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Treasure under the floor

 

Thousands of colorful painted floating houses stretch for eight kilometers along Bassac River in Chau Doc Town, looking like a bright silk streamer during the day, and a galaxy of stars at night.


Thanh, one of local boatmen from the town, says the village is the result of the gradual down-stream migration of fish farmers, which started in Cambodia in the early 70s.

He says the village, which is often compared to Cai Rang Floating Market in Can Tho Province, attracts more than 100 tourists daily.

Just five minutes from Chau Doc Port, the village welcomes tourists with the sound of children playing in the river and its fishy smell.

What makes these houses unique is the one-meter square hole in the middle of the floor above the metal fish cages underneath.

Look through the hole and the water surface is still, but as soon as food is dropped in, thousands of frenzied fish appear, snatching food and splashing water over the floor.

Each house has three or four metal fish cages underneath and a fish-food processing compartment for fish stomachs and heads.

Hang owns four cages and he says cage numbers have risen in recent years because of the trend of raising basa fish (pangasius bocourti) for export.

Each enclosure costs VND100 million (US$6,200).

The fish grow quickly in their natural river environment and provide a handy source of food as well as income for the household.

The floating fish-cage village brings to mind the Vietnamese saying: "A fish pond is like a bank, you can get money when you need it."

Under the water is treasure worth hundreds of millions of dong.

In one year, a fish farmer can earn between VND500 million ($31,000) and several billion dong from each cage.

Tourists can watch fishermen harvest the caged fish with a net.

They have to pull up parts of the wooden floor, unveiling millions of fish swimming in the water.

Then they jump into the water to cast their heavy nets.

In the village there are also groceries, machine maintenance shops and goods exchanges between boatmen from other areas on the river.

Reported by Phuong Anh

 

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Xin Chao Travel Halong Bay
We are happy to send you our impressions on our excellent trip to Halong Bay with your company. The organization and monitoring of our trip was impeccable, thanks to our friendly and excellent guide Minh not forgetting the super driver Dzung.

Mardy Scott (Australia)
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