Floating villages in Gulf of Tonkin
The floating villages in Halong, Bai Tu Long and Lan Ha Bay are reminders of a time long past, and each village has its own history and distinct charm.
Cua Van Fishing Village
Cua Van Fishing Village: the largest of them all
With a population of around 750 individuals, and supporting just over 170 households, Cua Van is the largest floating village in Halong Bay and retains much of its ancient feel despite it being a major drawcard for tourists. Against a backdrop of limestone towers and rocky coastline, the bright, colourful roofs of the tiny, floating houses contrast like precious gems against Halong Bay’s emerald sea.
Tourists visiting Cua Van will encounter villagers going about their daily lives, more or less untouched by modernity. Subsisting mainly on fishing and aquaculture, locals are keen to share their culture with travellers to Halong Bay.
The inhabitants of Cua Van are also environmentalists. Concerned about the preservation and conservation of Halong Bay, every day and on a rostered basis, villagers head out into the Bay, sweeping the ocean’s surface for rubbish, keeping the sea clean.
>> Read more about Cua Van Fishing Village
Vung Vieng Fishing Village
Vung Vieng Fishing Village: quiet and peaceful
Located 24 kilometres from the mainland, the floating fishing village of Vung Vieng is the perfect spot to experience traditional village life. Nestled in in Bai Tu Long Bay, and surrounded by protective limestone islands, Vung Vieng’s traditional character is not to be missed.
Travellers to the area will be charmed by the simple life of the villagers, and can participate in a range of activities to gain insight into their culture, including making and casting fishing nets and processing fish that have been caught.
Overnight stays can be arranged - and are encouraged! - and offer tourists the singular experience of participating in nocturnal village life. And during the annual Halong Tourism Week, Vung Vieng village hosts a fishing festival, where travellers can join in the action: folk singing contests, as well as culinary, swimming and boat handling competitions.
Cap La Floating Village
Cap La Floating Village: a new addition
Cap La is a floating fishing village next to Cap La Island, located in the west of Bai Tu Long Bay, bordering Ha Long Bay. This small village is situated away from the crowded residential and tourist areas of the Bay and does not have electricity and clean, running water. Quang Ninh People's Committee recently added Cap La village to cruising destinations,
There are around 80 households with over 200 people currently living on floating houses, rafts or boats in the village. Most of the population relies on fishing, with children in the village finishing their education early to help their parents make a living.
Because of its seclusion and sheltered position, Cap La is an ideal place to kayak and see the people in a genuine fishing village going about their daily lives.
Ba Hang Fishing Village:
Ba Hang Fishing Village: popular
One of the more popular floating fishing villages because of its proximity to Thien Cung and Dau Go Grottos, Ba Hang offers time-poor tourists a “sneak peek” into traditional life of the Halong people. While fishing is still one of the main activities, the villagers have adapted to tourism and offer travel guide and marine transport services, as well as freshly caught and cooked seafood delicacies.
Unlike the other three floating villages, Ba Hang is more susceptible to tidal flows, which gives tourists access to hidden caves and grottoes as the tide ebbs. And at night, visitors can join the locals in catching squid and other fish.
Cong Dam Floating Village
Cong Dam Floating Village: unspoiled
With a small population of only 120 people, travellers to Halong Bay may not consider Cong Dam fishing village worth a visit. And while it’s not as large as Cua Van or Vung Vieng, its location is pure perfection. The village floats in a large expanse of clear water, and protected by its isolation from the mainland, remains relatively unspoiled.
The area around Vung Vieng is gorgeous and visitors will access some of the most breathtaking scenery in Halong Bay. Towering, mountainous limestone. Colourful coral reefs that are home to a multitude of sea life. Underwater caves and cave systems beckon the experienced diver. And the pristine beaches of nearby Tra Gioi, Cay Bang and Cat Oan are ideal for relaxing and simply taking in the view.
When visiting the village itself, tourists will be charmed by the friendliness of the locals, who have retained their traditional fishing culture. And a visit to the local museum and the pearl farm is a must, and you can even buy jewellery from the floating store.
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