Photo: Nam Du isn't all that busy.

Nam Du islands boat trip

Our rating:

A boat trip is one of the highlights of Nam Du and now that the islands are starting to see a small number of Vietnamese tourists, a few boats offer public trips and the shared experience means it’s affordable.

Shore-ly a good sign.

Shore-ly a good sign.

Your guesthouse can check if there’s a boat trip that day. For example, we arrived off the Superdong ferry at 10:30, got into Phong Vu by 11:00 and they made some calls. Phong Vu then shuttled us back to the pier so we could join a trip departing at 12:00 with tour boat company Duy Tan (T: (093) 918 281; (0944) 899 122). The boat was large, comfortably fitting just over a dozen other passengers. It also had an upper sun deck. The cost was 200,000 dong per person.

“I’ll buy…that one.”

We headed southeast, passing inhabited islands like Hon Ngang, with colourful fishing boats and row of homes along its crust, and tiny islets like Hon Do Nai, no more than a bump of rock drowning in blue. The final destination was the southern most island Hon Mau, home to one spectacular beach.



The unfortunate part about Hon Mau was arriving to a shore heaped with rubbish. Only a few people inhabit the island and while tourism is increasing, there is obviously still no formal way for them to deal with garbage so it is all dumped here. Hopefully someone will realise that this problem affects tourism potential and something appropriate will be done to manage waste. Hope dies last.

The east coast of the island holds the star attraction, and yes, this beach is kept clean. White sand, turquoise water and a rocky, palm fringed landscape – it’s a scene that wouldn’t be out of place in the Caribbean or Indian Ocean.

Next stop, paradise.

Next stop, paradise.

The seafood experience, however, is distinctly Vietnamese. The tanks held enormous crabs (250,000 dong per kilo) and slipper lobsters (300,000 dong per kilo), which are essentially giant meaty lobster tails. Under the shade of a reed hut, we dug into an amazing heap of seafood and washed it down with fresh young coconut water. It’s a low-key, feet-in-the-sand experience and after you’ve finished conquering the king crabs, one can rinse off with a relaxing swim or take a nap in the hammock.

“Holy crustacean Batman!”

At 15:00 we left Hon Mau for Hon Bo Dap and anchored in a cove off the eastern shore for snorkelling. The cheap eye masks were only useful for a peek and watching two dozen people trampling on already damaged coral reef was disheartening, so we spent the hour diving off the top of the boat and swimming around before collapsing in a chair on the sun deck. By 17:00 we were back at Nam Du.

Another boat company is Huynh Hua. Call T: (091) 911 5543 or visit their guesthouse in the village. If money is not an issue, you can hire a boat privately. We were quoted 3,000,000 dong. It seems a bit steep to us but they are large boats designed for groups. A smaller boat should be cheaper — ask around.


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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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