Tra Que Vegetable Village
Looking to escape the bustling city? The Tra Que vegetable village is a quiet, tranquil and lush green farming area. Lined with neat rows of planted herbs and vegetables. A far cry from the busy streets and incessant horn-honking just around the corner.
Although relatively small in size, the Tra Que organic garden is hugely important and well-known in Hoi An. Specifically for producing the highest-quality vegetables thanks to the special techniques used.
Visitors are free to meander through the peaceful, picture-perfect village. Weaving in and out of the small paths around the allotments while breathing in the fresh, sweet smells.
A handful of eateries are available for guests to sample dishes made with renowned herbs and vegetables. Accompanied by views to catch the occasional glimpse of working farmers. For a full itinerary and experience, many tours offer cooking classes, water buffalo riding, farming lessons, bicycle tours and more.
Hidden looks into the history of the Tra Que vegetable village. How to explore it either on your own or as part of a tour.
History of the Tra Que Vegetable Village
So what makes the Tra Que vegetable village so special? Well, Tra Que farmers refrain from using harsh chemicals, toxins or even manure as fertilisers. Instead, an all-natural algae found exclusively in the Tra Que vegetable village’s lagoon is used to create the freshest and cleanest produce.
The Tra Que vegetable village garden is surrounded by the De Vong river and Tra Que lagoon. It was created more than 300 years ago when the locals were predominantly fishermen. However, after discovering the advantages of the Tra Que lagoon’s seaweed manure and the village’s rich fertile soil, locals began growing vegetables and herbs and have been doing so ever since.
Hidden hint: Tra Que is named after the tastes and aromas of the vegetable village, literally translating to ‘cinnamon tea’.
The Tra Que vegetable village’s increasing 40 hectares of land is home to around 200 families. All working to sell their fresh produce to Hoi An restaurants and households. The farmers here typically hope to earn around 150,000 VND (6.40 USD) per day. So many welcome tourism in the area to improve their way of living.
A grand total of 41 herbs and vegetables are currently grown by the farmers in the village. Ranging from winter melon and water spinach to amaranth and turmeric. There are only 20 days from the day the seeds are planted and harvested. They are all well-known and loved for them for their distinct Tra Que flavour.
Tra Que Vegetable Village Location
The Tra Que vegetable village is primely located between Hoi An and An Bang beach with two sides of the vegetable and herb gardens separated by Hai Ba Trung Street. For detailed directions, follow this location on a map.
Located just 3km north of Hoi An’s city centre, the Tra Que vegetable village can be easily reached by bicycle, motorbike or even by foot. We recommend travelling by bicycle so the peace and quiet of the Vietnamese countryside can truly be appreciated. It can also be a hot walk in the heat so choosing to go by bicycle gives you an added breeze without the disturbance of a motorbike engine.
Hidden Hint: Look out for ‘no motorbike’ signs in the Tra Que vegetable village. Parking spaces are available outside of the allotments.
Bicycle rentals are often included in the price of a tour to experience the Tra Que vegetable village. Some also may include hotel transfers. Going it alone? Many places in Hoi An offer bicycle rental for as little as 23,000 VND (1 USD) per day.
Visiting the Vegetable Village on Your Own
For a leisurely stroll or bicycle ride through the Tra Que organic garden, perhaps stopping off at a Tra Que restaurant, no tour guide is needed and there is no entrance fee.
The scenic Tra Que village is ideal for photography-enthusiasts, especially at sunrise and sunset. However, depending on the time of day, solo visitors may be limited to little interaction with small numbers of working farmers. Most tours start early in the morning because the village is busiest then. There’s not a lot of activity around midday due to the heat. In addition, the fact that most Vietnamese sleep for a couple of hours during this time. The best time to visit is at sunset. This way you can avoid the heat and the tour groups but still see some farming activity.
Hidden hint: A great time to visit is on the 7th of lunar January when the Tra Que villagers organise the annual Cau Bong festival to pray for a fruitful harvest season.
For a picturesque dining experience, we recommend Baby Mustard, a traditional family-run restaurant using only pure ingredients.
Although it’s, of course, possible to enjoy the beauty and culture of Tra Que without a guide, tours are beneficial here as they offer in-depth information and hands-on experiences with the locals.
Many travel agencies offer basic Tra Que vegetable village bicycle tours which mostly follow the same structure. The majority are half-day tours departing early in the morning and include first-hand experiences with the local farmers.
We recommend Hoi An Fun Bike Tours as all of their tour guides are locals, born and raised in Hoi An. Not only do they provide a money-back guarantee for unhappy guests. They also use 10% of their profits to provide food for disadvantaged people.
After cycling through the beautiful countryside to the Tra Que vegetable village, guests try their hand at being a farmer. Putting their new-found knowledge of traditional and organic farming techniques into action. The tour also includes a rice paper making workshop and a bowl of pho (traditional beef noodle soup). If you find you have a taste for pho then check out the best spots in Hoi An to try it in our article here.
Reasonably priced at 350,000 VND (15 USD). Therefore it is one of the cheaper ways to see the Tra Que vegetable village. Most tours include bicycle riding at some point during the day along with activities like cooking classes which increase the price.
Consequently the Tra Que vegetable village is home to around ten restaurants. Nearly all of which offer cooking classes. The experience of learning how to cook Vietnamese dishes is enhanced by the scenic environment. Coupled with the use of the freshest ingredients from the organic garden.
Some cooking classes based in the centre of Hoi An also include trips to Tra Que. Karma Waters is a great vegan restaurant that allows guests the opportunity to explore the village and pick their own produce as part of their cooking class. Karma Waters is one of Hoi An’s best vegan/vegetarian restaurants. To find more delicious vegetarian food in Hoi An check out this article.
The Water Wheel Restaurant
We recommend booking with The Water Wheel, a family-run Tra Que restaurant that offers one of Hoi An’s best cooking classes. Learn the traditional Vietnamese way of making decorative flowers and animals out of vegetables. Then prepare and cook six different dishes. These include fresh spring rolls, local pancakes and grilled fish in banana leaves. A vegetarian menu is also available. Our photographer Sara Wass visited The Water Wheel to shoot the images included here.
The 700,000 VND (30 USD) cooking class includes hotel transfer by bicycle to Hoi An Central Market, an introduction to the Tra Que vegetable village and a welcome drink. This cooking class is perfect for young families. Children under five are free and those aged six-ten pay just half price.
Hidden hint: There is a 115,000 VND (5 USD) discount for spur-of-the-moment tours starting at the Water Wheel Restaurant, excluding the hotel transfer.
Tra Que Vegetable Village Package Tours
Cooking classes are also available as part of larger tours of Tra Que and beyond. The Water Wheel for example also offers a package tour. This includes a farming experience, relaxing massage with medicinal herbs from the garden, water buffalo ride and trip in a basket boat for 910,000 USD (39 USD).
Full package tours, where a visit to the Tra Que vegetable village is just one part of a larger day trip, are a great option for people with limited time in Hoi An. Especially for those wanting a full, varied and ultimate experience.
Hidden recommends Jack Tran Tours, formerly Hoi An Eco-Tour. A family-run business dedicated to hosting cultural tours. Here guests authentically experience the lives of the farming and fishing communities.
This popular six-hour tour includes a hotel transfer and bicycle ride through the countryside to the Tra Que vegetable village. Here guests learn how to be a farmer and ride a water buffalo. The 1,900,000 VND (81 USD) tour then continues with a fully-catered boat cruise. Guests try their hand at fishing and steering a basket boat through waters lined with coconut palms. This is another great option for families with small children. Made more appealing as four-11-year-olds pay just 950,000 VND (41 USD).
The serene and stunning Tra Que vegetable village is rich in culture and history. Seeing the farmers work with traditional methods while cycling through the calm and colourful allotments, whether that be solo or as part of one of the many tours available, is a must-do experience in Hoi An. Taking part in a tour is a fun way for backpackers and families alike to learn about and fully experience the Tra Que vegetable village.