If you wholeheartedly long for a kickback vacation, swinging toing and froing on a hammock by the seashore, but then the thought of tourist masses put you off time after time then make your way to Nam Du Island right away. An archipelago which remains barely untouched is beyond perfect escapism from the bustling city life.
It’s best to visit Nam Du Island during the dry season
The two main seasons in Nam Du Island are the dry season (December to March) and the rainy season (April to November). Obviously, the dry season is much more favorable for exploration and a whole lot of other activities. You can also visit Nam Du Island in the rainy season but the tropical rains might put off the fun, and there’s a great chance that you have to cancel your trip if there is a big storm coming.
Nam Du Island is 83 km (52 miles) from Rach Gia City, Kien Giang Province and is reachable by boats only. Therefore, you must hop on a bus from Ho Chi Minh to arrive at Rach Gia and then take a speedboat or a ferry to travel to the Nam Du Island.
A bus ticket to Rach Gia at Mien Tay Bus Station will cost around VND 150, 000 - VND 170, 000 (US$ 7 - US$ 8). A round-trip ticket for sleeper buses costs around VND 300, 000 (~ US$ 13) and a few brands you can choose from are Phuong Trang Bus Line and Kumho Samco, etc. We recommend taking a night bus at 11 PM if possible so that you can arrive at Rach Gia at around 6 AM.
Read more about buses in Saigon.
Take a bus to get to Rach Gia
Boats to travel from Rach Gia to Nam Du Island:
Superdong boat express:
Departure time: 7:20 AM and 8:45 AM at Rach Gia harbor.
Duration: 2 hours.
Price: VND 210, 000/pax (~ US$ 9)
More details: Click here
Ngoc Thanh Express:
Departure time: 7:30 AM at Rach Gia harbor.
Duration: 2 hours and 30 mins.
Price: VND 205, 000 (~US$ 9)
More details: Click here
Find your tickets to Nam Du here
By Boat: Go island-hopping in Nam Du Island by renting a private boat or joining a group. You can find a boat at your homestay or from a local operator which costs from one million VND - 1,800,000 VND (~ US$ 43 - US$ 77) if you’re traveling in a group.
Find a boat to travel around Nam Du Island
By motorbike: Most of the motels or guesthouses offer motorbike rentals at around VND 130, 000 - VND 230, 000 per day (~ US$ 6 - US$ 10), depending on the make of the bike. Be careful not to stay out too late after the sunset if you’re on the mountain, as the island is literally “off the grid” and there won’t be any street lamps.
Pro-tip: Don’t be afraid to negotiate and make bargains for the rental charge to receive the best price possible.
Don’t bother looking for a fancy hotel or resort at Nam Du Island because there are mostly basic motels and guesthouses. You can also choose a homestay with the local or find a camping site.
Huynh Hua Guesthouse:
Address: 56 Cu Tron Hamlet, Nam Du Island.
Price range: US$ 10 - US$ 20
Address: 11, An Phu Hamlet, Nam Du Island.
Price range: ~ US$10
Phong Vu guesthouse
Thuy Kiep Motel:
Address: An Son Village, Kien Giang Province.
Price range: ~ US$ 10
Nam Du Motel:
Address: Bai Chet, Hon Lon Island.
Price range: ~ US$10 - US$20
Thao Thuong Camp:
Address: Nam Du Island, Kien Giang Province.
Price range: ~ US$10 - US$40
The colorful Thao Thuong Camp
Humiso Nam Du:
Address: Ba Mui, An Son, Kien Giang Province
Price range: ~US$20
Humiso Nam Du
Book your next stay in Nam Du Island on Agoda
Nam Du Island is an archipelago made up of over 30 islets and each of which has a distinct character with pristine beaches and rugged beauty.
Hon Lon Island (Big Island):
Hon Lon Island, or locally known as Cu Tron Islet, is the biggest island and where you can find most of the necessities in Nam Du Island: accommodations, restaurants, transportations, WiFi connection, etc. The most charming of all are the stunning beaches with crystal clear water, white sand, and ranges of palms and coconut trees, namely Bai Ngu, Bai Chet, and Bai Co.
Hon Lon Island
Hon Dau Island:
The majority of the terrain is verdant forest and coconut gardens, rustling beside a calm beach. Hon Dau is the definition of a summer paradise, where you can enjoy the sunlight and sea breezes brushing on your skin.
Hon Ngang Island:
Contrary to the tranquil and relaxing beaches that you would expect, Hon Ngang Island is a fishing village that is inundated by fishing boats and fish farms. There is no transportation on the island, but it is not a bad idea to wander around and look for some photo opportunities.
Hon Ngang Island
Arguably the most beautiful beach in Nam Du Island, Chuong Beach possesses a dreamy landscape with shallow turquoise water and fresh white sand. If you adore the magnificent beaches of Phu Quoc, then this is a less touristy destination where you can finally enjoy yourself.
Hai Bo Dap Island:
The name comes from its unique feature: the island is made up of two small islets connected by a natural rock bridge. This is a famous destination where visitors can go for a swim or snorkel to admire the coral reefs.
Hai Bo Dap Island
Nam Du Lighthouse:
The bad news is, it is not an actual lighthouse but instead just a “house”. The good news is, the location, which is 300 meters above sea level, provides a panoramic view of the entire Nam Du Island. This explains why Nam Du is one of the islands worthy of a visit in Vietnam.
Nam Du Lighthouse
Nam Du Island is considered "off-the-grid" because it only recently gained access to the national electrical grid, and there is still not much WiFi service available. However, it is good to be cut off from civilization for a while and to fully emerge in the experiences that Nam Du Island has to offer.
Hiking and Trekking:
Nam Du Islands does not have trekking trails, but there is still a lovely trail leading to Hon Nhum Beach (a lovely beach in the north of Hon Lon Island) for adventurers to discover. The small trail passes by a freshwater area and then a dense forest until eventually reaches the rocky beach of Hon Nhum.
Trekking in Nam Du Island
The sea water in Nam Du Island is so crystal clear that you might catch sights of some sea creatures, which constantly urges your adventure spirit to observe up close the marine life. You may leave your phone at home but definitely, don’t forget to pack your swimsuits and a pair of snorkeling goggles.
Snorkeling in Nam Du
If you visit Nam Du Island without joining an island-hopping journey - what are you doing? All of the gems of Nam Du lie in the distinct charm of every of the island. You can even go for a swim or even snorkeling at the stops on your island-hopping adventure.
You can surely expect a lot of seafood not only freshly caught from the sea but also sold at a very reasonable price.
Sea Urchin (Nhum):
Sea Urchin has an oddly terrifying look but tastes just like butter on your tongues. This precious gift from the sea is either grill on burning charcoal or made into a mouth-watering soup.
Grilled sea urchins
Garfish (Ca xuong xanh):
Garfish is a specialty in Nam Du Island. One version of the dish is to wrap the fish in banana leaves and grill in firing woods. Another way is that, since the fish is abundant on the island, it is usually seasoned and then dried in the sun before being fried.
Rock oysters (Hau da):
Oysters are usually grilled with scallops and garlic, but the true seafood guru will know oysters taste best when consumed fresh with some freshly squeezed lemon, pepper, and salt. Eating oysters while feeling the sea breeze blowing on your skin is the best life you can ask for.
Giant clam (Oc tai tuong):
The clam is not only big on the look but also big on the taste. The giant clam is not chewy as you would expect but crunchy and a bit spicy. Try giant clam fried with butter, and all your life purposes are fulfilled.
The enormous clam
Flower crabs (Ghe):
A basic food whenever you visit any marine communes, but a trip to the sea would never be completed without some boiled crabs. If you don’t feel like buying crabs in the fish market, you can ask a local fisherman to dive into the water and catch some for you.
Mouth-watering boiled crab
Nam Du Island is a truly rural area where islands are either barely untouched or inhabited. As a result, there is hidden “treasure” waiting to be discovered. Foreign visitors used to be refused access to Nam Du Island, but now, as the country wants to promote the country’s tourism, you can freely visit this summer paradise. Therefore, remember to bring your passport and visa.
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© Written by Kim Hoang for itourvn.com
very interesting! i´m traveling with six people and we are looking for a good place to stay. can you recommend a place? are there any places with a website or facebook for making a reservation? i dont speak viatnamese at all so i dont know how to make it by phone :-D thank you