Handmade Bamboo Bridges in Vietnam
There are very few handmade bamboo bridges left in Vietnam and most visitors to this beautiful country will not even have heard of them before let alone set foot on one. I had discovered a photo of a traditional bamboo bridge near Hoi An online and we were desperate to see this masterpiece of craftsmanship with my own eyes. With little information provided on the internet, we resorted to asking some of the locals at our hotel but even they could only give us a guess to the location. After some searching we finally found a bridge that we hoped to be the local bamboo bridge on Google maps satellite photos. After our visit to Tam Thanh Mural Village and with the patient help of our driver we tried to reach the end of the bridge.
The Bamboo Bridge Across the Truong Giang River
The bamboo bridge connects either side of the Truong Giang River and is a vital connection for the locals living in the area as crossing the river by boat or ferry can be too dangerous. Located between Binh Giang village and Thon Mot-Sa May Road, south of Hoi An, the bridge is reached by a narrow dirt track, too narrow for any car to pass. Our driver parked the car on the roadside at the nearest point, and we strolled down a sandy path. A motorbike passed us on the way and we noticed some farmers with a herd of water buffalos in the rice paddies. Shortly after we saw the grey brown structure of the bamboo bridge ahead. A little hut at the end seemed to be the home of the bridge builder and his family. To an outsider, the bridge might not look stable enough for people to cross to the other side, but in fact the bamboo is a very effective and cheap way to build a lasting and strong structure, even heavier motorbikes are able to cross the bridge.
Crossing the Bamboo Bridge
It did feel rather strange when we set foot onto the bridge, the surface was uneven, plus there were some big gaps between the bamboo trunks in places, so if you do visit please be careful to not drop anything and take care that little ones do not get their feet stuck in the crevices.
Meeting the Bridge Constructor
A man on the bridge, we assume he was the bridge constructor, was trying to move away some of the water hyacinth plants that had collected underneath the bridge in a large cluster. Another man, down below in a wooden boat helped him with his work and we watched as the freed plants floated downriver. The bridge constructor asked us for a small toll fee to cross the bridge, this is common practice, as building the bridge every year and maintaining it through the storms must be a big effort. The bamboo bridge needs rebuilding every year when heavy rainfalls flood the area of Hoi An and often the bamboo bridge is swept away to sea. You might have read in the news that this year Vietnam received particularly high flooding throughout typhoon season so I am sure he will soon be building a new one.
Returning to Allamanda Estate
Content that we had found and walked on the bridge in the end, and admired the skills of the local bridge builder, we returned by car to our home from home at the Allamanda Estate.
Luxury Resort for Families
We had changed our hotel the previous day moving from central Hoi An out into the countryside for a change of scenery. The Allamanda Estate enjoys a peaceful location, and is small but rather luxurious. Allamanda Resort was everything we could have dreamed of, our stay even included a complimentary daily massage overlooking the lotus pond and the surrounding rice paddies. Jerome enjoyed the billiard table and the pool, of course, and he even had a go at paddling the traditional boat on the lotus pond to the amusement of the staff. We shared our dinner that night with a family from Netherlands and Jerome had fun playing games with the kids. Our last day in the area we spent on the sandy shores of close by An Bang beach…
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5 thoughts on “Hoi An, Vietnam | The Last Surviving Bamboo Bridges in Vietnam, a True Masterpiece of Craftsmanship”
Wow! It all looks kind of magical… I’m amazed at the skills of people like that builder, and I’m saddened that these traditional skills are often getting lost because of a rush to “modernity”. I’m not sure that’s the case in Vietnam, but that’s what I imagined when you said there aren’t many bamboo bridges anymore…I’ve seen these situations a lot in Southern Africa.
It really is sad that these traditions seem to disappear! I am sure it’s the same in Vietnam, I do hope however that someone will keep rebuilding the bridge year after year and that the government won’t introduce any stupid rules that might stop these structures from staying alive.
Love this. Going to try and visit the mural village and bamboo bridge later this month.
That’s great! Please let me know what you thought of both afterwards, maybe you’ll see the old man in the boat repairing his net too. We have such fond memories of visiting both. Enjoy!