At the end of November, rains start to appear quite a lot in the central region of Vietnam, or at least, it get colder with the gloomy sky. However, that was a different year when I came to visit my sister’s family in Quang Nam. There was no rain on the day I came, but lots of sunshine. It is a great time to make 1 day on Cham Island, one of the most interesting places in center Vietnam.
My sister lives in Dien Ban district, which is around 7 km and 25 km from Hoi An and Danang city respectively. Whenever coming to visit my sister, I always paid visit to these 2 attractions. This time, I go with my sister’s family to visit Cham Island which I had not visited before.
At first, we planned to travel on our own without booking a tour, but when arriving at the port, we met a tour seller. We then decided to buy a group tour at the pride of 450.000 VND per adult (~20,5 USD). If you book for a tour to Cham Island from Hoi An, it shall take around 550.000 VND per person (about $25). The price includes a transport from the hotel to the port, tour guide, boat taken to the island and a lunch on the island.
The tour departed from 8.00 a.m and it took only around 30 minutes to arrive in Cu Lao Cham. However, we traveled in an unwell weather condition after the rain with strong wave. If you often get car sick and wave sick, this shall be a big challenge.
We arrived and had 1 day on Cham Island.
Our first destination when touching Cham Island is the museum where we had the general view of the island. We got some basic information about Cham Island. It is a complex of islands in Tan Hiep island commune, Hoi An city, Quang Nam province, which is around 15 km from Cua Dai Beach and about 20 km from the center of Hoi An Town.
The island has been recognized as the World’s natural reservation by the UNESCO. Cham Island is the complex of 8 islands including Hon Lao, Hon Dai, Hon Mo, Hon Kho mother, Hon Kho kid, Hon La, Hon Tai, Hon Ong, with the total acreage of above 15 km2 and 90% of the area are forest. The locals on Cu Lao Cham living mainly on Hon Lao and the total population recorded in 2012 is around 3,000 people. They earn their living mainly on fishing.
Cham Island serves as a historical and cultural relic related to the foundation and development of Hoi An Port town in the past, which is Hoi An Old Town today. On the island, there are also many relics of the ancient cultures including Sa Huynh, Champa, Dai Viet with the ancient constructions of the Champa and Vietnamese people of several hundred years old.
The island has been renowned for being a tourist attraction with cool climate all year round; the diverse system of flora and fauna, the varied source of seafood and nests. The coral reefs in Cu Lao Cham are also highly evaluated by the researchers and are listed into the list of protecting needed.
Coming to the island, tourists shall be taken around to immerse into the local life. We first paid visit to Cham ancient well. The well has been listed as the national relic since 2006 and is the construction serving the demands of the locals on the island. It is said that, the well was likely to be built around 200 years ago. The most special thing about the well is that it has never been out of water even in the super drought season.
According to the locals, the water in this well is marvelous in killing the disease of wave sick. It is said that if you get car sick when travel from the mainland to the island, you can get over the sick by drinking the water taken from the well boiled with the forest leaves on the island.
The forest leaves here are picked and dried by the locals. They are used to boil for drinking water to help to reduce the temperature in the body. This kind of product is also available for sales as a specialty of Cu Lao Cham besides other products like seafood, It cake, wild pineapple or hammock.
We kept moving and met with a local man splitting wild pineapple fruit. This kind of fruit is used to heal the disease of diabetes. The local also split this fruit and sell to the tourists having demand for it. We then passed over a white house in construction which is said to be the researching center for storm preventing methods.
Our next destination was the ancient temple called Hai Tang in opposite to the house in white. Nearby the temple, some trees grow beautifully, so I did not miss the chance to take some photos. In my opinion, the wild nature is always the most attractive object for art.
Hai Tang Ancient Temple was built around above 250 years ago. The special thing is that, any one regardless of the religion they follow can also come to the temple for worshiping ritual.
We travelled in a group of just very few people so the tour guide asked us to take a rest and have some drinks without presenting anything about the temple.
There was a larger group of visitors coming to the temple. The tour guide for this group is a short man with a malformation on his feet was presenting about the temple in the warm and inspirational voice of Quang Nam. All the tourists listened attentively. Without any noise, we all also followed that group to listen to him.
Talking about the meaning of the door eyes of the temple, he said that they represent the eyes of gods and ancestors who are looking at the current people. All the good and bad things that we are doing are followed. This is just one of many meanings that I heard and remember about the door eyes here.
We kept wandering on the island while it was midday with lots of sunshine. We visited the market but it had been closed already. On the road sides, there were some shops for seafood and souvenirs. Seafood here is quiet unique and strange. We then got on the boat to come to the restaurant where we put our luggage before getting the experience of snorkeling.
The meal was served with stewed fish, bitter vegetable salad, boiled forest vegetable dipped with fish sauce, sour soup and snail, clams. All the dishes are of good quality, which is deserved the tour price. Moon snail is the special dish here. The name comes from the shape of the snails which are round as the moon.
After having lunch, we had free time to relax until 14.30 before getting on the boat returning the mainland.
The tour finished.
In my opinion, Cu Lao Cham is the destination that worth visiting. It is great if you can come there in a sunny day, so you can enjoy all the beauty of the island. Cham Island together with other attractions in Hoi An and Da Nang city make the region an attractive tourist area in Vietnam. In addition to the gorgeous natural landscapes, you will find the gentle and friendly locals as the feature that fascinate visitors coming to the place.
After Cu Lao Cham, I spent 1 day to visit some attracting villages as Tra Que, Kim Bong, Thanh Tra…