Viet Nam

Cu Lao Cham island

Cu Lao Cham island

The Cu Lao Cham archipelago comprises 8 small islands in Quang Nam, forming part of the Cu Lao Cham Marine Park, a UNESCO-recognized world Biosphere Reserve in the East Sea in Vietnam. Visitors can reach these islands from Cua Dai beach and they are also designated as a national scenic site of Vietnam.

The islands grouped under the Cu Lao Cham archipelago include: Hon Mo, Hon Lao, Hon Dai, Hon Meo, Hon Kho, Hon La, Hon Tai, and Hon Vung. They are under the administrative jurisdiction of Tan Hiep Commune in Hoi An city, Quang Nam province.

The primary occupation of the island residents is fishing.

The ancient and revered landscape of the Cu Lao Cham Islands offers many white sandy beaches, forested hills, and picturesque seascapes. Visitors can enjoy activities like camping, swimming, and diving. The coral reefs and marine life around these islands are major attractions.

Hon Lao, the largest island which is circular in shape, covers an area of 1,317 hectares with an average altitude of 500 meters. It features two prominent peaks: one at 517 meters in the island's center and another at 326 meters on the western side. On this largest island, there are two fishing villages—Bai Lang with its docks and the smaller Bai Huong village. Bai Chong Beach is the most impressive beach on the island. These islands fall under the administrative jurisdiction of Hoi An and serve as a natural defense for the ancient town.

Visitors can reach the islands by canoe, taking about three hours, or by speedboat in approximately half an hour from the nearest coastal point.

Archaeologists believe that Cu Lao Cham was first settled by Cham people about 3,000 years ago, with established trade relations with other countries about 1,000 years ago. Many reports of architectural monuments dating from the 18th to the 20th century exist, including the Than Yen Sao shrine built in 1843 at Bai Huong and the Hai Tang Pagodas built in 1753 on the western hillside of Hon Lao. Small monuments, dikes, and terraced rice fields are also found in the interior forest areas.

The islands boast rich aquatic resources, including 165 hectares of coral reefs and 500 hectares of seaweed. The waters surrounding the islands are home to 135 species of coral, four species of tiger shrimp, and 84 species of mollusks, some of which are listed in Vietnam’s and the World’s Red Book of Endangered Species. Medicinal plants are also found on the islands.

Traditional resources of the Cham people on the islands include rice farming, fishing, and trade in pepper, cinnamon bark, ivory, and wood with neighboring countries through the port of Hoi An

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