Why Basket Boat Tour In Hoi An Is A Refreshing Breeze of the Old Town
You have been in love with the antique vibe of Hoi An but want to discover other places outside the Old Town? Let’s board on a basket boat to explore one of the most spectacular coconut forests.
The tour will transform you into the typical landscape of northwestern Vietnam with narrow waterways creeping into large greenery. But, you still know you are in Hoi An thanks to the local people’s lifestyles and their specialties.
Let’s see what it includes in such experience.
To try the basket boat, you’ll have to travel a bit further from Hoi An central town to Bay Mau coconut forest in Cam Thanh. However, it’s only less than 10 km, so basket boat experience is perfect for a half-day tour.
In Vietnamese, Bay Mau means 7 acres. This was actually the original area of natural coconut forest in the past. Now that the figure has multiplied to 100 hectares, the Vietnamese still call the forest Bay Mau. The name is familiar and endearing to Hoi An residents and tourists.
Bay Mau coconut forest used to be an army base during the Vietnam War. In the past few years, noticing the potential of the forest with massive biodiversity, the local authority has turned it into an ecotourism site. Bay Mau is home to many kinds of palm trees such as water coconut, nipa, mangrove.
The palm forest has provided shelter for birds, aquatic species while the locals make use of the leaves for thatch roofs, the fruits for dessert, and snack. So, when you visit the Bay Mau coconut forest, you not only try the one-of-a-kind basket boat to explore the ecosystem here, you also get to know the kind-hearted people and taste their delicious food.
Duration: A half-day tour
- 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.
- 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 palm 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.
If you go with kids or you have a sizeable group, don’t miss the jubilant atmosphere of some collective games. The rules are pretty straightforward, so I’m sure children will love to join the activities. Some games you can choose are playing tug, beating pots, punching water balls.
- 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.
After all the exciting activities, let’s spare some moments under a thatch roof from coconut leaves. Let the boat skipper tell you the stories of their daily life, the folktales of Hoi An, and the memories of the war. Then you realize that not only luxury travel in 5-star resort can create an exceptional experience, but an idyllic activity of an eco-tour in the countryside can make visitors feel out of the moon.
- Best time to experience a basket boat tour
This is an all-year-round experience. But if you want to drink the best coconut water, taste the delicious coconut shred, the eighth month in the lunar calendar (usually September or October) is the most suitable. During November and December, it often rains in Hoi An, so the weather may interfere with your boat trip.
The entrance fee for the Coconut Boat Village is 30,000 VND (more than a buck). The ticket booth can be found in the village entrance. It opens daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
If you want to join a boat tour, you have to book from the tour operators. There are plenty of them, queuing on the banks of the Cua Dai River, which flows through the village. Check the activity list before purchase the boat tour to avoid travel scams. Indeed, the safest way is to book your tour in advance. It gives you more time to consider and often the entrance fee is included.