Here are top things to do & see in Cham Islands:
What to See
Cham Island Marine Museum
This museum is the first place you see once you set foot on Cham island. You will learn about the history of the island’s establishment, the traditions and customs of the locals, the festivals, and special sea creatures of this land.
Address: Ong Beach (Bai Ong), Cham island
Cham people’s Ancient Well
The Cham people dug this well about 200 years ago and it still provides fresh water. The architecture of this well is similar to other Cham wells in Hoi An city, which have a pipe shape, a surrounding square base, a square pillar marking each of the four corners, and annular arrangement of bricks. Though it’s been 200 years, this well has never been dry, even in the driest season, say the locals.
It is also named Xom Cam Well (the well of the forbidden village) because it is located in Xom Cam.
Address: Xom Cam Village, Cham island
Hai Tang Pagoda
Hai Tang Pagoda is used to worship the Buddha, Bodhisattva, local god, and sea god in order for the residents to practice Buddhism and pray for their safety and prosperity. It was first built in 1758, 200 meters away from its present location. Due to a destructive storm, in 1848 locals moved it, rebuilt it, and redecorated. Hai Tang Pagoda is at the foot of the west mountain of Hon Lao island, facing a small valley, the only paddy field of Cham island.
Legend has it that a ship carrying many wooden pillars from the north to the south of Vietnam stopped at Cham island but it couldn’t move anymore because of the strong storm. Then, a person entered Cham island to pray, and the God of the Sea told him that the wooden pillars should be used to construct a pagoda on this island. Thus, the crew and locals together built the pagoda and named it Hai Tang Pagoda. Hai means the sea, Tang means Tipitaka, the Buddhist holy books storing words of the Buddha. The name Hai Tang means this pagoda possesses the teaching of Buddha as much as the sea.
Address: Hon Lao Island, Cham island
Tan Hiep Market
Locals usually call this market Cu Lao Cham Market. It’s right next to the pier. You can buy seafood, wild animal meat, and souvenirs. Travelers often buy half-dried cuttlefish to bring back home. Because seafood is fished near the island, it’s very fresh and cheap.
Address: Cham Island Pier
Temple of Bird’s Nest Business Founders
This temple was constructed in the early 19th century to worship the founders of the bird’s nest business and to protect the god of this business. It also worships the gods of the sea, just like Hai Tang Pagoda.
Every year on the ninth and tenth of March in the lunar calendar, locals celebrate to pray for a new harvest of bird’s nest.
Address: Huong Beach (Bai Huong), Cham island
What to Do
Camping on Cham Island
In addition to hostels and homestays, you can go camping on your own to enjoy the wild environment of this island. I recommend going with a group of friends and being well-prepared before camping.
In Bai Ong and Bai Huong you can use the services offered by locals. Otherwise, Bai Bim and Bai Xep are the best choices for those travelers who love enjoying open spaces and wild nature.
You don’t have to know how to swim or dive to take a sea trekking tour! All you need to do is wear a functional hat and walk to the sea. Sea Trek Vietnam offers this service. This service is for people ages eight to 80. You also don’t have to practice before walking five meters under water. The beauty of schools of fish and the coral reefs will surprise you immediately.
Sea Trek Vietnam
Address: 160A Nguyen Duy Hieu Street, Hoi An city (you have to contact them before going to Cham island.)
Contact: (+84) 905 958 528 or (+84) 979 637 651
Snorkeling gives you the chance to observe the colorful coral reefs of Cham Island Biosphere Reserve. Most of the tours to Cham island offer snorkeling, but you can also go by yourself easily. At the island pier, you can buy a ticket to go snorkeling with full equipment and also a guide. The price is about 200,000 VND.
Every year, more and more people visit to go snorkeling and destroy the coral reefs, diminishing the biodiversity of Cham island. Therefore, you should not do any harm to the coral reefs and refrain from touching the beautiful corals to protect the biodiversity. In fact, this is also against the law!