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Ha Long Bay Fishing Village, Vietnam – Cruise day 2

By on September 9, 2015 in Vietnam

On day two of my cruise into Ha Long Bay we visited a fishing village with UNESCO status.

Having UNESCO status doesn’t seem to have done the fishing village any favours as families have now been moved and rehoused in nearby cities. Village now has very few people as the children have been moved to the mainland for schooling (the parents either move with them or visit when they can), and the elderly have also been moved to the mainland so as to be closer to healthcare. Essentially, with the young being removed from the villages and their culture, along with the elderly, to the mainland the villages are dying. Add in government restrictions such as charges to build a new houses, and the increasing charges for fresh water deliveries, and the result is the families are moving out never to return. You can’t but help wonder whether or not the villages would be better off without UNESCO status. In the attempt to preserve the culture, UNESCO has essentially killed off.

We were rowed up through the village to an exhibit/museum that outlined the history and custom of the area. At the museum there was nowhere to sit, no facilities, and no food or water. The exhibits were good and interesting, but sadly the museum, like the village, felt as though it was in decline.

On the approach to the fishing village we did see a number of fishing boats, judging by their rigging and the number of powerful lights on board I suspect that they were for catching squid – I hope they have more luck than I did the night before!

Ha Long Bay Fishing Village

Ha Long Bay Fishing Village

The first sight of the village is a series of small floating shacks or houses along the side of the bay.

Ha Long Bay Fishing Village

Yet again, even in the highly changeable weather we were experiencing, the scenery of Ha Long Bay was absolutely stunning – breathtaking.

Ha Long Bay Fishing Village

Ha Long Bay Fishing Village

The floating village houses were small, and typically supported on large floating plastic barrels. What they use for flotation in the past?

Each house has a large blue plastic fresh water but outside the front.

Ha Long Bay Fishing Village

Some of the houses were in a very sad state of repair, and looked abandoned.

Ha Long Bay Fishing Village

Some of them looked quite new and well maintained.

Ha Long Bay Fishing Village

Ha Long Bay Fishing Village

At the end of the bay was the fishing museum.

Ha Long Bay Fishing Village

Ha Long Bay Fishing Village

From the back of the fishing museum you could see old abandoned floating houses from the fishing village that had been towed to the back of the bay to “die”.

Ha Long Bay Fishing Village

The floating museum was also in a sad state of repair.

Ha Long Bay Fishing Village

We spent far too long at the floating museum. The displays about life in the fishing villages was interesting, but the lack of facilities made the visit tedious.

At the museum I did learn some interesting facts about Ha Long Bay:

  • total area of Ha Long Bay 4342 – told you is big!
  • there are 775 islands – I told you there are a lot of islands!
  • typical tidal range of 4.44.6 metres
  • depth on average 20 m, deepest 30 m
  • abundant fauna and flora – Yes, I’ve seen a lot of flora, but no wildlife. Where’s the wildlife?
  • Ha Long Bay has a continuous and ancient culture
  • fishing villages of Ha Long Bay include:
    • Ba Hang
    • Hoa Cuong
    • Cua Van
    • Ba Ham
    • Cong Tau
    • Vong Vieng – which I visited the day before
    • Cong Dam
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Nick's continued wanderings can be followed on Twitter: @nickswanderings.
 

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