Not until recently being listed as one of the World’s 50 best white sandy beaches worldwide by US News & World Report, had Nha Trang been widely seen as an everlasting icon for beach lovers.
Needless to say, this Central Vietnamese precious gem brings you everything you may ask for in a finely-gifted pristine coastal town with both high-end services and local-known attractions.
One of the most sought-after things to do in Nha Trang is a day trip throughout the city’s four best islands. However, what are they, how can I combine all four in a day, or should I self-plan it or jump in a tour? These are all very valid concerns!
Easy as it seems, enjoying the islands to the fullest as a foreigner is sometimes not a piece of cake, as it is hard for some of you to navigate which services to use or where to eat.
For instance, tourist traps are everywhere, even for Vietnamese like us. When I talk about traps, I mean things like hidden fees that are not included in what you pay at the beginning.
Even worse, the guides don’t bother to introduce all four islands as stated at the beginning. Rather than that, they’re supposed to take you to only three of them without much useful information explained.
This is when the second option comes in: signing up for a tour online. To not fall into scams, I luckily got advice from a friend to book a high-quality four island tour in Nha Trang operated by expert tour guides via Inspitrip.
Their itinerary combines all four of the biggest Nha Trang islands with a really good deal including everything you need in this trip, from snorkeling, boating, food and so on.
All you need need as extra items are your own swimsuit and sunscreen!
A deep insight into the four islands
The four islands we’re talking about are known as Mun Island – Mot Island – Tam Island and Mieu Island. They are home to some of the best features that cannot be found elsewhere. Let’s take a look!
Mun Island – Hon Mun
Mun means “Ebony” in Vietnamese. So why Ebony? Dating back to the initial structural geology of the island, its Southeastern side has been filled with multiple imposing limestones, creating a wide range of darkened grottos and caves.
This gives out a stunning ebony look underneath which differentiates Mun Island from the rest in the same area.
Because of this, Mun Island is known as the most romantic island in Nha Trang.
When is the best time to visit Mun Island?
The best time to visit coincides with the best climate, usually falling between July and September each year. August in particular, which brings in temperate weather, like a sunny clear sky without harsh rainfalls. Feel free to pick this time if you aim to look for fun outdoor activities to join!
How to visit Mun Island?
Without saying, first off, you need to arrive in Nha Trang. This can be done either by plane, train or sleeping bus depending on your personal budget.
Mun Island is roughly one kilometer away from Cau Da Harbor in Nha Trang, and to reach the harbor, you can rent a scooter for VND 100.000 (~ $4.31 USD)/day. In case you’re traveling with family or a large group of friends, then a taxi or Grab car/taxi will be a better choice.
After arrival, you can choose either a wooden boat or canoe, which costs around VND 300.000 (~ $12.94 USD)/one way for 45 minutes, while a wooden boat is much cheaper at VND 250.000 (~ $10.78 USD)/one way and of course, the trip lasts way longer!
What to do in Mun Island?
Scuba diving featuring coral reef watching
Blessed with such an exceptional terrain and climate features, Mun Island is home to a mind-blowing number of lively and colorful coral reefs, especially at the elevation at around 10 meters under the sea.
It’s recorded to be up to 2000 types of coral and 1500 marine faunas. Guess what? Scuba diving is my all-time favorite thing to do whenever I visit Nha Trang.
Kissing the breeze at a beachside bar
Sipping a cocktail at a beachside bar while in the Mun Island, in my opinion, can be ranked as one of the top things to do in Nha Trang. Enjoying an icy drink while chatting with your loved ones in such a pristine coastal city like Nha Trang is already a reward, and this takes it to a whole new level at Mun Island.
This is where you will hold a glass of cocktail while floating on the surface of the sea, as the bars come in a set of mooring buoys. So don’t forget this going with the flow in the middle of the sea is what you’ve been searching for!
Sailing around on a glass-bottom boat
For those who are fed up with wallowing in the waters, then why not jump in a glass-bottom boat and sail around as another cool option?
This way helps you stay away from getting wet while still giving you a closer look at the enormous coral reefs underneath.
Mot Island – Hon Mot
Next up, I had Mot Island as the next gem in my Nha Trang four island tour.
The site is found nine kilometers away from Nha Trang city center towards the Southeast. The total coverage of Mot Island is just under a square kilometer, and that makes it the smallest island across the whole Nha Trang Bay.
I saw a small tranquil fishing village when I was there. Apart from their daily fishing activity, fresh and shady orchards are other things they take care of each day. Cashew, mango and coconut trees are the most popular crops on the island.
How to visit Mot Island?
We all depart at Cau Da Harbor, and of course, once again, you can opt for a wooden boat or a canoe! Asking for a whole private canoe for your own group of friends or family is the best choice.
What to do in Mot Island?
Filled with stunning coral reefs even though the water there is a little more shallow, so I highly recommend scuba diving on this site if you consider yourself not a pro-swimmer!
Otherwise, you can choose to have fun with glass-bottom boating, coracle sailing, jet-skiing, and fishing.
Tam Island – Hon Tam
Tam Island is the second best island out of four after Mun Island. Hence, we wouldn’t advise skipping Tam Island.
When is the best time to visit Tam Island?
In my opinion, the finest time for a trip to Tam Island is from March to September each year.
How to visit Tam Island?
Once again, there are two ways to reach the island:
First, you can submit a booking through one of the most trustworthy travel agencies for a Nha Trang four island tour with everything arranged and a guide included. However, the thing is you might not know if you pick the right choice or not, as Nha Trang four island trips are densely offered. Without the advice from a local friend, things may get a little harder.
Second, you can rent a canoe. There are 20 round trips daily, and each of which starts with 25 passengers.
If you have a reservation at one of the lodges on the island, then the transfer is usually included in the payment, so don’t forget to contact your host or receptionist for more details! And don’t ask too late as well, 15 – 30 minutes beforehand would be ideal.
What to do in Tam Island?
Tam Island is frequently on native travelers' bucket list thanks to its idyllic white sandy beach running over a kilometer and emerald waters. Spending a few hours on the wooden loungers sunbathing or wallowing yourself in the tropical sea is surely a top thing you should do here.
Other than that, hunting some eye-pleasing photos for your Instagram daily feed is what I chose to do during the day I was there.
What drew my attention was the setting of white clouds and lengthy coastline, featuring a huge dream-like wood-made bridge cutting through the sea. The background is even more romantic with a wide range of shady green coconut trees from afar.
Tam Island is filled with a wide array of interesting outdoor activities, such as golfing, jet-skiing, paragliding, flyboarding, kayaking in the recreational complex of Sparkling Waves and Sunset Villas.
In case you decide to spend the entire day on the Island, then make the most of your time there with a trip under the sea observing coral reefs and finding pearls, and a cultural trip to the handicraft villages to witness activities such as weaving, pottery, and wine-making.
Mieu Island – Hon Mieu
Last but not least, Mieu Island is the final name wrapping up our four islands today. The island is situated not too far off from Nha Trang, which takes you only 15-20 minutes on a wooden boat and 5 minutes on a canoe from Cau Da Harbor.
“Mieu” literally means “Temple” in Vietnamese, and it refers to a little ancient holy shrine built on the Southern side in homage to the groundbreakers and the God of Whale.
Culture-wise, each Spring witnesses a traditional festival praying for peace and prosperity in the aqua-life of native fishermen and it attracts a huge number of visitors and participants from neighboring islands as well.
What to do in Mieu Island?
The two best things to do here belong to Bai Tranh Beach and Tri Nguyen Aquarium. While Bai Tranh is a real “heaven on Earth” where sunrise and sunset bring in a long-lasting memory for your beach vacation, Tri Nguyen Aquarium is a must-see man-made attraction filled with a “galore” of the marine ecosystem.
Tri Nguyen Aquarium was built in the 70s of the 20th century. The place comes in a gigantic sailing boat shape made out of stone. My own trip to Tri Nguyen lasted for hours as it was so interesting to leave. The place takes you closer to hundreds of marine fauna species specifically belonging to the Bay of Nha Trang.
How did I visit the four islands when in Nha Trang?
You have two options: either visit all four islands on your own with a rental canoe for the entire day, or opt for submitting a booking with one of the best rated Nha Trang Four island day trips with Inspitrip just like I did.
If you plan to do it yourself, then consider renting a private canoe. It can come around VND 2 million (~$86.14) for 15 seats within 8 hours. In this case, you may negotiate with the boat dealer in customizing the itinerary of your own.
On our tour date with Inspitrip, we got picked up at 8:30 in the morning and started exploring Mun Island first from Cau Da Harbor. We spent 3 hours on the Mun Island for both snorkeling and cocktail time on the floating bar.
At noontime, we moved on to Mot Island for a tasty seafood feast and arrived at Tam Island for a fun photo time while my friends tried out kayaking and paragliding.
Later in the afternoon around 15:00, we visited Tri Nguyen Aquarium for another 2 hours before heading back to the mainland for dinner.
And that’s about it, here is all you need to know before kick starting your Nha Trang Four island tour. Make sure you have the right choice and start exploring the four gems to the fullest!