visiting nam du and hon son islands vietnam

Searching for Vietnam’s paradise islands? Hon Son and Nam Du islands in the Mekong Delta are for you! This guide shares everything you need to know for planning a trip to these untouched islands.

Nam Du and Hon Son are some of Vietnam’s best-kept secrets. Located off the southern tip of Vietnam, these tropical islands only recently opened to foreign travellers and embody paradise, with clear blue waters and palm-lined beaches. If you’re looking to get off the beaten path and soak up the sun with a side of snorkelling, then these islands are perfect for you. This guide shares how to visit Nam Du and Hon Son islands in Vietnam.

beach beaches in vietnam nam du and hon son islands travel guide mekong delta things to do where to stay

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Where are Nam Du and Hon Son Islands

Nam Du and Hon Son are some of the smallest tropical islands to visit in Vietnam. Located 90km off the coast, south of the larger and more commonly visited island of Phu Quoc lies the Nam Du archipelago including the islands of Nam Du, Hon Son and more.

The islands are similar in some aspects but I do recommend spending 24 hours on each to get the full experience. As Nam Du is further afield, I suggest starting there and then travelling back to the mainland with a 24-hour stay on Hon Son.

The best time of year to visit

Nam Du and Hon Son are best visited during the southern dry season (Dec-May) to ensure you are treated to blue skies and turquoise waters. The ferries are sometimes shut down due to heavy rain and/or strong winds during the wet season so travelling in the dry season is optimal for your trip to go ahead without issue.

Getting to Nam Du and Hon Son islands

To get to Nam Du and Hon Son, you will first need to get to the southern city of Rach Gia. Rach Gia is a harbour town located at the base of the Mekong Delta, from where ferries run to the islands.

Getting to Rach Gia

The bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Rach Gia takes about 6 hours and is operated by Futa, one of the most reliable bus companies in Vietnam (you can book on Bao Lau* or Vexere). They have a number of sleeper bus options, which I would recommend to enable you to catch the morning ferry.

⏰ 6hrs
💰 180k – 370k

Where to stay in Rach Gia

The ferries don’t start until 6am so depending on your arrival time, it would be wise to book some accommodation* for your arrival in Rach Gia. We drove to Rach Gia by motorbike as part of our 10-day Mekong Delta Road Trip and so spent the night there. We stayed at Stay Hostel 2* which was super clean and just around the corner from the ferry terminal, making it perfect for catching the early morning ferry.

There is also long-stay motorbike parking at the ferry terminal if you also opt to drive to Rach Gia yourself. We did see the option to transport the motorbike on the ferry, but as we were only visiting each island for 24 hours it was simpler and cheaper to just rent a ride there.

Getting the ferry to Nam Du and Hon Son islands

The ferry to Nam Du runs in the morning and afternoon, and you can buy tickets online via Bao Lao*. Alternatively, you can visit the ticket office at the harbour and buy tickets in person. However, you do risk the upcoming ferries being sold out so I recommend buying in advance.

rach gia ferry to nam du and hon son island how to get there mekong delta travel guide vietnam

While it was calm when we travelled in December, it can be a rocky journey when the seas are more turbulent. Regardless, I recommend taking some motion sickness pills before.

For the short ride between Nam Du and Hon Son, you will need to book your ticket in person at the ferry port on the islands as you cannot purchase tickets online for this route.

Rach Gia Ferry Terminal 📍 Bến tàu Vịnh Mốc, Vĩnh Thanh, Kế Sách, Sóc Trăng
⏰ 2hr 45 from Rach Gia to Nam Du, 45mins from Nam Du to Hon Son, 1hr 30 from Hon Son to Rach Gia
💰 200k from Rach Gia to Nam Du, 70k from Nam Du to Hon Son, 130k from Hon Son to Rach Gia

Visiting Nam Du and Hon Son

Visiting Nam Du and Hon Son was the perfect disconnect from the bustle of the mainland, and the paradise beaches are easily the best we’ve seen in Vietnam. The cherry on top for us was how quiet and relatively unknown the islands are, especially to foreigners visiting Vietnam, so you’re almost guaranteed to have the beaches to yourself.

Nam Du Island

Nam Du island might be my favourite of the islands as it’s still very rustic, and undeveloped with a single-track loop you can drive, generators powering the island and a central village near the harbour. It makes up for the lack of development with secluded bays and quiet viewpoints.

Things to do on Nam Du island

The island is tiny, so 24 hours is enough time to see and do everything there is; mostly relaxing at idyllic beaches like Bai Cay Men where you can sip coconuts and swim without the presence of resorts or many other tourists.

Rent a motorbike and drive a loop around the island. It only takes about 30 minutes to circle the island, but along the way you can find different beaches to swim at, traditional fishing villages and viewpoints over the cliffs (Bãi Ngự viewpoint has a great view over the fishing boats in the bay).

Be sure to book a snorkelling trip, there are daily boats that take you to the even smaller islands in the Nam Du archipelago where you can go snorkelling and get fresh seafood lunch. This is where we saw the best beaches of our entire island hopping trip to Nam Du and Hon Son!

visiting hon son island mekong delta vietnam travel guide things to do where to stay

Where to stay on Nam Du Island

We had originally planned to stay at one of the few resorts on the island but quickly changed our plans; after years closed due to COVID, the properties are a bit worse for wear and need some investment to bring them back to life. That said, they might have improved since we visited so check out the recent reviews and judge for yourself.

We stayed in the harbour village at Nhà nghỉ Sáu Có homestay (their website is in Vietnamese but we just texted them on Zalo to book). There are also a few options on* though not many so if you don’t see any available try messaging some of the homestays you see on Google Maps.

Nhà nghỉ Sáu Có 📍 350k a night

Hon Son Island

Hon Son is slightly larger than Nam Du, and as it is closer to the mainland it has more developed infrastructure with wider roads, electricity supplied via pylons and more options for places to stay.

Things to do on Hon Son island

On Hon Son I recommend renting a motorbike, so you can drive a loop around the island and explore the various beaches, fishing villages and viewpoints. We loved Coconut beach (Beach Cay Dua) on the east of the island, where you’ll find resorts selling food and palm trees overhanging the ocean.

Another area we enjoyed was the southwest of the island, where there are rocky bays you can hang out, do some snorkelling and grab a sunset drink at one of the local bars (like 2Sun Beer or Quán Nhà An).

visiting hon son island mekong delta vietnam travel guide things to do where to stay

Where to stay on Hon Son Island

We chose to stay in the harbour town of Lai Son and rented a motorbike from our accommodation to travel to the various beaches on the island. We stayed at Nhà Nghỉ Gia An homestay which was clean and a short walk from the ferry port, with various food options nearby and motorbike rentals available. They aren’t on any booking platform, and we just found them on google and sent them a message on Zalo to book (when we visited there weren’t many options for booking online).

The other side of the island has a couple of beachside resorts. While their location is beautiful, you will need to book them via Zalo or phone call as they don’t seem to have websites. As they are a bit further from the harbour, be sure to organise pick up to the resort and consider that you might be limited to eating at the resort if you don’t rent a motorbike to explore the rest of the island.

There you have it – how to visit the paradise islands of Nam Du and Hon Son in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta! Some of the last untouched islands you’ll find in South East Asia.

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how to visit nam du and hon son islands vietnam mekong delta travel guide paradise beaches
how to visit nam du and hon son islands vietnam mekong delta travel guide paradise beaches

Planning a Trip to the Mekong Delta?

For more information on planning a trip to the Mekong Delta, and other destinations in Vietnam, be sure to check out my Ultimate Vietnam Travel Guide which includes everything you need to know for travelling around the country.

✍️ A Quick Guide to the Mekong Delta
✍️ Ultimate 10-Day Mekong Delta Itinerary
✍️ Visiting Tra Su Cajuput Forest in Chau Doc

Meet Frances; Scottish lass turned Vietnam expat, and creator of this space. She can be found sippin’ ice tea’s and writing about her adventures from her sunny base of Saigon, Vietnam’s southern metropolis. All with a healthy side of researching her next road trip. With 5 years of living, travelling and scooting around Asia under her belt – let Frances be your guide to travelling the region.

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