Photo: Get out on Hoi An's beautiful waterways.

Boat trips

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Hoi An provides ample opportunities to get out onto the water, be it fresh or of the salt variety. Enjoying some of the town’s many river ways is a must – hire a boat, go for a paddle or take a tour that incorporates the life aquatic.





If you’ve got an hour or two to spare, it can be as simple as going to the old town’s riverfront where you’ll be inundated by touts offering boat trips down the Thu Bon River, the vessel ranging from sampans (flat-bottomed wooden canoes) to larger, noisier fleets with padded seats and lifejackets. One-hour trips are quite cheap, depending on how good your negotiating skills are. And negotiate you must (wisely, with good humour and a big smile) and maybe check our your ride before agreeing and parting with your dong. Expect to part with around 100,000 dong for an hour for a sampan, which are more memorable than the engine boats. These old rowers – usually women – know how to show a photo happy foreigner a good time. You will cover a lot of ground – or we should say river – on the trip.

Hoi An at its best. Photo taken in or around Boat trips, Hoi An, Vietnam by Cindy Fan.

Hoi An at its best. Photo: Cindy Fan

The route depends on the helmswoman, who will consider things like tide, currents and silt banks. Longer tours should give you a window to rural life on the river, Chinese fishing nets and sampan-live-aboards. The best time to cruise around, for lighting and for river action, is 07:00 in the morning or late afternoon to catch sunset. Avoid the midday sun, it’s not fair on rower and the light’s not great for photos then anyway. Here during the full moon festival? Lucky you, it’s absolutely stunning, and while you’ll pay a fair amount more, it’s a glowing experience worth shelling out for.

The sampan may not be for everyone. For a more formal experience, Anantara Resort offers one-hour public rides on their small but comfortable covered wooden boat which holds up to 12 passengers. Departures from the dock in front of the hotel are at 10:30, 14:30 or 16:30 and include drinking water, cold towel and some fruit. Cost is 208,000 dong per adult, 104,000 dong for children. Book ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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Popular attractions in Hoi An

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Hoi An.



Best places to stay in Hoi An

A selection of some of our favourite places to stay in Hoi An.


What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Hoi An.
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