Shun the pushy tailors and roastery cafes and head away from the heart of Hoi An. Yes, the city’s beautiful but when you need a break you need a break, right? Cue Tra Que island. Some of the most manicured veg gardens, lovely locals and pretty views in the town await there.

Tra Que island
Lady cycling through Tra Que island | © Crabs Move Sideways

Through fields of cabbages and courgettes, baby gem and radish, she rides, sun glaring down like a button mushroom in a pho. This was taken right by the spot we’re staying for 10 days. It’s surrounded by diminutive little Vietnamese houses that look like blown-up doll’s houses. Each has its own garden that puts UK greenhouses to shame – think regimented rows of sprouts and flowers. Honestly, you’d need a set square to plan veg planting with such precision. Big up the people of Tra Que island!

Tra Que island
Water ways around Tra Que | © Crabs Move Sideways

In the morning, loads of bike tours roll through looking to snap shots of the people at work between their spring onions and watercress. We love the way that the locals don’t seem to give a monkey’s. They just go on swinging their huge watering cans, plucking weeds from the soil and carefully combing the mud for the next big planting.

Tra Que island
Tra Que | © Crabs Move Sideways

Little Tra Que is an island. That means it’s surrounded by water on all sides. In the direction of Hoi An are the big rice paddies where the grunting buffalo like to give us stern Churchill faces in the morning. In the direction of the beach is a narrow river with a few discarded fishing nets thrown about. It’s views of that we wake up to every morning. We watch little blue-and-red birds flitting between the palms, and sometimes can even spot a double-bent Vietnamese babushka knee-deep in the mud. Fishing for something, we guess.

Tra Que island
Lady tending to her garden in Tra Que | © Crabs Move Sideways



We took a cycle down to the far end of Tra Que island on our own. We find it ridiculous that most people visiting Hoi An wait to join a bike tour before they go. It’s really easy to get to on the main road leading to An Bang beach. But more importantly, we think the locals are much more open when they see just a couple rolling by. We did plenty of xin chaos and got loads of xin chaos back. And we even got a chance to meet a few little puppies – the people of Tra Que island have some of the best dogs in Hoi An!

Tra Que island
Can you see the gardener? | © Crabs Move Sideways