Coming to Hoi An, you not only have an opportunity to discover a World Heritage Site with tranquil old towns, but also experience local fishermen living in the beautiful coconut forest considered as “the South of Vietnam in the heart of the Hoi An ancient town”. Riding a basket boat in Hoi An is definitely a must thing to do while you are here.
This article focuses on the basket boat ride in Hoi An coconut forest and things around it such as relations to local culture, history, tours, etc. tips, advice and recommendations are also provided, aiming for both self-guided and guided travelers.
History of the basket boat
A basket boat or a coconut boat is a special boat in Vietnam. It is a small, round bamboo boat with two meters in diameter, and used as a means to catch fish on the beach by fishermen in the middle and south of Vietnam. Other names of basket boats are Thuyen Thung, Thung Chai.
Basket boat first appeared in Vietnam in the French colony to avoid paying excessive taxes on boat ownership to the French. French believe basket boat is not a boat, but basket, thus there is no tax for the basket boat owners.
Nowadays, basket boats are still used to catch fish, but it is becoming more popular for tourists as a means to explore Hoi An. You may feel it unstable for the first time you get on the boat, but it is not. The tour guide will instruct you where to sit to distribute weight evenly. A basket boat has enough room for 3 adults, including a tour guide. There is a lot of space for you to put bags, shoes, a camera… on the boat. You need to wear life jackets when on the boat.
Place to ride a basket boat
The best place to experience Hoi An basket boat riding is Bay Mau coconut forest located in Cam Thanh village which is about 7 km from the center of the town. Called Bay Mau because, in the past, this coconut forest only had seven acres, now the area of the forest has been more than 200 acres, but the people here are too familiar with the name of this dear Seven Mother.
This large coconut forest is located next to 03 famous rivers in Hoi An: Hoai river, Thu Bon river, and De Vong river flowing into the sea. Because this place has salty water suitable for the development of nipa coconuts, the coconut forest here is getting bigger and greener day by day, blending with the charming image of the river, giving you the feeling of being in a province somewhere in the Southwest Region.
Best time to visit coconut forest
Since you come here, you will participate in sightseeing activities and outdoor experiences, so choosing a time with fantastic weather of the year will help you have a more comfortable and perfect trip. The time from February to September every year is a reasonable time to go to the coconut forest because Hoi An has dry and cool weather. Notably, in June and July, the sun is quite hot, but the river water is clear, ideal for sightseeing, so the number of tourists coming here is quite crowded at this time.
In addition, you should go here early in the morning or after 3 pm to be able to feel the freshest air, cool breezes, and birds chirping on the clear blue river. If you have the opportunity to come to the Bay Mau coconut forest in Hoi An in the 8th lunar month, you will enjoy the delicious ripe water coconut with a sweet and passionate taste.
The basket boat ride experience
As you board your boat, the rower will hand you a conical hat. Not only is this great for pictures, but it will help keep the sun off your shoulders and provide shade on a hot sunny day. Floating down the coconut forest is a somewhat romantic and peaceful experience.
Hop on an all-natural vessel
The belle of the ball in a Hoi An basket boat tour must be your experience with the boat trip. A basket boat often carries two or three adults, meandering through a frenzied system of channels and canals. The water is calm and the “captain” stops along the way for visitors to watch some entertaining tricks the ferryman can do with a basket boat.
Join the basket boat racing
If you are on the adventurous side, ask the local boat skipper to speed up or even do a basket boat racing. You’ll be surprised how fast the seemingly meagre boat can run with just a single paddle.
“Basket boat dance” is the next interest. In which, skilled men shake and spin his vessel during minutes, to bring the audience fun and wow performances.
Explore the water coconut ecosystem only found in Vietnam
A distinctive feature of Bay Mau coconut forest is the unique biodiversity. When floating in the middle of the water, you immerse yourself in the green space of coconut trees.
Weaving into the coconut groves, birds from some branches flap their wings, chirping in harmony with the little sound when the paddle dips in the water. Under the river surface, you’ll see the fish, the crab, the snail… leisurely moving.
Enjoy fishing activities on the river
Besides the unique basket boat, the people in Bay Mau have another secret in fishing. You’ll get the chance to trawl the special fishing net. And don’t be so upset if you catch nothing because the technique requires a lifetime to master. You can try to catch some crabs or snails on the riverside.
Make some creative items from coconut fronds
For those who prefer sitting and meticulous work, you can join a quick handicraft class. Here the local guide will help you make beautiful origami from coconut fronds. This will be an invaluable souvenir for your basket boat tour.
Hoi An basket boat ride price
If you go to the basket boat dock yourself, the cost of a 45 – 50 minute basket boat trip is 150,000 VND (6.5 USD) per person. In addition to basket boat rental, there is a 30,000 VND (1.30 USD) fee to enter the coconut village. The ticket booth can be found in the village entrance. It opens daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, you should book it online since it is cheaper and you don’t have to queue in a long line at the booth.
If planning to do more than a basket boat ride and liking to know deeper local history and culture, a guided tour is more suitable than a DIY one.
To save time and searching, you can even book directly online and combine your basket boat trip with a cooking tour or a bicycle tour. The choice is completely yours.
Reviews Hoi An basket boat on Tripadvisor
You will appreciate the size of the boat and how many persons it can accomodate for local vs foreigners. How this vietnamese people are so creative and living by nearby resources. My teens and young kids really have had fun doing this.
ecah a (Petaling Jaya, Malaysia)
This family was located in Cua Dai street earlier, The Riverside Garden restaurant. They had to move to this new place.
The family is very nice and helpful, they make excellent food.
The surrounding nature is exciting and idyllic, with opportunities for river cruises.
We had a great time here with them!
Randi Sande (Oslo, Norway)
Amazing trip. I went through the water coconut forest which I haven’t seen anywhere in the world. The most fanstastic part of the trip was the way they spinned the boat very skillfully. At the end of the trip, I was given a thrown made by a water coconut leaf. The trip was so much fun and joyful.
Jason (Alexandria, VA)
Getting to Hoi An coconut forest
Hoi An coconut forest is 28 km south of Da Nang center. It takes travelers 40 minutes by car and some extra minutes if getting to by motorcycle. From Da Nang, after arriving at the traffic light in An Bang beach, continue riding straight and turning right at the second light. Following Vo Chi Cong Rd until another traffic light, turning left. Ticket booths and basket boat tour providers line the road. No public transportation in this route.
The coconut forest in Hoi An brings you the peaceful space of rustic countryside with rows of green nipa palm trees surrounding the gentle and genuine people here. This place will get you back to the purest person, remove fatigue, worry, and enjoy the fresh air to help you “refresh” yourself very effectively. Please stay here and try the experience the next time you come to Hoi An.
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