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The Cham Islands are an archipelago of 8 islands located a few kilometers off Hoi An, on the central coast of Vietnam. Among them, the small uninhabited island of Hon Tai is one of the most popular with snorkeling tours. Crinoids, hard and soft corals, giant clams and starfish can be seen on the reef that fringes the island’s northern shore, which many tropical fish call home.

Soft coral in Hon Tai
Hon Tai reef hosts different types of soft corals.

How to get to Hon Tai snorkeling spot?

To go snorkeling in Hon Tai, you’ll have to book a snorkeling tour with a local operator. While most tours depart from the mainland (mainly from Cửa Đại Beach), it may be worth spending a night or two on Cù Lao Chàm, the largest island in the archipelago, easily reached by ferry from Hoi An.

From there, you’ll fully enjoy the island life and you will easily organize private tours of the surrounding snorkeling spots with local guides.

Hon Tai snorkeling map, Cham Islands

Water entrance for snorkeling Hon Tai

Water entrance is from the boat.

Hon Tai snorkeling exploration tips

Most tours take snorkelers on the reef that borders the northern coast of Hoi Tai. The depth is on average 10ft/3m above the coral, but varies depending on the distance with the island.

Blue sea star in Hon Tai
The blue sea star is a common sighting in the Cham Islands.

The reef is quite damaged but hosts an interesting diversity of organisms, including hard corals (mainly massive coral decorated with Christmas tree worms), leather corals, sea lilies, and giant clams.

The presence of crown-of-thorns sea stars, which feed on coral, probably explains the average health of the reef ecosystem. Blue sea stars are also common at this location.

Oval butterflyfish in Hon Tai
A pair of oval butterflyfish, one of the most common fish species in the archipelago.

A decent diversity of fish can be spotted at reef, including oval butterflyfish, eightband butterflyfish, sergeant majors, two-lined monocle bream and a few small groupers.

Underwater visibility is most of the time decent at this location, but may decrease significantly depending on the weather and currents.

Crown-of-thorn starfish
A crown-of-thorn starfish in Hon Tai shore waters.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

Hon Tai is an uninhabited island, with no facilities. Cù Lao Chàm, a few kilometers north of the island, has a large choice of restaurants and accommodation.


  • Level required Intermediate
  • Maximum depth12ft/4m on the reef
  • Water entranceFrom a boat
  • Visitor numbersLow
  • Access costsCost of a boat snorkeling tour

MAP Spot

These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.