"Vietnam paradise islands with coral reefs & quiet sandy bays, similar to Thailand thirty years ago". It's 20km from Hoi An: we had to check it out!
How to get to Cham Island
Cham Island Diving Center: minibus collection & a 45min boat ride Cham. Stay in the guest-house or camping on the beach. Scuba diving & snorkeling adventure tours, lunch on the beach. PADI center.
Rainbow Divers: 30 min fast boat. Scuba diving & snorkeling day trips, lunch on boat. PADI center.
Local Ferry runs daily to Cham. Only for day trips: there aren't any hotels on Cu Lao Cham yet.
Facts about Cu Lao Cham
Cu Lao Cham is a group of 8 islands. The largest island, Hon Lao, is inhabited. Hon Lao has 8 bays & secluded beaches on the west shore, cliffs & caves on the east. The highest point is approx 450m.
Two villages on Hon Lao: Tan Hiep - 2400 people & a small village in Bay Huong - 450. Local economy is fishing, making fishing nets & birds nest exports.
Today, Cham is undiscovered, but not for long: Cham is earmarked for eco-tourist developments.
In 2001, Cham received 300 foreigners visitors. 800 in 2005. Government forecast 125,000 foreign tourists p.a. will visit Cham Island by 2015!
Cham is the second area in Vietnam to be given MPA status. This Marine Protected Area was set up to protect the corals from blast fishing and tourism.
The shoreline of Cham Island is most welcoming, the high ground however, is occupied by the army.
We were told: "If you get too close; you risk being arrested or shot at." The jungle should put you off. If you leave them alone, they'll leave you alone.
Four islands have caves. These caves are used by a state owned company to farm bird's nests for export to China for soup. This is serious business & the same rule applies: let sleeping dogs lie.