From Cua Dai Beach just outside Hoi An, the blue-green outline of the Cham Islands rises from the horizon. Travelers have a number of ways to reach the lush islands with their well-preserved mountainsides and coral. The most common way is to book a speedboat through a hotel or agency.
This makes for a quick trip (about 30 minutes), but can often get crowded and the drivers are heavy on the throttle and the sea can get rough. There’s also a local ferry at 8:30am each day that makes the run in two hours and visitors ride with locals and the islands’ supplies.
Once on the main island or in the clear waters that surround it, there are a number of relaxing ways to spend time in the sea or on the sand. Local dive shops can arrange snorkel or scuba outings. Coral lines the seabed and tropical fish flicker colors and sea life populates the boulders and crevices.
Along the shoreline white sand beaches bend in and out of rocky coves and inlets that lead up to jungle growth that rises up the mountainside. Visitors can lounge along the placid shoreline and dip in the calm waters. Special arrangements need to be made to head up the mountain, however, as it is military-controlled.
A trip to the Cham Islands presents a chance to relax and dive in one of the most untouched areas in Central Vietnam. From the flourishing mountains, to the rocky outcrops and inlets, to the friendly local villagers and fresh seafood caught that day, the island is a paradise just minutes from Hoi An. If visitors fall in love and wish to spend more than a day, they can arrange a homestay or rent supplies to camp on the beach, frying fresh fish as the sun hangs low over the water.