For the longest time, the only way to reach Cam Kim Island was by boat. Wooden boats ferried passengers from the market in the Ancient Town to the dock near the woodcarvers’ village. Today, although there are more ways to reach Cam Kim, the island has kept its peaceful rural scenery and time-honored crafts.
Cycling around Cam Kim Island is pure fun, passing wood-working stations, lanes shaded with bougainvillea bushes, brilliant green rice paddies and vegetable patches. Set aside a half-day to explore, or look for a quiet homestay on the island if you’d like to stay longer.

Wood-working station - Cam Kim Island - Quang Nam

After the noisy clanging as you ride over the metal bridge from Hoi An, all is quiet and restful on Cam Kim. Pedal your way around the small hamlet of Triem Tay, or go in search of the ancient houses and pagodas that dot the countryside. Sooner or later you’ll find yourself in the open paddy fields, where the wind rushes over the sweet green rice stalks.

Locals in Cam Kim follow the traditional methods of farming and aquaculture used all over Quang Nam. Inside the island you’ll spot vegetable plots sprouting eggplants, squash and leafy greens. Along the water’s edge, you’ll have the benefit of a cool breeze and a view of bamboo fishing traps and fishing boats fluttering the Vietnamese flag.

Cam Kim Market - Cam Kim Island - Hoi An - Quang Nam
Cam Kim Market - Cam Kim Island - Hoi An - Quang Nam
Cam Kim Market - Cam Kim Island - Hoi An - Quang Nam

Chợ Cam Kim, the wet market, is where you’ll get a close look at Cam Kim’s abundant produce as well as a taste of real local delicacies, if you’d like, such as mint-green mung bean milk and wobbly pandan jelly. Talk a walk through the stalls and you’ll find heaps of fresh vegetables, garlic and ginger, deep red tuna and tiny pink shrimp, and stacks of plump mangoes.

TIP: Bring your own shopping bag or pick up a bamboo basket in Hoi An to carry all your purchases from the market and reduce plastic waste.

Cam Kim Island has a rich history of wood carving, going back to the 15th century. It’s said that four families founded the first wood carving workshops on the island. They learned to match the preferences of foreign buyers and blended this knowledge with their own skills and local styles to become the most renowned wood carvers in Vietnam.

Kim Bong Village - Cam Kim Island - Hoi An - Quang Nam
Kim Bong Village - Cam Kim Island - Hoi An - Quang Nam
Kim Bong Village - Cam Kim Island - Hoi An - Quang Nam

At the workshops in Kim Bong, the wood carvers are still in action. Take a look around to encounter delicate mahogany birdcages, intricate cedarwood tables wrought with birds and branches, Buddhist statues and detailed pieces for local altars. Kim Bong is also known for its shipyards, where builders craft and launch fishing vessels, tourist boats and tiny sampans.

Sedge mat weaving - Cam Kim - Hoi An - Quang Nam
Sedge mat weaving - Cam Kim - Hoi An - Quang Nam

Sedge mat weaving is another craft that is still in practice on Cam Kim. The grass is harvested from the island and dried for three days before it’s dyed. It takes two rounds of dyeing and drying in the sun before the sedge is ready for weaving piece by piece on a hand-held loom. The results are lightweight, patterned mats that can brighten up any floor.

Cam Kim Island - Hoi An - Quang Nam ProvinceAfter a few hours of cycling, you’ll be amazed by how much there is to appreciate on this one small island. You can cycle back over the bridge, or pay a tourist boat to take you and your bicycle back to the Hoi An Ancient Town. A sunset boat ride, just the way the locals used to journey to and from the island, is a delightful way to end your Cam Kim adventure.


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