Hoi An islands: Cam Nam, Cam Kim & Cu Lao Cham

Reading Time: 26 minutes

Last Updated on 3 years by Tam Le Van

Mother Nature brings to Hoi An a priceless complex of river and sea islands. There are two major river islands-Cam Kim&Cam Nam together with an archipelago named Cu Lao Cham offshore. Every single one of them boasts of their own stunning features making people excited to explore.

In this article, we will inform you all the best of Hoi An islands: local specialties and amazing Hoi An memories show at Cam Nam, the greatest countryside for cycling trips-Cam Kim as well as the kingdom of majestic beaches, diving and snorkeling-Cu Lao Cham. Let’s venture with us now! 

Cam Nam island

Hoi An’s specialties in Cam Nam island

This river island is the closest one to city center among all. From the ancient town, you just need to cross over Cầu Cẩm Nam (Cam Nam bridge) to get it. In local language, Cam Nam means ‘the prosperious land to the South’.

The island houses well-catered restaurants and good accommodations together with favourite foods of Hoi An people like Bánh đập (rice crackers and wet rice paper in between, eaten with fish sauce), Hến xào (stir-fried baby basket clams with white onion and chilli, served with crispy rice cracker) and Chè bắp (grated young corn soup cooked with cane sugar and topped by creamy coconut milk). The best places to sample Cam Nam island specialties locate at the end of Hoang Dieu street and along the its nearby riverside.

Hoi An Impression Theme Park

Genenal information

Hoi An Impression Theme Park is the best thing to do in Cam Nam island. Generally it takes not more than a half of hour from anywhere in the city, especially only 15 minutes when walk to the Old quarter. If make a self-guided trip, you just need to find No.200 Nguyen Tri Phuong street and turn left then. The park will be easily accessible by taxi, cyclo or motorbike ride (the Grab bike) as well.

Featured by vibrant themed villages and awe-inspiring ‘Hoi An Memories’ show-the largest outdoor visual performance in Vietnam, it recently becomes an emerging star at Hoi An that attracted thousands of comers.

‘Hoi An Memories’ Show

Built the ideas and actualized through many years, Hoi An Memories debuted in March 2018. Its main language uses impressively image of Ao dai-Vietnamese long dress (the National costume) plus contemporary staging techniques to retell golden history of Hoi An formerly. Indredibly, it has over 500 professional actors and actresses performing for about 3.500 audiences throughout its 75 minutes duration. At the present, the show is the largest outdoor visual art performance and with most actors ever in Vietnam. Ky uc Hoi An-Hoi An Memory heart and soul stand as the core of Hoi An Impression Theme Park. Opening time is at 7:30 p.m daily, except Tuesday.

Hoi An Memories ticket price

Tickets for Hoi An Impression Theme Park and Hoi An Memories Show are separated. In particular, the park admission fee covers 100.000 VND (4.3 USD) and free-of-charge for children under 1.4m plus kids. While, ticketing of Hoi An Memories show ranges from 600.000 VND (26 USD)  for the Eco Section until 1.200.000 VND (52 USD) for VIP Section. This price stays the same in case of childrens over 1.4m and 50% off if his/her height from 1 to 1.4m, Free of charge for kids under 1m.

For bookings, Hoi An Life suggests online channels first because of the convenience and frequent promotions. Browse https://booking.hoianimpression.vn/en/front-page.html to select your day, class and number of tickets.

Other things to do in Hoi An Impression Theme Park

Besides the space for extraordinary art perfomance, Hoi An Impression Theme Park also includes the Tourist Section (Commercial Firm-recreate the images of bustling trading activities in Hoi An many centuries ago, Spirituality Section-a compound of traditional temples, Love Bridge-the place couples may write their names on paper stickers to attach to as well as pray for lasting love, and Japanese Village) and the Service Section with Vietnamese restaurants created by the bamboo.

The opening time of these areas often starts from 4:45 p.m until 9:30 p.m. In additon to, before or after the Hoi An Impression Show is still okay to wander around and have a fun time with family/friends.

Cam Kim island

What is Cam Kim island?

To the South-end of Hoi An, Cam Kim island is a peaceful alluvial island on Thu Bon river where many authentic Vietnamese villages locate. In general, its big draws are vast rice fields, tranquil rural sceneries, laid-back paths and lots of beauty spots that steal heart of anyone in the first sight. On the other hand, handicraft work making houses here attract lots of people too.

How to get Cam Kim island from Hoi An

To set food on this countryside heaven, you have two selections: crossing Cam Kim Bridge (Cau Cam Kim) or traveling by boat from Bach Dang dock (in the Old town). The second option is the fastest way (around 20 minutes) and more suited for taking bicycle because it’s movable. Your first scenes will be boat builders at work next to a big fisherman ship, wood-made souvenir shops as well as carpenters carving the sculptors in Kim Bong village. On the other side, your journey will be more stunning if drive your motorcycle over the bridge. Especially, possible to dealt well with the heat on a long-distance trip.

Cam Kim villages

Cam Kim island has 15 beautiful villages, each with about 250 families settling and surrounded by windy rice paddies at four sides. Its inhabitants mainly are farmers, fishermans and skillful handicraftpersons. Luckily, there is no industrial plants or big constructions in this land making traditional rural way of life, customs and craftmanships preserved exceptionally. So which are the best villages in Cam Kim island. They are three villages-Triem Tay, Kim Bong and Tra Nhieu.  

Triem Tay Village

Triem Tay village is your first destination if pass through Cam Kim bridge. Its nickname is ‘bamboo village” as bamboo is used widely to create small cottages/houses to stay, river pier, huts for cow/chicken to garden fences. Villagers in this place also host the cooking class (most typical, Triem Tay Bamboo Cooking Class), farming experience or do business in restaurants and homestays. Towards to another direction of Hoi An, Tra Que organic vegetable village provides simillar activities (see further details http://hoianlife.net/craft-villages-in-hoi-an-and-da-nang/). Doing online research carefull once make up your mind which one is better.

Kim Bong village

Kim Bong village was set up by four clans 400 years ago around current Cam Kim pier area. Its location helps sightseers to easily reach that great for disabled people, kids or who should not do physical activity much. Complementarily, Kim Bong is one of the most visited traditional handicraft villages in Hoi An basing on its long-establishment capentry crafting. Click http://hoianlife.net/craft-villages-in-hoi-an-and-da-nang/ to see our article about Kim Bong, Tra Que and other featured villages.

Tra Nhieu village

Tra Nhieu village gets special by its mat weaving traditions and its primative water coconut forest. Feel free to tell boatmans in Bach Dang dock for a ride coming here. The cost definitely is more expensive than to Kim Bong/Cam Kim pier due to taking a longer time. Instead, there are dozens of fishing nests appeared en route, specifically at the sunset. That’s awesome if you are a fan of photography. Historically, Tra Nhieu functioned as bustling dock for boats from the sea and upstream of Hoi An river.

Traditional handicrafts of Cam Kim island

Our first mention associates to long-lived carpentry crafting in Kim Bong village as well as its reputation nationwide. Ancestor of carpenters today made the wooden frame for thatched-roof houses initially to earn for living and then they developed boat building serving for merchants, woodcarving plus making of mother-of-pearl inlay furnitures. These are handed down father to son over time. By the whole of working artisans, Mr.Huynh Suong (trained over 100 young craftmans) and Mr.Huynh Ri who attributed largely to reconstruct ancient buildings are two priceless treasure of the village. You absolutely get the chance to witness local craftmans and craftwomans at work alongside their brandchilds in galleries, even though visit by yourself.

Not only the house of carpenters, indiviual families in Cam Kim island also make Ruou (hot rice wine), Bánh tráng (rice cracker), white thick noodles (mostly used to cook Mi Quang) and colorful sedge mat.   

Abandonned kilns (Lo gach cu Hoi An)-a hot spot for Instagrammers

Recently, a few abandonned kilns emerging on rice paddies of Cam Kim island have became one of the ‘hottest’ Instagrammable spots. After that, its beauty and state of peacefulness started to be known more by Vietnamese young people. These places are really not on any organzied tours, although show us a different slice of life.

For safety, local authorities broke first staircases of the kiln to prevent somone climbing up for taking picture. However, many still do it. Hoi An Life thinks that standing somewhere around the kiln base is enough for kool photos. Viewers absolutely can see a different aspect of Hoi An from. If like to see, search Lo gach cu Hoi An or Lena farmstay on Google maps to know exactly how to get there.  

Local restaurants

Quan Ben Xua-Triem Tay village

Quan Ben Xua (‘old pier’ restaurant) is a riverfront eatery with the architecture entirely built by bamboo representing for Triem Tay village. Foods here will be prepared from hands of one local family making your meal like a home-cooked feast. Although cooking process takes time but not too long, dishes are all tasty. In addition to, midday is the best time to enjoy Ben xua’s foods because it’s cool thanks to rivershore location.   

Quan ca duoi nuong Co Hue-Kim Bong village

This restaurant focuses on serving Ca duoi nuong (grilled sea ray, rolled with rice papper, sliced cucumber, green mango slices, raw herbs and dipped with savory fish sauce), local foods and beers. A good chance for who wants to venture in rural ways of life that rarely appeared on guided-tour iteneraries. After your journey at Kim Bong carpentry village, check out this place to eat. It opens daily from 8 a.m until 8 p.m. Keep in mind that no English here, so ask for wifi password and use Google translation (click here to know the exact location).

Cycling-the best thing to do in Cam Kim island

Self-guided trip guide

By plentiful oustanding qualities, Cam Kim island well fits for self-guided trips that you can stay away from hustle and bustle in the city center. Generally, free bicycle usually gets available in the your accommodation. If do not spend the night in Hoi An, the daily rental fee basically costs from 20.000 VND-40.000 VND  (0.86-1.7 USD).

As the recommendations, our following itineraries below corresspond to two main ways approaching the island. Customize them in your needs and time.

#1: Ride over Cam Kim bridge: Triem Tay village-Kim Bong village-Tra Nhieu village-Boat pier (Kim Bong village)-Old town.

#2: Get the boat ride: Old town-Kim Bong village-Tra Nhieu village-Triem Tay village-Cam Kim bridge.

Note: Sunset on Thu Bon river is the should-not-miss-out thing to do in Hoi An. It’s brilliant anyway. Arrange your time on Cam Kim bridge or boat transfer properly to catch it.

Hoi An free cycling tour-Cam Kim island

On a half-day basis, this tour is totally guided by students learning the foreign language at Da Nang university. It usually starts from Hoi An free tour office in 567 Hai Ba Trung street to nearby villages, including Kim Bong on Cam Kim island. Due to want to practice English, your guide will widely share what he/she knows about history and local culture on tour. Feel free to give any questions, they assist the students to have more experiences.

A small amount of money is recommended to pay for the river ferry returning to Hoi An downtown. However, you may decide to keep going your adventure into Cam Kim island after done. Time is more well-spent. Send an email to nancy@hoianfreetour.com for booking.

Cam Kim bike tours

Joining in the bike tour is the best way to explore charms and learn about life of inhabitants inside Cam Kim green oasis. It’s varied in duration (half-day and full-day), distance (medium-15 kilometers and long), covers every handicrafts as well as suits for different ages and abilities. Additionally, leading operators also is flexible to arrange you with other friends at any Cam Kim bike tour. That’s good when do solotravel.

On tour, your guide will lead you on winding roads passing through serene rice paddies, enter hidden gems and talk with locals, introduce the ins and outs of their daily handicrafting works. Probably everyone has chance to try to make them after that. Distinguish to self-guided trip, visiting places on the organized tour are harder to find out if go without a localman or something seems challenging when have no ideas about Vietnamese. Do it if you expect to understand deeply the island.

Are you looking for a cycling experience? Read our article about the best cycling tours in Hoi An to get more information. It’s not all about Cam Kim, other noted localities too.

The best Cam Kim bike tours

Hoi An Cycling’s tours
Cam Kim island discovery
Distance: 15 kmDuration: a half of day
Departure time: 7:45-8:00 a.mPrice: 35 USD (around 800.000 VND) for adult and kids driving own bike, 50% down for kids
on parents bike
Inclusions: Local English-speaking guide, cycling helmet, entrance fees on the itenerary, meals if mentioned, fresh water and snacksExclusions: Personal expenses, tipping for tour guide and involved parties, travel insurance and other things not mentioned on the itenerary

Highlightings of Cam Kim island discovery are beautiful sceneries of rural island, meeting locals at their house and taste specialties such as rice wine, sleeping mat, rice noodles, etc with great tour guide who is enthusiatic and knowledgeable. It suits for all cycling experienced levels, travelling with kids and for who love to discover real hidden Vietnam. See further information and book via Hoi An Cycling’s website.

The tour operator recommends paying by cash (VND or USD) to its local guide at pick-up time. To cancel, you may send an email to info@hoiancycling.com, call (+84) 919 882 783 or just come to Phin Coffee at 132/7 Tran Phu Street during wandering around the Old town. In case of the cancellation fee, 100% tour price will be charged if made less than 24 hours from departure.

A pleasant ride
Distance: 40 kmDuration: full day
Departure time: 7:45 a.mPrice: 49 USD (around 1.130.000 VND)
Inclusions: Local English-speaking guide, cycling helmet, entrance fees on the itenerary, meals if mentioned and fresh water.Exclusions: Local English-speaking guide, cycling helmet, entrance fees on the itenerary, meals if mentioned, fresh water and snacks.

A pleasant ride of Hoi An Cycling is proper to either out-door people or countryside seekers who are willing to be out of touristy areas and discover something new. Not only arrive wonderlands in Cam Kim island, the tour also introduces you Cam Thanh village-hidding place of the Vietnam communists in the past. Meaning that you will have a fabulous journey across two best rural areas in Hoi An at the same time.

As the pride of Hoi An, Mi Quang noodles is served for your lunch at its birthplace. Previously, you have chance to make it by yourself following clear demonstrations from Hoi An Cycling’s local guide. For reservation, cancellation and contacts to the tour operator, they’s are all on section of Cam Kim island discovery above.

How to participate Hoi An Cycling’s tours from Da Nang?

Hoi An Cycling is able to offer its bike tours with a private transfer from Da Nang arranged by the Hoian transfer service. Extra fee will be 15 USD (345.000 VND), 22 USD (505.000 VND) and 35 USD (805.000 VND) for group of 1-3, 4-8 and more than 8 respectively. Express your desire of a Da Nang hotel transfer when book any Cam Kim island bike tours. This helps you ‘skip the line’ during peak tourist seasons.  

Heaven and Earth bicycle tours
Traditional Countryside
Distance: 9 kmDuration: half-day
Departure time: 8:30 a.m-morning trip and 13:00
-afternoon trip at Heaven and Earth office-61 Ngo Quyen Street
Price: -Morning trip: 29 USD (around 670.000 VND) for adult and childrens over 12 years-old,  19 USD (440.000 VND)-5 USD (115.000 VND) for childrens from 6-12 and 4-5 years-old, free of charge for kids under 4.
-Afternoon trip: 19 USD (440.000 VND) for adult and childrens over 12 years old, 15 USD (345.000 VND) for 6-12 years old childrens and free of charge for under 6.
Inclusions: Lunch, selection of city or hydrid bikes (tandon bicycle available on resquest), English/French speaking local guide, a guide assistance for group of more than 3, entrance tickets, boat trip. Exclusions: Drinks and insurance. 

This 10-people-maximum cycling tour give you  the chance to know how local people get Cam Kim island before by ferry and floating bridge. Way of transport of the islanders changed a part after an iron bridge built. It does not miss out the highlightings like green paddies, villages, stopping at handicraft making families as well as having Vietnamese-styled lunch once return to Hoi An. Even book one of morning or afternoon trips, you find out every secrets of Cam Kim island only within a half of day. Giving a call to (+84) 235 3864 362 or emailing to info@vietnam-bicycle.com and visiting its webpage for booking.

Note: The lion’share of Hoi An operators barely has French speaking guides, while available at the Heaven and Earth bike tours and you will select when make reservations.

Real Vietnam Bicycle Tour
Distance: 23 kmDuration: full day
Departure time: 7:45 a.m at Heaven and Earth office-61 Ngo Quyen StreetPrice: 44 USD (around 1.015.000 VND) for adult and childrens over 12 years-old, 50% off for kid/childrens from 10 to 12 years old, free-of-charge for under 10 years-old childrens.
Inclusions: Lunch, helmets, selection of mountain or hydrid bikes, English/French speaking local guide, a guide assistance for group of more than 3, entrance tickets, boat trip.  Exclusions: Drinks and insurance.  

Heaven and Earth’s Real Vietnam Bicycle Tour is another perfect combination of cycling and discovery of Vietnamese rural life. Your expidition on bicycle begins with an hour boat ride on Thu Bon river and then paddle through small-peaceful villages& surrounding rice paddies after arrive Cam Kim island. Specially, cross the rivers by unique bamboo&wood bridges which seen nowhere else in the country. Moreover, it provides the traditional meal in local house with three choices of fish and meat dish. Are you a vegetarian friendly person? No worried, Heaven and Earth absolutely can prepare appetizing dishes with vegetable. In the afternoon, you will learn about Hoi An’s handicrafts.

Note: To make everybody enjoying most charming Cam Kim island, Real Vietnam bike tour arranged by the Heaven and Earth only keeps size of the group fitting in 8. You are advised to have suntan lotion, hat/cap, sun glasses, windbreakers on November, December and January as well.

Cu Lao Cham (Cham islands)

General view of Cham islands

Cu Lao Cham is a group of eight granite-formed islands named according to their characteristics and shape. In 2009, UNESCO designated it as the World Biophere Reserve. The largest one-Hon Lao contains tropical dense forests, numerous white sandy beaches, historical buildings and especially, exceptionally wealthy marine life. Easy to understand that it is the host space for every outdoor activities.

Currently, all of over 3.000 people is living on Cham islands with main source of income in fishery and tourism. Historically, the earliest community settled here belongs to Sa Huynh inhabitants at least three thousands years ago. Before Vietnamese arrivals, Cham people used to occupy during centuries previously. Name of Cu Lao Cham (‘islands of Cham population’) handed down to memorize their existence.

When Hoi An was a thriving international port in 16-18th century, it served as the stopover for immigration check and tax collection from foreign sailboats. They entered the mainland afterward to load high-quality goods. Today, we able to see many submerged boats with tons of items under the seawater.       

Note: Cu Lao Cham residents live with the slogan “Cham islands say no to plastic bags”. Ensure that you do not bring any to there like a local.

Best times to visit Cham islands

Hoi An weather has two distinct seasons: wet season (October until February) and dry season (March to the end of September) featuring high sunshine hours, gentle waves, clear-blue water and very little extreme weather. This season is the best time to visit Cham islands as well as engage in outdoor activities. Furthermore, local tour operators often stop their diving/snorkeling/seawalking trips at Mid-October and restart in the beautiful days during February the year later. 

However, there is necessary to have a check before make any decisions. The most accurate way, ask travel agencies in town about. They know better than us!

How to get Cham islands from Hoi An

Speedboat

Traveling on speedboat is the fastest type of transport approaching Cham islands, about 20 minutes. Its price covers around 450.000 VND (19.5 USD) for who return in the same day and 550.000 VND (24 USD) for later one. Note that the speedboat is only available in Cua Dai pier, 10 km away from Hoi An city center. Drive your bicycle/rental scooter and park at there if you have it. Additionally, taxi or private car service is absolutely convenient. Because of no taxi presence in the pier, Hoi An Life suggests to take telephone number of the driver for a ride back to your hotel when come inland.   

Another good option is the organized day tour including a speedboat roundtrip, visiting historic buildings, delicious set lunch at seafront restaurant with some specialties and snorkeling. You will pay more or less 600.000 VND (26 USD) when book at locally-owned operators in Cua Dai pier. It may be little higher if make reservation in the hotel, usually because of transfers fee.

Private boat gives you more proactive to control the duration of everything. The cost of hiring starts from 5.000.000 VND (217 USD) to 6.500.000 VND (282 USD) for five hours, depending on the vessel size. Either hotel or travel agent has possibility to arrange this kind of service. Check the weather forecast, contact them and book it in advance at least one day to hold your preferences.   

Note: To avoid strong waves and bad weather, almost boats will go back in the early afternoon (around 1 p.m). Your opportunity to look for them decreases grually and becomes rare after 3 p.m. Making sure you have time enough properly to appreciate the stunning islands.     

Public ferry

As an inhabited islands, the public ferry gets arranged daily from Hoi An, besides the speedboat. It helps to carry neccessity goods such as rice, utilities or medicine and of course, for transport need of the islanders. Local people often pick this option because of its lower cost. Furthermore, every passengers are also asked for the entrance ticket charge (70.000 VND-3 USD) to protect pristine natural environment of the archipelago.

The general itinerary often starts from An Hoi pier, stop at Cua Dai pier later for immigration plus picking up new passengers once arrive the islands. It takes 1.5 hours in total and returns at around 12:30 p.m. Therefore, design your travel plan carefully to enjoy most.

Particularly, An Hoi pier is the best choice if you stay in and around the ancient town. Boarding time falls in between of 7 and 7:30 a.m and the pricing is 150.000 VND (6.5 USD) per person. If like to departs from here, you should come to Hoi An Silk Marina Resort&Spa and reach the end of tiny alley right next to it. In Cua Dai pier, the ferry leaves from 8 to 8:30 a.m and costs 100.000 VND (4.3 USD). You will pay an additional fee with 50.000 VND (2 USD) in case want to bring your motorbycle/bicycle, at any departuring points.

Accommodation&eating

There are plenty of accommodations in Cham islands, especially all over Bai Lang and Bai Huong villages. Their stars are family run homestays in which you may expect for sweet service, appetizing home-cooked meals and good deals for the most typical activities. Before come, Hoian Life recommend you cashing out VND in advance due to the absence of ATM and card payment inacceptance.

As a leading transportation hub to go in and out the archipelago, book anywhere inside Bai Lang for the sake of convenience. Its advantages also lie at greatly closing by top landmarks, places to eat, Bai Ong beach and two markets.

Five kilometers away from Bai Lang, Bai Huong village nestles comfortably next to a wonderful beach facing to Bien Dong (the East sea). This locational setting makes it become one of the best places to watch sunrise in Hoi An, of course. On the other hand, getting there is a problem to deal with. Contact your guesthouse/homestay soon for their support-the motorbike transfer or boat ride in more affordable price than common. In addition to, it will be such easy to ask, book and experience the activities at Bai Lang. However, villagers speak English not very well, so ensure that every information is clear once reserve.

Besides restaurants, family meals are hundred percent awesome when accommodate in Cham islands. Highly recommend joining hands in the preparation process from market shopping to completing different dishes. It likes a cooking class in which you can have fun. If want to do something new, come to the markets in Bai Lang and cook in your favourite taste/style.

Note: Are you searching the five-star resort in Cham islands? Now they’re still in construction. Instead, many options along the coast nearby Cua Dai pier where extremely convenient to take the day trip by speedboat.

Should stay over?

Time is our first mention that extremely important to direct everything when travel. In fact, the speedboat leaves prior to 3 p.m and the public ferry returns around 12:30 p.m from Bai Lang port. These times to leave actually do not allow holidaymakers to explore each one of existing beauties in Cu Lao Cham.

Meeting more locals, having chance to try tasty meals cooked by home chiefs, join jungle trekking, adventuring striking coastline, watching brilliant sunrise or extra time to enjoy the beaches plus corlourful ocean life during time off of tourist crowds are advantages of staying overnight. Notably, if you’re a beach camping seeker, Bai Ong beach in Bai Lang village, Bai Chong and Bai Huong likely give you the strong possibility. Renting fee ranges in the middle of 150.000-200.000 VND (6.5-8.65 USD) per night.

Cu Lao Cham specialties

For case of food specialities only, Cham islands and its inhabitants totally swell with pride of Muc mot nang (one-day sundried fresh squid, chargrilled and locally eaten with hot chilli sauce), Oc vu nang (a kind of cellana sea snails, often cooked in hot water pot containing lemongrass, lime leaves plus chilli, served with pepper salt), Banh it la gai (a sweet cake made by glutinous rice powder, white sugar, mashed green beans and green ramie leaves, covered up with banana leaf and steamed), Bao ngu (high-valued local abalone, grilled on the barbecue and dipped into garlic-chilli-ginger fish sauce). In daytime, all of these specialties is selled along main streets. Sample some if travel with budget over there.

Things to do in Cham islands

Visit island’s landmarks

Most boats and ferries dock first at Bai Lang, the largest village of Cham islands. Within this area, you will see a number of awesome spots like Xom Cam well (constructed by Cham people and functioned as the source of fresh water for merchants), Hai Tang Pagoda&Tinh xa Ngoc Truyen (the sacred Buddhist sites where fisherman pray for safety on the sea), a small museum, the open-air seafood market, Cho Tan Hiep (central market, nice to try Hoi An specialties in local taste) or Au Thuyen (the hidden place for fishing boats in storms). No worry to have the idea for one self-organized walking tour, the places are very close together. It takes 45-60 minutes or more if you love to know about daily island lifestyle, handicrafting or just for fun shopping. Survenirs and gifts generally are less abundant but shell-made items win in competion with shops on land.

Travel on motorbike around Cham islands

Second outdoor activity is exploring the rest of Cu Lao Cham with a local motorcycle driver, notably going along spectacular rocky coastline. Their long-term commitment to local authority keeps the expense always moderate at 100.000 VND (4.3 USD). Meaning that you should refuse who breaks it.

If want to drive by yourself, 24 hours rental often costs from 150.000 VND to 200.000 VND (6.5-8.7 USD). It will be more flexible and able to explore all picteresque non-touristy points when do this. Together with motorcycle, there is not much efforts made to find bicycle for rent in Bai Lang.

Beautiful sandy beaches

Beaches are must-see destinations of Cu Lao Cham that bring fair values to fantastic diving/snorkeling experiences. There are seven beaches-Bai Bac, Bai Ong, Bai Lang, Bai Xep, Bai Chong, Bai Bim and Bai Huong respectively from West to East of the largest island. Blessed with white powdery sands, crystal-like water and tasty-cooking restaurants, Bai Ong, Bai Chong plus Bai Huong are the most visited spots above all. So which one is the best?   

Bai Ong composes of several beachside eateries, deckchairs, outdoor showers, overnight camping, parasailing (ready to take off daily, about 450.000 VND-19.5 USD for one participant and 800.000 VND-34.8 USD for two) and floating playgrounds (only in Cham islands). It’s well-fitted for each members of the family. However, because of the shortest distance from the mainport, this beach becomes a popular choice of tour operators. As the result, Bai Ong usually gets busy by tourists.

Bai Huong’s major facilities include family-run guesthouses/homestays, some seafood restaurants, overnight camping, deckchairs and outdoor showers. Almost sunshine seekers here come from the village nearby.

Along with, Bai Chong boasts about the finest sand beach in Cu Lao Cham with most coconut trees. Its atmosphere is calmer than two others thanks to no accommodations in the immediate area. There is a couple of restaurants catering fresh seafood dishes and other Cu lao Cham specialties.

Cham islands snorkeling

Cham islands Marine Park stands out as one of the idealest place for snorkeling lovers within Vietnam, on par with Nha Trang or Phu Quoc to the South. Its underwater richness is reflected clearly by the collection of over 300 coral species and 600 living creatures from fishes, mollusks, shellfish, crustaceans to seaweeds. In addition to, the archipelago get renowen for its crystal-like clear seawater and its primative seagrass. There is no doubt to say that sealife exploration is the best thing to do here.    

In fact, all trips to Cu Lao Cham/Cham islands provide this with an hour duration. It is regularly arranged in between of visiting the village and lunch. You have snorkeling gear and life jacket for safety as inclusions. Commonly, only one snorkeling spot is offered on the day tours. If like to see more spots and get free to appreciate undersea wonderland of Cham islands, discuss with your homestay to have supports. Another note, swimming over the allowed snorkeling ground and too close to sharp rocks may make you have to deal with unexpected situations.

Note: To keep your phone safe when take picture thriving oceanlife, prepare a waterproof phone case for yourself. It’s selled popularly at shops in Cua Dai pier and main island.

Diving in Cham islands

How to book Cham islands diving?

Even you have one day only in Cham islands, the diving is still well-fitted in case of time and the itenerary. Hoi An Life thinks that you should see and reserve it in advance, at least 24 hours in order to receive the best preparation from local suppliers. Reputable tour operators are the best choices to pick basing on their legal certifications approved by the govermance and safety standards at the forefront.

Besides, Cham islands diving is also easy to book directly at tour desks in Cua Dai Pier. If take part in a day tour to Cu lao Cham, having a request to your tour guide early. He/she will do the best to support you due to being the islander who knows everything. Occasionally, the price in this case is nearly same to any others.

Cham island diving center-Hoi An Life recommendation
Brief information of Cham island diving center

With its origin in 2002, Cham Island Diving Center has grown to be the most trusted diving and snorkeling company in Central Vietnam today. It fleets comprises two double decked boats for sharing diving/snorkeling tours and a speedboat for private diving/snorkeling journeys. Multilingual crew of PADI scuba diving instructions, divemasters and rescue diver rated snorkeling guide will show you the best of the spectacular coral reefs surrounding Cham islands.

Cham island diving center‘s offers

Note: Bookings can be made online on Cham islands diving center’s offcial website, send an email to info@scubadivingvietnam.com or visit its office at 88 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street/Dive bar.

#1 Beginner dives (departure at 8 a.m) is designed for who tries diving without committing to a full dive course. No previous experience gets required. It costs 78 USD (aprx 1.800.000 VND) consisting of dive safety&theory introductions, equipment briefing, dive briefing, 40 minutes diving with qualified PADI professional in coral reefs, hotel transfer from hotel, water&refreshments on board, set lunch in Bai Chong beach, marine park&island entrance ticket and PADI insurance. You will pay extra 22 USD (about 500.000 VND) if add one more dive.     

#2 Fun diving-Certified diver (departure at 8 a.m) will be led by the international crew of PADI dive instructions and masters into heavenly scenic underwater life of Cham islands according to your certification level. There are a number of diving sites but depending on daily weather, Cham islands diving center will pick the finest place. About the price, it covers 92 USD (about 2.100.000 VND) including two 45 minutes diving in coral reefs, full scuba gear, PADI dive master ratio 1:4, lunch, hotel transfer, refreshments on board, entrance ticket and insurance. The tour operator ask for 23 USD (460.000 VND) as a deposit.   

#3 Overnight trip (2 days& one night) gives you opportunity to stay over in Cham islands that most activities miss. Both of diving and snorkeling are included. It costs 120 USD (about 3.000.000 VND) and 33 USD required to desposit this selection.  

Sea walking experience

Arranged daily by Sea Trek Vietnam during dry season (March-October), Cu Lao Cham sea walking begins from Cua Dai pier after pick-up. Diffirentiate to other members of day tour family, you will be on a fisherman boat in one hour to approach Cham islands instead of the speedboat. The target is a small-rocky island named Hon Nhon where you do snorkeling and of course, walking under the sea too. The tour includes a set lunch at the restaurant on Bai Chong-one of the nicest beach. Then you have free time to wander around to appreciate wonderful scenery of Cham islands, tan, swim or just relax.

Sea Trek Vietnam requires to complete a health questionaire prior to participate this activity. Some pre-existing medical conditions like asthma, heart attack, etc may not have chance to experience. The tour operator also indicate us picking up time at Hoi An (7:30-05 Hoang Dieu Street/Bebe Tailor, 7:45-Cua Dai beach) and Da Nang (7:00-A la carte Da Nang beach, 7:15 Holiday beach Da Nang hotel&resort, 7:30-Sheraton Grand Da Nang resort, 7:45-An Bang beach) and advises to be there 10 minutes in advance. Private pick-up service is available but need to contact at least 24 hours before your expedition starts.

It costs 63 USD (aprx 1.500.000 VND) for 13-80 years-old adults and 50 USD (aprx 1.150.000 VND) for childrens from 8 to 12 years. To book, browse the official website of Sea Trek Vietnam. Credit cards (Visa, Mastercard) are accepted and without any additional fee to pay by. Besides, 100% your payment will be refunded if weather conditions cause closing the activity.  

Note: Sea Trek Vietnam team offers the video recording your sea walking experience with a price of 250.000 VND (around 10 USD). Get in touch early to let them have enough time for the best preparation.         

Charter fishing trip

This kind of activity is fully available at tour operators (day trip and multi-day trip) as well as your accommodation in Cham islands. Depend on where you book, its inclusions and exclusions have differences but  basically it includes fishing rod&bait, local experienced fisherman who travels with to guide should&shouldn’t and cooking the catch in Vietnamese style. In case of transport, your charter fishing trip will be conducted on a wooden boat all over.

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Tam Le Van

Tam is a tour leader and passionate traveler who has beautiful memories over 50 provinces of Vietnam. During the time Corona virus spreads out globally, he decides to become a blogger to share his experiences.
Contacts for work: Levantam0906@gmail.com or (+84) 968009827

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