Insight into Halong Bay fishing life

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” Let’s explore Halong fishing life with us

Some of the cruises offer sampan boat ride to fishing village without visiting the floating school or floating houses so it’s hard to understand about local life of the fishermen. So I decided to write this article to show an insight into fishing life.

Halong Bay fishing village life via photos

Halong Bay fishing life

Fishing boats in Halong bay

Amazing Halong Bay. Fascinating panoramas of limestone karsts often covered with lush green vegetation. Adding to this backdrop was the ever present fishermen who live on waters. We were never completely alone.

Fisherman boat in Halong bay

Local motorboat of the fisherman in Halong Bay

The put-put of their engines was the first indicator.

Single boat in Halong Bay

A single boat with all family members passing by our junk.

Fishing boat in Halong Bay

Oftentimes boats were rafted together. This was their home and a way of life dating back generations

Collecting clam in Halong Bay

Collecting clam in Halong Bay

We saw a boy  in his boat tied to this grey ragged landscape collecting crustaceans. It is food for their meal and to sell as well.

Halong bay fishing villages

Floating house on the water in Halong bay

Vung Vieng fishing village

The fishing net were displayed in the floating house in Vung Vieng fishing village

A cultural  highlight on our cruise was visiting a floating village tucked along the jagged edge of karsts in a somewhat protected area from the winds. There are about 50 families in the village and the population is between 200 and 300 residents, including nearly 100 children.

They have some job to earn living is to row boats for tourist, fish with net and do fish-farms. There are three other such floating villages scattered throughout Halong Bay and some quite large. Collectively, these fishermen supply seafood to all over Vietnam, particularly Hanoi. In addition, they are developing markets for farm-raised sea pearl, sea shell and shrimp.

Dog watching house in Vung Vieng Fishing village, Bai Tu Long Bay

Two guardian dogs in the floating house

Houses were painted in cheerful colors and each appeared to have a dog to watch the house.

Generators provide electricity for the floating village and fresh water is brought in from the mainland and stored in tanks.

We were taken to the floating village to meet the student and play with them. The structure also serves as a school while efforts are being made to replace the one that was destroyed in a typhoon.

The government provides a teacher, but he or she needs to be married, which reflects the cultural morays. Older children who wish to further their education often live on the mainland with a relative. Health care is provided sporadically and women go to the mainland to give birth.

Halong Bay's floating school

Unique floating school in Halong Bay

Managing tourism is of importance. This village has a partnership with several touring companies. Instead of selling us trinkets or local crafts, we were taken on small boat excursions. There were a one couple in our group tried to  row boat made from a woven reed basket.

Smilling rower in Halong Bay

A smiling face in a floating village in Halong Bay

Our rower was a 20 year old girl named Hanh who was shy and had such a lovely smile. By tipping these rowers, we brought them a better life. These women worked hard at what they were doing.

Laughing at each other in our conical hats was a reminder that we were acting the tourist part. There was one particular area that our tour guide David wanted us to see, but the lead rower could not get her boat through because of the current.

We were so surprised. The beauty around us was worth this experience of being rowed in a basket.

Once back on the junk, the long term sustainability of these floating villages was discussed. There is a balance between the fishermen, tourism, and the fragile eco-system which can change because of industrial run off, storms affecting fishing and increasing pollution. Halong Bay is a beautiful natural wonder. Protection of these waters while preserving a cultural way of life is an ongoing challenge.

Travel around the villages by boat in Halong Bay

Local rowing boat in Halong Bay

After reading this article, Hanoi Eco Tour’s team do hope that you have an in-depth understanding of Halong bay fishing life. If you want to experience fishing in Halong like a local, please book the Halong Bay tour now.

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David Nguyen : Freelancer tour guide as well as a passionate writer for Hanoi Eco Tour, who has been working over 10 years in the tourism industry. All articles are written by him from his REAL travel experiences, down to earth and unique.

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