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Fresh catch: Check out this off-the-beaten-path fishing village in Vietnam’s Central Highlands

Thursday, October 01, 2020, 08:24 GMT+7
Fresh catch: Check out this off-the-beaten-path fishing village in Vietnam’s Central Highlands
A woman dries anchovies under the sun in Momray fishing village in Kon Tum Province, Vietnam. Photo: Chieu Ly / Tuoi Tre

Spanning across Dak Nong, Dak Lak, Kon Tum, Gia Lai, and Lam Dong Provinces, Vietnam’s Central Highlands is home to hundreds of hidden travel gems, including Momray fishing village — the perfect place to discover the undisturbed beauty of one of the country’s isolated communities. 

Those familiar with Vietnam typically picture the Central Highlands as rolling mountains filled with coffee plantations extending from basalt red soil.

But to forget about the region’s role in Vietnam’s post-war economic recovery would be to discount the hundreds of families who relocated from the lowlands through government-sponsored programs aimed at tapping into the area’s rich resources. 

Those living along the hydroelectric lake on the Se San River form one example of such communities of new settlers.

In this case, the settlers founded a fishing village — known as Momray — where they earn their livelihoods.

A motorist drives towards sunset near Se San Lake in Kon Tum Province, Vietnam. Photo: Chieu Ly / Tuoi Tre

A motorcyclist drives toward sunset near Se San Lake in Kon Tum Province, Vietnam. Photo: Chieu Ly / Tuoi Tre

Nowadays, only a few households still make a living off the lake. The rest have been relocated ashore in accordance with local government policies.

Most of the fishing families in Momray village resettled from the Mekong Delta province of An Giang, bringing the aquatic culture and characteristics of the lowlands up to the country’s highland plateau.

Nhan, a 30-year-old speedboat operator who ferry tourists to visit the fishing village, said he had worked in the southern province of Binh Phuoc before he found himself in Momray attempting to build a new life.

“When I first came here, the villagers told me I would not be able to live here for more than ten days because [life here] was boring, but I’ve been here for three years so far," Nhan shared.

"This place is not laden with resources and not as convenient as the city but it is very peaceful and has fresh air, so I’ve chosen not to leave."

People at Momray fishing village in Kon Tum Province, Vietnam usually start their day at dawn. Photo: Chieu Ly / Tuoi Tre

People in Momray fishing village in Kon Tum Province, Vietnam usually start their day at dawn. Photo: Chieu Ly / Tuoi Tre

Women in the fishing village typically wake up as early as at 2:00 am to go fishing, mostly for catfish and snakehead fish — the only species inhabiting the lake.

The men tend to begin their days at 5:00 am and spend their afternoons cleaning their catch and drying them in the sun. 

At 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm in the afternoon, after a sun-dried day, the fish are ready to be collected.

Two fishermen fish on Se San Lake at dawn in Kon Tum Province, Vietnam. Photo: Chieu Ly / Tuoi Tre

Two fishermen fish on Se San Lake at dawn in Kon Tum Province, Vietnam. Photo: Chieu Ly / Tuoi Tre

A fisherman’s floating house at Momray fishing village in Kon Tum Province, Vietnam. Photo: Chieu Ly / Tuoi Tre

A fisherman’s floating house in Momray fishing village in Kon Tum Province, Vietnam. Photo: Chieu Ly / Tuoi Tre

The sun starts to sink below the road leading to the Momray fishing village in Kon Tum Province, Vietnam. Photo: Chieu Ly / Tuoi Tre

The sun starts to sink below the road leading to Momray fishing village in Kon Tum Province, Vietnam. Photo: Chieu Ly / Tuoi Tre

A person drives a canoe across Se San lake in Kon Tum Province, Vietnam. Photo: Chieu Ly / Tuoi Tre

A person drives a speecboat across Se San lake in Kon Tum Province, Vietnam. Photo: Chieu Ly / Tuoi Tre

A person drives a canoe across Se San lake in Kon Tum Province, Vietnam. Photo: Chieu Ly / Tuoi Tre

A person drives a speedboat across Se San lake in Kon Tum Province, Vietnam. Photo: Chieu Ly / Tuoi Tre

A person drives a canoe across Se San lake in Kon Tum Province, Vietnam. Photo: Chieu Ly / Tuoi Tre

A person drives a speedboat across Se San lake in Kon Tum Province, Vietnam. Photo: Chieu Ly / Tuoi Tre

A fisherman on Se San Lake on a sunny morning in Kon Tum Province, Vietnam. Photo: Chieu Ly / Tuoi Tre

A fisherman on Se San Lake on a sunny morning in Kon Tum Province, Vietnam. Photo: Chieu Ly / Tuoi Tre

A panoramic photo of the Momray fishing village, down at the foot of Chu Mom Ray National Park in Kon Tum Province, Vietnam. Photo: Chieu Ly / Tuoi Tre

A panoramic photo of Momray fishing village, down at the foot of Chu Mom Ray National Park in Kon Tum Province, Vietnam. Photo: Chieu Ly / Tuoi Tre

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