Che Man in 1306. Therefore, a result from cultural exchange of two different groups of people.
Sauce of ingredient: Gifts from the sea
Quality of Nam O fish sauce comes from high protein content anchovies catched in third and eighth lunar months yearly, the best seasons. Each time provides differences, so their final condiment is named separately, mam ca thang ba (3rd month’s sauce) and mam ca thang tam (8th month’s one). Makers often buy fishes from fishermans with a price of around 6.000 VND for one kilogram. In addition to, the salt also plays its importance. Favourite salt to local makers is sourced from fields in Sa Huynh or Ca Na to the South.
Major steps to make the fish sauce traditionally
From fishermans, Nam O fish sauce masters will classify anchovies and only properly-sized ones kept. Fresh water is not allowed to wash them then because the taste of sauce will be reduced and if do, the fishes can not be in outside temperature for a long time on the other hand. The next step is mixing with salt carefully that fishes are uncrushed much. After that, the mixture is arranged layer-on-layer in jackfruit-made fermentation tanks what tightly coated by a bamboo knitted cover and put in dark, airtight rooms. Six months later, do this one more time. Artisans carry out first filtering in Vietnamese lunar new year (around February) if start making from March. Clean fine cloth is used to press. Traditionally, Nam O fish sauce has no blend with any other things to remain the originals.
Reputation of Nam O fish sauce
For a long time, Nam O fish sauce is favoured by the kings due to its great qualities. In 1980s, this product receives the gold medal in Giang Vo fair where lots of specialties throughout the country gathered. One more time, reputation of the sauce and masterly workmanship of Nam O’s artisans are confirmed. People if have the chance to stop in village, they try to buy for cookings at home. In 2019, the craft is registered as the National intangible cultural heritage.
What to see in Nam O village
Fish sauce making households
Go further inside Nam O village, you find out households making the fish sauce to visit or experience producing steps of the craft, if come to the right times on 3rd and 8th lunar months. Villagers are friendly so just need to ask to see/join anything. Although there are no large-scale workshops like Phu Quoc island or Mui Ne where travelers are informed from scratch, places to produce in Nam O village are more authentic, ideal to interaction with true craftholders. At the present, over 90 households are practicing the craft.
Track the special smell of fish sauce, you will get where it comes from.
Ganh da Nam O reef
To the east of the village, Nam O reef features multi-shaped rocks sea waves crashing on all year around. It’s a popular spot to local couples to take pictures in their wedding album, nature lovers and campers in the weekend (the beach nearby). This hidden gem becomes much busier during the “moss season” in first lunar month, around February. The best time to see is the early morning when the tide’s still low. Beautiful moss-carpented rocks show their best and a variety of sea creatures can be seen from small shallow pool around them.
To get Nam O reef from Da Nang center, search Cafe Bao (near Cau Nam O bridge), turn right to cross the railway track and keep going for 500 meters. Leave your own vehicle somewhere around, but keep in mind to lock it before you explore the area.
Note: Swimming near Nam O reef is risky, not a should do it when visit.
Red Beach Xuan Thieu
Red beach is to the South of Nam O village, also known as Xuan Thieu beach. It associates to a turning point of Vietnam war, American army first time stepped into the battle in 1965. No standing reminders about this historic event today but the beach, landing place’s still intact.
Cam Le sesame cake making village
Banh kho me (dry seasame cake) is known as one of the most famous food specialty in Da Nang. It’s produced by craft households around Cam Le village (present-day Cam Le urban district) from generation to the next.
Cam Ne sedge-mat making village
Cam Ne sedge-mate making village is situated in Hoa Tien commune, fourteen kilometers away from Da Nang downtown. Its inhabitants learn the craft from people rooting in Thanh Hoa northern province around 15th century. Unlike Ban Thach village near Hoi An, there are no sedge farms it has, so this essential material has to be imported from another area. Cam Ne’s mats are well-known by their long durability and comfort bringging to the sleepers.