Small boats of North Vietnam
Just back from a business trip to Hanoi, my brother Matt Atkin has sent me these photos from the country. He reports that North Vietnam is an astonishing place where goods are still moved using carts and oxen, and from these photos it’s a place where traditional small boats are very much in evidence.
I can’t condone the use of cute children to sell goods – though I guess it’s better than some of the alternatives, even for the kids involved – but what astonishing scenery and boats!
The little craft seem to be woven from slender wooden or bamboo laths and then sealed, I’d guess with pitch. Can anyone confirm this? Also, they’re rowed forward without the aid of any complicated rowing machinery.
This is only a small sample of the photos Matt sent over, so I’ll put some more up in the next few days. Thanks Bruv! (See them here.)
There’s an interesting thread on Vietnamese boats at the Woodenboat Forum and an English language website devoted to the boats of Vietnam here.
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6 thoughts on “The boats of Hanoi, Vietnam”
Somewhere, a long time ago, I've seen a US Military Intelligence booklet on Vietnamese traditional riverine and inshore craft, which IIRC mentions they had a bottom of woven split-bamboo laths, treated with Tung oil and sealed with a mixture of Tung oil and shell-lime, overlain with pitch. It noted that this was flexible, allowing them to sometimes "squidge" over shallows, which I suppose could have had tactical significance.
I think it also said that bitumen was (then, i.e. mid '60s) superceding the trad treatment, so I guess it has by now. The booklet might be on the web somewhere but I don't have time to search right now.
It is a long time ago, though, so my recollection may be at fault.
Regds, Ed Lithgow
From a quick Google it was probably the "Blue Book of Coastal Vessels of Vietnam" US Dept. of Defense, 1960 , 1967. I didn't find a scanned copy, but there are various photos and fragments out in the web.
G'day Gavin, this thread from the WB forum by an Aussie contributor who works in Vietnam might add to your posting.
Kids, selling from the boat is the same as local immigrants kids working in their family corner store. I have been to Vietnam and go back and forth for business. The kids all go to school. Not sure about in the high lands.
They have a school in the floating village nearby the locations where the photos were taken in Halong Bay.
Some really fine photos here. Wonderfu!
In another part of Vietnam, the basket boats are woven of split bamboo and coated with road tar: