Imagine a quiet coastal village in Central Vietnam, thanks to some rather mind-blowing touch-ups of brilliant artists, Tam Thanh has been transformed into a lively art exhibition and a must-stop destination on any tourist map for Da Nang and Hoi An. The incredible story of Tam Thanh Mural Village in Quang Nam Province is not only all about art and culture but also the efforts to create social impacts. And so, without any further ado, here is everything you need to know about Tam Thanh Painted Village.
The inspiring story of a remote fishing village to be a lively art gallery
Armed with the motto: ‘Art For A Better Community’, the Community Art Exchange Program, led by the Korea Foundation, the UN Habitat and the people’s committee of Quang Nam Province, set out to do just that. Inspired by the success of Ihwa Mural Village and many more in Korea, this joint venture by Vietnam and Korea aims to introduce art into the lives of people. And by doing so, they hope to raise awareness, the sense of cultural identity and attract tourism to better the small community.
Over the course of two weeks, a group made up five Korean and seven Vietnamese artists, as well as volunteers, gave the village a complete makeover. And just in that short amount of time, 100 bright, colorful murals have now been donned by many households, breathing new life into a village on the Central Coast of Vietnam. The chosen village, which is actually Trung Thanh Village, is so popular that people now start calling it by the name of the commune, Tam Thanh Mural Village.
Where is Tam Thanh Mural Village?
Trung Thanh village is part of Tam Thanh commune which, in turn, helps make up the whole of Tam Ky City. Tam Ky City belongs to Quang Nam Province, occupying a great portion of the Central Coastal region of Vietnam. The mural village and its commune are located in North East of Tam Ky City, separated from the rest of the city by Truong Giang River. With Tam Thanh Beach only 7 kilometers away from the city, the mural village is reachable by road.
One of the main reasons for the project is because Tam Ky City is Quang Nam’s center of trade, politics, culture, and science. Trung Thanh Village, with its already endearing coastal aesthetic, was chosen for the betterment of the community and the outlook of the whole city. And thanks to the artists’ magic touches, the village is now seeing as many as 10,000 visitors on a busy day.
Getting to Tam Thanh Mural Village
There are many ways for you to get to Tam Thanh Mural Village. You can either take the public bus, take a taxi, ride the motorbike or by private rental car. No matter which one you choose, the journey will be rather long.
For public buses, you can take the bus 14 that runs from Tam Ky to Hoi An for 30,000 VND (~1.3 USD). If you are in Danang, simply take the bus 4 to get to Tam Ky for 28,000 VND (~1.2 USD). Once you’re at Tam Ky, you can take bus route number 8 or 7 to get to Tam Thanh beach.
For taxis, you can charter one that runs straight to Tam Thanh from Hoi An or Da Nang. Despite being simple and convenient, this option can be rather expensive as prices are between 450,000 and 600,000 VND (~19.3 – 26 USD). Also, you can book a car via ride-hailing app such as Grab (known as Southeast Asian Uber) which is more convenient, however, you have to make sure your internet access is good.
Travel Tips: You should buy a local SIM card before your trip and download necessary app such as Grab, Google Maps and translator to communicate with the drivers.
The third option for you to consider is either motorbike. If you’re the intrepid kind and an experienced driver, you rent a bike for a day for around 80,000 – 150,000 VND (~3.44 – 6.5 USD) to get to Tam Thanh. Since Tam Thanh commune and, consequently, Trung Thanh Village are relatively close to major tourist hubs like Da Nang and Hoi An, there are two possible routes for you to choose from.
From Hoi An
The first one is from Hoi An. For this route, you will have to head east via Cua Dai Road until you’re at Tran Nhan Tong Road. Then, you need to cross the intersection at Tran Quang Khai, and travel until you see another intersection.
After another intersection, continue south then east along Tran Nhan Tong road until you reach Cua Dai Bridge. Once you find yourself at the bridge, cross it and go along route 129 until you reach route 608. Then take a left turn and continue on route 608. Finally, you’re only a right turn at Thanh Nien Road away from the village.
As this is the fastest route from Hoi An to Tam Thanh, you will only have to traverse 45.5 kilometers or spend 46 minutes traveling. If you are taking a taxi, expect to pay anywhere from 30 to 45 USD.
From Da Nang
From Da Nang station, take the train that runs straight to Tam Ky City. Once at the station in Tam Ky, head to Nguyen Thai Hoc Road. Then you need to travel north up Nguyen Thai Hoc Road, and make a right turn when you see Tieu La Road.
From there, continue along the road until you reach Phan Chau Trinh and make a right turn. Follow the road until you intersect Thanh Hoa Road, then make a left turn. Without another turn, travel on Thanh Hoa until you start pulling in to Route 614. Then, just continue driving until you reach Thanh Nien. Finally, turn left and keep going for a good while to get to the village.
This route is rather easier to take compared to Hoi An as the large portion of the trip is via train. With the Vietnam Railway trains running once daily, expect a travel time of around 1 hour and 12 minutes, followed by 15-minute taxi ride to Tam Thanh Commune.
Things to do in Tam Thanh Mural Village
Marvel at the village’s famous murals
The village is famous for its street art. However, instead of the modern pop art or futuristic paintings that are so typical of an urban center, the murals of Trung Thanh speaks of the mundane. All of the beautiful artworks convey the message of regional culture and natural beauty through vibrant seascapes, marine creatures and depictions of the locals’ daily routine. With each piece of art, the artists put their own twists into them, making them unconventional yet still relatable.
Give the community a hand
Being tucked away from the rest of Tam Ky city also means that Tam Thanh has missed out a lot of development. And so to help this community improve their lives, you can do more than just admiring the artwork. At the Tam Thanh, you can find something as simple as a tote bag, handmade goods or even a cool sugar can drink. Even though they seem small and insignificant, any amount of money that you spend can greatly help the village improve their economy. And thanks to the absence of a middle man, your money is well-spent.
Stroll along peaceful Tam Thanh Beach
Tam Thanh Commune is not just about the mural village. It is also famous for its beach. Modestly situated about 7 kilometers, east of downtown Tam Ky, the beach is not yet heavily commercialized. As such, the natural grandeur is left untouched and the beach retains its rustic, peaceful aesthetic. On the beach, you can find the Tam Thanh Beach Resort & Spa at Ha Thanh Hamlet and a variety of activities depending on the time of year. This beach is also the place for the Kite Festival, and art exhibits.
Admire the Vietnam’s Heroic Mother Statue
In order to honor the sacrifices that Vietnamese mothers and women have made in the 30-year-long war, a monument was erected. Situated at Phu Thanh Village, Tam Phu Commune, this sandstone monument of Vietnam’s Heroic Mother stands at the height of 18.5 meters on top of Cam Mountain. The figure chosen as the model for central head belongs to Nguyen Thi Tu, whose 11 sons were lost to the war. A visit to this monumental landmark is free of charge, and for a parking fee of 5,000 VND (~0.22 USD) you can easily include this in your day trip.
Travel back in time at My Khuong Tower
My Khuong Tower is one of the most important relics of the once powerful Champa Kingdom, which stretches as far as the central region to the southern part of modern day Vietnam. Take a trip to Village 4, Tam Xuan 1 commune, Nui Thanh district, and you will have the chance to feast your eyes on the three multi-tier-roof towers dedicated to the Hindu god, Vishnu. Together with ancient intricately carved reliefs, My Khuong Tower is the epitome of Champa architecture and a spiritual monument of the Cham ethnic group.
Tam Thanh Mural Village, a worthwhile experience
An ordinary fishing village was transformed into a rising tourist attraction and so amazing is what we can do with just colors and ideas. What’s even greater than the fantastic murals themselves is their meaning to the people of Tam Thanh. For the villagers, the murals speak of identity, culture and a fresh start. For the rest of us, they show how the simplest of actions can bring about the most profound of results.
And so, with its beautiful coastal landscape, its heart-felt artistic murals and genuine locals, Tam Thanh Mural Village is a must-see attraction on any tourist map and an undoubtedly worthwhile experience.
If you prefer to join an organized tour, you can opt for a Tam Thanh Mural Village Half Day Tour from Da Nang.