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Taking a boat ride in Hoi An Ancient Town

Sunday, April 10, 2022, 10:45 GMT+7
Taking a boat ride in Hoi An Ancient Town
Tourist boats glide along the Hoai River in Hoi An Ancient Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Photo taken on April 3, 2022. Photo: Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre

Riding a boat along the Hoai River is one of the must-try activities for visitors to Hoi An Ancient Town, an internationally famous tourist destination and UNESCO World Heritage Site in Quang Nam Province, central Vietnam.

Located in the heart of Hoi An City, Quang Nam Province, Hoi An Ancient Town was an international trading port between the 16th and 19th centuries.

The place is famous for its unique buildings and streets that reflect the influences of both indigenous and foreign cultures.

Tourist boats dock along the Hoai River in Hoi An Ancient Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Photo taken on April 3, 2022. Photo: Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre

Tourist boats dock along the Hoai River in Hoi An Ancient Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Photo taken on April 3, 2022. Photo: Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre

The Hoai River, a branch of Thu Bon River that flows through Hoi An Ancient Town, is another iconic feature of this destination and has become an important part of local tourism.

Taking a boat ride along the Hoai River can offer an unforgettable experience and a different view of the old town of Hoi An.

The Hoai River banks light up in the evening in Hoi An Ancient Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Photo taken on April 3, 2022. Photo: Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre

The Hoai River banks light up in the evening in Hoi An Ancient Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Photo taken on April 3, 2022. Photo: Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre

The best time to partake in this activity is late in the afternoon or in the evening.

A trip along the Hoai River before sunset, when the sky is still bright, offers a clearer view of the town and more photo opportunities, while visitors riding a boat in the evening can witness the town and river illuminated with colorful lights.

A view of An Hoi Bridge from the Hoai River in Hoi An Ancient Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Photo taken on April 3, 2022. Photo: Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre

A view of An Hoi Bridge from the Hoai River in Hoi An Ancient Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Photo taken on April 3, 2022. Photo: Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre

During the boat ride, visitors can release colorful lanterns onto the calm river water. They will be given a lantern made from colored paper with a candle in the middle to release onto the water while making a wish.

As soon as they approach the Hoai River, a lot of hawkers will offer boat riding and lantern services. The price can vary depending on the number of people in a group and the actual demand on each day, so remember to bargain a little to find the best deal.

A tourist holds a candle-lit lantern while taking a boat ride along the Hoai River in Hoi An Ancient Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Photo taken on April 3, 2022. Photo: Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre

A tourist holds a candle-lit lantern while taking a boat ride along the Hoai River in Hoi An Ancient Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Photo taken on April 3, 2022. Photo: Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre

A boat can carry up to about five passengers, and each ride typically takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

According to a boat driver, one needs to join the local boat union and have a registration certificate to steer tourist boats in Hoi An Ancient Town.

The union has about 300 boats, each given a different license number for management purposes.

Drivers need to follow the rules of the union as well as safety regulations while carrying tourists. If any passenger is left without a life jacket, the driver may be banned from the job for three days, he added.

The Chua Cau (Japanese Covered Bridge) in the afternoon and evening in Hoi An Ancient Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Photo taken on April 3, 2022. Photo: Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre

The Chua Cau (Japanese Covered Bridge) in the afternoon and evening in Hoi An Ancient Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Photo taken on April 3, 2022. Photo: Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre

A trip to Hoi An Ancient Town

After checking riding a boat and releasing lanterns off the list, make sure to complete a trip to Hoi An Ancient Town by visiting other popular locations, taking part in exciting activities, and trying out the delicious local dishes.

Some of the must-visits include the Chua Cau (Japanese Covered Bridge), Phuoc Kien, Quang Dong, and Trieu Chau Assembly Halls, An Hoi Bridge, and Ba Mu Pagoda Gate.

The Ba Mu Pagoda Gate in Hoi An Ancient Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Photo taken on April 3, 2022. Photo: Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre

The Ba Mu Pagoda Gate in Hoi An Ancient Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Photo taken on April 3, 2022. Photo: Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre

Visitors can also spend time chilling at local cafés and bars, several of which have live music, buy souvenirs and eat street food at Nguyen Hoang Night Market, play traditional folk games, and take photos at the brightly-lit lantern shops.

A restaurant in Hoi An Ancient Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Photo taken on April 3, 2022. Photo: Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre

A restaurant in Hoi An Ancient Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Photo taken on April 3, 2022. Photo: Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre

A calligrapher in Hoi An Ancient Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Photo taken on April 3, 2022. Photo: Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre

A calligrapher in Hoi An Ancient Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Photo taken on April 3, 2022. Photo: Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre

Watching the Hoi An Memories show, an outdoor artistic performance depicting the history and culture of Hoi An, is another recommended activity.

The show takes place from 8:00 to 9:00 pm every Thursday to Sunday at the Hoi An Impression Cultural Theme Park, about 2.5 kilometers from the ancient town.

Lantern shops at Nguyen Hoang Night Market in Hoi An Ancient Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Visitors can take photos of themselves with the lanterns for VND10,000 (US$0.4) per person. Photo: Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre

Lantern shops at Nguyen Hoang Night Market in Hoi An Ancient Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Visitors can take photos of themselves with the lanterns for VND10,000 (US$0.4) per person. Photo: Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre

The local dishes in Hoi An are exceptional and can be tried at restaurants and diners inside Hoi An Ancient Town.

Cao lau, a noodle dish with thick, square, light yellow rice noodles punctuated with rice crackers, peanuts, a sultry sauce, and char siu pork, is one of the most popular specialties here.

A bowl of cao lau is served at a diner in Hoi An Ancient Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Photo: Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre

A bowl of cao lau is served at a diner in Hoi An Ancient Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Photo: Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre

People say that true cao lau can only be served in Hoi An, as the water needed to make this dish must be drawn from the local Ba Le Well.

Other must-try dishes include hen xao, stir-fried mussels served with crispy rice paper, banh dap, two pieces of grilled rice paper and a layer of rice noodle roll in the middle served with a special dipping sauce, chicken rice, grilled pork prepared with rice noodles or rice paper, and white rose dumplings.

Hen xao and banh dap dishes in Hoi An Ancient Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Photo: Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre

Hen xao and banh dap dishes in Hoi An Ancient Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Photo: Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre

A bowl of grilled pork and rice noodles and a glass of lemongrass lemonade water in Hoi An Ancient Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Photo: Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre

A bowl of grilled pork and rice noodles and a glass of lemongrass lemonade water in Hoi An Ancient Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Photo: Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre

Chicken rice and white rose dumplings are served at a restaurant in Hoi An Ancient Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Photo: Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre

Chicken rice and white rose dumplings are served at a restaurant in Hoi An Ancient Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Photo: Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre

If one loves the Vietnamese banh mi, they will certainly enjoy the Hoi An-style banh mi. One of the most well-known places in town is Banh Mi Phuong, a brand that has become popular with both domestic and foreign visitors.

Banh Mi Phuong, the popular banh mi shop in Hoi An, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Photo: Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre

Banh Mi Phuong, a popular banh mi shop in Hoi An, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Photo: Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre

If visitors have a craving for dessert, tau pho (sweet tofu pudding), Mot (lemongrass lemonade water), and a variety of sweet soups will be more than enough to satisfy their sweet tooth.

Sweep soup is sold along a street in Hoi An Ancient Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Photo: Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre

Sweep soup is sold along a street in Hoi An Ancient Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Photo: Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre

A bowl of tau pho (sweet tofu soup) in Hoi An Ancient Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Photo: Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre

A bowl of tau pho (sweet tofu soup) in Hoi An Ancient Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Photo: Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre

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