Basket Boats, Chinese Fishing Nets & Non La Hats: A Thu Bon River Boat Ride From Hoi An, Vietnam

Along Hoi An, Vietnam’s riverside, numerous boat owners offer to rent their wooden vessels for journeys of an hour or more. Since Hoi An’s coastal position afforded it such a great trading fortune in centuries past, we were eager to explore the Mekong’s waters by boat.

With a Vietnamese dong rate negotiated, we hopped onto the watercraft. The last morsels of a bundle of incense sticks burned at the helm, honoring the spirits and expressing the driver’s and passengers’ wishes for a safe voyage. Like most boats in the region, a primitive eye was painted on the bow – designed to ward off evil spirits and to find the way.

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