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Cu Lao Cham: The Green Island

Cu Lao Cham is an archipelago off the coast of the central province of Quang Nam composed of eight islands, all promising a breathtaking and memorable view.

The island is a small community with only 3,000 residents or 600 households who earn their livelihood by fishing and vending. But despite its simplicity, the people living here are contented because what they lack in commercial convenience, they more than make up for in natural blessings. They have fresh seafood every day to eat, herbal medicine for their health needs, an abundance of coconut trees which have many uses, and a lush forest which have both aesthetic and beneficial uses.

Cu Lao Cham Island is also home to rare flora and fauna as well as historical sites, making it acknowledged by UNESCO as a world biosphere reserve in 2009. It has 499 plant species188 coral species and more than 200 fish species. It is home to the rare long-tailed macaque and apodidae bird which are listed in the Vietnam Red Book.

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The ancient well of the Cham ethnic people, the temple of whales, and the temple of worshipping the first people who collected birds’ nests are just some of the places one must visit when in the island. The Hai Tang Pagoda in particular is interesting because there are no monks living in it. Instead, an old couple named Le Mai and Ly Thi Thanh made it their home and earn a living by making medicines from herbs. Visitors to the pagoda will be treated to a cup of tea made from forest leaves. For those who love the outdoors, Cu Lao Cham also has spectacular caves, streams and islets.

There is also a fishing village wherein visitors can watch women weaving hammocks made from the bark of plane trees. This is a special tradition within the island because each hammock takes about three months to make, a pure labour of passion. A hammock can sell at VND1.2 million ($53.6).

Since it is an island, its beaches are naturally one, if not the best, part of Cu Lao Cham. Chong is the most popular one because of its colourful coral reefs schools of fish and starfishes, and magnificent rocks placed on top of the other. Fresh seafood is guaranteed every day and restaurants are also available to serve delicious meals to their guests all the time.



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