This post was last updated on February 4th, 2020 at 02:28 pm
About 16 kilometers from the coast of Hoi An are the Cham Islands. They are beautiful islands with an even better coast. And the biggest advantage is that they are not very touristy. Not too long ago you wouldn’t even be allowed to come here.
Cham Island National Park
The Cham Island National Park is very popular among snorkeling and scuba diving enthusiasts. Around the island, you can find 135 species of coral, spread out over about 165 hectares (407 acres). Many of the animal species that live around the island are on the list of protected animal species. However, there is also plenty to do on the Cham Islands for people who prefer to stay above the water.
The Cham Island National Park is very popular among snorkeling and scuba diving enthusiasts.
The Cham Islands are known throughout Vietnam for a certain Asian swallow that lives here. The nests of these swallows have been used as food by the Vietnamese since time immemorial. They often make soup from them, but it is also used in other dishes.
However, these dishes are only reserved for the richer population of the country. A nest can sometimes yield up to 3,200 dollars (!) per kilo.
About The Islands
Most people visit the Cham Islands as a day trip from Hoi An. However, you can also spend the night there. You cannot visit the islands throughout the whole year. They are only accessible between March and September because the sea is calm during this period. In other months the water can get a little wilder.
Visiting the Cham Islands is the ideal day trip from Hoi An.
There is only one inhabited island; Han Lao. The other seven islands are small and mostly covered with forests. Locals live mainly off of fishing. The only real village here is Bai Lang. You will also find the guesthouses here… all three of them 😉
What to Do on the Cham Islands
There is not so much to do here except walking around the most beautiful beaches in the country. Another way to explore the sea around the Cham Islands is to make a canoe trip. In addition, you can also paraglide, kite surf, and trek through the national park. Of course, you can also scuba dive here. The Cham Island Diving Center is the best-known diving school.
1. The Ong Nhu Temple
When you are on the Cham Islands, a visit to the Ong Nhu is a must. This little temple was built for the whales that once swam here. Locals worshiped whales so that the whales would protect them. When a carcass washed ashore, they cleaned the bones and performed special rituals.
2. Visit Bai Huong
You can walk to the fishing village of Bai Huong. Here you can learn how the locals fish by watching how local fishermen make nets, catch, and prepare fish. You can fish with them at sea. You can book these trips at Bai Chong Beach, without a doubt the most beautiful beach here. It is a very nice experience!
Everything is so peaceful here!
Transportation to the Cham Islands
Several boats leave daily for the Cham Islands from Bach Dang in Hoi An. The trip takes about 2 hours and costs 20,000 VND for locals. For foreigners, they usually ask for more. Sometimes up to 100,000 Dong ($4.30). Boats do not sail if the sea is too wild.
TIP – Bring a copy of your passport and visa with you! They need this to make a permit for you.
You can also go with a tour operator. They charge around $25 to $40 for a tour of all islands.