Nam Du island – Then and Now

Nam Du island Then.

Nam Du island situated in Kien Giang Province, about 45 miles away from Rach Gia mainland. Actually, its name refer to Nam Du archipelago which has 21 big and small islands and islets, and there are only a few inhabited islands in the archipelago.
When I first went there, I had to take a metal ferry which used to transport only local people and other supplies from the mainland to the island. That ferry took me about 5 hours to get to the big island. Now you can imagine how boring it was sitting tightly between one another for 5 hours. At that time, nobody knows what Nam Du island was but Phu Quoc island except local people like me.
After sitting on the ferry for 5 hours, eventually I arrived. Getting of the ferry, the turquoise water got my attention right away. It was translucent and clear enough to see through the water. You could see group of fish and jelly fish swimming underwater. Another thing you could expect, when visiting an isand that rarely received visitors, was being stared at and the local people could immediately detect a newcomer. Did I tell you that there was no hotel nor guest house in the island? I needed to take a motorbike taxi to get up to the mountaintop, asking the lighthouse’s chief permission to stay there. It was beautiful up there. It offered panoramic view and you could see the whole island and other islands in this area.
Bai Men and Mau island were the best spots where you could see the most beautiful beaches in the whole archipelago. At that time, getting to Bai Men is quite a challage, even thought it was located in the big island where i stayed, as there was no trail nor road to that beach. The only way was to rent a boat, to get to the or side of the island, to access Bai Men. It took about 30 minutes to get there. That was a long beautiful beach where coconut trees lined a long the beach. Surprisingly, that long beach belonged to only one person and there was only one house there. The owner built that house to store freshwater, and to make a living by exchanging water for fishermen and local people around the island during water shortages.

It was my last day in Nam Du island, and I was sitting on the pebble beach by myself, contemplating the landscape and enjoying the sea breeze. Then this local little girl came and join me, sharing the view with me and playing with the pebble stones. And I begin a small conversation with her, asking her name, age.. etc. The unexpected meeting went smoothly and became cordial. Finally, I took a few photos of her and promised to send it to her. The problem was that residents of this small islet did’t have any address. I had to make a return trip to the island to give photos to the locals who I took photos.
I’d to go back a bit to talk about the island at that time. The island was only about 120km from the mainland just like Phu Quoc island, but it was overlooked by both tourists and local goverment, and along with inadequate development and lack of transportations made this island isolated from the rest of the province. At that time, being the only tourist in the island would draw a lot of attention, especially with a camera on your neck, local children followed me around the island and showed me where to visit. Adult locals, most of them are fishermen, were happy to offer me freshly caugh fish for free. And having grilled fish for lunch on a powder like sandy beach made my trip unforgettable.
I still travel to remote and isolated areas in Vietnam. Everytime I take photo of someone, I will send them back or give in person when I return because I believe that memories are priceless and photos are a precious gift that could evoke one’s memory.

This morning, I greeted Mr Peter who had traveled a long way from Belgium to Sai Gon and from there, he eagerly flew to my city exciting to board the ferry to the island. and I had booked a room as well as a ferry ticket for him a few days ago. When we got to the port, the ferry seller informed us that we had to obtain police permission in order to get to the island.
There is more information about our journey to get that permission, but what I can tell is that he ended up heading to Ha Tien District. I want to post this photo to tell those who like to visit the island about this news. If you are already in Rach Gia City and can not obtain permission to the island, I can give you alternatives plan to other beautiful destinations in this region.
If you have problems understanding local people or struggle to find an English speaking guy who lives in Rach Gia City, D.M me, I am here to help. Free of charge.

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