Tired of Hoi An’s old town? Had enough of lazy days on the sandy stretches of An Bang? Let me invite you to an escape that will change your view of Hoi An!

Join me for an exceptional adventure: a basket boat ride in the heart of the lush Nipa palm forest. This experience isn’t just an addition to your itinerary; it’s a fascinating dive into an overlooked facet of Vietnamese culture.

Picture yourself gliding silently between rows of palms, where the only sounds are the rustling of leaves and the gentle lapping of water. The Nipa forest, with its intertwined roots and teeming ecosystem, is a sight not to be missed and one of the top activities in Hoi An.

Join me for this basket boat stroll, and I promise you’ll leave with unforgettable memories and a story that goes far beyond the typical tourist postcard.

So, are you ready to trade memories of markets for the whispers of the waters in the Nipa forest? Follow the guide—your next Hoi An adventure awaits!

Basket Boat, What Is It?

basket boat hoi an

These are round bamboo boats, typical of central Vietnam, which you can find all over Hoi An, particularly on An Bang beach but also in Cam Thanh village and Bay Mau forest.

Regardless, basket boats have become an endearing symbol of life along Vietnam’s central coast, for business, leisure, and now tourism. The ideal place for a ride is the Cam Thanh district, especially the coconut village, just a few kilometers east of Hoi An’s old town.

It’s an entertaining activity for family members of all ages.

In this article, I’ll detail everything you need to know to experience a basket boat ride for yourself.

History of the Basket Boat

bateau panier hoi an foret cocotier

Legend has it that the Vietnamese basket boats originally served as a way for local fishermen to avoid paying a tax on boats over 2 meters during French colonial rule. By making a round boat instead of a long one, it didn’t exceed 2 meters.

This is the commonly accepted story behind the origin of the boats, and knowing the French administration, it seems credible.

However, others assert that the basket boat was built simply because it was a more efficient fishing vessel, offering better stability, durability, and maneuverability, which is true regardless of the boats’ origins.


According to the fishermen I’ve met, the basket boat can carry up to 1 ton of load. In other words, you have nothing to worry about even if several of you climb aboard.

History of Bay Mau Coconut Forest

foret cocotiers hoi an

When Hoi An was a trading port from the 15th to the 19th century, many families from the south of Vietnam settled there. They brought the first Nipa palm seeds from their hometown, and today, those first palms have grown into an immense forest. Its total area can reach up to 55 hectares.

During the French and American wars, the communists hid in Bay Mau’s Nipa coconut forest due to its difficult access from the outside. The basket boat was the only possible vehicle for entry and movement.

In 1948, French soldiers armed with tanks attacked this hideout but soon fled in the face of grenades from local guerrillas. To search more quickly, the French cut down part of the coconut trees. This idea quickly proved successful, but the local residents built numerous trenches and traps around the village to repel French raids.

This rich, wild nature is now part of the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.


Nipa (or Nypa, according to the scientific spelling) is a species of palm that grows in mangroves and wetlands in tropical regions, especially in Southeast Asia. Its leaves are often used for roofing houses in these regions.

The Basket Boat Today

bateau panier hoi an fabrication

The basket boat retains its original design and composition today, using bamboo and cow dung as well as a waterproof resin from tree sap to keep it afloat.

First, the young and flexible bamboo is dried into pieces. It is then cut to exact size before being hand-woven to form the boat’s hull.

fabrication dun bateau panier hoi an

Many boatbuilders use cow dung or water-resistant resin to waterproof the boat, then coat it with tree sap. The boat is left to dry in the sun, adding to its strength. It is then ready for action.

fabrication bateau panier hoi an

Yes, there are variants in the form of typical modern-day vessels, including the use of fiberglass. But these traditional little round boats are still very much alive and thriving in Hoi An’s coconut village.

Just in the village of Cam Thanh, there are over 1,000 basket boats.


There are numerous basket boat manufacturing workshops around Hoi An. One of the most famous is located on Cam Kim island, and most bike tours will take you thereThe basket boat ride in Hoi An is an experience that allows you to silently glide through rows of Nipa palms, listening only to the rustling leaves and the gentle splashing of water. This adventure offers a unique perspective on Vietnamese culture and the rich ecosystem of the Nipa forest, one of Hoi An’s standout attractions.

For a chance to create lasting memories and share a story that goes beyond the typical tourist snapshot, consider taking a basket boat ride. It’s an opportunity to swap market scenes for the tranquil waters of the Nipa forest.

Basket Boat Ride Experience in Bay Mau Coconut Forest at Hoi An

bateau panier a hoi an 7

After boarding a basket boat from a dock on the river’s edge, the boatman takes you on a 45- to 60-minute journey down the Cua Dai River, meandering through its sometimes labyrinthine network of canals and coconut palms.

faire bateau panier cam thanh hoi an

Stops along the way for photos and a local dance demonstration are part of the excursion, where the boatman spins the boat quickly, performing a dance on the boat. While it’s a staged performance, it’s entertaining.

You also have the opportunity to cast a traditional fishing net and paddle the boat. Additionally, enjoy the quick and creative hands of your boatman as they turn strips of palm fronds into beautiful origami.

origami avec feuille cocotier hoi an
pecheur a hoi an

Hoi An isn’t known for a wealth of children’s activities, but a basket boat ride is a fun idea.

Kids of all ages will enjoy riding in the basket boats as they weave through the palms, partake in interactive activities, and marvel at the skills of the local guides.


As a nature reserve, there are regulations in place to ensure the safety of visitors and the integrity of the natural habitats. Firstly, wearing a life jacket is mandatory throughout the basket boat ride.

In the palm forest, you may try catching small crabs and fish using traditional methods, but they must be released back into the wild if caught. Lastly, it is strictly prohibited to throw litter, such as water bottles, into the river.

How to Get to the Coconut Village in Cam Thanh, Hoi An

entree village cocotier hoi an

The coconut village and its Bay Mau forest are located six kilometers east of the heart of the old town. Do not confuse this with the Cam Thanh area, which stretches from the eastern boundary of Hoi An to the Cua Dai beach peninsula.

It’s an easy trip by car or motorbike, and if you go early or late in the day, a manageable bike ride. Expect it to take about ten minutes by motorized transport or 30 minutes by bike.

There are two entrances to the Cam Thanh coconut village, one is more for large groups and the other is suited for solo travelers or families.

  • The red point is the entrance I recommend and I have included a photo of the entrance above.
  • The blue frame is the place you’ll want to avoid, trust me. If you arrive nearby and see 15 buses lined up, you’ll wish you had listened to Laurent from Good Morning Hoi An. The only point of interest at this location is the Taboo Bamboo Workshop, which offers an excellent bamboo workshop.
plan village cocotiers hoi an cam thanh

The unique character of the coconut village lies in its palm trees known as Nipa palms or mangroves. They are the only members of the palm family that have successfully adapted to mangrove ecosystems. They grow in soft mud and slow-moving tidal areas, with their roots submerged; only the stems and leaves protrude above the water.

Batelier dans le village de Cam Thanh à Hoi An

These dense palms provide shelter from monsoon storms and flooding, as well as habitat for birds and many aquatic animal species. The palm fruit is a delicious snack or dessert, and the palm leaves are used to thatch the roofs of the village huts.

Entrance Fee to Bay Mau Coconut Forest in Hoi An

ticket village bateau panier

The entrance fee to Bay Mau Coconut Forest is 30,000 VND. It covers entry but not the boat ride. Ticket booths are located along the road.

After that, a short walk is all that’s needed to encounter the first tour operators and begin your journey. Before 7 AM or after 5 PM, an entrance ticket is not required.

Price of a Basket Boat Ride in Hoi An

village cocotier hoi an

The price for a basket boat ride in Hoi An’s Cam Thanh village varies, averaging between 120,000 and 200,000 VND per person. It’s not yet regulated, and prices can range widely. I paid 150,000 VND.

Since only two adult passengers are allowed in a boat, the cost can range from 250,000 to 400,000 VND for two people. Some operators charge per person, others per boat. Compare and negotiate prices, as the ride itself is the same regardless of the operator you choose.

There is no charge for children accompanying their parents.

Where to Book a Basket Boat Ride in Hoi An?

balade en bateau panier hoi an 1

Basket boat rides in Hoi An’s coconut village can be booked both online and offline. If you’re pressed for time to do research, you can head directly to the village and pick a tour from one of the many options offered near the docks. The downside is that pricing can be subjective.

Due to their proximity to the palm groves, the hamlets of Van Lang and Thanh Tam have the highest concentration of basket boat tour operators. Information on each is described below:

Van Lang Hamlet: Ticket offices, service providers, and boarding docks are located along the concrete road from Vo Chi Cong Rd to the Little River Café. Private and small group tours are often recommended here as it’s quieter. This is the option I suggest.

Thanh Tam Hamlet: Ticket offices are near the Tran Nhan Tong-Vo Chi Cong intersection. Groups often choose this hamlet because its main road can accommodate large buses, making it a livelier atmosphere but also the least desirable option in my opinion.


Why not combine a bike ride with a basket boat tour? Hoi An Sightseeing Tours, a local agency, offers an opportunity to explore the Cam Thanh area, culminating with a basket boat ride, all with English-speaking guides. Life is beautiful, isn’t it?

I’m quite fond of this agency, which I discovered 6 years ago.

Duration of the Basket Boat Ride in Hoi An

A full tour around the palm grove lasts between 40 to 60 minutes. The best times to embark are during the early morning and late afternoon hours in the dry season, from February to August. This is not only to avoid high temperatures but also to escape the tourist crowds and noise.

When to Visit the Coconut Village in Hoi An?

The Coconut Village is small and not built for mass tourism. However, this hasn’t stopped tourist buses from arriving with numerous loud visitors armed with phones and cameras. The Coconut Village and its waterways are most crowded from 10 AM to noon and from 2 PM to 4 PM. This is consistent throughout the year, with no season or month being busier than another.

Be aware that during these peak times, basket boats are often equipped with loudspeakers. They then blast energetic Gangnam-style music during parts of the ride, temporarily disrupting the tranquility of the waterway. Consider yourself warned.

The coconut boat village operators in Hoi An work from 9 AM to 5 PM, meaning the last trip departs at 4 PM and returns around 5 PM. However, some start earlier and finish later – these are the ones to choose. It’s cooler, less crowded, quieter, and more picturesque, especially with the sun setting behind the palms during the late trips.

My Opinion

Although the area is very touristy, it remains an unmissable activity when visiting Hoi An.

It’s one of my favorite areas in Hoi An because it retains its local charm despite being partly touristy. I recommend renting a bike and traversing Cam Thanh through the villages and rice paddies before arriving at the Bay Mau coconut forest.

In 2011, I fell in love with Vietnam after traveling extensively across the country for a month. In 2012, I decided to settle in Hoi An. In 2014, I launched "Good Morning Hoi An," a tourist site that reflects my passion for this magical place. I dedicate myself to guiding visitors through authentic experiences, helping them discover the unique charm of Hoi An as well as Da Nang, from its exquisite cuisine to its age-old traditions. This is my story, that of a Frenchman who found his second home. My email: goodmorninghoian@gmail.com

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