Flowing all the way from Ngoc Linh Mountain to the South China Sea, the Thu Bon River is responsible for Hoi An’s development as a major trading post. The river runs through Hoi An Ancient Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is flanked by some of the city’s most famous attractions, including the Japanese Covered Bridge and Hoi An Central Market.
One of the most popular ways to experience the Thu Bon River in Hoi An is on a 1- or 2-hour boat ride. Head out on a bamboo boat with a fisherman to learn local fishing techniques, or opt for a short cruise in a modern boat to Cua Dai Beach. If you’re a thrill seeker, spinning madly on a basket boat is a must-try experience.
Things to Know Before You
- Walking along the banks of the Thu Bon River reveals the majority of Hoi An attractions.
- Be aware of your belongings as the riverside is nearly always very crowded.
- It’s a good idea to visit the Ancient Town section of the river by both day and night for two different perspectives.
- Throughout the day, locals offer rides in the wooden rowboats that line the riverbanks.
How to Get There
The most famous section of the Thu Bon River is undoubtedly the one that runs through Hoi An Ancient Town. However, lesser-known parts of the river reveal local life in Vietnam and lead all the way to Ngoc Linh Mountain, which is shrouded by fragrant cinnamon forest.
When to Get There
By traditional sampan or luxury yacht, the most popular time for a Thu Bon River cruise is sunset. Or, if you’d like to see life on the river at its most active, come at 7am or 4:30pm to experience it at rush hour.
Hoi An Full Moon Lantern Festival
Although Hoi An looks postcard-pretty every evening, the Ancient Town is at its most spectacular during the monthly Lantern Festival, when local release illuminated paper lanterns into the river to promote good health and fortune. It’s a must-see that’s worth tweaking your Vietnam itinerary to catch.