Cu Lao Cham – Cham Islands constitute a group of 8 small islands of Quang Nam, which form a part of the Cu Lao Cham Marine Park, a world Biosphere Reserve recognized by UNESCO. The islands grouped under the Cham Islands are: the Hon Lao (Pearl), Hon Dai (long), Hon Mo (tomb), Hon Kho me, Hon Kho con (dry), Hon La (leaf), Hon Tai (ear) and Hon Ong (east wind).
The largest island is Hon Lao. It has an area 1,317 hectares (3,250 acres) and has two mountains, one a 517 metres (1,696 ft) peak in the centre of the island and another a 326 metres (1,070 ft) peak at the western end. The historical monuments seen are the 300-year-old Hai Tang Pagoda set amidst three mountains known as Bat Long, Ngoa Long and Time.
What appeals to tourists in Cham Island is its wide variety of leisure activities in a picturesque and pristine setting. Traditional forms of recreation range from swimming on crystal-clear beaches, sunbathing on long-stretching white-sandy coast to exploring the forest. For those who are interested in marine life exploration activities, there are available facilities for water sports like: swimming, water skiing, paragliding, kayaking, kite flying, boat racing and scuba diving. This kingdom of aquatic animals is a collection of marine algae, sea grass, sea creatures and especially coral reefs. Tourists are expected to encounter a beautiful marine world with an abundance of colorful fishes, lobsters, mollusks under the clear water-surface.
In addition to recreational activities, Cham Island also gains fame for its cultural attractions such as: an exhibition of nature and Cham island people’s culture, Lang Ong, Hai Tang – a 300-year-old-pagoda, the old well and Huong fishing village. Cham Island is a cultural-historic site, which grows along with the establishment and development of Hoi An City and also has some relics of Cham people’s civilization, dating back hundreds years ago.
Visiting Cham Island is seasonal. Tourist boats regularly go during the dry season, approximately March to September. June until the end of August is the optimal time for diving and snorkelling. Boats may be cancelled due to strong wind and waves, leaving daytrippers stranded until conditions improved. Getting there in the wet season (October to February) is almost impossible as the seas become too dangerous to navigate
Most days about 07:30, weather permitting (normally NOT during September-December), a light blue coloured 20 m long, wooden, top heavy, flat bottomed ferry leaves Hoi An public pier with all manner of cargo aboard bound for the Cham Islands.