Lying not far from Hoa Lu
ancient capital is the small fishing village of Kenh Ga.
The name actually means Chicken Canal and is derived
from a local hot spring which water is used to soak
chickens to make it easier to pluck their feathers.
Kenh Ga, set on the banks of the Hoang Long River, is a
remarkable place, not only because it is surrounded by
the same massive rocks that dominate Hoa Lu, but also
because for most of the year the entire community lives
on the water itself. The floating village of Kenh Ga
receives relatively few visitors compared to nearby Hoa
Lu and the peoples' aquatic way of life has changed
little over the centuries.
The area is known as one of the most rural area in the
Red River Delta. It offers a combination of countryside
landscapes, traditional rural lifestyle and well-known
friendly local folk. Touring the area would be really
relaxing and fascinating as you are seated in a
rowed-by-feet boat with scenes of people fishing,
children rowing boats to school, simple houses clinging
to limestone cliffs, etc along the canal.
The traditional lifestyle of the river folk in this area
is unique, and the trip will present you with countless
sights of the old Viet Nam.
The principal reason for its lack of visitors coming
here is that the village is accessible only by boat.
Gliding along the river and canals, weaving one's way
through the boathouses and fishing vessels of Kenh Ga is
a unique experience for there is no other place in
Vietnam that combines the stunning backdrop of the
limestone cliffs with an authentic floating village.
The village of Kenh Ga (Chicken Canal) gets its name
apparently from the number of wild chickens that used to
live in the area. It's essentially a floating village on
the Hoang Long River, with just a few permanent
buildings on the riverbanks. About the only other place
in Vietnam where you can see anything like this is in
the Mekong Delta. On the other hand, nowhere in the
Mekong Delta will you find a stunning mountain backdrop
like the one at Kenh Ga. Another difference: people in
Kenh Ga row boats with their feet, leaning back and
watching the world go by.
It's a lovely area, and one of the best places in
northern Vietnam to see river life. People here seem to
spend most of their lives floating on water: at their
floating fish-breeding pens, harvesting river grass to
feed the fish, trawling in the muddy shallows for
shellfish or selling veggies boat-to-boat. Even the
children commute to school by boat.
From the pier you can hire a motorboat to take you for
an hour or so touring around the village. The boat trips
are organized through the local government tourism
agency and, thankfully, they've managed to keep the
operation relatively low-key and hassle-free. How much
longer can it last?
When visiting Kenh Ga or Chicken Canal Floating Village,
tourists are all warmly welcomed here because the locals
are very friendly and hospitable. The children gleefully
shout "tay oi" (Westerner) at every tourist they see,
even Vietnamese tourists!.