Rugged, lush, wildly beautiful – these words pop into your head as you stand atop the pass that cuts through the middle of Hon Son Island. The scope and details of the vista take a moment to sink in: your eye will follow as a carpet of thick impenetrable greenery sweeps down to bright blue water and a coast strewn with dramatic boulders and languid palms. As if this description was not fantastical enough, Hon Son is connected to the mainland by a one and a half hour fast ferry, yet few foreigners venture there.
The little known Nam Du archipelago (pronounced “nam yu”) is 21 islands and islets off the southwest coast of Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand. A few of the islands, like Nam Du, are large enough to be inhabited, colourful fishing boats and gritty fishing villages clustered along its crust, while tiny islets like hon Do Nai are no more than a bump of rock drowning in ocean. Three of the islands – Hon Tre, Hon Son and Nam Du – are connected to provincial capital city Rach Gia by Superdong fast ferry. Hon Son, officially called Lai Son commune and sometimes known as Son Rai or Rai Island, is the second ferry stop.
Word has started to spread in Vietnamese media and the islands do attract a handful of domestic tourists but the majority head to Nam Du, part of the cluster of 19 islands another 40 minutes further. Ironically, Hon Son is closer to the mainland yet at times it feels even more low-key than Nam Du. We highly recommend you visit both.
Like Nam Du, Hon Son is relatively poor and developing; the primary industry is fishing, tourism is in its infancy. But good news for independent travellers, recently a few purpose built guesthouses have appeared, including two on ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 500 words.)
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