HomeBlogs Galang Island: the Vietnamese Safe Haven In the 1980’s, Galang Island suddenly became famous. This island was a
topic of discussion in the United Nations since it became home to
thousands of Vietnamese boat people, refugees who left their country
following the Vietnam War. They came here by boat in alarming
conditions. 40 to 100 refugees travelled cramped into one small boat.
They floated for months in the South China Sea without any clear
destination. Many died in mid ocean, but others managed to reach
Indonesian territory including Galang Island, Tanjung Pinang, and
nearby other islands. The United Nations and the Indonesian Government
made Galang a temporary safe haven before refugees were processed for
ssettling in other countries. Many Vietnamese in America, Europe and
Australia, still keep grateful memories of the time when they finally
found some peace on this pretty island, with its white sand beaches.
were built houses of worship, a school for their children and a
cemetery to bury the dead. At present, this ex-refugee camp is a
tourist site. By visiting this camp, visitors are brought back to
the past tragedy, when thousands of Vietnamese left their home country
to seek protection elsehwere. Visitors can see a church and a temple
built during that era, which are still well-maintained and can be used
On Galang visit the Vietnam Village, site of the
former refugee camp of the Vietnamese Boat People Village who arrived
here between 1976 and 1996. See an exact replica of one of the small
boats used in 1975 by hundreds of Vietnamese refugees to cross the seas
to escape a homeland fraught by civil war. The Quan An Tu Monastery,
built in 1984, is the island’s most visited attraction.
To Do By
visiting this camp, visitors are brought back to the past tragedy,
when hundreds of thousands of people left their country for protection.
Visitors can see worship places built during that era, which are still
well-maintained and can be used by tourists.
Getting Around You
will get a clear explanation about the daily life of the refugees by
visiting a building previously used as a UNHCR office. In this
building, you can see pictures of thousands of refugees who once lived
on the island. You can also see pictures of incidences incured by the
Vietnamese during their time here. This building is now used as a
reception office and information center for visitors.
Getting There To
reach this island, take a ferry to any of the Batam’s six ferry
terminals. Batam’s Hang Nadim airport serves domestic flights from many
cities in Indonesia. See: To get there for Batam island. The Vietnam
refugee camp is located in Sijantung village on Galang Island some 50
kilometers from Batam Center.