Hello, to all travelers if there are any left out there. Crisis after crisis is making traveling harder and harder, isn’t it? On top of that, there is some insecurity in the air and today I will share with you something that goes great with this theme. Gardens! Not any gardens, but picture-perfect gardens in Hoi An, so-called Tra Que Garden Village in Hoi An.
Historical Hoi An has numerous must-see sites that will stay with you forever. This UNESCO heritage town offers a long list of architectural treasures, culinary delicacies, and stunning instagrammable spots. With such an array of attractions, this retired port town is now very popular with tourists. In this article, we will focus on one overlooked site that might be the most important one. It is about the Tra Que vegetable gardens in Hoi An. You might think we are overreacting but there is a beginning to every story and as food oriented blog, this is our onset.
In the industrial era, gardens became creatures of the past, buried in the memory. Sadly, a lot of knowledge and family secrets are now lost due to a lack of interest in garden life and a sea of paid advice. Luckily that is not true in the Tra Que organic garden, where gardeners of all ages are working together, keeping the cultural heritage alive. Well, we sure hope for this fairy tale to be real. The location surely is absolutely perfect, right between the beach and the old town.
Tra Que Organic Garden
One day we got a chance to visit the picture-perfect Tra Que organic garden where special techniques are being used. The biggest alleys in growing 55 kinds of plants are algae and manure. Now, manure is the latest addition because there is a shortage of nearby grown algae. In addition to that, it takes almost 6 months for algae to get ready for use. With the right plant food, people get praised for high-quality, chemical-free produce growing in narrow long beds. Soil is also important and this island is blessed with fertile ground. So much so that skilled gardeners can harvest specific vegetables in 20 days by using traditional intensive methods.
Tra Que History
Throughout history, the Tra Que village was Hoi An’s growing hub. Meaning, that it supplied the local markets and restaurants with popular herbs and vegetables for over 300 years. One can quickly understand gardens were especially important in the 16th century when Hoi An was the best trading port in Southeast Asia. Now the organic garden plays more roles than it used to, making it more important now than ever. A lot has changed since Hoi An’s gardens were established. Even its name. In the 18th century, King Gia Long of the Nguyen Dynasty came to check the strange vegetable growing here. When he tried the vegetable with a piquant basil-like taste and aroma similar to camellia, he changed the name of the village. The meaning of Tra Que is translated from Vietnamese as cinnamon tea.
Tra Que Activities
First-hand gardening experience with a mentor by your side is one thing you can do. At first glance, some simple farming work can feel fun and easy but know that your mentor might have a different idea of it. It is easy to do what you are told in a well-established garden. However, plowing fallow land and figuring out the garden on your own is everything else but easy. A step forward from gardening is cooking, which can also be done at the Tra Que gardens. In the cooking class, you’ll learn about local vegetables and authentic dishes. We all know how wonderful it is to relax after lunch. Lucky for you at Tra Que gardens you can relax with an herbal massage or medicinal foot bath. Once-in-a-year opportunity is during the lunar new year when the garden gets even more attention with special festivities and activities.
It feels that in Hoi An everything is unforgettable. For the organic garden, we accepted the fairytale where people work with nature and not against it. You are what you eat, they say. They also say you reap what you sow and this is the tough truth. Hard reality sooner or later catches up and our global garbage collection and chemical use is scaring me. Still, it is not too late to turn the corner and go back to the natural ways. Humanity should strive for the preservation of natural treasures so that the Cua Dai beach doesn’t happen again. Beautiful Hoi An has a few issues although nothing that can’t be changed for the better.
Price and Location
As a foreigner, you are expected to pay 1,5 USD to enter the Tra Que Garden Village in Hoi An. For about 20 USD you can take part in the cooking class which happens at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. For more details about the different packages check the offer and make a reservation. Here is the exact location for your GPS tools.