The Wide World of Crafts in Hoi An

Hoi An map

Map by Michael Kline

ANCIENT TOWN

Visit Reaching Out Arts & Crafts, which employs people with disabilities, and watch artisans tapping brass rims onto ceramic cups and embroidering napkins. In the showroom, you can browse beautifully designed ceramic cups, teapots, and place settings, including a bowl with a small hole on the side for resting chopsticks across the top. The social enterprise offers workshops on craft making and meditating over tea. It also runs the nearby Reaching Out Teahouse.

Hoi An has an astounding 600 tailor shops, and you can’t go wrong having an outfit made at Yaly Couture. You can also watch workers make traditional ao dai at the Yaly boutique. Check out the town’s signature lanterns at Huynh Van Ba’s lantern-making shop, and take a class to make your own lantern. You can also admire art photography and traditional costumes at the Precious Heritage Museum in the French Quarter on the eastern edge of Ancient Town.

KIM BONG CARPENTRY VILLAGE

Located about two miles south of Ancient Town over the bridge on Cam Kim Island, the village is home to craftspeople renowned for their boats, furniture, and intricate carvings for pagodas in Hoi An and the former imperial city of Hue. Huynh Suong, a 14th-generation woodworker, helps run the family’s Huynh Ri carpentry workshop, where you can marvel at the bamboo bird cages he has built into the twisting roots of teak and mahogany trees.

If he’s not busy, Suong will give you a ride on his motorbike to see Do Sung, one the few artisans still making Hoi An’s bamboo basket boats. The workshop is at his house; there is no address, but find Cafe 78 – Co Lieu on Google maps, and it’s just a few houses east. You can also see the boats in action on the picturesque Hidden Beach several miles northeast on the seaside, where fishermen paddle out to sea just before sunset.

HOI AN IMPRESSION THEME PARK

To experience the city via a musical extravaganza, hike over a footbridge to Hoi An Impression Theme Park in the middle of the river, with a 3,300-seat amphitheater overlooking a replica of the Ancient Town waterfront. A cast of about 500, including scores in ao dai and illuminated conical hats, tells the story of the port’s evolution each night.

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