At least an umpteen-thousand tourists visit Hoi An every year. And rightly so – for it is truly one of the world’s most beautiful towns. Sometimes, however, it’s nice to escape the crowds and get some genuine local exposure.
Luckily, within a shockingly small amount of time, you can be in the countryside – free from selfie sticks and mingling with some of Vietnam’s friendliest people. A trip to Noi Rang Market provides such an opportunity. But sshh, don’t tell too many people…
Noi Rang? I’ve never heard of it; it isn’t in my guidebook!
Aha! Don’t feel bad, you aren’t the only one. Many people have lived in Hoi An for years and have never visited (or even heard) of Noi Rang Market. It is for this reason that we at How An Now call it ‘The Secret Market’.
I like secrets. So where is it this place hidden?
Just on the other side of the Thu Bon River, across the dramatic Cửa Đại bridge. 15 mins on a scooter or a pleasant 45 mins on a bicycle. Check the map below.
What can I expect?
A small covered country market with super-friendly stall holders and no other tourists in sight. Sweet.
You’re going to tell me that I’ve to get up early, aren’t you?
Yes and no. Like with all the wet markets in Hoi An, the produce is fresh from the field or sea nearby and when the stallholders sell out they pack up their empty baskets and head home. With that in mind, it’s always better to get there early to get the best action. That said, in our experience, Noi Rang seems to go on all morning – so you needn’t set that alarm too early.
Do I need a guide?
Not at all, Noi Rang Market is small enough to wander around in 30 mins. You can’t get lost. All you need to bring is your best smile and any Vietnamese you’ve managed to pick up during your time here. A few words in the local lingo goes a long way here.
45 mins is quite a cycle. Is there anywhere to eat after my efforts?!
Of course…this is Vietnam, after all. Top tip: head to the south entrance of the market, where you’ll find a very friendly husband and wife team serving up generous helpings of super-tasty phở (a noodle soup pronounced ‘fur’). Grab a steaming bowl and join the locals slurping away at one of long communal tables. Make sure to bring your phrasebook because you’re bound to make some new friends.
Good tip. You’re on a roll. Give me another.
Flattery will get you everywhere. Two metres from your phở stop with her back against a wall is a smiling conical-hatted lady, surrounded by vats and bottles of a mysterious brown liquid. Begin the slow process of lowering yourself onto one of the tiny red stools strewn about her (yes, it takes us 5 mins to get down too) and order yourself a glass. We have no notion what it is but it seems healthy, tastes delicious and will give you a vitamin-fuelled energy boost for your cycle back to Hoi An.