Vietnam photo tours – Nam Dinh fishing villages

Fishing is not all about food, it’s the income of many hundred million people worldwide, a way of living. Fishing is a hobby for many million others. And for us, the photographers, photography of Vietnamese fishing villages is among the most alluring experience.

Vietnam boats 3260 km of coastline, and fishing is as important as anywhere else out there. The modest industrialization does a good job of keeping many traditional fishing villages. And these are where people fish by hand or simple equipment. Today, we will be taking you to Nam Dinh province, home to some truly photogenic fishing communities in northern Vietnam.

The photographic highlights

Ideal places for photography of fishing communities

Nam Dinh

A 3-hour drive to the South-east of Hanoi, Nam Dinh is a province of rice fields and fishing communities dotting along its coast line. We love this place, it it is so peaceful and mass tourism has yet reached the place. Here, life goes on in its own countryside lifestyle, with people going to farm (rice or fish), or catch fish by the seaside. Early morning there are boats returning after a night out with heavy catch.

The fishing communities concentrate along the area of the Hai Hau collapsing church:

Collapsing church in Hai Ly, Nam Dinh province

The church itself is an inspiration. It was situated in a community, then the sea water invaded and slowly swallowed the land. This pushes the community further inland, while the church was left abandoned. I’m not sure how long more it sits there, but it deserve some good shots, especially at sunset, when the light paints its old walls.

Before sunrise, the fishermen already dot the beach, they walk on bamboo spikes to get into the water. From here, they scoop for little fish by a bamboo-framed net:

Catching fish in Nam Dinh

This scene is really photogenic as the gossamer light makes a perfect silky effect for any photo you shoot. If you’re lucky, the fishermen might themselves form different lines and shapes. Given that they fish for some hours like that, the light might just be beautiful within the first 1 hour from sunrise.

The salt fields

Near Hai Hau collapsing church, there are many salt fields. One of them is Bach Long:

Salt photography in Nam Dinh

The site is a great place to capture the reflection of the workers on the water. The photo shows the final step, when sea water evaporates and salt is collected from the bed of these cement surface.

Additional Nam Dinh photography tour – places to stay

Thinh Long beach: The place is home to a number of small motels along the beach. These mostly cater to Vietnamese beach vacationers. Therefore, it is somewhat alive from April – September period. As for the other times, it is pretty much a ghost town. Most of the people speak no English, but you can get by with price quotes printed at the reception of most motels.

Quat Lam beach: It’s a little bit busier than Thinh Long beach. There are more hotel choices, but all are simple. The best hotel available is probably equivalent to a 2-star one in Hanoi. Still, they ensure clean beds, nice hot showers. It’s also easier to navigate to a nearby restaurant. Most restaurants here serve seafood.

To wrap up, this is an ideal place for a photography tour for 2 days – 1 night. Bare in your mind that as the subjects and the light change, you can stay longer for your shooting purpose. However, I would reckon 2 – 2.5 days would be enough for most photographers. Enjoy your photography time in Nam Dinh. Among our Vietnam photography tours, we do offer photo tours to Nam Dinh where everything is included, and you just have to shoot.

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