For those who are not aware or have not heard anything specific about Halong Bay, you might wonder that all it has to offer are pristine beaches, historical caves, and stunning landscapes. Well in fact, there’s actually more to Halong Bay than just its beauty and towering limestone formations.
With over hundreds of thousands and even millions of tourists that pass through the UNESCO World Heritage Site every year, it is no question that Halong Bay has something special that you can’t find anywhere else in the globe. One of the most interesting things the bay has kept alive is their floating fishing villages, which are considered the major attractions when joining a Halong Bay cruise.
How It All Began
The floating fishing villages of Halong Bay were initially established for fishermen to sell their catch from the night before but eventually turned into a suburban area complete with houses, clinics, schools, and even police stations. And over the years, from two villages, the population grew bigger and have expanded across the whole archipelago, and still standing up to this very day. Today, there are four remaining floating fishing villages that are peppered all over Halong Bay. These villages are Cua Van, Vung Vieng, Ba Hang, and Cong Dam.
But because of the recent developments that occurred in the last few decades in Halong Bay tourism, the local tourism board and the Quang Ninh Province Authorities have requested these villagers to move back inland and leave their so-called homes behind for health and environmental issues. And the locals had no other choice but to comply and start anew in their new-found community on land. Although some of them still kept what they started; a few select locals stayed behind to continue the jobs that they’ve been doing ever since; fishing, pearl farming, selling goods on small wooden boats, kayak rentals, and boat rentals, all of which are geared towards tourism. Together with the tourism association of Halong Bay, these people have continued to support their families even after being removed from their original place of residence.
How Were These Villages Built?
In the beginning of the 19th century, two fishing villages were assembled by some groups of fishermen from the mainland, and they were called Giang Vong and Truc Vong.
But during the time of the French War that concluded in 1954 in northern Vietnam, which happened near Halong Bay, these group of people decided to separate and spread out across the archipelago.
Eventually, once the war was over, each group that relocated themselves built the now remaining four major fishing villages in the bay. Thus, ending up with Cua Van, Vung Vieng, Ba Hang, and Cong Dam, positioned in different parts of the Gulf of Tonkin from Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay, and Bai Tu Long Bay.
The Largest Fishing Village in Halong Bay
Located inside Hung Thang Commune, 20km away from Tuan Chau Marina, in between the two infamous grottos of Halong Bay, Tien Ong and Dark & Bright Caves, Cua Van Floating Fishing Village is the largest among the remaining four with an estimated population of 700 or more. But ever since the displacement of the villagers, visitors will only have a glimpse of how it used to be like during the time when everyone was still residing in the area, since now it’s only kept and preserved mainly for sightseeing and tourism purposes.
How to Go to Cua Van?
Getting to Cua Van is pretty easy; either you go on an overnight cruise in Halong Bay or you book a tour with one of the tour agencies coming from Cat Ba Island. Whichever way you go with, still our best recommendation is to get an overnight cruise instead as this will guarantee the best experience of what Halong Bay can offer. Plus, on the upside, you don’t even have to worry about scheduling the tour with the cruise as it’s already included in the package from the moment you leave your hotel in Hanoi up to the second you get back. Admission tickets to Cua Van cost 30,000VND (a little over US$1), which is similar to other surrounding attractions in the region. This cost is usually added already in the price of the tour and cruise itinerary.
Things to Do in Cua Van
There are a few things to do when making a stopover at Cua Van.
For those who’d like to take it easy and want to relax while appreciating the views, then renting a local bamboo boat rowed by a local villager is your perfect choice.
On the other hand, if you’re the more adventurous type of person, then kayaking around the village might be best for you. In terms of getting around and seeing how the village looks like, these are the only two options for you to choose from really. Aside from that, other things you could do when you’re there are take advantage of the situation by taking great photos of the area, interact with the local fishermen and befriend some of them, or otherwise, if you’re really interested in knowing more about their cultures and traditions, then just merely observing how they go about their day is more than enough.
Visiting the floating museum
if you are interested in the local life and culture, the floating museum within the village is something you should not miss. Ancient fishing tools and the age-old tradition of the villagers are displayed here. Visiting the museum is the best way to experience a totally different way of life which you might have never seen.
What to Wear When Visiting the Village?
Spending time at the fishing village is for sure not similar as visiting other attractions in Halong Bay. Generally, a comfortable shirt, board shorts, and flip-flops are fine as there’s a fair chance for you to get wet since you’ll be going around either by bamboo boats or kayaks. We recommend not show a lot of skin as it may offend some other visitors and the local villagers. If you’re bringing your cameras and other mobile devices, make sure you cover them up with waterproof cases to avoid any damages.
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When is the Best Time to Visit?
The most ideal time to go to the fishing village, of course, is during summertime; the emerald waters, the cool breeze, calm weather, and blue skies make it picture-perfect for those people who like taking pictures. Another reason why summer is good timing is because there’s less tourist this season, which means less crowd and more time to do kayaking.
As for other seasons, both spring and autumn are ideal as well because there are chances of the sun showing up whilst on the tour. But if you’re only available to go in winter, then that’s okay too. Though the weather can be quite damp and cold, the place gives a different vibe from the rest of the year as Halong Bay usually gets misty during this time. Buffalo Bills Womens Jersey Kareem Jackson Jersey