It is obvious when looking at a map that the whole east side of Vietnam connects to the sea from the north to the south. The geographic location of Vietnam also makes it a hub for a plethora of rivers flowing southward into the sea. With that in mind, there are plenty of opportunities to take a boat ride in Vietnam to get a different perspective of the country.
You’ll get to choose from many options for half-day or full-day boat tours in Vietnam that are hosted by locals. If you are interested in taking an alternative route to experience Vietnam, then consider exploring Vietnam from the water. Below are some options for boat tours in Vietnam, ranging from traditional to more luxurious experiences.
Boat Tours in Vietnam
A rowboat on the open water of the Mekong Delta
The traditional rowboat has been used since the early days as the most common form of transportation on the river and even the sea. The rowboat will typically be handled by a local person using oars to propel through the water. Unlike kayaks or canoes, rowboats do require adequate skills to operate. Choosing a rowboat for boat tours in Vietnam will give you a more personal experience due to its smaller size, as well as its slower pace, which allows you to fully immerse yourself in the surroundings.
Capacity: 6 passengers maximum.
Price: US$ 40 – 90 per person, depending on the tour package.
Duration: 2 – 5 hours, depending on the tour package.
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Where to take boat tours in Vietnam for rowboats:
Rowboats ready to take on passengers in a narrow waterway in the Mekong Delta
Mekong Delta – Get a sense of what life on the water is like in the Mekong Delta and experience the unique culture of this region. Exploring this region’s narrow waterway on a boat is a must and will allow you the opportunity to get a glimpse of the famous floating market.
Rowboat tour through the Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex in Ninh Binh
Ninh Binh – Known as the “inland Ha Long Bay”, this region is a beautiful comparison to the famous Ha Long Bay due to its scenic karst mountains formations. A boat ride on the river in this region will take you through caves and will allow you to appreciate the natural beauty of Vietnam’s countryside.
Docked dragon boats lined up along the bank of the Perfume River
The dragon boat is aptly named so because of their dragon-themed design. A typical dragon boat will have a carved dragon head displayed at the front, while the side of the hull is painted with dragon scales, and a wooden carved tail is donned at the back to finish off the design.
Historically, the decorative dragon boat was used as a transport vessel for Vietnamese royalties. Nowadays, the dragon boat is used for small boat tours or as a ferry operated by locals. A small engine is typically used to power the boat through the water.
Capacity: 10 – 20 passengers.
Price: US$ 10 – 20 per person.
Duration: 1 – 2 hours.
Where to take boat tours in Vietnam for dragon boats:
A dragon boat on the Perfume River in Hue
Hue – The historic city of Hue is the perfect place to take a dragon boat tour, given its history with royalties. Float down the Perfume River that runs through the city to get a different perspective of the local life and its surroundings.
A fisherman and his basket boat out at sea
The round basket boat is the most unique boat that is indigenous to Vietnam. The story goes that Vietnamese fishermen could not afford to pay the boat tax incurred by the French during the colonial period – so circular woven “basket” was designed to function as a boat. The basket boat is a symbol of the ingenuity of Vietnamese people and is still popular today as a vessel for work and transportation.
Because of its round shape, it takes a skilled individual to maneuver. Riding in a basket boat is a unique experience, and you may even get your paddle to attempt at steering the boat. But in the case that you want to relax and enjoy the ride, you will have a professional local captain onboard to ensure proper navigation.
Capacity: 4 people maximum.
Price: US$ 20 – 50 per person, depending on the tour package.
Duration: 2 hours to a half-day, depending on the tour package.
Where to take boat tours in Vietnam for basket boats:
A basket boat tour in Hoi An
Hoi An – The small scenic town of Hoi An is a good match for the basket boat. Take a calming basket boat ride through the canal that runs through Bay Mau Coconut Jungle is a great option for the summer.
A traditional junk-style boat made for open sea travel
Despite the name “junk”, these types of boats are known for their durability and versatility out on the high seas. With large ruffled sails, these boats have an oriental aesthetic that can be traced back to Chinese ships that were used in long-distance trades of goods in the past.
These days, the junk-style boat is commonly seen as hotels on the water, allowing passengers to stay the night out in the open sea. This makes junk-style boat tours the most luxurious out of all boat tours in Vietnam and will serve as a fantastic experience. Because of the commitment of a full day or more for these tours, you can expect a variety of activities as well as all meals included.
Capacity: 20 – 50 passengers.
Price: US$ 80 – 300 per person.
Duration: Full day trip or 2 days and 1 night.
Where to take boat tours in Vietnam for the junk-style boat:
Junk-style boat in Ha Long Bay
Ha Long Bay – Junk-style boats are iconic next to the famous Ha Long Bay. Passengers can choose to have a full day trip out on the sea or stay the night for an extended trip. There is plenty to do around this region on top of experiencing the wondrous beauty of the seascape. Longer and more luxurious trips are available here at Ha Long Bay, in case you’re interested.
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Last Words for Boat Tours Hosted by Locals in Vietnam
When taking a trip to Vietnam, it is safe to say that water is a fun way to travel. Regardless of your choice of boat tours in Vietnam, any one of these options is guaranteed to give you a fresh perspective on the country. Even after experiencing the country on water, there is still plenty of culture, history, and natural wonders to warrant another exciting adventure in Vietnam!
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