Photo: Nam Du isn't all that busy.

Introduction

Our rating:

There’s an island in Vietnam where ice arrives daily in great big blocks, a feast of meaty lobsters costs a couple of dollars, the ocean is the colour of hemimorphite gemstones and electricity runs for only a few hours each day. No, this is not “magic realism” born in the pages of a novel; this is Nam Du.



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Important: As of late 2016 we’ve been advised by a traveller that ferry operators in Rach Gia are not currently allowing foreigners to get on a boat to Nam Du without a piece of paper from the local police station authorising a visit. Please check the situation on the ground before planning to head to the island.

The little known Nam Du archipelago (pronounced “nam yu”) is 21 islands and islets in the Gulf of Thailand off the southwest coast of Vietnam. The main cluster of 19 islands lies 52 nautical miles from Rach Gia, the capital of the Mekong Delta province Kien Giang. A few of the islands, like main island Nam Du, are large enough to be inhabited, with colourful fishing boats and gritty villages clustered along its crust, while tiny islets like hon Do Nai are no more than a bump of rock drowning in ocean.

The beaches on Nam Du are not too crowded. Photo taken in or around Nam Du, Vietnam by Cindy Fan.

The beaches on Nam Du are not too crowded. Photo: Cindy Fan

As if this tale could not get more fantastical, the three islands of Hon Tre, Hon Son and Nam Du are connected to the mainland by a daily fast ferry – yet few foreigners venture there.

Nam Du (also called Hon Lon – “big island”) is the furthest and final ferry stop, a one-way journey from Rach Gia taking two and a half hours. The primary industry is fishing and up until recently, the only place for visitors to stay was in a room in a local’s home. The island is still relatively poor and developing, and tourism here is very much in its infancy, but recently a few purpose-built guesthouses have appeared, including one right on the water. Word has started to spread in Vietnamese media and the islands do attract a handful of domestic tourists. While you probably won’t be the only traveller, don’t be surprised to find yourself the only foreigner on ... Travelfish members only (Around 700 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Nam Du.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Nam Du.
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