visiting nam du and hon son islands vietnam

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. Both islands are tiny, with little more than a small harbour and a single track road that loops the island. What Nam Du and Hon Son lack in infrastructure they more than makeup for in secluded bays. 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

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Where are Nam Du and Hon Son

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.

How to Visit Nam Du and Hon Son

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 of Phu Quoc, Hon Son and Nam Du.

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

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. I can’t recall the price of parking but it was not expensive.

Getting to the 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 vietnamWhile 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 Island

Nam Du island might be my favourite as it’s still very rustic, with generators powering the island. It 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. 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.

how to visit nam du paradise island vietnam

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

Visiting 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. Check out the beaches around the island, stop for more fresh seafood and explore the local villages on the island.

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.

Planning a trip to the Mekong Delta

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. Island hopping between Nam Du and Hon Son was a great way to end our trip to the Mekong Delta.

For details on places to see in the Mekong Delta, as well as recommendations on where to sleep and eat, check out the following guides:

✍️ A Quick Guide to the Mekong Delta
✍️ 3 Day Road Trip in the Mekong
✍️ 10 Day Mekong Delta Itinerary

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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