Quang Nam’s capital city is just an hour from Hoi An, but in Tam Ky, the sense of regional pride is stronger, traditional fishing culture runs deeper, and the ineffable ‘Quang Nam style’ can be felt in everything from flower festivals to seafood feasts. For travelers who want to discover Quang Nam beyond Hoi An, here’s a guide to Tam Ky’s treasures.

Dam River

In the right season, glorious pink lotus bloom in wide swathes on the sleepy Dam River. Several local families have set up an eco-tourism venture here, ferrying passengers over the water on narrow wooden sampans, for just 300,000 VND (14 USD) a ride. While you can tour the river at any time of day, gliding between the fresh lotus buds, blossoms, and leaves at sunrise is an unforgettable experience.

Van Thanh – Khong Mieu

The Confucian Temple in Tam Ky was rebuilt on its current site in the 1970s, but you can still find the old stelae, bell, and drum from the original temple housed here. This eye-catching compound displays classic features of Quang Nam architecture and craftsmanship, such as delicate jackfruit wood carving in the main worship hall, yin-yang clay tiles, and bright ceramic pieces used in the temple’s striking mosaics.

TIP: If you enjoy learning about history, visit the Quang Nam Museum in Tam Ky, where three main exhibits offer detailed information on the province’s geography, history, and culture.

Ky Anh Tunnels

Vietnam’s wartime history comes to life at Ky Anh Tunnels in Tam Ky. Here, the unassuming village of Thach Tan hides an amazing secret: entrances to the headquarters of a 32-kilometer system of underground tunnels, dug by revolutionaries during the American War. Mr. Ta, a former soldier, will lead you on an insightful tour of the tunnels, full of remarkable stories and information.

Ha Thanh Beach

The wide, powdery shores west of Tam Ky City are still well under the tourist radar. The coastal road is sprinkled with authentic fishing villages, colorful homes, and long beaches empty except for fishing boats and wildflowers. Ha Thanh Beach is a favorite escape among locals from Tam Ky City. Behind the beach, restaurants and cafes serve seafood and Vietnamese coffee with a view of the waves.

Seafood specialties

Quang Nam’s long tradition of coastal culture and fishing is embedded in daily life in Tam Ky, including the local diet. Tam Ky has a handful of famous restaurants dedicated to preparing the day’s catch in enticing dishes, made with herbs and fresh vegetables. Come with a local guide who can help you order and devour favorites such as clams in lemongrass broth, turmeric grilled fish, and gently steamed squid.

Tam Thanh Mural Village

Tiny Tam Thanh was a dot on the map until 2016, when a team of Korean and Vietnamese artists used their talent to spotlight the village for tourism. The murals, which can be found around every corner, and even on some boats and rooftops, tell stories of life for the fishing families in Tam Thanh. Take a walk around to see hidden artwork, and chat with the friendly locals who live there.

TIP: Tour companies in Hoi An run trips to Tam Thanh, though you can also reach the village by motorcycle or car, or even stay overnight in a simple homestay.

Com ga (chicken rice)

Tam Ky’s much-loved version of com ga is more robust than the interpretation found in Hoi An, but also makes the most of fresh herbs and vegetables to create an intensely satisfying dish. Here, crunchy lettuce, bean sprouts, and cucumbers add texture to the turmeric rice and pickles, and whole chicken legs are either shredded and tossed with hot mint and onions, or chopped and served with the skin on.

Mat weaving

The weaving villages of Quang Nam preserve a treasured piece of local culture, while also creating useful and sustainable items for the home. Thach Tan Village runs a community-based tourism activity for travelers who want to learn more about the mat weaving craft. Try the unique two-person loom for yourself. You might be inspired to bring home a brightly patterned mat or woven bag made from sedge grass.

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