The boats are tourist boats at Hoi An, Vietnam. They are hired by the hour for trips on the river, at prices depending on how desperate they are, or how patient you are and how many owners you are prepared to haggle with. We paid 150,000 dong (about $US7) for a 1 hour trip to the wood carving village on the other side of the river. Of course it's all a tourist trap - they take you around all the wood carving workshops and you have to be pretty determined to escape without buying at least something.
The painting took about a week on and off. The detail on the boats in the background was quite fiddly and took a long time. Also had a bit of trouble with the wharf that the boats are tied up to, in the end I just left it out - believe me it looks much better without it.