Adventure to Cù Lao Chàm

Adventure to Cham Island » Roaming Sparrow » 2024

Adventure to Cù Lao Chàm

Cù Lao Chàm, is part of the Chàm Islands. The Chàm Islands Consist of eight islands. Hòn Ông (east wind), Hòn Khô mẹ, Hòn Mồ (tomb), Hòn Dài (long), Hòn Lao (Pearl), Hòn Tai (ear), Hòn Khô con (dry) and Hòn Lá (leaf). Cù Lao Chàm, is the larger of the islands and the ones that is inhabited. (Source wikipedia.org)

The Chàm islands were settled about 3000 years ago by the Chàm people of Vietnam. It primarily consisted of fishing villages and as some locals said up until about five years or 10 years ago, when you approach the island you could smell fish drying in the sun.

However, with tourism, a shift in the economics happened and the islands start to gradually become more tour centric. The Chàm islands have a remarkable ecosystem of fish along with beautiful coral that people come to see. The ocean water is crystal clear, and while swimming can gaze down into the depths easily.

It is sad however that in the recent years with COVID-19, development has stopped on the island, and he could see a lot of partially built hotels and villas that have been left Quasi-abandoned in the last several years.

Let’s take you on this adventure!

You can watch a short video I made about this trip on 3speak here :

Let’s go on this adventure together. This started on Thursday morning about 5 AM where I left out of Danang with @kooza on a motorbike to pick up a friend and I continued down to Hoi An to catch the 8 am Fast Boat to the island.

For reference here’s a map.

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We got to the marina we purchase the ticket, round-trip ticket for two people along with the island access ticket cost 700K ($30.80 USD), I also had to pay 10K to park my bike in the lot for the time we would be gone.

Here is @Kooza and the ticket ready to go.

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And the team of people who would be heading out for adventure!

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Below you will see the “Fast Boat” We took to reach the island. You have the option to take the “local”boat as well for only 50k, however that boat will take over an hour and is very “local”. The fast boat takes about 15 minutes, it is a quick ride.

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The streets of Cham, are very quaint and along the main esplanade, it is a picturesque walk with classic Vietnamese architecture on one side and the bay on the other. While it is a short walk from one side to the other side of town it is dotted with small restaurants, children playing, people selling fish and other produce, and a very laid-back island life atmosphere.

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Upon reaching the island we sat for a cup of coffee together and talked about what the adventure is going to look like. The view in front of us was gorgeous looking out over the horizon, just watching life roll by.

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The restaurants and shops were pretty empty as Danang was just getting out of lockdown, so not too many tourists have visited the island again.

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We rented to motorbikes and took off to travel around the island a little bit stopping at various locations to take some photos and laughs.

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The island seem to be temperature wise at least hotter than the mainland. Even though it was only about 10 AM, the temperature was rising quickly and driving around got hot fast. However, the coastline and the roads were very fun to drive along, one side was an endless sky and ocean, and the other side was a rocky mountainside.

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There were many fine vistas to stop and look at, days over the distant valleys and see a lush tropical island waiting to be explored.

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After about an hour out on the road we made it back to town and stopped for a cold drink before heading back to the home stay for lunch.

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There are many places on this island take full photos with amazing backdrops. If you do go sure take a camera with you and be ready to do a lot of posing!

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A lot of the residencies are condensed into two small towns on the island. The slip photo I took outside one of the windows at her home stay of the tightly packed growth.

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After having some lunch at the homestay we headed out for another ride this time close to the local beach. we stopped on the helicopter pad (* the only one on the island) for great view overlooking the ocean. Again we took many photos on this overlook!

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After while we continued on our drive around the island stopped another great place for pictures. It looks like a Californian coastline someplace but it’s not…

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@Kooza was quite the trooper as well, and dare I say, the star of the photo shoots we did.

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We eventually made it across the island to the other small village that is known as “Bãi Hương” Village. Here you can see life was even slower as the majority of locals sat around fixing fishing nets in the afternoon sun, playing dominoes, and drinking coconut juice.

While my friends converse with some the locals in Vietnamese, I went for a small stroll and took some pictures.

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I would like come back here one day and do more photos as there are lots of options for beautiful backdrops!

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As afternoon heat was getting on, we found a spot underneath a coconut tree and ordered some coconut juice. we sat and talked about life and told stories.

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My friend Dai and I went for a walk about the villages well to check out a homestay here that was well known in the ex-pat community.

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After little bit we all jump back on our bikes and headed to the beach to finally go swimming! it was a short ride back we stopped a few times to talk to people but eventually we ended up on a nice sandy beach for some well-deserved ocean time.

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After swimming we sat and watched the sunset over tthe cliffs, it was a surreal moment but felt very peaceful.

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I even did my impression of a palm tree. lol

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That night we headed into town and got some dinner, why would say the nightlife was quiet there were a few people out having a good time and enjoying the cool of the evening. I didn’t take too many photos as I was getting pretty tired at this point, and that going home and passing out pretty hard. lol. the next day however brought with it new adventures!

Waking up early we walked to the center of town for some morning coffee and decide to take a drive around to do some more photos, retun the bikes around 9 am, then waite for the 1 pm fast boat back to the main land. And that is what we did.

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We went for a ride around the southern part of the island this time, where there are many places again to stop and take cool photos.

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I even grabbed @Kooza and did my impression of the lion King with him on top of this rock.

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Here you can see my friend Dai, demonstrating the wrong way to use a mask. lol

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We ended up driving around and exploring many different paths and roads in the city one of which led along the coastline, and then just stopped abruptly as the road looked like it broke apart.

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We stayed here for a while taking pictures until eventually it was time to go back to the homestay and packed the bags. And then we had to return the bikes wait until time for the ferry to arrive.

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After this we found a nice little restaurant along the coastline the citizen and wait for an hour so for the fast boat at 1 pm was ready take us back to the mainland. I think it was the heat but, I ended up sleeping most the time we waited, and upon getting home and up sleeping the whole day, also @kooza did. lol we went for an evening walk to see a beautiful sky, it was a nice close to the adventure!

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My general impressions of Cham isaland is that it’s nice. I would say there’s not really too much to do besides swimming. While here the snorkeling and scuba diving is wonderful as well we did not get to do it on this particular trip. If your photographer like take photos you’ll find many opportunities to discover rich picturesque locations for landscape and slices of life.

I would like to go back again and discover more of this island, perhaps though in the fall when it’s a bit cooler.

Thanks for taking the time to read the story and see these photos hope you found them exciting, and they inspire you to go take a trip.

Tim on a Rock
Tim on a Rock
Roaming Sparrow is a project by Tim Mack. It is a life on the road, an adventure to gain knowledge and share genuine experiences.
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