If you like boat racing with the excitement but not the danger, join the basket boat race on the Hoi An Eco-tour, organized by Khoa Tran Travel Company.
The family-run tour company in the ancient town of Hoi An operates tours with local farmers and fishermen, for tourists to sample how they live and work and have a bit of fun on the way.
Guests are taken in a tourist boat up the river and invited to get in a fishermen’s basket boat, thuyen thung chai. Each thuyen thung chai can carry three people. The local fisherperson with the oar sits in the middle.
Before the race starts the oarsperson takes a quiet paddle through some canals lined with coconut palms and then the race starts.
American tourist Erica Tubbs, who went on the tour, said the race was lots of fun as there was a lot of screaming from the tourists and as they gripped tightly onto the walls of the basket boats.
She said after the race her and her husband were able to try a bit of fishing for catfish with nets and then ride buffalos.
“I can see pictures of buffalos and basket boats on the internet, but can’t experience the fear of riding a buffalo or sitting in the boat. The experience was a complete surprise,” says Tubbs.
The travel company has other tours such as the fishermen and the waterways, the sunrise tour and sunset tour. The price varies around US$45 per person for groups of 35 to 40 for a four-hour tour.
Erica Tubbs’ husband takes pictures of her and a fisherwoman in thuyen thung chai (basket boat) – Photo: Minh Duy