Still have some more spare time in your trip to Nha Trang, Vietnam? Then, it could be a good opportunity for you to visit Hon Lao Island, also known as Monkey Island to experience a fun, adventurous and energetic island trip, ideal for both adults and kids!
- Location: Ninh Phu Commune, Ninh Hoa Town, Nha Trang, Vietnam
Adults (taller than 130cm) : 180.000VND/per person
Children (under 130cm) : 90.000VND/per person
Opening hours: 7h30-16h30
I. History of Monkey Island
In the past, the island looked like a casuarina (“Phi Lao” in Vietnamese), therefore it was called by the locals ” Hon Lao” (means the island of casuarinas). After that, in 1975, the monkeys were brought here by the So Viet Union specialists and raised for scientific purposes. They then spawned on their own, and now there are more than 1,200 monkeys living in herds on the island. That is the reason why this island is also called Monkey Island, besides its official name “Hon Lao”.
Currently, there is one King Monkey with 2 herds of monkey living quite far apart in the mountain area on the island. The monkeys here are quite friendly – they only like to receive food from visitors, but be careful or else they will steal your food and your belongings as well.
Visiting the Monkey Island, tourists will have the opportunity to learn about the different species of monkey raised on the island, like yellow feathers, red face, long tail, penguin, lions …
Editor’s note: This place is ideally suitable for families with young children as kids will be in closer contact with these emotional, intelligent monkeys.
II. Main Attraction Points in Monkey Island
1. Monkey Sanctuary
This is the ideal destination for visitors to witness the daily activities of the monkeys, such as mother monkeys holding their babies, catching lice for each other, how they eat and drink water… Visitors can also buy food for them right outside the gate, give them and see how they hold the food and eat. Giving them some food, they will allow you to take a closer look at themselves. In this area, you will be able to find many mother monkeys holding their babies and running around to find food. Also, baby monkeys hugging their mothers looks really cute, just like a real human baby and its mother.
2. Circus Show
- Opening hours: 10AM and 2PM everyday
Visitors will have the chance to attend the circus show everyday on the Monkey Island, watching super cute and sophisticated performances from those clever, mischievous monkeys. The monkeys are really well trained, in order to successfully perform and bring laughter to everyone. There is a wide range of daily performances here, for example: monkeys cycling and balancing, monkeys cycling and carrying their friends…
In addition, the monkeys here are also capable of performing difficult sports such as sniffing, lifting weights, and playing basketball. Along with that, there are dogs in the circus show as well, riding the stroller around, which looks really funny and interesting, appealing to kids.
Here, performances such as dog racing or monkey swimming competitions are often attended by a large number of tourists, especially children. Guests will get to see the monkey swimming race and make a bet on the monkey which will finish the swimming race the first. If the monkey they chose finishes the race first, the guest will be given a special gift.
3. Floating Park
This type of park is very popular in Nha Trang, and Monkey Island is one of the best places where you can experience it. With an area of nearly 2000m2, this floating park is at the top of the largest buoy parks in Nha Trang. The floating park is a place for those who are passionate about sports, moving, adventure, and like to experience new things.
Editor’s note: Make sure you wear comfortable clothes and bring extra clothes when you participate in these activities, since you may (definitely) get wet because of the fun activities.
4. Other Activities
In addition, here visitors can choose many other interesting services such as F1 racing, ostrich riding, paintball shooting, scuba diving with oxygen, … these activities also received a lot of attention and participation of travelers, since they are ideal for both kids and adults, and could be a good opportunity for family and friends bonding trip.
Editor’s note: Hon Lao – Monkey Island especially attracts visitors on the Mid-Autumn holidays or Children’s Day June 1st with many interesting games, programs and circus performances for children. It is a good idea to bring your kids here around that time so they can fully enjoy the fun activities here!
III. Natural Landscape on Monkey Island
The Monkey Island is not only famous for the interesting services that it offers, but also because of its year-round calm sea, charming ocean scenery, and a wide range of delicious, juicy seafood.
1. Oceanic Scenery
Around the coastline of the Monkey Island, tourists would be able to experience the clear blue sea water, smooth white sand, and golden sunshine surrounding the island for the whole day.
At present, the authorities have invested in the tourist area on Monkey Island with beautiful scenery and poetic roads. Therefore, in addition to the traditional bathing at the beach, there are also many beach games organized by the authorities here, such as scuba diving and watching the beautiful coral reef under the water, kayaking, canoeing, going on a water motorbike,…
Moreover, for people who are into taking photos, besides the wonderful scenery of the ocean, there is also another place for amazing selfies! It is the path that leads to the beach from the park, where you can see an impressive, colorful bridge that overpasses the mountain and connects two sides together. Standing on the bridge, you will be able to witness the whole panoramic view of the Nha Phu lagoon.
2. Seafood Specialties
When deciding to travel to this beautiful Monkey Island, don’t forget to try and enjoy the extremely attractive, fresh seafood dishes. All the seafood here is often caught by fishermen, and then sold early at the market in the morning, so it is very fresh.
It is possible to ask the restaurants on the island to prepare dishes according to your preferences. You only need to go to the market, pick out your favorite dishes, and bring them to the restaurant and order it the way you want. A few highly recommended seafood here are oysters, snail, clam, jellyfish salad, squid, shrimp, lobster, and other fishes.
If you travel to the island with many other people, for example family, friends or a tour group, you can also take the initiative to bring food and drinks with you and organize a picnic beside the beach to save money for an economic but still interesting and interactive trip.
If you travel to the island with many people in a large group, you can also take the initiative to bring food and drinks with you and organize a picnic beside the beach to save money for an economic but still interesting and interactive trip.
IV. How to Get to Monkey Island
To get to the Monkey Island, you will have to go to Long Phu first and then go on a boat heading to the island. From Nha Trang, you can either ride a motorbike to take a taxi to the port (A taxi would cost about 200.000 – 300.000VND).
When you get to the port, you can buy a ticket and go on the regular boat with other people, or rent a canoe for your own group. The price of a canoe is about 600.000VND for an 11-seat canoe and 900.000VND for a 30-seat canoe, but it will vary depending on the high and low season.
V. Extra Tips for Visitors in Monkey Island
- Children visiting the island should not always hold food in their hands because the monkeys here are very active and mischievous, they can jump out to snatch your food and scare the children.
- Do not scare monkeys or trick them into taking their food because they might chase you.
- Do not arbitrarily feed monkeys outside or near the gate of the sanctuary because it will make them familiar with receiving food from visitors which is not always safe for them.
- At the beach, there are chairs and umbrellas rentals for you to relax and watch the sea. If you go with many friends, you can bring food and drinks to the island because the restaurants here are a bit more expensive than usual in the city, since it’s a tourist place.
- When traveling, remember to bring personal belongings such as swimwear, hat, sunscreen, glasses, selfie stick, and camera to take pictures.