Sparsely populated Cham Islands offer a quiet, fun vacation

By Phong Vinh, Dang Khoa   July 27, 2019 | 08:17 pm GMT+7

A cluster of eight islands with just 3,000 inhabitants, Cu Lao Cham allows for a relaxing, yet entertaining getaway.

Sparsely populated Cham Islands offer a quiet, fun vacation

Cu Lao Cham or Cham Islands, located around 12 kilometers off the coast of Hoi An in Quang Nam Province, is a charming sight from a distance, with houses nestling under coconut palms.

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Cu Lao Cham covers a total area of around 15.5 square kilometers that visitors can explore within a day, or take their own sweet time about it. The islands are home to 950 aquatic species, including rare fish and corals.

In 2003, the Cu Lao Cham Nature Reserve was established to preserve wildlife on the island, which was recognized by the UNESCO as a world biosphere reserve in 2009.

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With its long beaches and serene, crystal clear waters, the cluster of eight islands offers a myriad of spectacular views, making it a photographer’s delight.

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No visit to an island can be complete without a visit to the local seafood market, which opens early in the morning. The sight of boats returning from the sea, the catch being sorted and taken away by traders offers a glimpse into the daily life of the islands’ residents.

One attractive feature of the island is that residents have stopped using plastic bags since 2009. They have also taken other steps to keep the environment clean.

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Seafood lovers can enjoy the freshest catch cooked at the beach, close to the wharf.

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The variety of seafood available will satisfy the cravings of the most ardent foodie.

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Snorkeling is a popular activity here since the coral reefs are located just two meters underwater.

Visitors will be taken to designated dive sites and given the needed equipment. Life jackets are also available for those who can't swim.

Photo acquired by VnExpress.

Photo acquired by VnExpress.

Anyone loves fishing can enjoy catching fishes and squid with the locals. The price for this service depends on the traveler's negotiation skill. 

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Adding to the peace of the islands is the Hai Tang Pagoda, built in 1758. It has its back to the mountains and overlooks a small valley which has the only rice paddy on Cu Lao Cham.

Locals said "Hai" means the sea and "Tang" stands for the Tripitaka. When combined, the two words mean that the teachings of the Buddha are as endless as the sea.

The pagoda does not have an abbot. It is currently looked after by an elderly couple.

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Not so far from the pagoda is an ancient well more than 200 years old built by the Cham people. The well still functions well, providing fresh water for many residents. It was recognized as a national treasure in 2006.

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The cluster of islands is a great place to watch sunrises and sunsets.

 
 
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