Tra Que Village – A must-see place in Hoi An
Calling it “the loveliest village on earth” seems to be an ambitious statement for Tra Que if you haven’t made your way to the stunning Hoi An countryside. Once you arrive though, you’re guaranteed to fall in love with this little corner of the earth.
Text & photos: Rehahn C.
Located 3 km from the center of Hoi An, Tra Que village is well-known as its freshest and cleanest vegetable and herb supplier. You can easily get there by motorbike, bicycle, or simply a light walk. This village is like an oasis situated between the Old Town of Hoi An and An Bang beach.
What makes Tra Que herbs village special?
A community has come together and created something truly special here. It’s very rare in Vietnam’s rural areas that a community can sustain itself from only growing vegetables and herbs, but it’s happening in Tra Que. This village is not only beautiful but possesses real treasure in the quality of its soil.
We know that Vietnam has had some bad experience with chemicals in the past, but what makes this place uniquely special is the fact that no chemicals or toxins are used in the growing process. It’s situated atop of rice patties, which adds to the richness of the soil. This guarantees the best quality and healthiest vegetables. With a short visit to Tra Que, visitors can see first-hand how the farmers grow vegetables in this conscientious way.
Tra Que villagers are extremely proud of their produce. Mr. Thanh, who’s one of the experienced local farmers, loves sharing the fact that his herbs are chemical and additive free. He tells us that Tra Que’s natural fragrant aroma is thanks to the seaweed from De Vong lake, which is used as fertilizer. In addition, the unique farm land has greatly contributed to the fame of Tra Que Village.
Mrs. Do Thi Thanh, a villager tells us: "Tra Que vegetables have a wonderful aroma with small, delicate leaves because it only takes 20 days from the day of planting to harvesting. In Vietnamese cooking traditions, certain herbs and vegetables go with certain meats. During my cooking and farming tours, I teach tourists how to grow herbs, separate land for suitable kinds of herbs and how much water to give each plant. Even if you’ve never farmed before or you think you don’t have ‘green fingers’, you’ll still experience plenty of joy in the process."
Hoi An cooking techniques focus on Yin and Yang to balance the hot and cold inside the body. This means optimum nutrition is guaranteed when you use the fresh herbs and vegetables from Tra Que herbs.
Hundreds year of growing vegetables and herbs
The village was established 300 years ago at the mouth of the De Vong River. The first citizens of Tra Que used to make their living from fishing. Gradually, they started taking advantage of the river’s abundant seaweed for make fertilizer. Since then, Tra Que locals have spent their lives growing the best vegetables which are delivered to Hoi An’s restaurants and households. Hoi An is considered the food mecca of Vietnam and Tra Que Village contributes largely to this.
Tra Que is comprised of 40 hectares of fertile land, sustaining more than 41 different kinds of vegetables, including betel, perilla, Vietnamese coriander, Thai Basil, spearmint, green onion, mint, fish mint, salad, courgette, fuzzy squash, lime, water morning glory, and other herbs.
A paradise for photographers
If you are looking for a gorgeous destination Tra Que is irrefutably the perfect choice. To all photographers, lighting is always one of most important things to consider when taking the best photos. In Tra Que, you are rewarded with outstanding light quality for your shots. From early morning to the late afternoon, every time of day provides excellent natural lighting, giving you many opportunities for creativity. Tra Que is also known as the best place to photograph sunsets in Hoi An.
Moreover, Tra Que with its lush grassland, marvelous rice fields and tranquil lakes, creates the perfect backdrop of rural Vietnam. It’s every photographer’s dream to be able to capture an 80 year old farmer having a break and sitting on his buffalo. And if you’re lucky enough, you can see a boat transferring seeds to the village among other quirky and delightful things to see. The amazing scenery of Tra Que will have you itching to go. One funny and sometimes “annoying” thing in Vietnam is that some people often ask for money when they have their photo taken. In Tra Que, you won’t find people going “1 photo/ 1 dollar”!
Come to Hoi An to see this beautiful attraction. If you want to see and capture life unfolding in the village, come and visit Tra Que. It provides an once-in-a-lifetime experience for many people, especially photography lovers.
Activities: Tra Que village is not marked as a tourist destination for every tour, but it's always listed as a must-see for travelers. You can experience a day of being farmer and learn interesting plant growing techniques from the villagers or you can just go for a stroll around the area. The local people are very friendly but if you’re not sure, try experiencing a day as a farmer, taking photos of the rice patties and vegetable patches, enjoying a relaxing cycle or a leisurely walk, experiencing a magical sunset/ sunrise, cooking classes, and foot massages with Tra Que herbs.
Event: every year, on the 7th day of the first lunar month, Tra Que villagers organize the Cầu Bông festival to pray for good weather and a successful harvest season.