We’re now in An Bang Beach. It’s a small fishing village that over the last 3 years has turned into a sweet underdeveloped tourist village. There are several homestays (like our B&B’s) and restaurants. Most of the locals are fishermen or farmers. Tourism is slowly creeping in the last few years. In the next few years this village will be completely different. We had a lot of expats and locals tell us that it has changed and grown in the last couple of years.
The old ways of making a living are slowly being replaced by working in tourism. The younger people are learning to speak English and are making more money working with the tourists then going out fishing, working on the farms, working weaving mats, etc… Also as we know the fish are being depleted from our oceans and seas.
The season has just started for fishing here in An Bang Beach. They will start at 5 am and come back well after dark. Their season lasts 3 or 4 months. The homestay we are staying in is owned and run by a fisherman and his son. They are very good hosts. The wife and daughter are working in Canada and return home once or twice a year. I’m sure that’s where they have got the money to open and build the 2 homestay’s they currently have.
It is interesting staying in a smaller village for a while. We will be here a total of 6+ weeks when we leave. I will be writing this over the course of that time. Right now we have been here for 3 weeks.
The village people are slowly getting to know us. There is a lot of waving “hi” and waving “no not now”. The Vietnamese culture is quite aggressive in their approach to selling. Plus add the language barrier and it can get down right insulting sometimes to us. They will yell at you, “come in and buy something” or they will say, “come and have something to help me support my family.” I had one guy get so mad at me because I bought a little necklace off another guy. He was being very childish about it and told me he would never talk to us again. Sigh of relief….. He’s been true to his word. We’ve seen him a couple of times hawking on the beach and he walks by us. Again sigh of relief…..But it’s just a cultural thing and you have to remember that. Just keep waving……..
There are a lot of expats living in the area. Most of the better restaurants, homestays, and villas are owned by Aussie or Englishmen that have married Vietnamese women. It’s an interesting place business wise. Expats can’t own land but can buy it on a 99 year lease. They can buy apartments and condos. But it all changes if your wife is Vietnamese. There’s money to be made on those sandy beaches……or so it appears. We’ve met one guy going it alone. He’s from California and has a Mexican Restaurant he opened the same day we came here. He closed or sold his pizza restaurant in Hoi An and now he’s here at the beach. He’s doing really well. He’s opened at the right time.
The locals tell us the sea calms down starting in April to Sept and the wind changes and comes from the south. It’s a bit further north here so the sea can be rough because the winds come down from Siberia at the other times of the year. People still come year round because it’s 4K from Hoi An. So they’ll take a day trip and some will stay for a day or two.
The first week we stayed at one end of town (about a 20 minute walk to the centre) then we moved to another homestay on the other side of town (about a 5 minute or less walk to the centre). Then we decided to hang around and see what this beautiful beach would be like with calm and clear water. We talked to Duc (the son) of the homestay we were staying in. He offered us a sweet deal on an apartment in one of his homestays, just around the corner right by the fish and vegetable market. We had to share the kitchen but really nobody uses it but us. We rarely use it either. So we are here for a month.
Our apartment is nice on the front of the second floor. Nobody comes around expect once in a while somebody goes up to the patio on the third floor. It’s a nice mixture that we have our own space plus we get to meet other tourists passing through.
The time has come for us to move on. In a lot of ways we will miss this sweet little village. We have formed some nice friendship with both expats and the locals.
The weather is still too rough for the fisherman to go out everyday. But they do get out 3 or 4 times a week. So their season is coming slowly this year. We have read and heard that the fishing season here in Vietnam is getting shorter and shorter. Vietnam has it’s share of problems with overdevelopment. It’s not to the point of China (and I hope they stop before that) but the fishing industry is pretty well gone. They are finding dead fish on the ocean floors and beaches in central Vietnam. They are finding an alarming amount of dead fish. They say they don’t know the source but it all points to overdevelopment which causes polluted waters. They have asked people to stop eating the fish but this is falling on deaf ears.
We’ve had a good look at this little village and the village life. We have enjoyed our stay here and would consider returning in a few years to the area. It would be interesting to see the new An Bang Beach that is going to develop into.
There are a lot of things that we just don’t understand about this culture. One of the main ones is why the women wear long sleeve tops plus a hoody or a sweater, long pants, socks, 1 or 2 hats and a face mask. They walk up and down the beach like this selling their wears. They complain to you that they are hot. When you ask them why they dress like that they say, “I don’t like the sun.” Some days it’s been 40C and they’re out there walking up and down the beach dressed like it’s 10 or 12C. We just don’t and never will understand this. Yes, we know they don’t want to darken their skin…….but really??
I have read and agree that Vietnam is set-up for tour groups. They think the tourists will be there for a day or two and then they’re gone and they don’t think past that. For the long term traveller it’s not as comfortable because you see the underside of the culture. They appear to be out for themselves only and bugger everybody else. For example a Vietnamese person will ask us how long we are staying some place and we say 1 week. They said, “that’s too long.” What’s up with that?????
It a large diverse culture. It’s a Communist country that does’t appear to have much socialism. Everybody is out for themselves. There’s tons of great people and some not so much…….but that’s everywhere you go. The longer you stay someplace the more you get to see it complexities. Some bloggers say they won’t return to Vietnam because the people are too money orientated. We found this to be true in the touristy areas and the non-touristy areas not as much. I think you will find this all over the world. The Vietnamese just have no problem telling you they want your money. “Come in and buy something, Madame!!!!!”