Cu Lao Cau (Cau Islet), just off the coast and about 100 km northeast Phan Thiet city in south-central Binh Thuan province, is a pristine marine creature preservation area largely unknown to tourists, despite the fact it can be seen clearly from National Highway No. 1.

CAO MANH TUAN on May 07,2019 02:23 PM

Despite boasting the magnificent “Seven-Colored rock”, Cu Lao Cau is not a tourism site.

It counts among a dwindling number of untouched wildernesses in Vietnam where tourism services are yet to be introduced.

There are many factors behind the islet remaining untouched. Firstly, preservation officers carefully monitor any visitors, allowing access only to those who love animals and nature. Young people on boisterous trips are stopped in the waters just offshore if they attempt to reach the islet. The sheer inconvenience of reaching Cu Lao Cau also helps keep it pristine, as the nearest point on the mainland is in the middle of nowhere and a boat trip must then be arranged. The main reason, sadly, is that few people are truly interested in preservation tourism.

With a temperate climate, clear blue waters, and white sand beaches, Cu Lao Cau boasts unique natural rock sculptures in various colors and shapes, giving it a touch of the exotic, especially at sunrise and sunset.

In particular, it features stunning coral reefs and turtles - the main target of preservation efforts. Each year some 2,000 to 3,000 baby turtles are born and bravely make their way to the ocean for the first time. Cu Lao Cau is best visited from January to June, when the seas are calm, but if you hope to watch the turtles breeding, June to October is the best time.

There is only one source of fresh water and no residents or signs of modern life on the islet. Those wishing to stay overnight must ask for permission from the preservation officers and prepare their own camp.

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