cham island vietnam

Want to discover why the Cham Islands in Vietnam is a must visit destination?

Hoi An, located in central Vietnam, is renowned for its well-preserved Ancient Town, which reflects the influences of various cultures that once settled in the area.

This UNESCO World Heritage site is characterized by its charming architecture, lantern-lit streets, and rich history, attracting millions of visitors each year.

Nestled off the coast of Hoi An, the Cham Islands are an archipelago comprising eight small islands, each boasting its own unique allure.

These islands are celebrated for their pristine beaches, vibrant marine life, and cultural heritage dating back centuries.

The purpose of this article is to delve into the wonders of Cham Islands, highlighting its historical significance, natural beauty, and array of attractions and activities awaiting adventurous travelers.

From exploring underwater treasures to savoring authentic local cuisine, we aim to provide readers with comprehensive insights to inspire their journey to this captivating destination.

Rich History of the Cham Islands

cham islands hoi an

Cham Islands, also known as Cu Lao Cham, have a rich history dating back over 2,500 years.

The islands were once part of the Champa Kingdom, an ancient civilization that flourished in central and southern Vietnam.

The Chams, an ethnic group with a unique culture and language, established settlements on the islands and engaged in trade with neighboring regions.

Throughout history, Cham Islands served as a crucial maritime hub for seafaring merchants and sailors navigating the South China Sea.

The islands played a pivotal role in the maritime silk route, facilitating trade between Southeast Asia, China, India, and the Middle East.

Cham Islands were renowned for their skilled navigators and craftsmen, who contributed to the cultural exchange and economic prosperity of the region.

The cultural heritage of Cham Islands is deeply rooted in the traditions of the Cham people, who continue to preserve their unique customs and rituals.

The islands are home to ancient temples, shrines, and archaeological sites, providing glimpses into the religious practices and artistic achievements of the Champa civilization.

Traditional festivals, such as the Kate Festival, celebrate Cham heritage and foster community cohesion, attracting visitors from far and wide to partake in the festivities.

Through music, dance, and culinary traditions, the Cham people perpetuate their cultural legacy and promote cultural exchange with visitors to the islands.

Geographic Features and Biodiversity

cham island near hoi an

Cham Islands are located approximately 15 kilometers off the coast of Hoi An in the Quang Nam Province of Vietnam.

The archipelago consists of eight main islands, with the largest being Hon Lao.

The islands are characterized by rugged coastlines, lush tropical forests, and crystal-clear waters, making them a picturesque paradise for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers.

Cham Islands are renowned for their remarkable marine biodiversity and ecological significance.

The surrounding waters are home to an extensive array of coral reefs, fish species, and marine creatures, making it a haven for snorkelers and divers.

The islands are designated as a Marine Protected Area (MPA) to conserve their fragile ecosystems and safeguard endangered species, such as the hawksbill turtle and the dugong.

Conservation efforts aim to mitigate the impact of human activities and promote sustainable tourism practices to preserve the pristine beauty of Cham Islands for future generations.

Cham Islands boast a wealth of notable landmarks and natural attractions that captivate visitors with their beauty and cultural significance.

From secluded beaches and hidden coves to ancient temples and historical sites, there is no shortage of wonders to explore on the islands.

Visitors can embark on scenic hikes through lush forests, discover hidden caves and grottoes, or simply relax on pristine shores while admiring panoramic views of the surrounding seascape.

Notable attractions include Hai Tang Pagoda, a centuries-old Buddhist temple, and Bai Ong Beach, renowned for its tranquil ambiance and turquoise waters.

Whether exploring underwater wonders or marveling at breathtaking vistas, Cham Islands offer an unforgettable adventure in nature’s embrace.

Activities and Attractions for Tourists

cham islands snorkeling

Snorkeling and Diving: Exploring Underwater Treasures

Cham Islands offer some of the best snorkeling and diving opportunities in Vietnam, thanks to their vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine life.

Visitors can explore the kaleidoscopic underwater world teeming with colorful fish, sea turtles, and exotic sea creatures.

Popular dive sites include Hon Dai, Hon Mo, and Hon Tai, where crystal-clear waters and thriving coral gardens await exploration.

Beaches and Relaxation: Enjoying Pristine Shores

Cham Islands are blessed with pristine beaches and secluded coves that beckon travelers seeking relaxation and tranquility.

Whether lounging on the powdery white sands of Bai Ong Beach or taking a leisurely stroll along Bai Bac Beach, visitors can unwind amidst breathtaking natural beauty.

With its calm turquoise waters and gentle sea breezes, Cham Islands offer the perfect setting for sunbathing, swimming, and simply soaking up the serenity of island life.

Hiking and Trekking: Exploring the Island’s Trails and Viewpoints

Exploring Cham Islands on foot is a rewarding adventure that allows visitors to discover hidden gems and breathtaking vistas.

The islands boast a network of hiking trails that wind through lush forests, rugged coastlines, and scenic viewpoints.

Hikers can embark on guided treks to Mount Da Bac, the highest peak on Cham Islands, or explore coastal paths that offer panoramic views of the surrounding seascape.

Along the way, adventurers can encounter exotic wildlife, ancient ruins, and indigenous flora, immersing themselves in the natural beauty and rich biodiversity of the islands.

Historical Sites and Temples: Immersing in the Island’s History and Culture

Cham Islands are steeped in history and culture, with ancient temples, shrines, and archaeological sites dotting the landscape.

Visitors can explore the ruins of ancient Cham settlements, such as My Khe and Bai Huong, which offer insights into the island’s storied past.

Highlights include Hai Tang Pagoda, a centuries-old Buddhist temple nestled amidst lush greenery, and Ong Ngu Temple, dedicated to the worship of the sea god.

Immerse yourself in the island’s spiritual heritage as you explore these sacred sites and learn about the fascinating history of Cham Islands.

Local Cuisine: Sampling Authentic Cham Island Dishes

No visit to Cham Islands is complete without savoring the authentic flavors of Cham Island cuisine.

From freshly caught seafood to traditional Vietnamese delicacies, the island offers a culinary journey like no other.

Indulge in mouthwatering dishes such as cao lau, a specialty noodle dish made with locally sourced ingredients, or banh dap, a savory pancake served with fresh herbs and dipping sauce.

For seafood lovers, grilled squid, steamed fish, and lobster are among the must-try dishes that showcase the freshest catch from the surrounding waters.

Experience the rich culinary heritage of Cham Islands as you dine at local eateries and beachside cafes, where each meal is a celebration of island life and gastronomic delights.

Top-rated Tourist Attractions on Cham Islands

cham islands

Cham Islands boast a plethora of top-rated tourist attractions that captivate visitors with their beauty, history, and cultural significance.

From pristine beaches and vibrant coral reefs to ancient temples and scenic viewpoints, the islands offer a diverse array of experiences for travelers to explore and enjoy.

1. Bai Ong Beach:

Bai Ong Beach is renowned for its powdery white sands and tranquil ambiance, making it a favorite destination for sunbathers and beachgoers.

Visitors can relax under the shade of swaying palm trees, take a refreshing dip in the azure waters, or embark on leisurely walks along the shoreline while admiring panoramic views of the coastline.

2. Hai Tang Pagoda:

Nestled amidst lush greenery, Hai Tang Pagoda is a centuries-old Buddhist temple steeped in history and spirituality.

The pagoda’s serene surroundings and ornate architecture make it a peaceful retreat for meditation and contemplation.

Visitors can explore the temple grounds, admire intricate sculptures and statues, and learn about the teachings of Buddhism from resident monks.

3. Hon Tai:

Hon Tai is a picturesque island known for its stunning coral reefs and abundant marine life, making it a paradise for snorkelers and divers.

The island’s crystal-clear waters teem with colorful fish, sea turtles, and other exotic creatures, offering unparalleled opportunities for underwater exploration and adventure.

4. Mui Cu Lao Cham:

Mui Cu Lao Cham is a scenic peninsula that juts out into the sea, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape and coastline.

Visitors can hike along rugged trails, discover hidden coves and tide pools, and marvel at dramatic rock formations sculpted by the forces of nature over millennia.

5. My Khe:

My Khe is an ancient Cham settlement that dates back to the 4th century AD, featuring well-preserved ruins and archaeological sites.

The area is home to ancient temples, tombs, and artifacts that provide insights into the island’s rich cultural heritage and historical significance.

Visitors can explore the ruins, learn about Cham architecture and craftsmanship, and gain a deeper appreciation for the island’s past.

Getting There and Accommodation

cham islands accommodation

Transportation Options from Hoi An to Cham Islands

  1. Speedboat: The most common way to reach Cham Islands from Hoi An is by speedboat. Several tour companies offer speedboat transfers departing from Hoi An’s riverside area. The journey takes approximately 30-40 minutes, offering scenic views of the coastline and surrounding islands along the way.
  2. Ferry: Alternatively, travelers can take a ferry from Cua Dai Beach in Hoi An to Cham Islands. Ferries depart daily, with multiple departures throughout the day. The ferry ride takes around 1 hour and provides a more budget-friendly option for transportation to the islands.

Accommodation Options on Cham Islands

  1. Homestays: For an authentic and immersive experience, consider staying in one of the local homestays on Cham Islands. Homestays offer comfortable accommodations in traditional wooden houses or bungalows, allowing guests to interact with local residents and experience the island’s culture firsthand.
  2. Resorts: Cham Islands also offer a range of resort accommodations catering to different budgets and preferences. Resorts on the islands boast luxurious amenities, including spacious rooms, swimming pools, restaurants, and beachfront access, providing guests with a relaxing and indulgent retreat amidst the natural beauty of the islands.
  3. Guesthouses and Hostels: Travelers seeking budget-friendly accommodations can find a variety of guesthouses and hostels scattered across Cham Islands. These accommodations offer simple yet comfortable rooms at affordable rates, making them ideal for backpackers and budget-conscious travelers.
  4. Camping: For outdoor enthusiasts and adventurous travelers, camping is another option for accommodation on Cham Islands. Several designated camping areas offer facilities such as tents, camping gear rental, and access to basic amenities, allowing guests to immerse themselves in nature and enjoy the island’s pristine surroundings.

Whether you prefer luxury resorts, cozy homestays, or budget-friendly guesthouses, Cham Islands offer a range of accommodation options to suit every traveler’s needs and preferences.

Be sure to book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons, to secure your ideal stay on the enchanting islands.

Best Times to Visit

cham islands sunset

Ideal Seasons and Weather Conditions

  1. Dry Season (February to August): The dry season, spanning from February to August, is considered the best time to visit Cham Islands. During this period, the weather is generally sunny and dry, with clear skies and calm seas, making it ideal for outdoor activities such as snorkeling, diving, and beach hopping.
  2. Monsoon Season (September to January): The monsoon season, occurring from September to January, brings occasional rain showers and stronger winds to Cham Islands. While the weather may be less predictable during this time, it can also offer a quieter and more serene atmosphere for travelers seeking a peaceful getaway amidst lush greenery and reduced crowds.

Special Events and Festivals

  1. Kate Festival: The Kate Festival is one of the most significant cultural events celebrated by the Cham people on Cham Islands. Held annually, typically in October or November according to the Cham calendar, the festival honors the gods and ancestors through elaborate rituals, traditional music and dance performances, and colorful processions. Visitors can witness the vibrant festivities and immerse themselves in the rich cultural heritage of the Cham community during this auspicious occasion.
  2. Lunar New Year (Tet): Lunar New Year, or Tet, is a major celebration observed by Vietnamese communities across the country, including Cham Islands. During Tet, which usually falls in late January or early February, the islands come alive with festive decorations, lively street markets, and cultural performances. Visitors can partake in traditional Tet customs and rituals, savor delicious holiday dishes, and experience the warmth and hospitality of the local community during this joyous time of year.
  3. Mid-Autumn Festival: The Mid-Autumn Festival, celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, is another cherished event on Cham Islands. The festival is marked by colorful lanterns, dragon dances, and mooncake feasts, offering a delightful spectacle for visitors of all ages. Families gather to enjoy moonlit picnics, exchange gifts, and marvel at the full moon, symbolizing unity, harmony, and prosperity.

Dining and Best Local Restaurants

cham island vietnamese food

Cham Islands offer a diverse array of dining options, ranging from seaside cafes and beachside eateries to traditional restaurants serving authentic Cham Island cuisine.

Visitors can indulge in fresh seafood, flavorful Vietnamese dishes, and international fare while enjoying picturesque views of the coastline and surrounding islands.

Best Local Restaurants for Authentic Cham Island Cuisine

  1. Lang Beach Restaurant: Lang Beach Restaurant is renowned for its delicious seafood dishes and stunning ocean views. Situated along Bai Lang Beach, the restaurant offers a laid-back ambiance and a diverse menu featuring grilled fish, shrimp, squid, and other local delicacies. Diners can enjoy freshly prepared meals while basking in the sea breeze and soaking up the island’s natural beauty.
  2. Thanh Van Restaurant: Thanh Van Restaurant is a hidden gem tucked away in a tranquil corner of Cham Islands. Known for its warm hospitality and mouthwatering cuisine, the restaurant specializes in traditional Cham Island dishes made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. From savory soups and stir-fried specialties to aromatic rice dishes and grilled seafood, Thanh Van Restaurant delights diners with its authentic flavors and homestyle cooking.

Popular Dishes and Specialties to Try

  1. Cao Lau: Cao Lau is a signature dish of Hoi An and Cham Islands, featuring thick rice noodles, tender slices of pork, crispy croutons, and fresh herbs, all bathed in a savory broth. The dish is imbued with complex flavors and textures, reflecting the culinary heritage of the region.
  2. Banh Dap: Banh Dap is a simple yet satisfying snack made from rice paper, sesame seeds, and various fillings such as pork, shrimp, and herbs. The dish is typically enjoyed with a side of spicy dipping sauce, adding an extra layer of flavor and heat to each bite.
  3. Grilled Seafood: Cham Islands are renowned for their abundant seafood offerings, including grilled fish, squid, shrimp, and lobster. Grilled over open flames and seasoned with local spices and herbs, these seafood delights captivate diners with their smoky aroma and succulent flavors.
  4. Banh Xeo: Banh Xeo is a savory Vietnamese pancake filled with shrimp, pork, bean sprouts, and herbs, then folded into a crispy golden shell. Served with fresh lettuce leaves and a tangy dipping sauce, Banh Xeo is a popular street food favorite that showcases the vibrant flavors and textures of Vietnamese cuisine.


Cham Islands, with their pristine beaches, vibrant marine life, rich cultural heritage, and delectable cuisine, offer a unique and unforgettable travel experience.

From exploring underwater treasures to indulging in authentic Cham Island dishes, the islands captivate visitors with their natural beauty, historical significance, and warm hospitality.

As you embark on your journey to Cham Islands, prepare to be enchanted by the breathtaking scenery, immersive cultural experiences, and unparalleled adventures that await you.

Whether you’re seeking relaxation on secluded beaches, exploration of ancient temples, or thrilling water sports activities, Cham Islands offer something for every traveler’s taste and preference.

In addition to its captivating islands, Hoi An boasts a wealth of cultural attractions, culinary delights, and natural wonders waiting to be discovered.

Explore the quaint streets of Hoi An’s Ancient Town, sample mouthwatering street food delicacies, and embark on scenic boat rides along the Thu Bon River.

With its timeless charm and rich heritage, Hoi An invites travelers to immerse themselves in its enchanting ambiance and create unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.

cham island

FAQ’s About the Cham Islands:

Is Cham Island worth a visit?


Cham Island, located off the coast of Hoi An in Vietnam, is definitely worth a visit.

It offers pristine beaches, vibrant marine life, historical sites, and cultural experiences that make it a must-see destination for travelers.

Can you stay on Cham Islands in Vietnam?

Yes, you can stay on Cham Islands in Vietnam.

There are various accommodation options available, including resorts, guesthouses, homestays, and camping sites, catering to different preferences and budgets.

How do you get to Cham Island?

You can reach Cham Island by taking a speedboat or ferry from Hoi An or Cua Dai Beach.

Several tour companies offer transportation services to the islands, making it convenient for travelers to access this beautiful destination.

What time is the ferry to Cham Island?

Ferry schedules to Cham Island vary depending on the season and weather conditions.

It’s advisable to check with local operators or tour agencies for the latest ferry schedules and departure times.

How do I get from Da Nang to Cham Island?

From Da Nang, you can take a taxi or private car to Hoi An or Cua Dai Beach, where you can catch a speedboat or ferry to Cham Island.

The journey typically takes around 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on traffic and transportation options.

Is Cham Island good for snorkeling?

Yes, Cham Island is excellent for snorkeling.

Its crystal-clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and diverse marine life make it a prime snorkeling destination in Vietnam.

Visitors can explore colorful coral gardens, tropical fish, and other underwater wonders while snorkeling around the islands.

Which coast is best for snorkeling in Mauritius?

In Mauritius, the west coast, particularly areas like Flic en Flac and Le Morne, is known for its excellent snorkeling spots.

These areas offer calm and clear waters, making them ideal for snorkeling enthusiasts to explore vibrant coral reefs and marine life.

What kind of fish are in Cham Island?

Cham Island is home to a diverse range of fish species, including parrotfish, angelfish, butterflyfish, clownfish, and damselfish, among others.

These colorful and fascinating fish inhabit the coral reefs surrounding the islands, offering snorkelers and divers an unforgettable underwater experience.

Where is the prettiest place to snorkel?

The prettiest place to snorkel can vary depending on personal preferences and destinations.

However, some of the world’s most beautiful snorkeling spots include the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in the Philippines, and the Maldives, known for their crystal-clear waters and abundant marine life.

cham islands in vietnam

(Island Expert)

Christian is a dynamic serial entrepreneur and a licensed real estate agent with a relentless passion for unlocking the potential of island real estate.Christian's expertise extends beyond entrepreneurship and property transactions.He possesses a profound expertise in crafting captivating content and persuasive copywriting tailored exclusively to the enchanting realm of island real estate.

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