About Con Dao

Tuesday - 12/04/2022 11:28
Con Dao district is an archipelago of 16 large and small islands with a total area of 76.71km2, located in an area with geographical coordinates from 106°31' E to 106°45' E; from 8°34' N to 8°49' N. Con Dao is located in the Southeast, 90 nautical miles (179 km) from Vung Tau city, about 45 nautical miles (83 km) from the estuary of Hau river (the closest place to Con Dao is Vinh Hai, Vinh Chau, and Soc Trang communes), and 230km from Ho Chi Minh City.
The archipelago was named after the largest island which is Con Lon Island (which is also known as Con Dao). Socio-economic activities take place on this island. Con Dao town is located on the Southeast Bay. Its geographical coordinates are 47.570 N, 1060 36'10" E. With 16 islands, the Con Dao archipelago looks like a paradise in the middle of the blue sea. Con Dao is famous for its precious natural landscapes including the blue sea, the velvet sand, the colorful coral reefs, the tropical jungle, and the diverse vegetation.
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Dai Nam Nhat Thong Chi has mentioned Con Dao under the name Bao Con Lon and Con Lon archipelago, as follows: Regarding the geographical position and setting the way: “To arrive at Con Lon archipelago, from Can Gio estuary of Gia Dinh province, it takes people a night and a day by boat. The island is a hundred miles wide. The previous court first allowed Can Gio religion to control the archipelago, then Vinh Long province was in charge of managing the archipelago. There has never been the country of Ban Dong Long near the archipelago. The archipelago is in the middle of the sea. The southern part of the archipelago is near Dong Truc and Tay Truc Islands. In the past, the archipelago was under the control of the enemy, the Javanese people and they used it as a den. Every year, they took advantage of the southeast wind to sail their boat to Giao Ai districts to pillage, capture the administrative centers, and steal goods. Not until the period of Dai Viet Nation did we chase them away, and recruited strong men on the islands as a team for strict defense. Since then, the Javanese had not dared to violate our territorial waters, which makes the people’s lives more peaceful.”

Before the twentieth century, Con Dao archipelago was called Con Son or Con Lon archipelago by the Vietnamese because they wanted to refer to the largest island of the archipelago. Researchers believe that the name Con Lon is derived from the Malay word "Pulau Kundur" (tentatively translated as Hon Bi), which Europeans transliterated as Poulo Condor in English and French texts. Through each historical period, the Con Lon Islands had many different names. During the French colonial period, it was called Poulo Condor; Under the American period, the name was changed to Con Son province; after the Paris Peace Accords in 1973, Nguyen Van Thieu's government changed its name to Phu Hai; In 1977, the National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam has decided to use Con Dao as its official name until now.

Con Dao is an ancient land, with recent archaeological findings, the first class of people appeared in Con Dao 4,000 - 5,000 years ago. Those inhabitants had a close cultural relationship with the owners of archaeological relics belonging to the Late Bronze Age, and the Early Iron Age in Dong Nai River basin (the Southeast region). Two types of sites were "Dune - Basin" and "Island" on the dunes near the freshwater basins facing the sea, such as the residence relics in Hang Duong, Ho Sen, So Tieu, An Hai Dune, Ben Dam, Hon Cau (Cau Island), Mieu Ba Dune or the relic of Hai Dang Dune grave (which was a large spherical jar with a round bottom. In the jar, the dead person was found in a sitting posture with his goods).… show the feature of the residence and culture of the first owners on this archipelago in the Prehistory - Ancient History.

In the process of establishing a business in Dang Trong (the South region of Vietnam), the Nguyen lords focused on applying the country's sovereignty over the Truong Sa, Hoang Sa, and Con Dao archipelagos. During the reign of Lord Nguyen Phuc Chu (1691 - 1725), Con Dao was managed by the Hoang Sa Team. Failing in the battle with the Tay Son army in 1783, Lord Nguyen Anh withdrew his army to Con Dao, took 100 families with him, and established the villages of An Hoi, An Hai, Co Ong, and Hon Cau. Many years later, poor people in Vinh Long, Gia Dinh, Dinh Tuong, Bien Hoa provinces followed a written order of Lord Nguyen encouraged them to set up a business in Con Dao. They were prioritized by the local government for funding, tools, buffaloes, cows, and means of transport to the island. Since that time, the work of reclaiming the archipelago and establishing villages has left its mark in many legends associated with the name of the mountains and villages on this island.

Since the day of establishing Vung Tau - Con Dao Special Zone (May 30, 1979), Con Dao archipelago was officially named after its largest island. Since August 1991, Con Dao has become a district of Ba Ria - Vung Tau province. Since the time the French established the prison, there had been no civilians living in Con Dao. Excluding prisoners, the ruling apparatus (including their wives and children) before the August Revolution (1945) had under 500 people.

Con Dao town is located on a semicircular valley, 8km to 10km long, and 2km to 3km wide. It faces towards Con Lon Bay (also known as East - South Bay or De Lao Bay) and has three sides surrounded by mountains. The second relatively flat area is Co Ong village. These two valleys have flat land, with many low places forming lakes and rice fields. There are no rivers but shallow streams in Con Dao. Agricultural land accounts for 3.2% of the total area and is mainly in these two areas and in Hon Cau.

Located on the international maritime route from Europe to Asia, Con Dao plays an important strategic role in the international and regional sea trade. To Vietnam, Con Dao is the Southeast gateway of the sea of the southern provinces, located right in the middle of the main fishing grounds of the country and very close to the petroleum exploitation area, so it has a strategic significance in all aspects: economy, society, security, and national defense. Con Dao's climate is cool and belongs to the oceanic climate, which is favorable for human health. The average annual temperature is 29oC. The rainy season is from May to November, and the dry season is from December to April. The average rainfall is 2,220.7mm. In the dry season from November to April, in Con Dao, there is a north-east monsoon, which is often called “gio Chuong”. In the resistance war in the past, patriotic soldiers took advantage of this seasonal reversing wind to escape from prison by rafts and went ashore. Con Dao has a 200km coastline, and dozens of beautiful and famous beaches such as Rong beach, Dam Trau beach, Ong Dung beach, Dat Doc beach, Duong Beach, Hon Cau Beach, Hon Tre Beach. It also has a healthy living environment including an unpolluted atmosphere, fine golden sand, clear blue water, airtight, and cool all year round (average temperature is about 26 – 27oC). This is a special advantage and prospect for exploiting and developing the integrated economy of high-quality tourism and services. This potential opens up an opportunity to attract investment in developing the sea-island economy for Con Dao. Tides, waves, wind, and sunshine are great potentials, which will meet the demand for electric energy in the future, the demand for electricity in daily life, economy, and national defense in Con Dao.
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Not only the sea, but Con Dao also has a national park with an area of nearly 6,000 hectares on the mainland and 14,000 hectares on the sea surface with many rare plants and animals. Thanks to its nature, Con Dao becomes an ideal resort for the development of various types of tourism: swimming, scuba diving, visiting historical-cultural sites, eco-tourism, fishing, mountain climbing, windsurfing, sailing, skydiving, admiring marine life...
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In particular, Con Dao is also a place for people to visit historical sites, a place of education revolutionary traditions, and patriotism. Here, there are many relics belonging, for example, Con Dao Prison. It was ranked in 2012 with a total protected area of 110.69ha, of which the protected area I is 41.04ha, and area the protected area II is 69.65ha. Con Dao prison historical relic consists of 20 key relic complexes with a total area of 47.74 ha and was recognized as a national historical and cultural relic in 1979; Hang Keo, hang Duong Cemetery - the place where thousands of Vietnamese revolutionary soldiers and patriots were buried during the tough period of the French colonialists from 1862 to 1975. Each relic trên mảnh đất Côn Đảo mang đậm dấu ấn lịch sử và là bằng chứng của những kỷ niệm đau thương và những biến động trong quá khứ của quân, dân Việt Nam và những người con đất Côn Đảo. Hiện nay, Côn Đảo là một điểm du lịch lịch sử văn hóa . Hàng năm, Côn Đảo đón hàng trăm nghìn lượt khách du lịch trong và ngoài nước.
Pier 914
Pier 914
Not only that Con Dao has strength in tourism, but it is also a fishing ground for fishery and aquaculture with hundreds of fish species, many of which have high economic value. The annual catching output of seafood is about 10,000 tons together with many precious products such as bird's nests, tortoiseshells, Olive ridley sea turtles, dolphins, sharks, sea cucumbers, seaweed... In recent years, Con Dao has made great progress in its economy - culture - and society. Con Dao is much more beautiful and modern, the material and spiritual life of the people has improved significantly day by day. The road system, Co Ong airport, Ben Dam port has been invested quite a lot to be upgraded and expanded to effectively serve the marine economy, tourism, services, defense, and security... and the lives of the people on the island. In short, coming to Con Dao today is to visit attractive tourist destinations of an unspoiled and deserted island. It is a place for those who like to return to the ocean, nature, and peace; enjoy the silence of life; temporarily get away from the noise, hustle, and bustle of everyday life; to enjoy the natural beauty and romantic beaches such as Bai Nhat, An Hai, Dam Trau, Suoi Ot, Hon Ba, Hon Tai, Hon Bay Canh, Ong Dung... Most travel agencies organize daily tours to Con Dao nowadays. There are many interesting things in Con Dao that only when you come here and discover yourself, you can fully discover the beauty of this island. When visiting Con Dao, not only can visitors enjoy the beautiful and unspoiled nature, but they can also witness, and be awakened by each vestige of this island which is full of relics. The island always reminds people to appreciate the past and be responsible for things in life. Con Dao - a sacred land - is a destination that travelers must not miss.
Con Dao district relics and scenic spots include:
- 01 special national relic: Revolutionary Historical Relic of Con Dao Prison (with a complex of 20 monuments).
- 03 Provincial relics: So Co Historical Site, An Son Temple Historical Site, Mot Mountain Pagoda


Source: Department of Culture and Sport of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Provice; Photo: Internet and Con Dao - the national tourism area mangement

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