Tam Thanh Mural Village: the painted fishing village near Hoi An you cannot miss

While doing my Hoi An research, I came across an article about a small fishing village about 40-minutes by hired car from the city filled with hand-painted murals down its many tiny alleyways and side streets. Sounds pretty perfect, right? So, I mentioned it in passing to my travel companion at the time who had no clue it existed. I then called to hire a driver, and we were off! I put together this post to give you all the insider details.

This post has been updated since it was originally published on July 4, 2018. It’s been revamped along with many, many more in “fix-it-up” pipeline to tide us all over while I’m traveling. Stay tuned and watch this space!


keep reading for the low down on this hidden gem


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HOW TO GET THERE

TOURS: There are tours that will take you out to the village. My friend, Rose, went on one such tour and wrote a post about it on her {kick ass} blog here. These tours include transport to the village, sorting out any logistics headaches you might want to avoid. 

MOTORBIKE: If you're a brave soul, you can drive a motorbike out to Tam Thanh. The benefit is that you'll be able to take your time and scoot around at your own speed. Driving in Vietnam, like most places in Southeast Asia, comes with few rules and traffic can be chaotic. I only recommend driving a motorbike if you're practiced and, of course, only if you're wearing a helmet. Motorbike rentals can be arranged multiple places around town and can cost as little as USD$4 per day. 

GRAB: You could also get a Grab. I mentioned Grab in my post about Myanmar {read it here}. It's basically like Uber and a lifesaving app to download on your phone. The trouble is getting back from the village. There aren't very many Grab taxis in the village once you arrive, so snagging one to take you back to Hoi An city would be difficult at best. 

HIRING A DRIVER: This sounds like a seriously posh thing to do, but it doesn't cost a fortune. Especially if you get a local to negotiate a fair price. Especially if you have friends to split the cost. My driver was arranged by Hanh, the woman who ran my accommodation, and cost 600,000VND {USD$26 at time of publishing}. He picked us up from our desired location and stayed for 2.5 hours while we wandered. Honestly, he probably would have stayed longer without a fuss. If I would have known more, I would have had the driver drop us off further into the town and not at the village sign {pictured above}. We were dropped at a fish market 2km from the center of the painted town, making it a very hot and sweaty walk. Do not make my mistake.

NEED HELP NAVIGATING? HERE’S WHERE I RECOMMEND GETTING DROPPED OFF FOR THE BULK OF THE ART

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WHAT TO EXPECT

Tam Thanh Village is an off-the-beaten-path collection of over 100 murals painted by Korean volunteers whose objective was to create 'art for a better community.' The village homes being within close proximity to one another made it an ideal location for painting and, in 2016, the first murals were completed in less than a month by five Korean and seven local Vietnamese artists. Because of its rural location, the art project has helped bring tourism to Tam Thanh village, which otherwise might be completely overlooked. 

There's also a beautiful beach on the other side of the painted homes that was nearly empty when we arrived making it feel like a bit of an oasis and an ideal place for a beach photo. Of course, during my visit, the heat was excruciating and the sun was brutal {not to self, next time bring sunscreen}.

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WHAT TO BRING

Sunscreen is an absolute must if you are visiting on a sunny day, as are sunglasses since the mural town offers little shade. There are seafood stands near the beach, but most of the town is residential with just a few convenience type shops, meaning you'll need to bring your own snacks and drinks unless you fancy fish and lukewarm beer {and there's nothing wrong with those two things}. Be aware that a good majority of the corner shops don't refrigerate the beverages they have for sale. If you are traveling alone or with someone who maybe doesn't feel like playing photographer, bring your tripod. The whole town is a photo opportunity!

I'd also bring a swimsuit and towel. If you have the time, Tam Thanh has a long strip of coastline that, at least when I visited, was empty other than basket boats up on the shore. It was a scorching hot day out, so a dip in the big blue would have felt so good. 

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HOW TO BEHAVE

Please remember that this is a residential area that people live and work in. Noise levels should be kept at a respectful level and taking photos of children who run around the village {read: their home} is not really ethical photography conduct. Talk to the friendly locals, ask for help with pictures if you need, and, if you're not sure if you're on someone's property but someone is around, don't be afraid to ask {or use your camera as realia}. 

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I cannot recommend a visit to the Tam Thanh village highly enough. Any time I've spent in Vietnam has always proved to be filled with surprises and little treasures along the way. My visit to Tam Thanh was no different. I loved, no matter how many times I've visited, there is always something new to discover. When I think of all the cool stuff I've gotten to see and do in Asia, I realize how much I still want to do and how a return to Vietnam is always on my ever-growing bucket list. 


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a guide to Tam Thanh Mural Village: the fishing village near Hoi An,  Vietnam
Tam Thanh Mural Village: the hidden gem you need to visit near Hoi An, Vietnam