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​Cu Lao Cau, just another Vietnamese island for summer retreat

Sunday, December 31, 2017, 13:58 GMT+7

Those who love indulging themselves in a natural retreat between May and September will find Cu Lao Cau, a secluded island in Binh Thuan Province, located about 300km to the east of Ho Chi Minh City, an ideal destination.

The island nestles in Tuy Phong District, Binh Thuan Province.

With merely 1.5 km in length, this dwarf-sized island stands out in the isolation it offers – indeed visitors will find themselves back to the most natural of settings.

Going to the beach on Cu Lao Cau. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Going to the beach on Cu Lao Cau. Photo: Tuoi Tre

What to expect?

Life on the island depends on the power of the sun, not the electricity so essential to the modern man.

That is not to mention the shortage of fresh and drinking water, the former primarily reserved in large barrels, the latter quite a cause for concern.

Island-goers are strongly advised to bring along extra water supplies, as the only water source traceable here is a Fairy well, which appeals tremendously to hardcore backpackers, but might challenge the unprepared.

A clean beach on Cu Lao Cau. Photo: Tuoi Tre
A clean beach on Cu Lao Cau. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Given the tiny size of the place, strolling along the island is just the right thing any visitor should do.

It takes only two hours to walk from one tip to the other, during which wanderers will get to see lush greenery and rocks of intriguing shapes.

Snorkelers will enjoy themselves admiring the corals underneath.

Swimmers and sun-bathers will love the crystal water and sunshine along the Fairy beach.

The Fairy beach with gorgeous rocks. Photo: Tuoi Tre
The Fairy beach with gorgeous rocks. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Adventurers will be thrilled to venture in the two famous caves: the Sparrow (Hang Yen in the local language), and the Three-Stone (Hang Ba Hon).

Festival-lovers will find the God of the Southern Sea Carnival the right occasion of the year to be.

This takes place on April 15 and 16 of the lunar year, translating to May 29 and 30, 2018.

For food-cravers, specialties of the island will easily have them melted.

Camping is an easy accommodation option on the island. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Camping is an easy accommodation option on the island. Photo: Tuoi Tre

There is the Bosom Snail, a cone-shaped snail resembling a pointed breast, usually grilled with onions.

The red Moon Crab with its peculiar dotted shell patterns is, by sheer look, simply mouth-watering.

The sea urchin, which looks like a marine porcupine, porridge is another must-try for tourists.

Rocks of intriguing shapes. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Rocks of intriguing shapes. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Where to stay and how to get there?

Untouched, the island has been well hiding itself from hospitality.

Hotels, therefore, are all just pie in the sky.

The only accommodation available is the choice of homestay, and there are only two such places!

The island is untouched and appealing to nature lovers. Photo: Tuoi Tre
The island is untouched and appealing to nature lovers. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Visitors might contact either Uncle Tu Huu, or Uncle Ba, who both happen to be the sole restaurant owners here.

Alternatively, they can put up tents in the middle of nowhere, basking themselves in the bright moonlight and waking up to the morning mist.

To get to Cu Lao Cau from Ho Chi Minh City, one can catch a 5-hour bus from Ben Xe Mien Dong (Eastern Bus Station), a major bus station in Binh Thanh District, to Lien Huong Town, Binh Thuan Province.

The fares, as Tuoi Tre News studied on some bus fare websites, range from VND135,000 (US$5.95) to VND170,000 ($7.50).

A perfect retreat! Photo: Tuoi Tre
A perfect retreat! Photo: Tuoi Tre

There are several spots from Lien Huong from which tourists can get to the island, namely the Ca Na fishing port, the Phuoc Te fishing port, or the Lien Huong quay.

Tourists might pick one of the two options below for the 10km boat ride:

Option 1: Buy a two-way ticket from the Song En boat service for VND250,000 ($11). The journey takes roughly 45 minutes.

Option 2: Thumb a free ride with local fishermen. This journey might take 2-3 hours, which offers quite a seafaring experience. 

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