Whale Island, sometimes called Hon Ong Island and Palm Island, is a small island in Van Phong Bay, about 110 kilometers from Nha Trang. Besides diving, there are many other things to do on this lush tropical island. Enjoy the island’s beaches, trails, and waterways as you stroll, hike, and paddleboard in every direction.
What Whale Island Is About
Whale Island is roughly 100 kilometers from Nha Trang, a major vacation city in central Vietnam. Whales are occasionally sighted in the waters near the island, notably between the months of April and July, which is likely whence the island got its name.
Even if scuba diving isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other things to do on the island to fill your time if you’re planning on staying for more than a couple of days. Because the island is completely occupied by the resort, it is peaceful and free of any distractions.
Whale Island Scuba Diving
It is stated that Jacques Cousteau discovered his passion for the underwater world on this island, making it one of the top spots for diving in Vietnam. Drift dives, deep drop-offs, and shore dives make Whale Island a great destination for divers of all skill levels. Off the shore, the water soon deepens, providing a great environment in which to live and explore and even glimpse whales and sharks.
Exploring the depths of Whale Island
In early 2002, Rainbow Divers established the island’s first PADI dive shop. From February to October, divers may take advantage of the on-site instructor and dive guide by embarking on a Padi course or going on leisure dives on the daily boat trip or off the shore.
The top diving spots in the archipelago are visited daily on a morning boat tour. Night dives are also highly recommended at the Whale Island Marine Reserve.
Snails (some of which have not been recognized by science) and other forms of macro life abound, making this diving site a photographer’s and nature lover’s paradise. Additionally, the bay has a shipwreck.
The season for Scuba Diving at Whale Island
Midway through October is when the island’s diving season winds down, and it doesn’t open up again until around the middle of February. The months of April through September are prime time for scuba diving. Whale sharks and whales migrate to this area between April and June in search of food, primarily krill, and plankton.
Places to dive
Around Whale Island, you may dive at a number of different locations, including:
Rays frequently rest in the underwater caverns and swim-throughs of Hon Trau Nam.
There are two excellent dive sites on Hon Kho Trang, both with excellent visibility, lush coral gardens, and plenty of marine life.
Hon Tai: Coral plateau, with white tip reef sharks and nurse sharks, are typically seen here. Nudibranchs will also like this area.
The sandy bottom and Napoleon fish make Napoleon Rock a popular diving spot.
A coral wall adorned with feather stars and the haunted pipefish may be seen in Raoul’s Reef.
Caves in Bai Su’s 15-meter depth are ideal for night dives and searching for nudibranchs.
Shrimp, Spanish dancers, and seahorses may be seen at night in Hon Ong, making it an excellent diving site.
The Whale Island Attractions
Even if scuba diving is not your thing, a visit to Whale Island is still worthwhile because of the many other enjoyable activities available.
Whale Island beach
Besides all the activities, you may of course just enjoy the beaches, by lying about, reading a book or swimming. There is one resort on the island that also has its own beach, but across the island, you will discover numerous beaches that you may reach by walking or kayaking. Because the island is quite secluded, distant from the large cities, you don’t have to worry about them being full of loud people.
If you can’t or don’t want to dive, you have the option to snorkel. A snorkel slut may be rented for $2.50 per day if you didn’t bring your own. Rainbow Divers offers diving and snorkeling tours from the coast so that you can observe the coral.
Kayaks for two people, with paddles and life jackets, may be rented daily for 5 UDS. Finding new snorkeling sites and exploring the island by kayak is a lot of fun. Late afternoon is perfect for kayaking since you can beat the heat while still enjoying a beautiful sunset as you paddle back to shore.
4. explore the island on foot (trekking)
Hiking routes allow you to explore the entire island. You may acquire a map of the island and recommendations for places to rest and snap photographs at the Whale Island resort’s front desk. You have your pick of three different paths. It will take you roughly 2 hours to get all the way around the island (Red & White trail). Hiking up the mountain will reward you with a breathtaking panorama of the island. Bring lots of water, and wear long sleeves and pants to protect yourself from the sun and insects in the forest.
5. Water-based recreation
A catamaran ride, some windsurfing, and some beach volleyball are just a few of the numerous water sports you may do. The resort may set up these kinds of outings for guests.
How do you go to Whale Island?
It takes around fifteen to twenty minutes to cross the water from Dam Mon on the mainland to the island. A resort boat departs from the dock, taking guests to the island at no cost. You may get to the pier in three different ways:
Traveling via resort shuttle bus is Option 1.
The Whale Island resort provides transportation to and from the Nha Trang dive shop Rainbow Dive Center by shuttle bus. Departures for the island are at 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM, and a one-way ticket costs $20. Dam Mon pier shuttle service runs back and forth between the pier and the hotel between 12:00 and 4:00.
Alternatively, you may take a bus.
To reach Nha Trang – Tuy Hoa from Nha Trang City, riders need to head to the Northern Bus Station. Transportation to Co Ma (ticket price is about 50k). This is the stop before you reach the pier. Motorcycle taxis and regular taxis are both available.
Choice 3: Drive or ride your own vehicle
Motorbikes and chauffeur-driven cars are two more options for getting to the dock. When traveling in a large group, the second choice is your best bet. Transportation to and from the airport is available upon request.
If you want to go to Whale Island, the best time to go is
March through August is prime time to visit Whale Island and Nha Trang. This is the greatest time to visit the island and the coastal city of Nha Trang, as the weather is pleasant and there are fewer chances of rain and storms. The waves are less rough during this period, making it ideal for swimming and boating.
Frenchman (husband) and Vietnamese wife run the resort. The island personnel is trilingual, speaking English, French, and Vietnamese. The majority of vacationers are not native-born Americans.
The resort’s 31 guestrooms are all bungalows. Some bungalows overlook the ocean, while others are surrounded by lush vegetation. There are spacious rooms for families, however, the standard room sleeps 2. (4 persons, 2 double beds). There is no charge for children under the age of 5. On request, parents can get a complimentary cot from the resort.
Depending on the room’s amenities and location, prices might range from $60 to $120 each night (sea view or garden view).
There is no water heater, television, refrigerator, or air conditioning in the rooms; instead, there are ceiling fans.
Consuming Food and Liquids
Since there is no one else on the island other than those staying at the Whale Island Resort, it follows that this is the only location to get food while on the island. There is a daily set menu that changes for roughly 12 UDS (not including beverages). The cost of a beverage ranges from 2 UDS for a cocktail to 1 – 2 UDS for coffee or tea.