Hon Son, a small island in Mekong Delta, what to do? Activities, food, and drinks
On a quiet day after my trip in Central Vietnam, I came across a blog post of someone riding motorbike to Son island, I was hooked. The photo of crystal clear sea water and coconut trees was enough to convince me taking the next trip to this small island a few kilometres southern to Phu Quoc Island. It remains a hidden gem, preserving a more rustic charm when compared to the modern, concrete-filled Phu Quoc 'water park'.
The journey was on a motorcycle, much like my previous trip to coastal provinces in Vietnam back in February. Starting from Saigon, most of the trip was spent riding in National highway 1A. To be honest this trip was more physically challenging considering the Mekong Delta provinces are less well connected than the costal province. Many of the so called Nation Highways were slightly larger than an ordinary road in the outskirt of Saigon, and very bumpy as well.
The distance from Saigon to Rach Gia port, where you'll take the boat to the island is north of 350 km, my two cents is to take a stop in Sa Dec, a small city full of amazing food and beer that I'd save for another article, and stay clear of Can Tho.
Can Tho turned out to be a bit disappointing; the food was pricier, and there wasn't much nightlife worth experiencing. Sa Dec easily outshone Can Tho when it came to incredible and budget-friendly food. Additionally, Sa Dec had an outstanding beer pub where I had the pleasure of meeting a fascinating individual who was incredibly knowledgeable about beer.
Now back to our motorbike trip, I made a silly mistake not checking the time the boat departs from Rach Gia port, it costed me a whole day staying in Rach Gia before boarding the next day. There're only two boats starting from Rach Gia port to Lai Son island, both starts at 6:40 in the morning. By the time I figured it out by the ticket booth, it was already 13 pm.
The ticket prices are 170K for each adult, plus an additional 200K for a one-way motorbike trip to Lai Son Island. The boat journey was quite comfortable; you could go up on the deck to enjoy the fresh air and take some photos while the boat was in motion.
I would call Lai Son more like a retreat than an actual place to have fun, there's not much to do during my stay over there other than drinking beer at the beach, go around the beaches, and eat some seafood. However, I genuinely consider it a pleasant experience, which stands in stark contrast to the soulless, concrete-dominated Phu Quoc Island just a few kilometers away.
Lai Son Island is reminiscent of what Phu Quoc once resembled before the influx of mass-market developments by Vin Group. It boasts abundant greenery and a pristine connection with nature. However, one disappointing aspect is the lack of concern among the locals for keeping the island free of litter and plastic bottles.
The seafood is actually not that cheap as I expect it to be, even though I specifically chose a less well known bistro quite distant from the boat pier. For lunch we order two dishes, grilled oysters and gigantic snail which I forgot how to call it.
Now my favorite dish in this island is actually herring salad, and there's only one food stand where make it so heavenly tasteful. The herrings go so well with all of these local vegetables. Absolutely need to try it when in Lai Son island. Perfect with beer! One tip is to buy larger portion, and take 2 packs of rice paper instead of one.
Gỏi cá trích Hòn Sơn (An Nhiên)Lại Sơn, Kiên Hải, Kiên Giang, Vietnam
Fishery rafts village
Làng bè cá Hòn SơnRJ5R+FG3, Lại Sơn, Kiên Hải, Kiên Giang, Vietnam
Fresh seafood, rustic cooking methods, and for watersport activities
This amiable tour guide operates his own boat, perfect for more extensive offshore excursions to explore the coral reefs. You can contact him at the following phone number on the photo.
Lanam Coffee&BarLại Sơn, Kiên Hải, Kiên Giang, Vietnam
From Lai Son island there's an even further island with beautiful beaches and scenery called Nam Du, ticket is just about 80K each person