Floating villages in Vietnam, description and photos

Floating Villages in Halong Bay

Halong Bay seems to be a quiet and peaceful place, but it is far from it, in a large area there are no comfortable shores where you can escape from the constant rains at all.

In our time in many caves and grottoes preserved traces of people who lived in the bay many thousands of years ago. More recently, Halong was included in the list of World Heritage Sites, recognized as one of the wonders of the world, according to the classification created in Switzerland.

Many locals have nicknamed Halong Bay a thousand islands. And all because it has 3000 islands, many of which are uninhabited and do not even have their own name. They are just covered with grass, and sometimes it seems as if the vegetation grows right out of the water. This is such an optical deception. The bay is not inhabited only because it is under the protection of UNESCO, and the Vietnamese authorities have forbidden to build anything on the islands.

The formation of Halong Bay and villages

All the islands of the bay are limestone strata of quite advanced age. Some of them are very similar to shells with huge caste caves. The largest of these is considered to be Hang-Dau-Go. It is divided into three rooms with stalactites and stalagmites.

Some islands were formed in such a way that in the very center of them are small lakes of perfectly round shape with gentle shores. Dau-Bi Island is the record holder for the number of lakes, it has as many as six. In addition to the islands Halong Bay on its shores closed by rocks and caves, which were formed over the years due to the conditions of the local tropical climate. It took more than 500 million years for such a huge plateau to form on the bay.

The remains of ancient life have been found in almost all the caves. According to researchers, the territory Halong was inhabited by people more than 25 thousand years ago. It was here that the Si-Nhu civilization was born, which was called the clam eaters. As proof, scientists have found mountains of shells of clams melaniya and other similar organisms. In addition, numerous implements have been found. It can be concluded that people were engaged in gathering and agriculture. A little later, about 3 thousand years ago, the Cai Beo civilization lived here, which was engaged in fishing and actively moved on homemade rafts.

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During feudalism, the bay became famous for its stubborn defense against the Chinese, who were deliberately taken here in order to confuse and then destroy.

The year 1288 was marked by the invading campaign of Kublai Khan. A local Vietnamese hero came up with an idea to drive wooden stakes near the islands which became invisible in the water at high tide. When the enemy fleet came closer to the bay, it literally ran into numerous stakes and was destroyed.

During the Vietnam War, the Americans dropped bombs on Halong Bay, which to this day pose a danger to local residents.

Halong Bay belongs to the province of Quang Ninh and is part of the strait with islands subordinate to the nearest city. The mountain formations got their names because of their unusual shapes and contours, which were formed by the impact of water.

None of the islands has a convenient harbor and absolutely no roads. But despite this, the bay is home to more than 1,600 local people. And they live not on islands, but in homemade floating bamboo houses or simply in boats. Such clusters of dwellings formed villages. Kiawan, Bahan, and Kongau are considered the largest. The present generation of people are descendants of those very ancient people. They still keep their relics handed down from generation to generation.

The fishing villages have more than 300 years of life. The largest ones are home to several hundred families and even more single people. In each village, in addition to the usual residents are located floating banks, schools and even medical facilities. As a rule, live here alone fishermen. They not only catch sea creatures, but even breed them in a kind of aquatic gardens.

After being inscribed on the UNESCO list, people were asked to leave Halong, but they decided to stay. After a short struggle, they were left alone because only they know all the nooks and crannies of the local climate. The terrestrial and underwater world is very diverse. You can find here and evergreens, and standard marine fauna, and even numerous endemics.

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At present, the fauna and flora of Halong is in danger, as it is one of the points of maritime communication between the ports of Vietnam. More damage to nature has been caused by the coral trade, which has reduced the area of coral distribution by several times. Today, the sale of coral is forbidden.

Thousands of islands of Halong Bay . Vietnam

Halong Bay is one of the most beautiful offshore bays on the planet. Thousands of amazing islands are scattered over a huge area off the coast of northeastern Vietnam.

Halong Bay

General Description

The bay covers an area of 1553 km 2 and consists of about 2000 islands, cliffs and steep cliffs. Most of the islands are formed by limestone rocks, which are up to 20 million years old. There are 775 islands in the central part of the bay with an area of 334 km 2.

The length of the coastline alone is as much as 120 kilometers. The average depth of the bay is about 10 meters, but there are places up to 20 meters deep.

Incredible beauty of the bay is known far beyond the borders of Vietnam.

Halong Bay. Vietnam

Where is it

Halong Bay is part of Van Dong County and lies in the northeastern coastal waters of Vietnam. The bay is shared by Halong and Cam Fa Cities and Van Don County.

The bay extends from Yen Hung District, through Halong, Cam Fa and borders Lan Ha Bei District in the south and Bai Tu Long Bay in the west.

Legends of the formation of the bay

The name “Ha Long” in the local dialect means “downward dragon” or “the place where the dragon descended into the sea.” Legends, one way or another, mention dragons.

According to one of them, a bay with many islands was created by a huge dragon. He lived inside the mountains all the time, but one day he decided to get out. To get to the surface, he had to work hard and plow deep valleys with his powerful tail. When the dragon had had enough fun, he descended into the sea, and the valleys filled with water, leaving thousands of islands on the surface.

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There is another legend about the emergence of Halong Bay. In ancient times there were fierce wars. Vietnam often had to fight invaders. The gods decided to help and sent dragons to protect the country. They began to spew from their jaws a large number of jewels, which turned into islands and blocked the way for the invaders. That is why no one succeeded in conquering Vietnam. Having won the victory, the dragons remained to live in these places, that is, actually descended from the sky into the sea, hence the name.

Halong Bay. Vietnam

It is noteworthy that up to the 19th century, the bay was called “En Bang”, “Luc Tui” or “Van Don”. It was not until the late 19th century that the name Halong appeared on French nautical charts. To this day, this name is still most commonly used. Very common is the name Halong Bay.

The climate and nature of Halong Bay

Since the bay is located in the classic tropical belt, and the climate is appropriate – a tropical and fairly humid with two distinctive season: dry and wet.

The average annual temperature is about 25 ° C. August is the warmest month. During this time the temperature reaches 33 o C during the day and rarely drops below 28 o C at night. Water in August warms up to 30 C. But this month is also the wettest. Rainfall exceeds 330 mm and the average annual rainfall is about 2 to 2.2 meters.

But Halong Bay is no match for the wettest place on Earth, which is located on the island of Kauai in the Hawaiian archipelago. There the rainfall exceeds 12 (.) meters, and the record was slightly short of 17 meters.

During the dry season, the water salinity in the bay is about 31-34%. During the rainy season, this figure decreases. Here is clearly observed system of tides, the amplitude of which is about 3.5-4 meters.

Halong Islands

The nature of Halong Bay

The geological diversity of the bay generates biological diversity.

Halong Bay contains two ecosystems: a moist, evergreen rainforest ecosystem; and a marine coastal ecosystem. The bay is a natural habitat for 14 endemic flower species and 60 endemic fauna species. In addition, there are 477 species of magnolias.

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In the waters of the bay there are many marine life, including cuttlefish, oysters, shrimp and tropical fish. More than 200 species of fish, 450 species of mollusks and 160 varieties of coral are registered here. In total, there are more than 1,000 species of marine life in the bay.

Halong. Vietnam

With the growth of tourist activity, the ecosystem of the bay is constantly being harmed, the mangroves are destroyed for the construction of piers for ships. Fishing, a favorite pastime of travelers, threatens many endangered fish species. The local authorities are trying to minimize the negative impact of tourism on the environment.

Historical Info

Halong Bay has seen a number of naval battles. The Vietnamese army has stopped Chinese invaders here three times. In 1288, General Tran Hung Dao fought off an invading Mongol army that tried to cross the Bach Dang River. At the order of the general at high tide, barricades were set up, which succeeded in sinking the Mongol ships.

In the 18th century Halong was a haven for assorted pirates.

In the 20th century there were battles with the American navy. Many canals were mined by the U.S. Army and are still a great danger today.

Floating villages of Halong Bay

About 1,600 people live in the floating houses of four fishing villages in the bay. They are Quavan, Bahang, Kong Tau and Vongvieng. People live literally on the water and are engaged in fishing and fish and shellfish farming.

Houses on the water in Halong Bay

Floating homes in Halong Bay

Attractions of the Bay

Despite the fact that the bay itself is a very interesting place, even here you can highlight the corners worthy of separate attention.

Fort Cannon

It is located in the southern part of Cat Ba Island (which is the largest island in the bay). The structure is a military fortification on top of a hill 177 meters above sea level. Fort Cannon was built by the French in 1942 to protect the sea area of Vietnam. Three cannons were installed here. After the defeat in 1945, the French military tried to destroy them so that the Vietnamese army could not use them. But the Vietnamese recovered the cannons and used them successfully in the war against the French colonists (1946 – 1954), who tried to keep their colonies in the region. The war went down in history as the First Indochina War.

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Now guided tours are held here. Climbing up to Fort Cannon, you can see the extraordinary beauty of the surrounding scenery and a reconstruction of a military structure with life-size mock-ups of soldiers.

Fort Cannon on Cat Ba Island

Cat Ba Island National Park

About half of the Cat Ba Island (about 98 km 2 ) is occupied by a beautiful nature park with the same name. It is located in the center of the island. The park employs 92 people, including 60 park rangers. The main feature of the Cat Ba Park – its lush greenery of plants and abundance of wildlife.

There are hiking trails through the park, the most extreme of which is 18 kilometers long and leads to the top of the mountain.

Cat Ba National Park

Dau Go Cave

The cave is located in the northern part of the island of Dau Gou. The height of the vault reaches 25 meters. There are hundreds of hanging stalactites like a stone waterfall.

Dau Go Cave

Hang Trong Cave

Also called the Drum Grotto. The name comes from the sounds made by the strong gusts of wind.

Cableway

Built by Austrian engineers the Hang Trong Cableway in Halong Bay is 2165 meters long. It is served by 2 cable cars, each with a capacity of 230 passengers.

Halong Bay Cableway

Ferris Wheel

Sun Wheel Halong – as it is called. The wheel is located on top of Ba Di Mountain at an altitude of about 250 meters above sea level. It is among the world’s highest observation wheels. Sun Wheel Halong, consists of 64 cabins for 384 passengers. The capacity of the wheel is 1200 passengers per hour. The diameter of the wheel is 115 meters.

Naturally, from the top point you have an indescribable view of Halong City and the bay.

Sun Wheel Halong

As you understand, this is a tiny fraction of all the sights of Halong Bay. It is unlikely you can see them all in one day. Excursions are worth taking for at least 2-3 days, and preferably more.

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