CUA VAN FLOATING VILLAGE: A LIVING LIFE MUSEUM IN HA LONG BAY
Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO-recognized Natural World Heritage Site, has gained a name for the picturesque scenery of the coast and islands, but have you ever heard of Cua Van floating village as a precious gem to be found alongside the shoreline? If the answer is “No”, don’t hesitate to come by Cua Van for a visit at no time.
Cua Van floating village has been ranked among the most beautiful ancient villages on the planet. Within minutes, its distinctive cultural pattern and tradition are guaranteed to make a lasting impression on tourists from all over the globe.
Location: Hung Thang Precinct, Quang Ninh Province – attached to Ha Long Bay & Lan Ha Bay
I. Overview of Cua Van Floating Village
Cua Van floating village belongs to one of Ha Long Bay’s tourism development programs, including other famous tourist attractions like Ba Ham Lake, Tieng Ong Cave… To be more specific, the village is situated 20km away from Tuan Chau Island nearby, which is equivalent to an approximately 2-hour trip by boat.
For your information, Cua Van of former times used to be among the biggest floating villages in the Ha Long Bay residential area. Despite being in the middle of the sea, Cua Van village is not disturbed by the strong wind blowing in different directions. The main reason behind that is the surrounding cluster of islands which prevents the rush of air from completely getting through, acting as an important contributing place for boats to anchor themselves when a storm hits the zone.
In 2014, the authority started resettling families and residents to the mainland in order that they could reap more benefits from the flourishing economy and tourism development. However, a minority of Cua Van local people chose to remain offshore in the daytime, and earn a living by traditional fishing or running services for tourists.
1. Best Time to Visit Cua Van Floating Village
When is the best time to visit Cua Van fishing village in a year? The answer is from October to September next year. Especially, you are highly advised to avoid July and August due to the fact that in two months, there are usually a lot of tropical cyclones and depressions or rain and rough sea in Vietnam.
The period from October to September next year is also divided into two peak seasons, one for domestic tourists and the other for foreign tourists. The peak season of foreign tourists in Vinh Ha Long, in common, and Cua Van, in particular, is from October to April next year. Maybe this period in foreign countries is the winter vacation and new year holiday and tropical countries with higher average temperatures and cheap costs are ideal choices.
2. Highlights of Cua Van Floating Village
Why has Cua Van become so well-liked by not only domestic tourists but also foreign visitors? What are the unique features of the fishing village attracting a lot of tourists?
To be honest, everyone who pays Cua Van a visit would be struck by its beauty which is almost nowhere else to be found, not to mention the grandiose scenery of Ha Long Bay.
Leave the bustle and hustle of big cities behind and find yourself here immersed in tranquility. There are over 300 households in the area, living in houseboats tightly attached to each other so that they stand fewer chances of being blown by strong winds.
One of the most original characteristics of the Cua Van floating village is a whole host of small boats and rafts anchored in front of every house, embodying the spirit of fishermen who hope to bring a brighter future to their kids and family. The native residents of Cua Van are warm, hospitable, and friendly, always trying to make people feel welcome. If you happen to meet some kids, don’t forget to wave, they’ll be all smiles and happy to show you all the village’s hidden attractions.
Your trip to Cua Van would not be fulfilled unless you experience all the following stuff: enjoying the special cuisines cooked by the locals; joining in a variety of cultural activities including boat sailing and listening to people singing out at night, or go catching some cuttlefish.
Tell me if I’m wrong, but you should never find a better experience than enjoying the appetizing aroma of “marine barbeque” right on the high seas.
II. What to See and Do at Cua Van Floating Village?
Normally, it is advised to spend about 1 day and 1 night discovering Cua Van fishing village since there are many interesting things for you to experience to get unforgettable memories as priceless gifts.
Cua Van fishing village is nearly the farthest point in Ha Long Bay and it is the endpoint of almost Ha Long Bay discovering tours. After spending the first day getting a view of Ha Long Bay by boat or cruise, you will stop at Cua Van at the end of the itinerary, where you will have wonderful experiences at night and the next day.
1. Cua Van ‘Floating’ Culture Center
Cua Van floating culture center is a construction specialized for displaying and preserving traditional values of culture which originate from the long-standing fishing village.
This site introduces a whole host of educational, and cultural exchange activities, not to mention hundreds of archeological antique collections including ancient fishing tools that trace back centuries ago.
In addition, extraordinary sequences of documentaries and archival research pictures are consistently exhibited so that everyone can admire and get the gist of the village’s ancient image.
2. Daily Life of Local Fishermen
As aforementioned, despite the fact that the majority of residents have moved to the mainland, a number of local families chose to maintain their living here during the daytime. To most of the fishermen, the sea is regarded as their hometown, and the boat as their shelter, as if it was all a matter of common sense for the fact that they shared weal and woe and blended in harmony with the sea.
Their kids are used to swimming and sailing, even dealing with risks and danger from a very early age. Besides, strange as it may sound, the people of Cua Van often believe in spiritual practice or avoiding forbidden customs, such as preventing women from getting on the boat before heading for the open.
Apart from fishing, the local people also earn their living by providing kayak services or tour guides who know the village like the back of their hand and help you steer the boat properly. Surprisingly, kayak sailing is among the most requested services by foreign tourists, because it is so amazing scene that can help them to take incredible and one-of-a-kind pictures.
Hiring a kayak: 100.000 VND/h
Hiring a local tour guide: 60.000 VND/h
III. How to Get to Cua Van Floating Village?
Cua Van floating village is dozens of kilometers away from the coastline, which probably takes much of a boat trip to arrive here. There is a wide range of cruising boats for you to choose from, maybe included in some full-package tours offered by large tourism corporations. However, the 2 following ways are the most favorable to foreign guests:
If you decide to spend only 1 day visiting Cua Van village: Feel free to buy boat tickets directly at the wharf, or through telephones, or even some online registering platforms associated with the service providers.
If you’re into a longer trip that can last up to 2-3 days: You must have a detailed plan ahead of time, making sure that you (and your group) should get precise information on time and places, means of transport… As a result, many would prefer a full-package cruising tour of 3 days and 2 nights, considered to be more economical and money-saving than going on your own without any help from travel agencies.
IV. Extra Tips
Bring your power bank and some other everyday-carry tools to help charge your phone and deal with anything else if necessary.
Bring at least a flashlight, and power banks because electricity in the village is created from generators.
Pay attention to the additional fees when booking a full-package tour, some can charge you for their meals and drinks instead.
Make the most of your time and money by visiting the Vung Vieng floating village by taking a 20-minute boat trip from Cua Van and the Ham Rong Mountain nearby. Vung Vieng village is famous for its limpid stream of ocean water a fantastic experience to talk about for your entire life.
Bring mosquito repellent, anti-motion sickness medicine, cold medicine, and some usual medicine because if you get sick at night, it takes much time to take you to the hospital.
Do not give money or candy to children when you visit. Why? Since if you give them money, they won’t like to go to school. If possible you may prepare some notebooks, and pencils for them.