Before Halong Bay was recognized by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage site, and before Halong opened up to tourism, many people lived and made their living as fishermen in the bay.
These fishermen gathered in communities to support each other in work and life, creating several floating villages in Halong Bay a very long time ago, which still exist to this day. Let’s discover some beautiful ancient floating villages in the article below.
Originally, there were numerous floating villages in Halong Bay at the time. The life of the residents of these villages was hard and limited, especially for the children going to school. The Vietnamese government made a huge effort to support these families by providing jobs and housing to bring them onto the mainland.
Nowadays, only a small number of families live in these fishing villages, preserving the traditional jobs of their ancestors.
When you come to Halong Bay, you will regret it if you do not visit one of these floating villages. All are incredible, but each is different from the others.
Overall, they add to the already colorful Halong Bay, which is famous for foreigners who come to Vietnam.
The floating markets are among the best things to see in Halong Bay.
Halong Bay fishing villages not to be missed
There are many fishing villages in the vicinity of Ha Long Bay, and chances are you won’t have the time to explore them all. In that case, I recommend visiting the villages of Cua Van, Vong Vieng, and Ba Hang.
Cua Van fishermen’s village
The floating village of Cua Van is one of the most famous, located between Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay. The fishing village is located in Hung Thang commune, Halong city, about 20 km from the Tuan Chau tourist pier.
The whole scene consists of clusters of floating houses in a calm sea, surrounded by majestic limestone mountains. The ancient features, graceful natural beauty, and typical traditional culture make the floating village of Cua Van an attractive place for tourists.
The village now has over 200 floating households, including a school, a cultural house, and local homes. More than 700 people live in the village of Cua Van, mostly fishermen.
Cua Van is also the most important and touristic fishing village in the area. That’s why it’s the most accessible destination, with its frequent boat trips, prestigious homestays, and excellent restaurants offering local seafood cuisine.
The village also offers a kayak rental service to explore the surroundings and visit nearby caves.
Vung Vieng Fishermen’s Village
Vung Vieng is a large floating village with long-time residents living in Halong Bay. Taking about 1 hour of cruising from Bai Chay port, Vung Vieng is the second largest fishing village in Halong Bay after Cua Van fishermen’s village. With unique features, Vung Vieng attracts more and more tourists.
As it is surrounded by islands, the water is rather calm and peaceful, reflecting the life of the village. It’s the best destination to explore the fishing culture. The happy and hospitable people are always willing to welcome foreigners and show them how to navigate and fish, or they can even take you on a night squid catching session.
As the village is quite remote, the inhabitants remain much closer to their traditional way of life in terms of fishing. They are very close to each other and spend most of their life on the water.
Boats are their home and the ocean, their homeland. Even a five-year-old child knows how to row and the whole family fishes together.
During a fishing day, the children prepare the net and baits, while their brothers and father retrieve the nets full of fish. The antiquity of their life makes everyone more connected to each other. Every activity takes place on the water, from birth to bidding farewell to an elder.
Ba Hang Fishermen’s Village (Three Caves)
If you do not have the resources and time for the two villages above, Ba Hang village is the solution. Located just six kilometers from the city of Ha Long, this village is easily accessible and can be explored in one day. The village has a population of 50 people, making it one of the smallest fishing villages off the bay.
As it is much closer to the mainland, Ba Hang village is modern and developed, so you only get a small idea of traditional fishing culture.
But that shouldn’t stop you from exploring. All the activities available in the other two villages are also available here, from kayaking to fishing outings and squid catching. Additionally, you can wander around the three surrounding caves, including the two most important caves in Halong Bay: Thien Duong (heaven) cave and Dau Go cave.
Pristine landscapes, a long-standing lifestyle, and fresh seafood, all these items and much more await you in the unique fishing villages of Halong Bay.
Cong Dam Fishermen’s Village
Isolated from the mainland, Cong Dam, the oldest and smallest floating village in Halong Bay, is a destination that few tourists visit. The area is preserved, clean, and remains relatively undeveloped.
It has a population of about 120 people who continue the ancient fishing cultures of their ancestors to this day. On the island, there is a small museum and a school, and it is surrounded by the famous limestone karsts, islets, and beautiful beaches of Halong Bay.
The region also has a high concentration of coral reefs and underwater lakes hidden within the limestone mountains. By visiting the floating village of Cong Dam, in addition to kayaking or visiting the local bamboo boats, you might have the chance to visit the pearl farm located there.
Hoa Cuong Fishermen’s Village
Belonging to Halong Bay, the Hoa Cuong fishermen’s village is surrounded by majestic limestone hills rising from the sea, forming an impressive tableau of World Natural Heritage.
Located in a corner of the limestone islands and islets, Hoa Cuong is where tourists can see the islands acting as a huge wall to protect the village from storms. The small houses built on rafts resembling fairy tales are the most popular image you can see in this peaceful village.
Even though daily life in a fishing village unfolds on the sea, it is not monotonous. Their distant calls and rowing enliven the atmosphere of the tranquil bay. Especially when the floating village organizes a festival or a wedding, you will hear the inhabitants singing amusement songs with fun melodies.