Cu Lao Cau Island in Phan Thiet, Mui Ne

What to See & Do in Cu Lao Cau island

Rachel Tran
Rachel Tran | Published: January 10, 2020

Located in Binh Thuan province – a southeast province being prosperous with a variety of natural resources and stunning sceneries, Cu Lao Cau Island, 7 sea miles counting from the wharf, 1,500m in its length, has respectively small area yet still preserves its primeval beauty since it roots. 

Cu Lao Cau Island or “Hon Ran” (Snake Islet) as people commonly call it for its literal meaning as a full-of-snake island, forming like a huge battleship anchoring alongside the coast with its prow heading to the South. Pilgrims who come near to Cu Lao Cau Island will immediately be impressed by its charmingly peaceful appearance.

Feel like finding out the reasons why Cu Lao Cau Island attracts myriad travel lovers annually? Let the following article tell you all the details.

    Location: 110km in the north-east of Phan Thiet, Binh Thuan province
    Length: 1,500m
    Opening hours: 24/7
    Entrance fee: Free, but have to ask for permission from border guards before setting foot on the island

Best Time to Visit Cu Lao Cau Island

Residents here said that this island is filled with fierce sea-breeze and scorching sun at all times due to its geographical position. Thus, there were not many visitors and inhabitants but the military force in the past though this helped the island remain intact and preserve its original form since then.

Best time to visit Cu Lao Cau island
Photo: muinevictory.com

Naturally, under the influence of two wind trends, the weather on Cu Lao Cau Island is distinguished by two distinct seasons which are the south and the north wind season. Comparing between the two seasons, we recommend you to come to Cu Lao Cau in the south wind season from January to June of the calendar month since it’s the calmest time of the island in the year. 

The other season is dry, tropical storms befall once in a while so it’s not safe to sail the sea to the island in this weather.

However, if you can spare time going to Cu Lao Cau Island in the middle of spring when the sky turns serene blue and the ocean exceptionally reveals its tranquil form, travelers can see endless coral lines as well as colorful shells while slowly inhaling beautiful scents of white sand. It’s such an ideal time for a sightseeing trip for tourists.

What is more, on the 15th-16th of Lunar April month in Nam Hai Temple (a shrine worship Nam Hai – the sea deity), a festival is celebrated. It is traditionally believed that this deity saved many lives of drowning fishermen, blessing them with abundant sea creatures every time they set sail. Therefore, this is a favorable time for those who have religious beliefs and value spiritual rites to enjoy the festival.

What to Do and See in Cu Lao Cau Island

If you have had such hectic time and want to escape from a bunch of tasks, deadlines, and crowded cities, let the nice weather and opulent vegetation on Cu Lao Cau Island take away all your strains and anxieties. This destination welcome all kind of visitors at every level of ages, provide them with plenty of wonders given by Mother Nature. 

1. Enjoy the beach

Enjoy the beach at Cu Lao Cau

Not only does Cu Lao Cau possess the beauty from the synchronization in the color of white sand and sparkling blue seawater on beaches but it is also the rocky outcrops and cliff blocks in different shapes and sizes that feature its undeniable attraction. Due to the weathering and decay caused by harsh weather conditions and time, these rocks seem to be naturally carved into peculiar contours that would definitely render someone speechless the first time they see them. 

Cu Lao Cau Island is a small island so it’d be more exciting to have a stroll along the coast. The color of seawater shifts continuously depending on the sun. In the afternoon when the tides go down, sightseers will get to contemplate fringing coral reefs and various kinds of sea creatures emerge from lower banks of the beach. 

Spending a night on the beach will be an unforgettable memory for those who love completely dwelling themselves into nature. Since this place is even more unobtrusive at night, under the starry sky, you can hear nothing but the sound of the harmony between wind and waves. There is also platoon patrolling at night so the safety of visitors is absolutely secured.

2. Go Fishing or Diving

Go Fishing and Diving
Photo: theculturetrip.com

Having a diversified ecosystem, Cu Lao Cau Island is an ideal habitat for many sea creatures such as sea snail. Catching sea snails is an interesting experience that any tourist should try. 

It’d be wise to bring along a fishing rod, some preys, and picnic facilities when you stop at the island’s wharf, fishing and cooking fresh seafood while having a good time enjoying the meal with your partners under nature’s cover.

Other than that, instead of catching fishes, you may try to dive into the clear water and witness the life of coral reefs and other aquatic species from a safe distance. In case you do not own any specific equipment for diving, before getting to the island, pause in Vinh Tan Commune and ask for a tourist company that have the hire of a diving-tour for 200$ per trip. The trip includes both necessary garments for diving and a cruise trip for sightseeing.

3. Visiting Attractions on Cu Lao Cau Island

Visiting Attractions on Cu Lao Cau Island

What else to see when there’s barely anything but nature on Cu Lao Cau Island? Check out the list below with famous place-names if you are still wondering what to do next after checking in with endless seashore, hills, and countless rocks around the island.

  • Nam Hai Temple (Đền thờ thần Nam Hải): The exact information of whom and how this temple was built still remain unexplained, yet its custom and traditions of the deity continue to be honored and transferred to later generations.
  • Yen cave (Hang Yến): The habitant of hundreds of salangane. Because of the egg over-exploitation from previous residents, the government has decided to strictly restrict the human’s impacts on them, resulting in the constant growth in their number.
  • Ba Hon cave (hang Ba Hòn): Situated right next to Yen cave, Ba Hon cave is uniquely shaped by three large stone blocks. Many visitors could not help but pause for a while and take photos to save for their best moments.

How to Get to Cu Lao Cau Island

After getting to Tuy Phong District, Phan Thiet City, in order to sail to Cu Lao Cau, you have to set sail from specific sites. There are some possible options for travelers to choose from: 

  • Ca Na port (Cảng cá Cà Ná): It takes about 80 minutes to get on the island. This port owns many good service sectors and a huge parking spot. 
  • Phuoc The port (Cảng cá Phước Thể): You should ask the fishermen to go along with them on their fishing boat, or take cargo-boat instead. The total amount of time it takes is about 30 minutes.
  • Lien Huong District’s wharf: In Lien Huong Wharf, visitors can consider buying a round-trip ticket with the reasonable price is 250,000 VND / person to take a big canoe of the Marine Conservation Center. 

Tips on Visiting Cu Lao Cau Island

  • Before deciding to set off, remember to contact the island’s residents or the ship’s manager to ask for the current weather condition. If it’s a stormy day then it’s not safe to navigate, better delay your trips and wait for sunny weather to set sail.
  • Bring along some life-jackets in case you have to move continuously in different places by boats, canoes and even basket boats on the ocean to get to the expected sites.
  • If you plan on stay on the island for one night, ask for permission from the border guards first. They are very kind so there’s no need to worry that you won’t get allow.
  • As wild as the island is, watch out for poisonous snakes hidden in bushes. At night, set camp at open space and put up some fire before going to sleep to prevent their approach.
  • Do not leave the island without cleaning up your former staying-place where you had camped. 

Cu Lao Cau is indeed not big but this destination is suitable for adventurers who love exploring new lands as well as wallowing in nature. Make sure to add this fascinating location to your itinerary and share with us your comments and experiences.

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