For generations a community has flourished on the waters of Halong Bay, building houses on floating platforms and living on the bounty of the sea. Those that live here rarely even need to visit the mainland! Over 50 families live in the village and there is even a small school here.
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. The residents are inextricably linked to their setting, forming an integrated cultural landscape and living tradition. Every day, locals roam around the village by boat to collect garbage and floating waste along the waters to reduce the risk of water pollution that could potentially harm their families and the rest of the community.
Challenges of Life
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. 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. The village is a true water world, rising and falling with the tides, sheltered amidst majestic limestone towers. The floating village is home to many generations, as many of the residents never leave, but grow old in this unique world where they are born into.
Aside from the floating villages, we also ventured off to see the cultivation of pearls at a nearby pearl farm. One of the richest sources of business from this part of the world is the harvesting of pearls. Here you will see the pearl harvesting and preparation process that goes into making that shiny pearl necklace you love to wear. Skip through the photographs below and find a full recap with insider tips on planning your next cultural adventure in Vietnam. I hope you enjoy this inside look at the floating villages and pearl farm!
Best Time To Visit
If you want to be in a bikini baking in the hot southeast Asian sun, then definitely visit in the late spring/summer months (April – August). The prime seasons to go, when temperatures are just right would be the fall or early spring.
How To Go
Fly into the international airport of Hanoi, Vietnam (in the northern part of the country) and from there, it is about a 3.5 hour drive out to the docks along these beautiful bay waters. Almost all junk boat tour companies provide complimentary van transportation from Hanoi to where the boats dock and depart.