Hạ Long Bay lies on Vietnam’s northeastern seacoast, 70 kilometers from Hanoi. A dramatic setting of rocky formations and crystal blue waters, the bay is inscribed on the World Heritage list. Ha Long Bay is famous worldwide for its natural beauty, most tourists travel across oceans and continents to Vietnam for that reason.
Floating villages are among the most special attractions of Halong Bay. Out of the four villages in Ha Long Bay, Cua Van village is the top attraction. Situated on a calm bay surround by mountains, 20km away from the tourist boat wharf, Cua Van village is a tranquil haven for travelers who want to experience the authentic lives of the local people. Another reason to pay a visit to the village is that it is also home to an interesting marine and coastal ecosystem.
Each fishing village has about 30 – 50 families with the population of around 200 – 600 people. As most of the rock islands in the area are too poor to be cultivated, daily life in the village is very hard and poor. Food and water are imported from the mainland; the main income is from fishing and tourism activities.
Traditionally, each boat in the floating village is a separate household, though the raft or boat always serves more than one function. It is a home, a means of transport, and a source of income. Thousands of visitors see the villages while traveling in Hạ Long Bay; the distinctive traditional lifestyle of the villagers is a unique component of Vietnamese identity.
The village is a true water world, rising and falling with the tides, sheltered amidst limestone towers. Visitors will see the floating school, where the children go. The village also survives from tourism. They have a deal with the cruise companies who bring them tourists to paddle around their homes.
The residents are inextricably linked to their setting, forming an integrated cultural landscape and living tradition. An influx of tourists and associated development has altered this place and with it the social and physical context of these people. Changes in economic activities and in the ecosystem on which the villages thrive directly affect their way of life. Inclusion on the Watch raises awareness of these challenges and promotes strategies of heritage-driven community development, to enable the villages to adapt to these changes and chart a sustainable future. The floating village is home to many generations and many of the residents never leave, but grow up and grow old in this unique world where they are born into. Education for children here is an important matter to be concerned. When life is not easy, they need to know how to survive by learning swimming, helping their parents. The children learn to swim before they can walk. Actually, their life will be the same as their parents if nothing changes.Visitors here are lured in by the beautiful fishing village – little houses on the water, groups of living house tied together to defend against storms and typhoons, the simple and honest fishermen and the sunburnt faces of the innocent little children. It is all peaceful and charming.