Nestled in the quiet coves of Halong Bay you will discover the floating villages, where the local people have lived for generations drifting on the sea. Anchored together they weather through rising tides, crashing storms, and an ever-changing world.
Discover the peaceful life in the floating village of Halong Bay
The people here are fishermen, and their lives are intrinsically tied to the ocean. They have built boats and floating homes that provide their shelter, their transportation, and their culture. They can tie their homes to their neighbors, or they can drift off while they hunt for fish, lobsters, shellfish, and squid. They own no land, only the boats that provide their way of life.
Although it is a quiet life, the people here have a certain vitality that can only come from living so close to the rolling tides. If you spend a day exploring one of these villages in Vietnam tours, be sure to try the fresh seafood!
The Halong Bay area is now a UNESCO World Heritage area, and the villages are considered an irreplaceable cultural site. There are four main floating villages spread out across Halong Bay with a total of around 1000 residents. The villages are called Cua Van, Ba Hang, Vong Vieng, and Cong Tau.
Cua Van Village and the Cultural Center
Cua Van is the largest of the Halong Bay fishing villages. It is home to over 600 people, and has developed the most vibrant community. It is considered the capital village, and here you can discover the local lifestyle, markets, and foodin Hanoi tours. Many of the villagers hand-make beautiful crafts that they will sell from their boats. The people often sing folk-songs that carry across the water (called hat gheo), from love song duets, to wedding songs, and songs meant to be sung out to the fishermen on the sea.
Because of its prominence, Cau Van is also home to Vietnam’s first ever Floating Cultural Center. The center was created by the Ha Long Ecological Museum, and it is considered to be an essential step in preserving the heritage of the area.
The Challenges of Life in the Floating Villages
The environment is the biggest challenge to the fishermen’s lifestyle. Sea storms and rising tides can endanger their homes and they are dependent on a fish supply that has decreased in recent years. The constant flow of tourists and new industry also adds new challenges for the fishing villages.
You will leave with a unique cultural experience all while supporting the local way of life!
The people are tough, and their families have lived in the bay for generations. They change with the ocean and adapt to the tide. The Vietnamese have made great efforts to protect and preserve their unique cultural heritage, and their efforts are paying off.
Exploring the Floating Villages
As your cruise drifts across the crystal blue waters of Halong Bay, take the opportunity to explore the floating villages.
Step on board a flat-bottomed sampan and glide around the homes as the bob across bay. Taste seafood freshly pulled from the ocean, cooked up in front of you, the smells of fresh fish, salt and spice filling the air.
Walk along the docks where village children laugh and dive into the ocean that is their home. Watch a lone fisherman cast his net in the summer sun. Listen to the songs and stories from the local women as they sell their wares.
If you spend a day among the people of the Halong Bay floating villages, you will step back into a simpler time, you will meet a lively people that have tied their souls to the sea, you will encounter a truly unique culture, and you will not forget the experience in tours of Vietnam.