Nam Du islands travel guide

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Nam Du is the most remote archipelago in Kien Hai District (Kien Giang province), which is far about 83 km from Rach Gia city, located in southeast of Phu Quoc island and in the Gulf of Thailand. Nam Du remains its’ wildness, with 21 islands, which are cleverly arranged by Mother of Nature. There is a more than 300 m peak in the largest island, Nam Du. It is nice that chunks of the islands in the archipelago are interwoven, which forms a solid ball in the ocean. The whole archipelago is under the management of An Son and Nam Du Commune. It is currently one of the favorite destinations of young travellers. .


Image copyrights: A number of images whose authors are TranHungLangThang, embebu, youngman242, OsaLam, Phong Trần, Yeu Nhiep Anh, D.Dế, QuocKt, Đá Cuội, Huyen Hoang, Nam Nguyen, nqkhaidl, Cát Cao, lele_dongbang, DiemTrinh2010, soiphieudieu, Đạt Lê, Ngon Blog, and some photographers unknownst to us, are used in this article to help articulate the content. The known and unknown authors reserve copyrights of these images. You can learn more about our copyright policy here.

Introdue about Nam Du island

(Ảnh – OsaLam)

Nam Du has a vague origin of name. Many people believe that Nam Du was named in Gia Long Dynastry while the others think Nam Du is a result of French letter which recorded Southern Islands in Chinese word. According to French map, the island named Puolo Dama, located in longitude 104’22/ East and latitude 42’/North. But Nam Du also is known as Cu Tron means the biggest island in an archipelago.

During a trip to Nam Du, the poet Le Chi wrote:

“Far away island is Cu Tron
Praise the clever who named nicely the island
Pale blue is blured in the mist
The archipelago is as nice as a crowed town”

Following to author Anh Dong’s diary to Nam Du, there is word-of-mouth folk about origin of Cu Tron: “In 1870, after the second fall of Jiading, Lord Nguyen Anh and her follower were pursued aggressively by Xishan then they had to hide in this archipelago. Because of lacking of drinking water, the Lord asked his soldiers to dig a well. Untill now, this well is remained in the northeast of Nam Du. Because of food shortages, the residents guided soldiers to dig a round potato to eat. Until the Lord got his throne (1802), reminding those memories, he named this island as “Cu Tron”. An official from Ngu Quang brought to the decree and gathered the people. He read wrongly but no one was brave enough to fix it.

Please watch a Huy Quach and his friend’s clip of adventure in Nam Du to know the beauty and interesting thing in the island.

[youtube id=”pj4owLNSBkY” align=”center” mode=”normal” autoplay=”no” maxwidth=”680″ grow=”yes”]

Standing on the top of Hon Lon, high above 300m, traveller could see each of small islands which it’s name and location was mentioned in the word- of – mouth fork.

Cu Tron is the largest small island in Nam Du, about 9 km2 and the smallest one is Hon Lo (200m2). The residents live mostly in Cu Tron, Hon Mau and Hon Bo Dap. Each of small islands, beaches and slopes here has its own story. Origin of Bai Chet, for example, according to a folk, there was a fierce battle between Netherland and Chinese businessmen on the trade way to Phu Quoc in the 16th century. A few days after, hundreds of dead bodies drifted into the beach then many people called it Bai Chet. Or by the 18th century, there was a Lord lived in an island and had to eat a kind of potato then this island is called Cu Tron.

When should you travel to Nam Du?

Một góc quần đảo Nam Du (Ảnh – youngman242)
  • You should visit Nam Du in dry season, from December to March every year. The best time for travelling is about January to March. By the time, sea is relatively so quite that the seasick people reduce their discomfort while travelling by ship.
  • The waters in Kien Giang are not directly affected by tropical storm, but rainfall caused by the storms is excessive. The rainy season annually lasts from October to November.

Means of transportation in Nam Du

(Ảnh –

Ship is the only means of transportation to Nam Du. You could choose an appropriate carriers for your conditions. These are some suggestions of high-speed carrier and ship to Nam Du.

Speed carriers to Nam Du

Ngoc Thanh (High-speed carrier)
From Rach Gia to Nam Du
Depart time: 8:15 am in Rach Gia and 0:15 in Nam Du
Time on ship: 2 hours
Contact: 077 3863019 – 0918914188

Song Hong (High- speed ship Helen, Goffrey)
Schedule: Rach Gia- Hon Tre – Hon Son- Nam Du
Depart time: 8:10 am in Rach Gia and 0:10 pm in Nam Du
Time on ship: 2 hours
Contact: 0773814646

Ho Hai (Ordinary Ship)
Schedule: Rach Gia – Nam Du
Depart time: 9:00 am in Rach Gia and 10:00 pm in Nam Du
Time on ship: 5 hours

Hoa Hop (Ordinary ship)
Schedule: Rach Gia- Nam Du
Depart time: 8:00 pm in Rach Gia
Time on ship: 5 hours
Contact: Updating

The carriers and ships to Nam Du often go from Rach Gia City. If you are from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, you could get high- quality bus to Rach Gia city. And then, you continue your trip on ship to Nam Du.

Buses to Rach Gia, Kien Giang

Tàu Nam Du (Ảnh – Phong Vũ)

You should hire a ship in order to explore islands surrounding the Hon Lon and some beautiful scences. There are currently some individuals who charter ships on the island as following list (If you can’t rent a ship, you could go directly to the harbor, looking for any fishing vessel, discuss price and places you would like to go)

Mr Phong Vũ – 0919 138369
Mr Bảy – 0946 654037 hoặc 01692701208
Mr Ngãi – 01636977859
Mrs Tư Thọ – 01664840940
Mr Sáu –  0944 899122
Mr Hai – 0164 7310277

Hotels and hostels in Nam Du

(Ảnh – youngman242)

There are some hostels which opened to serve tourists on the Cu Lon. Therefore, you should contact and make reservation. In case of there is no vacancy, don’t be hesitated to go to Nam Du island then ask home-stay.

Các khách sạn nhà nghỉ tại Nam Du

VIP Huynh Hua Hostel
: No 56 Ap Cu Tron, An Son Commune, Kien Hai District, Kien Giang Province
Telephone number: 0919 115543 – 077 3830709
Air- conditioned room price: 350.000- 450.000 VND
The hostel provides the food and hired bike to go around the island. Especially, they offer air- condition, so don’t be worry in hot days.

Nhà nghỉ Huỳnh Hua
Cung cấp các dịch vụ đi thăm quan đảo

Read more : Hotels and Hostels in Nam Du, Kien Giang

Expected cost for Nam Du trip

The tourist destinations in Nam Du

Hoàng hôn Nam Du (Ảnh – D.Dế)

Cung Phuot introduce some picture of great scenes in Nam Du as your reference.

Nam Du travel maps

Cây Mến beach

Bãi Mến – Nam Du (Ảnh – QuocKt)

Cay Men beach is a bay which is large about 600 m2 and is a part of the Gufl of Thailand. Mr.Vo Van Phuong, owner of the coconut land and beach, says he did not know why it is named Cay Men beach. His family has owned the beach since his great- grand parent time. The about 7 hectares land area all is used to plant coconut by his great- grand father. Therefore, there are some 70- 80 years old trees. Initially, coconut tree was sparse. Dry coconut fruits fell and then grewn small coconut tree. And so, a lot of coconut tree forms a green coconut forest, next to the beach. They passed away and got it back to their off-springs, including Mr. Phuong.

Ngự Beach

Bãi Ngự trên đảo Nam Du (Ảnh – TranHungLangThang)

Ngu beach located in the west of Cu Tron. According to a legend, the King Gia Long stopped here on his way to Siam. Therefore, this is named Ngu beach.

Bãi Ngự nhìn từ trên cao (Ảnh – embebu)

In the dry season, the beach is full of fresh water while other areas have to face with water shortage. There is always full- water well. The local residents believe that the well was dug when the King visited here, and then it’s named Vua well.

Chệt Beach

Bãi Chệt – Nam Du (Ảnh – Yeu Nhiep Anh)

According to a folk, there was a fierce battle between Netherland and Chinese businessmen on the trade way to Phu Quoc in the 16th century. A few days after, hundreds of dead bodies drifted into the beach then many people called it Chet Beach.

Nam Du lighthouse

Hải đăng Nam Du (Ảnh – Đá Cuội)

Nam Du lighthouse located on the top of Cu Lons, in An Son Commune. This is considered as the highest lighthouse in Vietnam because it located in the hill which is higher about 300 meter above sea level.

Nồm Isle

There is only Mr. Duong Van Sau’s big family live in Nom Isle, one of eleven inhabited islands in Nam Du. Nom Isle was reclaimed and built in 1960s by his father. Now, the whole island is large about 10 hectares but 3 hectares is available for plantation, the rest is completely rocky.

Mấu Isle

Ảnh – Huyen Hoang

Mau Isle is about 200 hectares with 120 families living in the lowest part. This is a small island so that all of people in the island, from the young to the old, know you are traveller when your feet put on there.

(Ảnh – Nam Nguyen)

Even though Mau Isle is a small island, there are five 2 beautyful white sand beaches: Chuong Beach and Nam Beach and 3 great rocky reefs: Bai Bac, Bai Da Den and Bai Da Trang. Nam Beach locates in the front of the island. Because the beach is quiet almost in year, trade ships often lay there. As a result, the residents are more crowded. However, the beach is still clean, white sandy.

(Ảnh – nqkhaidl )
Bãi Chướng (Ảnh – soiphieudieu)

The most interesting experience is emmersing in cool flow in Chuong Beach. The beach is similar to a huge lake with surrounded by the coconut trees. Sandbank is unlimited. Water is blue even ten meters away people still see the bottom.

There are two magnificent rocky reefs next to Chuong Beach. Bai Da Den has a variety of smooth stones with diverse shape, color and strange patterns. Most stones are black, so it’s named Bai Da Den, means Black Stone. It looks very colorful under the sunshire. It takes about 15 minutes of walking from the Bai Da Den to Bai Da Trang, which is covered by white stone. Many stones are as small as a finger lie along with the beach. All of visitors also keep some small stones as a gift from the sea.

Ngang Isle

Hòn Ngang (Ảnh – nqkhaidl )

There are two magnificent rocky reefs next to Chuong Beach. Bai Da Den has a variety of smooth stones with diverse shape, color and strange patterns. Most stones are black, so it’s named Bai Da Den, means Black Stone. It looks very colorful under the sunshire. It takes about 15 minutes of walking from the Bai Da Den to Bai Da Trang, which is covered by white stone. Many stones are as small as a finger lie along with the beach. All of visitors also keep some small stones as a gift from the sea.

Lồng bè nuôi cá ở Hòn Ngang (Ảnh – Đá Cuội)

Ngang Isle is the centre of Nam Du Commune.This island with the quietest habor in Nam Du attracts thousands of ships, boats and fish cages laying unorderedly. The bamboo house located along with 2km coast. There is only one small path about 1,5m while no vehicle works. Travellers often spend about 30 minutes on ferry from Cu Lon to Cu Ngang at 7 am and 3 pm everyday.

Hai Bờ Đập Isle

Hòn Hai Bờ Đập (Ảnh – Cát Cao)

This island is a perfect place for camping, overnight tenting, snorkeling, fishing as well as swimming.

Sơn Isle (Hòn Sơn, Lại Sơn)

Hòn Sơn Rái (Ảnh – DiemTrinh2010)

Locating between Hon Tre and Nam Du archilegalo, far about 60 km from the mainland, Hon Son is the same as a huge mountain. Since 1983, this island is named Lai Son, a part of Kien Giang District. It’s about 11.5 km2 with 2.012 families. Going to Hon Son, visitors could see a magical landscape which is harmony combination with historic, cultural values.

In the view of bird, Hon Son is as beautiful as a sparking jewel with 7 areas bobbing on the seawave. The closer you see, the more attractive the island is because of green palm trees and peaceful scenery. The coastal fishing villages are crowded.

(Ảnh – lele_dongbang)

Everyone going to Hon Son is impressed in interesting natural order of stones. Bai Thien Tue is the best one of these. It is so exciting that the reef was formed by multi-shaped boulders.

Đường lên đỉnh Ma Thiên Lãnh

Moreover, most visitors to Hon Son prefer to discover Ma Thien Lanh hill, where preserved many legends. It was that many fairies often descended the mountain known as fairy yard. After that, peaceful forestation and caves here attracted ascetics. There is a Buddha and many ancient traces recorded on stone on the path.

Cuisine in Nam Du

(Ảnh – nqkhaidl )

Nam Du is not only famous with seafood but also ordinary food. Except from seafood, other foods are shipped from the mainland so its’ price is pretty expensive. Therefore, if you plan to camp in Nam Du, you could prepare or buy food in Rach Gia.

Freshwater garfish grilled with banana leaves

Freshwater garfish is a kind of seafish with round long body, pointed beak. Its’ length could reach to 1.5 inches and its’ weight is 2- 3 kg. The freshwater garfish has green backbone and cover.

Freshwater garfish is shaved and covered by banana leaves. Then it is grilled on fire until banana leaves are wilted and fish is cooked. When eating, banana leaves are opened, grilled freshwater garfish has great flavor. The food is often rolled in wrapper and some wild vegetables.

Grilled Oyster with onion

Sò điệp nướng mỡ hành (Ảnh – Đạt Lê)

Oyster is common seafood which is suitable for both frying and grilling. Moreover, it is cooked as delicious and nutrious food such as roasted oyster with black pepper, grilled oyster with onion, steamed oyster with vermicelli.

Sour Cobia soup

Canh chua cá Bớp (Ảnh – Ngon Blog)

Nam Du is famous with farming Cobia. Cobia has black lozenge body, which is similar to snakehead. Sour Cobia soup is cooked with fresh tamarine or salted tamarine with citronella. It is often eaten with fresh or sour bamboo.

Steamed squid with ginger

Squid is fished during breeding season. It is favourite food because it is nutrious and delicious food such as fried squid with chilli or butter and grilled squid with chilli sauce, especially steamed squid with ginger.


Khô cá Ngát (Ảnh –
Khô cá xương xanh (Ảnh –

Drying is a common method to reserve the food. Stockfish can be reserve for many years. Drying is a simple but effective method. Therefore, fishermen usually apply the method to keep the fish fresh. In addition, stockfish is easier to transport than fresh fish. Therefore, stockfish is a kind of cuisine in Nam Du.

Other suggestions

Cá Chình nấu mẻ (Ảnh –

Good restaurants in Nam Du

Nam Nuong Restaurant
Address: Lon Isle, Nam Du
Telephone number: 0169 247 6540

Some suggested travel schedule in Nam Du

(Photo by –

These following travel schedules are for reference. If you have less or more time, you could adapt your schedule into your requirements.

First night : Sai Gon – Rach Gia
– Getting the high- quality bus in night from Sai Gon to Rach Gia city
– If you come from other province, you should go to Sai Gon at first.

First day: Rach Gia- Nam Du
– The bus goes to Rach Gia in early morning. Then buy high- speed ship ticket to Nam Du (If you travel in holidays, you should book earlier)
– Arriving to Nam Du, check-in, having lunch and taking a rest, then renting motorbike for afternoon.
The adventure will start in afternoon
– Visiting Ba Chua Xu pagoda
– Visiting Nam Du Lighthouse
– Going to Cay Men beach, a beautiful beach with green trees and white sandy
– Going to Ngu Beach, Chet Beach

Second day: Nam Du- Ngang Isle – Mau Isle
– Moving from Lon Isle to Ngang Isle to see farming fish cage in the morning
– Going to Mau Isle, where has 5 great beaches
– Have a lunch in Mau Isle
– Swimming or going around
– Visiting other island in Nam Du in afternoon
– Going back to Lon Isle

3rd day: Nam Du- Rach Gia- Sai Gon
– Check- out in the morning
– Buying some cuisine and souvenirs
– Departing to Rach Gia
– Get the bus from Rach Gia to Sai Gon

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Nam Du islands travel guide
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