Cham Island is one of Vietnam’s most picturesque coastal spots. Despite its proximity to the world famous heritage site of Hoi An Town, the Cham Island offers unspoilt vistas and glimpses into a way of life that has altered little over the last several decades.
Lush forest, stunning beaches and a cute village make a day trip to the island very worthwhile. Snorkelling and diving are also popular during the summer months.
Huong and Ong beaches are particularly popular because the waves here are smooth and gentle. Visitors can breathe pure air, enjoy the limpid sunlight of the central region and watch flying fish skim over the surface of the water while taking a cruise in a wood boat offered by local tourism companies.
Apart from the views and beaches, Cham Island is a popular snorkelling and dive spot. Its crystal clear waters are also a great place for tourists to go scuba diving or take a ride a glass bottomed boat and partake of the magical sights beneath the water.
There are four companies in Hoi An offer scuba and snorkelling trips
| Cham Island Diving
88 Nguyen Thai Hoc, HoiAn.
PADI Dive Centre offering all range of services on the island from Hoi An: Padi Courses, scuba diving and snorkeling, simple excursions and private cruise by wooden boat and speed boat, camping under the stars and homestay in authentic fisherman village. US$28-75.
Song Hoi Tourist
Add: 12 Hoang Van Thu, Hoi An.
Song Hoi Tourist seems to cater mostly to Vietnamese, but they have a wide variety of river tours on offer if you’re in a group and book in advance
| Rainbow Divers
39b Tran Hung Dao Street, Hoi An
This is Hoi An’s longest established PADI dive centre, offering daily diving and snorkelling trips to the Cu Lao Cham archipelago. Trips start at 7:30am and include guide, full equipment hire, hotel transfers, and a cooked lunch on Bai Chong. All PADI course’s including the prestigious National Geographic Open Water Course are available. Private charter speedboats, camping and home stay trips can also be arranged.
Cham Island Day tour US$20/ passenger 8 am departure snorkelling, swimming, vegetarian lunch. Traditional Vietnamese sailing 10.5 metre ghe nang for cruises & sail training all year around Cham Islands.
The island is at its best during the summer months between April and September and even during those months they can be witness to some serious storm activity. Diving is less worthwhile in the cooler months. Check with the dive operators for more specific seasonal information.
Visitors can also observe swallow nests that are perched precariously among the island’s towering cliffs, or visit a temple built to honour the ancients who first discovered the birds’ nests. You can easily go on sightseeing tours by boats around the islets, hire fishing and diving gear, and have special dishes at reasonable prices.
Walking through the Bai Huong fishing village, visitors can learn about local life by watching local fishermen mend fishing nets and drying fish and squid, or they can go fishing themselves on a tour held on a local fishing boat. Visitors can also buy seafood at a reasonable price for a meal on Bai Chong Beach.
At Bai Chong Beach, arguably the most beautiful beach on the island, visitors should enjoy the island with all five senses: listening to the sound of the wind in the leaves and the waves crashing on the shore, breathing in the salty smell of the air, capturing the scenery with their eyes, touching the smooth white sand and tasting the island’s specialities.
Bai Chong Beach is also an ideal place for beach volleyball and other water sports such as jet skis, kayaking and water skiing. Tourists can sun bathe on the quiet white sand or take a nap on hammocks swaying in the thick shadow of trees.
There are many other spots worth seeing on Hon Lao Island. The ancient Hai Tang Pagoda, built in 1758, is another must-see spot. The 250-year-old pagoda is unique because it is dedicated to the worship of three different religions: Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism.
At Bai Xep beach, visitors have a chance to see the white coral reef through the boat’s glass-floor. But nothing can compare to the real experience of swimming in the clear water over the reef, which is only one meter below the water’s surface – almost close enough to touch. So don’t hesitate to jump off the boat into the blue water and enjoy.
Travellers should work out whether they want to focus on diving or snorkelling, or simply enjoying the island itself with its beautiful beach and village.
This article is brought to you by www.hoian-tourism.com
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