Just 15km from Cua Dai beach in Hoi An are the Cham islands which is an ideal choice for travelers who are looking for fun in the sun by the sea.
The half-day trip provided by the Hoian Travel Company gives chances to explore life on the islands, visit cultural and historical sites, and go snorkeling.
Our trip started at 8am at Cua Dai Harbour. It took just about 20 minutes by speedboat to get to the island. Before showing us around, the tour guide provided us with some background information about the island. There are seven islets in the cluster, all named according to their shapes or natural characteristics. Dai Island is named because of its length and La Island is Vietnamese for “leaf”. The climate in this cluster is pleasantly cool all year round. Trees, animals and marine life abound.
The guide first led us to a small showroom that housed photos, maps and other objects detailing the history and daily life of local people. A variety of endemic sea creatures are also on display. We were fascinated by the diversify of marine life in the area.
Leaving the small showroom, we visited Au Thuyen, where local boats take shelter during big storms, then walked through a small village and a rice field. We were led to a pagoda over a century old named Hai Tang. There were numerous stands selling objects hand-made from dried starfish and sea snails. The fresh seafood being sold nearby proved too tempting to miss. The smell of baked crabs and steamed cuttlefish with onion would attract any lover of seafood.
It took about two hours to walk around the island and take in the sights before a half-hour snorkeling experience, which allowed us to see these sea creatures in their natural habitat. The water off Xep beach is clear, which affords a great view of the colours and textures of a living coral reef habitat.
Upon returning to Bai Bac resort, we were again offered meal choices that take advantage of the surrounding habitat. Fresh seafood and greens taken from the forest were on the menu. The second meal was unforgettable and felt well-earned after a day of adventure.
At the moment, accommodation services on the islands are limited. Bai Bac is the first resort of its type to have been built, but they expect to attract many new visitors in the future. It consists of a number of bungalows along the beaches of Ong Island. Mountains overlook white-sanded beaches. From these beaches, Dai Island is also visible, home to many birds, whose nests are also made into local delicacies.
After lunch, we worked off some of those calories by playing a few matches of beach volleyball. It seemed an appropriate end to the day, before returning to the lovely city of Hoi An.