A breathtaking cluster of granite islands, set in aquamarine seas, around 15km directly offshore from Hoi An, the Cham Islands make a wonderful excursion. Until very recently they were closed to visitors and under close military supervision, but it’s now possible to visit as a day trip, dive or snorkel the reefs, or stay overnight.
Cua Dai Beach
Heading east of Hoi An, you cruise through paddy fields and follow the meandering riverbank for 5km or so before hitting glorious golden sandy beaches. This palm-fringed coastline heads north all the way up to Danang, and, if you choose your spot carefully, there are still some wonderful undeveloped stretches.
This small village has long been known for its pottery industry. Most villagers have gradually switched from making bricks and tiles to making pots and souvenirs for the tourist trade. The artisans employed in this hot, sweaty and painstaking work don’t mind if you come for a gander and a chat, though they’re happier if you buy something.
Cam Kim Island
The master woodcarvers, who in previous centuries produced the intricate detail that graced the homes of Hoi An’s merchants and the town’s public buildings, came from Kim Bong village on Cam Kim Island. Most of the woodcarvings on sale in Hoi An are produced here. Boats to the island leave from the boat landing at Ð Bach Dang in Hoi An (20,000d, 30 minutes).