1. May 2018. It had taken me a good chunk of the day to get to Bai Ong Beach, but at last I’d finally arrived! First I’d taken a twenty minute motorbike ride from Bai Huong Village to Bai Xep Beach. After a short while there I strolled through Bai Lang Village, hiding from the sun under the leafy branches of Hanh Phuong Restaurant with a succession of cold drinks. Then it was another half an hour on foot around the winding mountain road. At first glance Bai Ong looked gorgeous and for the first time on Cham Island I spied a smatter of tourist activity, with umbrellas, deckchairs, tents and a café shack set among the trees in the shade.
2. May 2018. You can get from one side of Bai Ong to the other in about ten minutes and as I progressed I was dismayed to see a graveyard of plastic strewn across the sands. I haven’t had much experience with polluted beaches, so I felt appalled to say the least. Grabbing a plastic basket from the café, I decided to see how much of it I could clean up before tiring out. As I went about my business several Vietnamese tourists approached me to take my photo with an encouraging “very good!”Nobody offered to help.
3. May 2018. It took me about an hour to completely clear the beach. In the middle of it all one of the café boys came over to tell me I should take the loads I’d gathered over to a recycling station a few hundred meters away. I politely but firmly told him that he could do that himself!
4. May 2018. I can’t pretend it wasn’t hugely satisfying to drop myself under a palm tree and gaze out over the now pristine sands of Bai Ong as the sun melted into the horizon. The perfect time I figured for a dip in the sea!
5. May 2018. Along with Bai Chong Beach, Bai Ong is one of Cham Island’s two most beautiful sands. I’d read that there’s an entrance fee of 30.000VND (£3.40/€3.80/$4.40), but I didn’t see any such system in place and indeed nobody approached me during my visit. Maybe it was waived due to my beach-cleaning work, I’m not sure.
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.