© 2019 by Jenna DeLaurentis

HI AN

Central Vietnam - October 2017

In times of colonization and war, the coconut forests of Hoi An, Vietnam were used as a place to hide. The small alleyways within the forest were not accessible by large boat, so the locals used a "basket boat" to navigate and protect themselves from invaders and from danger.

Basket boats, or thung chai, are made from bamboo and were originally invented as a way to avoid paying taxes on boats, instead stating that the thung chai are not boats, but baskets. The boats have traditionally been used in several locations around the world, including Tibet and Iraq.

The Vietnamese who work in the basket boat industry have often been crafting basket boats for decades. The woman in the photo below has been steering basket boats for over 70 years; her grandson is on the photo to the left. 

Basket boats can be found in Central Vietnam and rides are available for tourists for around 100,000 Vietnamese Dong (VND) per person.