Cam Kim Island
What we say:
Locals pay 3,000 VND, but foreigners get charged more — be sure to ask the price and haggle down to no more than 10,000 VND. You can take a bicycle or motorbike with you (for which you pay more) and this is highly recommended if you plan to do anything more on the island than visit the wood-carving shops.
Once you get off the pier on Cam Kim, follow the pier road and turn right to find the wood-carving shops, with artisans at work and merchandise on display. It's a part of many guided tours, and a fun place to visit on your own. Each shop has its own unique style so you'll benefit from seeking out more than one, especially if you're planning to buy. There is some virtuoso wood carving on display here, which is not to be missed.
If you bring along a bike or a motorbike, you're in for a treat. Cam Kim is a beautiful, rural island that is almost completely free of tourists. There are plenty of picturesque pathways to explore, along with some amazing bamboo bridges (nicknamed monkey bridges). They look rickety, but they are as strong as can be, and yes you can ride a motorbike across them. Some of the larger ones charge a toll, which should be about 2,000 VND, but expect to pay a little more.
We wish we could give you a detailed itinerary, but the best of Cam Kim island is incredibly difficult to experience without a guide. If you're interested in a very unique and enjoyable daytrip, we recommend you take a guided bike tour: try Sleepy Gecko or Heaven and Earth Tours.
Sleepy Gecko Chillout Bar: To 5 Thon Xuyen Trung, Cam Nam Island, Hoi An. T: (0908) 426 349. http://www.thesleepygecko.com
Heaven and Earth Tours: Nguyen Hoang St (by the lantern market), An Hoi, Hoi An. T: (0510) 386 4362, (0126) 842 2260. http://www.vietnam-bicycle.com
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