After schlepping around the old town for a day or two your feet are going to be ready for a rest. One way to take a load off is to rent a boat and take a tour of some of the communities spread around the estuary where Hoi An is located. There are several boats, both with an engine and rowed, available at the far end of the quay, near the Japanese bridge. From the water, you get a good overall view of the waterfront area.
One of our first stops is a pottery village. Be prepared to be mobbed by a bunch of kids on your arrival. Just remember that there have to be tourist traps. It keeps their numbers down. We were escorted to an shack where granny demonstrated her skills. In about five minutes, she produced an entire set of condiment pots for the table. Of course, you aren't asked if you want this demonstration, but you are expected to give granny a tip.
Back on the boat, you'll pass a lot of rural scenes on the river side, such as buffalo grazing, duck farms and even some ship yards where fishing boats are under construction or repair.
On an island of another stop, there is a government school for woodcarvers where you can see, and of course purchase, all sorts of wooden items and furniture. They will also make items to order and ship anywhere in the world.
Just up the street from the woodcarver's school you can see a couple of ladies weaving floor mats. From there, it was back on the boat and back to the city.
The boat trip is definitely a very touristy thing to do. The boatmen go where they can have a chance of earning extra money through "commissions" from various business. Still, its worth the time an money to see a bit more of the area. And when you convert tips or whatever to US dollars, the cost is really not all that much.