Carpentry in Hoi An has been around since the 15th century, when the first Vietnamese reclaimers from the Northern Vietnam moved to Cam Kim, Hoi An.
Kim Bong Carpentry Village locates in Cam Kim, 10 minutes by boat from the Ancient Town. The first thing you hear when you arrive is the sound of wood carving, which is now an essential and irreplaceable sound for local people here. So if you have made a Hoi An hotel booking, look out for a boat trip across the beautiful Thu Bon River to Kim Bong.
The location of Kim Bong is just on Thu Bon river bank, which is an advantage for shipbuilding, boats and ships as well as other products here traveled around the world. This is why until now, Vietnamese and foreigner traders still come to Kim Bong carpenters for their products such as tables, cupboard, Buddha Statues.Hoi An was a lively trading city on the Silk Path during the 15th – 17th centuries, many cargos from all over the world visited it every day, which gave the chance of development for Thanh Ha Pottery Village and Kim Bong Carpentry Village. In 18th century, Carpentry developed and divided into three main fields: Ancient architectural construction, civil wooden furniture and shipbuilding.
The East area focused on shipbuilding, while the West focused on wood carving, had left the next generations great products and the Ancient Town of Hoi An is one of the remains from the heyday of Hoi An as well as the talent of Kim Bong carpenters.
Thanks to the cultural diversity in Hoi An back then, Kim Bong carpentry has its own style, while other carpentry villages in the north was influenced by feudal style. Kim Bong wood carving style is rustic and close to the local life.
Beside Hoi An ancient houses, Kim Bong carpenters left their mark on the Imperial City of Hue. Back then when the Nguyen Emperors reunited the country and moved the capital to Hue, carpenters from the south (Kim Bong and Van Ha carpentry villages) were summoned to build the Royal palace.
The number of tourists to Kim Bong village is now rising rapidly, many local family open stalls to sell wooden souvenirs. Julia, a British visitor told us: “This is the first time I’ve been to Hoi An. Besides the charming beauty of the Ancient Town, I really like the scenery of Kim Bong Carpentry Village, its wooden products are so attractive. If I have chance, I will recommend my friends to visit here and buy these products.”
Wooden Guan Yin at Kim Bong Village (Source: Duc on Justgola)
According to Mr. Huynh Suong, the 13th generation of Huynh Family in Kim Bong village, carpentry doesn’t bring much money and make anyone rich. There’s only love, passion and the spirit in preserving this traditional craft. Although the income from tourism for Kim Bong is not significant because there’s no entrance fee, it’s enough to encourage carpenters in their career. After making Hoi An hotel booking, plan a free day to visit this land, you are an important part in helping these local carpenters keep up with their job.
You will find yourself on a boat floating on peaceful Thu Bon River to Kim Bong (Source: James Pham)
And admire the talented of carpenters here