Hoi An Basket Boat Ride

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Had your fill of Hoi An Old Town’s shops & markets, và sunbathing at Cua dai Beach is just too tranquil? Then enjoy a basket boat ride at the Coconut Boat Village Hoi An in-between.

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Legend has it Vietnam’s basket boats originated as a way for local fishermen to avoid paying taxes imposed during the French colonial rule. Others say the boats were born out of necessity as they were more practical than traditional fishing boats.

Whichever the case, the basket boats have become an endearing symbol of life along the central and southern Vietnamese coast for business, pleasure, và now tourism. Nowhere is this more evident than in Cam Thanh, also known as Hoi An’s Coconut Village or more informally, the Coconut Boat Village, just a few kilometres east of Hoi An’s Old Town. 

In this article, Hidden looks into experiencing a basket boat ride yourself. Where a local guide skippers you through the eight-hectare network of water coconut palms, onboard a sturdy, all-natural vessel. It won’t leak, capsize, or have you swimming for shore. It’s fun for the entire family. So keep reading lớn find out the history of the boats themselves and the best way to experience the Coconut Boat Village in Cam Thanh.

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A basket boat in the shaded coconut forest
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Palm trees known as nipa, or mangrove, palms.
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A fishing net is thrown during a demonstration at the Coconut boat village

The Basket Boat Ride at the Coconut Village

At first glance, a basket boat might appear unstable but that is certainly not the case. The boats’ spherical shape distributes weight evenly. With a local skipper on board when you board, there are few of the wobbles common when stepping on to lớn most small boats. Each one seats three adults comfortably on a built-in bamboo bench which stretches across its centre.

The boats measure about two metres in diameter so there’s plenty of room for your bags, shoes, camera & more. Most boat operators won’t let more than two adult passengers on board, though a toddler & a baby, or two, are excepted. Life jackets, while mandatory but loosely enforced, are available should you feel safer wearing one. Bear in mind that your skipper may receive a hefty fine if you do not wear a life jacket.

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Cam Thanh Coconut Village

A former army base during the American war, Cam Thanh, or the Coconut Village, is six kilometres east from the heart of Old Town. Don’t confuse this with the Cam Thanh district that stretches from the eastern edge of Hoi An lớn the Cua dai Beach peninsula. It’s an easy drive by oto or motorbike, and, if you go early or late, a flat và manageable xe đạp ride. Expect it khổng lồ take ten minutes by motorized transport or 30 minutes by bike.

The uniqueness of the Coconut Boat Village is its palm trees known as nipa, or mangrove, palms. Or, more commonly for visitors, water coconut palms. These are the only members of the palm family which have successfully adapted lớn mangrove ecosystems. They grow in soft mud and areas of slow-moving tides & in rivers with roots submerged; only the stalks & leaves are above water.

These dense palms provide shelter from the monsoon storms and floods as well as providing a trang chủ for birds and many species of aquatic animals. The palm’s fruit is a tasty snack or dessert & the palm leaves are used to thatch roofs throughout the village.


The Coconut Village và Bamboo Village

The Coconut Boat Village is really two parts: Coconut Village and Bamboo Village. The latter about five hundred metres south on Cau Cua Dai, the main road which passes the village, or fifty metres as the crow flies, or boat paddles. The village is, well, a village; not an amusement park or exhibit, with families living & working in businesses there. There are restaurants & shops but neither in any great quantity as the prime activity is the basket boat rides. There are no hotels, resorts, spas or other services khổng lồ speak of.

Of Cam Thanh’s two parts, the Coconut Village in Hoi An is the busier of the two with a greater concentration of basket boat tour operators. Bamboo Village is a little tidier, better maintained and easier to access, particularly if you have a vehicle. Both consist of a pedestrian pathway but expect frequent beeps lớn move over from motorbikes. Both locations have public restrooms.


It costs 30,000 VND (1.30 USD) lớn enter the village. This does not include a basket boat ride. Photo: Anna Jamieson

Parking at the Coconut Boat Village

Parking at Hoi An’s Coconut Village for cars, or larger vehicles, is alongside Cau Cua dẻo about 75 metres from the ticket booth entrance. Motorcycles & bikes can park inside the village beyond the ticket booth, even at your basket boat tour operator’s station. Space is limited though, for most of the day, it isn’t a problem to park. There is a parking lot adjacent to lớn the ticket booth at the Bamboo Village for all vehicles. Again, motorcycles and bikes can be driven along the pedestrian walkway & parked near your tour boat.

There is a 20,000 VND (0.85 USD) parking charge for cars, vans, trucks, & buses. Motorcycles and bikes are free. Should you not have your own transport, a xe taxi or Grab ride from the Old Town costs 75,000 – 100,000 VND (3 – 4.30 USD).

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A popular stop for tour groups, the village has plenty of parking on offer. Photo: Anna Jamieson

Prices

In addition lớn parking charges, there is a 30,000 VND (1.30 USD) fee khổng lồ enter the Coconut Boat Village. This is collected at government-staffed ticket booths in both locations. The booths are xuất hiện from 7 a.m. Lớn 5 p.m. Daily. The charge is mandatory & labelled as ‘Joining hands to lớn preserve (the) Cam Thanh Nipa Palm Site’. The fee allows you to enter both parts of the village as well as participate in on-water boat activities such as throwing a fishing net.

Coconut Boat Village operators are plentiful, lining the banks of the Cua dai River which flows through the village. They’re officially open for business from 9 a.m. To lớn 5 p.m. Though many leave earlier và depart later if you show interest. Stop at plenty, comparing and negotiating prices as the trip itself is the same no matter which operator you chose. A few boat operators deduct your village entry fee from the boat ride price. 

Hidden Hint: Prices for a basket boat ride vary greatly–everywhere from 100,000 khổng lồ 200,000 VND (4.30 – 8.60 USD) per person. Some operators charge per person, others by boat. Shop around.

There have been reports of some operators overcharging guests. A fair price for a basket boat ride is 120,000 VND – 150,000 (5 – 6.50 USD) per person, excluding the ticket entry fee lớn the village. Simply walk away if quoted more than that. 

However should you require transport or be part of an organised tour, it’ll cost much more because the price includes a return trip from your khách sạn to the coconut boat, refreshments và snacks.


Coconut Boat Village – Tours

A basket boat ride takes an hour max. Visiting the village, meanwhile, won’t take more than an hour either, including a meal. What are your options for spending more time in the neighbourhood?

Cooking Classes

Long Coconut Boat & Restaurant

Website Cost: 400,000 – 500,000 VND (17 – 22 USD), including basket boat ride – Duration: Three hours.

Many Coconut Boat Village operators in Hoi An offer cooking classes in their homes following the boat ride. Here, you learn how to prepare many traditional Vietnamese dishes using fresh, locally grown ingredients. Best of all, you get to devour your work along the way. Typical dishes include spring rolls, pancakes, salads, fish & other seafood.

Fishing Tours

Bamboo trang chủ Fishing & Cooking Tours 

Cost: 700,000 – 740,000 VND (30 – 32 USD), including basket boat ride – Duration: Five hours

These provide a close up look at the lives of local fishermen while allowing you to demo their fishing techniques. Some begin with visits khổng lồ local seafood markets, watching popular local dishes being prepared, fishing with different kinds of nets, và generous lunch. Additions include stops at handicraft markets and water buffalo rides.


Bicycle Tours

Hang Coconut Basketboat Tour

Website Cost: 560,000 – 575,000 (24 – 25 USD), including basket boat ride – Duration: Four lớn five hours

A good way to lớn see more of the countryside is to lớn take a xe đạp tour through the Cam Thanh district. Ride along peaceful country roads past rice paddies, water buffalo, small villages, và meet some of the villagers, farmers, và fishermen. The roads are flat so it’s not physically demanding but it can be hot depending on the time of day.

Most tours, regardless of the activity, require a minimum of two people. The price includes a return trip lớn your hotel, a local English-speaking guide, a meal, và more. They’re practical if you want lớn enjoy local experiences without having khổng lồ organise them. There are plenty more activities và Coconut Village tours as well.

When to lớn Visit the Coconut Boat Village

The Coconut Boat Village is small and not built for mass tourism. However, that hasn’t stopped the tour buses from rolling in with loads of loud, phone- and camera-toting visitors. The Coconut Village & waterways are most congested from 10 a.m. Lớn noon và 2 – 4 p.m. This is fairly constant year-round with no one season or month being busier than another.

Be aware that during these busy times, the basket boats are often loaded up with speakers. These then emit thumping Gangnam-style music during parts of the ride, destroying if only temporarily, the serenity of the waterway. Consider yourself forewarned.


Boat guides usually have the Vietnamese conical hats on board for your use but it’s smart to have a hat of your own in case they don’t. Much of the boat ride exposes you lớn direct sunlight with little shelter. The sun, particularly in summer, is blazing. If you’re not looking to work on your tan, take an umbrella, sunglasses, and sunscreen, plus a light, long-sleeved shirt. An hour isn’t long but if unprotected from the sun, you’ll pay it for a lot longer later.

Coconut boat village operators in Hoi An work from 9 a.m. To 5 p.m., that is, the last ride departs at 4 p.m. Returning around 5 p.m. However, some start earlier và finish later–these are the ones lớn pick. It’s cooler, less crowded, quieter, and more picturesque, particularly with the sun dipping behind the palms on the late ride.

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A group of conical boats float through the Coconut Boat Village in Hoi An

Hidden’s Thoughts

A basket boat ride is a great way lớn get out on the water while experiencing a slice of Vietnam’s past, present, và probably, future. The journey itself takes an hour tops và is suitable for all ages. There are no worries about getting seasick because the Cua dai River is calm. Better yet, the Coconut Village is within easy reach–just a few kilometres–of the Old Town.