1. May 2018. Sleepy Bai Huong Village is one of four hamlets open to receiving travellers on Vietnam’s gorgeous Cham Island (Hon Lao). I got here via speedboat from Hoi An Harbour, which made light albeit choppy work of the nine nautical miles between island and mainland. A poky ferry, packed full of locals, boxes, crates, chickens, disgruntled tourists and everything else in between, can also be taken for those looking to save a few pennies.
2. May 2018. Home to a cluster of sleepy homestays, Bai Huong is the neighbourhood of choice if you’re looking to really put your feet up and enjoy an authentic slice of local life. Be warned though, it doesn’t have much of a beach! For that you’ll need to work your way across the island to a number of stunning spots. On my first day in Huong Village I took a walk up to the small, pretty Buddhist shrine. From there I spied a winding stone path that soon fizzled out into a collection of ascending boulders. So I began climbing them to see where they led, sandwiching myself between thick jungle and a sharp drop down to sea.
3. May 2018. I had imagined the rocks might lead to a beach of some kind but it was just rocks, rocks, rocks. At some point a little voice popped into my head telling me I should probably turn back. After all, I’d been clambering for about half an hour in my slippery sandals and there was no end in sight. But for reasons still unknown to me I decided to push on to see what would materialize.
4. May 2018. I was negotiating another tricky gap between the boulders when I spotted an orange form bobbing around in the sea close to the rocks. Stopping for a minute to watch as it slowly came closer, I actually laughed out loud when I realized it was a local man in a life jacket who’d been out swimming. Grabbing hold of one of the rocks, he hauled himself up and, slab by slab, hopped across to me with a wide grin. He didn’t speak a word of English so we just stood looking at each other for a bit and then gazing out to sea. And then he began motioning back to the village, then to the rocky way ahead and shrugging theatrically. It seemed he was putting the ball firmly in my court. Do we go back? Or push on ahead?
5. May 2018. We battled on for another forty minutes. The rocks were getting more jagged, the way steeper and steeper, the gaps between the boulders wider and wider. On two or three occasions we lugged each other up sections of the rock that we simply wouldn’t have been able to do alone. And then finally we were beaten as the way forward came to an abrupt end with a solid five-meter drop. So we sat down to get our breath back, both of us laughing like loons. Finally, with no other alternative, we began the slow, arduous ramble back to the village.
For more on my adventures here, check out my other articles from all over Cham Island.
I’ve also written many more pieces from across Vietnam.