travel & lifestyle blog by ruth dela cruz


Revisiting Hoi An: Walking Tour and Coconut Basket Boat Ride Experience

July 7, 2024

During our four-day trip to Da Nang, we made sure to include a visit to Hoi An. Hoi An is my favorite town in Vietnam. There is just something about this charming town – maybe it is the unique fusion of the different influences, and the vibrant colors and lanterns at night – that made me fall in love with it during my first travel back in 2017.

I was very excited to go back to this UNESCO World Heritage; and this time we opted for a true Vietnamese experience – arriving by motorcycle.

Hoi An is located along the Thu Bon River, an old trading port with narrow alleys and centuries-old buildings. I really admire how they preserve the buildings, and how the new stores and cafes comply with the yellow color code. It has a rich, unique influences of Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, and French architecture and culture. It is also known as the “yellow town” because of its warm, golden tones of the walls and buildings. I really love the romantic vibe and charm of Hoi An which is also number 2 top honeymoon destination based on TripAdvisor.

Read: Day Zero Manila to Da Nang, Vietnam

Read: Day Trip to Sun World Ba Na Hills

Things to Do in Hoi An

Things to Do in Hoi An Reaching Out Teahouse

Things to Do in Hoi An

What to Wear in Hoi An Vietnam

Things to Do in Hoi An, Vietnam

Arriving in Hoi An via Motorcycle

During my previous visit to Hoi An, we stayed in a hotel in the town. This time, Rodel rented a motorcyle and we took a 45-minute drive from Da Nang to Hoi An.

Side story: I had previously ridden a motorcycle – the first time, I rode with a luxury big bike, and the second time with a big bike (both with experienced riders). I knew it would be an adventure when I saw a small Yahama motorcyle with no backrest or anything that could support my back, or a bar to hold on to.

So I had to ask “saan ako hahawak? (where should I hold on to motorcycle?)”

Rodel suggested his shoulders, and I laughed because that was the most dangerous thing if I ever got scared or excited. 😂😂😂

Maybe it didn’t help when he said that the motorcycle looked old. During our ride, he mentioned about it being a little wobbly.

I prayed for our safety and just enjoyed the adventure/experience. I thought to myself, I have insurance coverage, and I have international health plan. If I die, it would be a beautiful story. The roads in Vietnam are very wide, so somehow I felt safe. I later on got confident with Rodel’s motorcycle skills.

Our motorcycle rental costs around 150k VND (around Php 300/day). Full tank of gas is 70k VND (Php 140) that is good for a 3-day trip.

Best Time to Visit Hoi An

We originally planned to visit Da Nang / Hoi An around mid-May but we had to move our plans because of some projects.

We visited Hoi An in early June, and the weather was really hot and humid. Personally, I prefer this over visiting during the rainy season (September to January, with October and November being the wettest months). During our walking tour, we learned that the rainy season can lead to flooding, especially in the old town area.

The best time to visit Hoi An is generally between February and April. During these months, the weather is mild, with moderate temperatures and lower humidity, so it is easier and less tiring to go around town.

Things to Do in Hoi An, Vietnam

Things to Do in Hoi An

We agreed to do an afternoon tour, but we still left early so we could explore the town. There are 2 schedules for the walking tour – 8:30 AM and 2:30 PM. We booked the afternoon tour so we could still catch up on sleep and enjoy the hotel breakfast.

The Hoi An Walking Tour via Klook covers 5 destinations, and also includes the famous Coconut Basket Boat Ride.

Here are some of the things to do in Hoi An:

➡️ Have drinks at the Reaching Out Teahouse

We stayed in Reaching Out Teahouse in Hoi An to have coffee/tea, and to just breathe in the beauty of the town. We sat in the same spot where I first visited, and I was once again captivated by the open-window design and the intricate vintage details of the cafe – from cups and saucers to sugar containers.

Reaching Out Teahouse is a popular cafe in Hoi An and a must-visit as it offers a truly unique and warming experience. It is operated by people with disabilities, and it gives you space to just be on your own thoughts. We noticed that most of the cafes in Vietnam employ differently-abled individuals which give them meaningful employment opportunities and a supportive work environment.

Things to Do in Hoi An, Vietnam

Things to Do in Hoi An, Vietnam

➡️ Eat at Banh Mi Phuong

Banh Mi is a Vietnamese sandwich that combines French baguettes with flavorful local ingredients. The Banh Mi Phuong is a lively eatery that serves one of the best Banh Mi’s according to late Anthony Bourdain.

The place gets really busy with diners and take-away orders. We had our take-out Banh Mi and stayed at Hoa Champa (which was the meet-up place for our walking tour).

Things to Do in Hoi An, Vietnam Banh Mi Phuong

Things to Do in Hoi An, Vietnam Banh Mi Phuong

Things to Do in Hoi An, Vietnam Banh Mi Phuong

➡️ Join the Hoi An Walking Tour

We booked an afternoon walking tour with English-speaking Guide. The tour covers 5 sites including the Coconut Basket Ride + meals. I love that they considered our food preferences. 🍲

Things to Do in Hoi An, Vietnam Hoi An Tour Klook

➡️ Visit the Trade Ceramics Museum

The first stop of our walking tour is the Trade Ceramics Museum which showcases the town’s rich history in ceramic trade and craftsmanship. Inside, we met talented, differently-abled individuals who make arts and crafts using special Japanese paper. We also got to see more of the wooden building and unique house architecture that features a courtyard. We could only dream of a house with a courtyard!

Things to Do in Hoi An, Vietnam Hoi An Tour K

Things to Do in Hoi An, Vietnam Hoi An Tour K

➡️ Have a refreshing Mot Drink

Mót drink is a refreshing herbal beverage that has become an iconic treat in Hoi An, Vietnam. It is so good and refreshing perfect to bring around while exploring the “yellow town”.

Things to Do in Hoi An, Vietnam Hoi An Tour Mot Drink

➡️ Take photos of the Japanese Bridge

The Japanese Bridge in Hoi An stands as a symbol of cultural fusion and historical significance in this charming Vietnamese town. Built in the 16th century, this iconic bridge connects two sides of Hoi An over a small canal, linking the Japanese community with the Chinese quarters.

Unfortunately, it was under construction during our visit, but you can check out the photo in the 20,000 VND bill.

➡️ Be amazed by the Tan Ky House

Tan Ky House is known for its unique design elements, such as the distinctive wooden beams, intricate carvings, and ancient artifacts showcasing the town’s trading history.

During our visit, we learned that the house has surprisingly survived floods, some as high as neck-deep. The material is known as ironwood that is highly prized for its durability, resilience to weathering, and resistance to pests and decay.

Things to Do in Hoi An, Vietnam Hoi An Tour Tan Ky House

➡️ Watch Cultural Show

The cultural show offers traditional Vietnamese art forms, including folk dances, musical performances, and theatre. This is also part of the Walking Tour that we booked, and is a great way to relax and recover strength from the heat outside. The museum/theatre is air-conditioned, and the performances are engaging. They also have a surprise treat for the audience at the end of the show.

Things to Do in Hoi An, Vietnam Hoi An Tour

➡️ Ride a Coconut Basket Boat

I got my first taste of the “spinning coconut basket boat” during my first travel to Hoi An on our way to the cooking class.

The Coconut Basket Boat, or “thung chai,” is a traditional Vietnamese round boat made primarily from bamboo and coconut leaves. Its distinctive basket-like shape and lightweight construction allow it to float effortlessly on the water.

What to Wear in Hoi An, Vietnam Outfit

Things to Do in Hoi An, Vietnam

Things to Do in Vietnam Coconut Basket Boat Ride

I remember back in 2017, most of the boatmen and fishermen could do the popular “spinning ride” (without extra costs). Now, it appears to be an organized tourism activity. We paid 200k VND (around Php 400) for the exciting spinning ride.

I am all for fun and adventure, so I was so ready to go. We transferred to another boat, found our balance, and spun for almost 3 minutes! It was fun and a must-do! You might feel a little dizzy if you have motion sickness though.

After that ride, we visited another floating boat (complete with speakers and music) where we could dance and sing with the local fishermen. We just stayed in our boat and just cheered those who went up “on stage”.

Our boatman made sure that we have “salakot”, umbrella, and even a fan. He also asked us to wear life jacket when we sailed through another area – probably deeper – to make sure we had a safe ride back.

➡️ Enjoy Vietnamese Food

After our trip, a filling Vietnamese spread was waiting for us. I love that our tour guide made sure that they prepared the food based on our preferences. We don’t eat blood , so she clarified if we could eat pork and shrimp. It was so good and filling! The best way to end the Hoi An Tour.

Things to Do in Hoi An, Vietnam Hoi An Tour

Things to Do in Hoi An, Vietnam Hoi An Tour

➡️ Buy local Hoi An souvenirs

You can bring home a part of Hoi An with you by buying some of the popular products like tailored clothing, silk products, lanterns, or even modern pieces sold at Tired City Hoi An.

Things to Do in Hoi An, Vietnam Hoi An Tour

➡️ Fall in love with Hoi An at night

Another popular activity to do in Hoi An is to ride a boat and light a lantern. We skipped this part as we already had enough boat ride that day. We just strolled around the town adorned with vibrant and colorful lanterns.

Things to Do in Hoi An, Vietnam Hoi An Tour

What to Wear in Hoi An, Vietnam Outfit

The place is so serene and charming!

I am so happy to have explored Hoi An again, and to have experienced new things. It felt like an adventure and a home at the same time.

You can fly directly from Manila to Da Nang via @cebupacificair ✈️ Hoi An is a popular side-trip destination from Da Nang.

Claim and use my Klook Code: RUTHILICIOUSKLOOK for discounts on activities and hotel bookings.

Follow @ruthilicious on Instagram for more stories.

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