Ho Chi Minh City plans to introduce rowboats to allow tourists to travel an attractive downtown portion of the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe canal starting this December.
Some ten boats managed by the Saigon Boat Company will be rowed along the canal between the Saigon Zoo and Vinh Nghiem, one of the biggest pagodas in the city, which usually hosts religious exhibitions and festivals.
A one-way trip will take around two hours and each boat will be able to carry 20 passengers, Thoi Bao Kinh Te Saigon Online reported.
The boats will run every day from early in the morning to 11pm when conditions allow, the site said.
Phan Xuan Anh, an advisor at the company, said: “The scenery along that portion of the canal is very pretty, that’s why we chose it.”
The canal is not very wide, around 60 meters, which makes a rowboat suitable, Anh said.
Propelling a boat with oars will also provide an interesting experience for tourists, he added.
His company received the approval from the city government last week and has started work on building the boats and two piers at the zoo and the pagoda.
Low bridges along the canal require the boats to be around one meter tall at most.
The canal trip will be included in tours around the city, Anh said.
His company also manages ten speedboats that tour between the historic Nha Rong wharf and Binh Dong wharf in District 8 for around an hour one-way.
He said each speedboat costs around VND550 million (US$25,940) while a rowboat cost half as much.
Ho Chi Minh City currently offers seven canal and river tours and is building necessary wharves and piers to further develop waterway tourism.
Nguyen Viet Anh, head of the travel office at the HCMC Department of Tourism, Sports and Culture, said eight to ten new piers will be put in used by the end of this year.
“The city is doing many things to develop this key tourism product.”