Everything you should know before visiting Con Dao island

Sunday - 04/06/2023 15:06
Con Dao Archipelago, also called Con Lon or Con Son, is an archipelago belonging to Ba Ria – Vung Tau province. It is about a one-hour fly from Ho Chi Minh City. Being known as "The hell on Earth," the island witnesses Vietnam's history of the colonial times and the sacrifice of many heroes. Today Con Dao is an ideal attraction for those interested in discovering Vietnamese history and enjoying the pristine beauty and escape from the daily bustle life. Con Dao has long and white sandy beaches, a beautiful ocean world with colorful coral reefs, and primary rain forests with rich flora and fauna.

Let's find some useful information you should refer to when you travel to Con Dao.

Best time to visit Con Dao

The best time to visit Con Dao is between March and September, with mellow sea waves and beautiful sunshine. Coming to Con Dao this time, you will have a chance to see Vic coming to Con Dao from everywhere to lay eggs. Snorkeling and watching corals, fishing, and watching turtles laying the egg and exploring deserted islands are some activities you must take when taking foot on Con Dao.
From October to February the next year, due to the influence of Northeast wind, the beach in Con Son Bay often have large waves. However, as this is the dry season, there is always sunshine; therefore, you can travel to Con Dao this time instead of not arranging your time.

How to get Con Dao island

There are two ways to get Con Dao island, which are by waterway or air route.

By waterway

From Vung Tau:
Speed boats are leaving Vung Tau, Can Tho, and Soc Trang every day to Con Dao island. From Ho Chi Minh City, it's popular to go to Vung Tau city, to catch the ship to Con Dao. The best ship is Con Dao Express 36. It is the first five-star high-speed ship in Vietnam with comfortable compartments and luxury compartments. The travel time from Vung Tau to Con Dao is roughly 03 hours and 45 minutes.
The boat from Vung Tau to Con Dao leaves at 08h00 and from Con Dao to the mainland departs at 13h30. Weekday rate is 660,000 VND per person, while the weekend rate is 880,000 VND per person.
From Can Tho:
Ships are departing from Ninh Kieu pier at 7 am, arrive at Tran De port in Soc Trang after an hour, docking at Ben Dam port (Con Dao). It takes three hours to four hours, depending on the weather conditions. The boat from Con Dao to the mainland departs at noon. The ticket price is 610,000 VND for weekday and 690,000 VND for the weekend.
From Soc Trang:
Ships are departing from Soc Trang at 8 am from Tran De port, docking at Ben Dam port (Con Dao). It takes one hour and forty-five minutes one way. The boat from Con Dao to the mainland departs at 13:00. The ticket price is 320,000 VND for weekday and 350,000 VND for the weekend.

By airplane

Another way to get Con Dao is by airplane. It will take you 45 minutes to get Con Dao. Con Dao currently has Con Son airport for domestic flights from Saigon and Can Tho. If you travel from Hanoi, you will have to transit in one of these two destinations. The airport is 12 km from town, most hotels and resorts provide free shuttle service or travel by taxi to the center of the island.

Getting around in Con Dao

Taxi, motorbike taxis are readily available on the island. The cost of renting a motorbike is 100,000 to 150,000 VND a day. Resorts such as Six Sense and Paulo Condo offer regular shuttle buses between their resorts and town.

Activities to do in Con Dao

Con Dao archipelago is one of the most beautiful destinations for a holiday trip to Vietnam. Coming to Con Dao, you cannot only swim and relax on the beach, but you can also join some other activities below.
  • Diving, Snorkeling and watching corals
  • East Sea fishing
  • Exploring small islands
  • Witness turtle prawn eggs and release baby turtles to the sea
One of the activities you should not miss in Con Dao is diving, snorkeling, and watching corals. Con Dao consists of different sub-islands such as Bay Canh, Tai, Tre, Trac or Cau, etc., in which the convergence of coral reefs is the highest density in Vietnam. Among these sub-islands, Tai is the most suitable and wonderful place to explore marine life. The types of coral reefs here are various from branches, slabs, blocks with diverse colors and shapes. Taking the snorkeling tour, you will be equipped with the life jacket, diving goggles, diving mask, propellers, and guided about the diving manipulation. You will have a chance to immerse yourself in the crystal clear water, explore the magical ocean world, and admire schools of fish swimming through the colorful coral reefs. Besides, you can also see sea cucumber, mussels, etc., in different shapes. Let's prepare your best health condition and spirits to have an unforgettable experience under the sea of Con Dao.
Fishing is also a favorite activity in Con Dao. At first, this activity is just accessible in a small group coming to Con Dao for a vacation. Until now, it is becoming more and more well-known, and among activities, you should not miss in Con Dao. Con Dao has various types of fishes, such as mackerel, grouper, plaice, etc. due to the number of islands. Each of the islands has a different kind of fish. To catch different types of fish, you will need a different type of bait. After fishing, you can enjoy your achievement as well as watching the scenery of the sea and islands. For more excitement, you can try to challenge your courage with shark fishing. The ideal place for shark fishing is the Nhat beach, located on the Love Peak of Con Dao.
Con Son Bay has a system of 14 big and small islands close or far away from each other. All of the islands create magnificent scenery that you cannot take your eyes off. If you want to discover the wildlife and see rare animals, Tai island will be a suitable choice for you. You can admire the wildlife of macaque, ebony squirrel, iguana, gecko, etc. Ba Island is also among those islands; you can admire these rare animals. Besides, on this island, you can easily find beautiful beaches, forest ecosystems, and diverse mangroves. Let's find yourself with more deserted islands in Con Dao, which will bring you many new and surprising things.
Watching turtles laying eggs is an exciting activity you should not miss when you are in Con Dao. Hon Bay island, known as the best eco-island in Con Dao, also the most significant marine turtle conservation in Vietnam, is the most suitable island to watch. The island has the highest number of turtles to lay eggs in Con Dao. During the breeding season, from April to September every year, the number of mother turtles crawling to the edge for nesting and laying eggs can reach up to 30. If you are lucky, you also can see the previously hatched baby turtles trying to crawl out of the eggshell.

Famous attractions in Con Dao

Visiting Con Dao, you will have the chance to immerse yourself in the cool, crystal-clear water of different beaches, visit historical sites to learn about the French and American war times in Vietnam, and engage in the wildlife in Con Dao National Park. Let’s refer to some attractions below for a splendid holiday in Con Dao Archipelago.

Charming beaches in Con Dao

Con Dao is an ideal destination for a vacation in Vietnam due to its pristine sceneries of the beaches. Con Dao has a lot of beautiful and peaceful beaches, including some of the beaches below.
  • Lo Voi Beach
  • An Hai Beach
  • Dam Trau Beach
  • Nhat Beach in the Shark Cape
  • Suoi Nong Beach
If you travel to Con Dao by waterway towards the center, you will catch up with the image of two long coastlines with the sound of the waves and the sea breeze blowing in, called Lo Voi Beach. Lo Voi beach is named after the So Lo Voi, in which the French colonialists exploit labor through the process of burning lime from corals. Lo Voi Beach has idyll sea surface, crystal blue water, long and clean white sandbank. Along the beach, you can see the poplar trees stretching. The beach is exceptionally suitable for a family picnic.
Like Lo Voi Beach, although located in the center of Con Son town, An Hai beach is pristine with a peaceful atmosphere. The water of the sea is so clear that you can see the bottom of the sea. The beach with smooth and white sand, next to a mountain and small islands on the sea surface, creates a wonderful landscape picture. The jetty on An Hai beach is the place where fishing boats mooring. If you wake up early to see the sunrise, you can also catch up with the fishermen's image, preparing their fishing gear for their fishing journey. In the afternoon, you can relax, swim at the beach or walk along the sandbank.
Dam Trau beach is also among the alarming beaches in Con Dao. Dam Trau beach is located near Co Ong Airport, on the edge of Con Dao National Park, and is about 14 kilometers from Con Dao town. Dam Trau beach possesses a beautiful, wild and mysterious scenery with vast turquoise sea, smooth sand, smooth waves, untouched primary forests, and colorful coral reefs. You can also see cliffs of various shapes created over time above Dam Trau Beach. Let’s drop in Dam Trau beach and enjoy the best moments of fun!
Nhat Beach is located 6 kilometers from Con Dao to the Southeast. The natural landscape in Nhat beach is wild, and there is almost no human impact here. The beach has a sandy surface mixed with gravel and stone. You can see gravel lying close to each other anytime wave rushes. The undulating, various shapes and stacked to each other pebbles on the banks look attractive and have become a favorite attraction to take photos. Nhat Beach is quite small and only visible at low tide. Under the sunshine, the rocks look glistening, and you can view this from the Love mountain in the Shark Cape. The Shark Cape has a large rock protruding from the sea, looking like a shark’s nose.
Suoi Nong Beach has become one of the attractions you should not miss in Con Dao due to its unspoiled sea with white sand and mangroves stretching along. From Dam Trau beach, you just have to walk a short forest road to come here. Coming to Suoi Nong beach, not only will you be immersed in the beautiful landscapes, but you will also be amazed by the water temperature. The underground stream goes through the hot mineral mine; the water on the beach remained at more than 50 Celsius degree all year round. Therefore, when visiting the beach, you will have a chance to witness a strange view of steam rising to create mysterious scenery.

Historical sites in Con Dao

Con Dao is one of the witnesses of French and American colonial times in Vietnam. Con Dao Prison, Chua Dao Palace and the Museum of Con Dao are three historical sites in Con Dao you should not miss if you want to learn about Vietnamese history. Visiting these three attractions, you will overview the crime of colonial and empire regime as well as the patriotism and unyielding of Vietnamese soldiers.
Con Dao Prison
Con Dao Prison is built by French to detain particularly dangerous prisoners for the French colonial regime such as political prisoners, prisoners under the death penalty, etc. During the French colonial times, many communists and patriots who opposed the colonial government, were arrested and prisoned. Later on, the Americans continued to use the prison in the war against the US.
Con Dao Prison Complex includes Phu Son Prison, Phu Hai Prison, Phu Tho Prison, Phu Tuong Prison, The Tiger Cage, the separated cow shed, Phu An Prison, Phu Phong, and Phu Hung Prison.
The most famous place in Con Dao Prison Complex is the "Tiger Cage" area. The "Tiger cages" area is the harshest solitary confinement in prison. Prisoners here were confined in a 5m² wide room with poor hygiene and eating conditions. They were shackled and had to lie on a damp cement floor, and were often tortured for interrogation. Above the Tiger Cage, there are grilles for the guards to monitor the prisoners below and sprinkle lime or poke a long stick to warn if they see any resistance. Besides, Tiger Cage also has a roofless prison system. The prisons here were stripped of their clothes and laid under the sun and the rain.
The Tiger Cage is for important prisoners who refuse to report and subdue the prisoners' will through brutal torture. To avoid public opposition, the "tiger barn" was built in isolation and kept a secret. For a long time, no one outside knew the existence of this "tiger barn."
Chua Dao Palace
Chua Dao Palace is also a worthy attraction to visit in Con Dao if you would like to understand more about the magnanimous fighting history of Vietnam.
Chua Dao Palace, also known as The Governor's palace, was formed between 1862 and 1876, with a total area of 18,600 m2. This place was formerly the home of 53 island kings, including 39 island kings during the French colonial period and 14 island kings during the American empire over 113 years. It used to be where the harsh policies for prisoners and measures to suppress and torture the prisoners were set. It was also the island kings' accommodation and place of work, showing the luxurious life of domination besides the miserable and poor life of prisoners.
After the South Revolution Day, Chua Dao Palace is used as a display for the crime of the king, as well as the colonial and empire regime. There are for topics being displayed, which are:
- Con Dao – country and people
- Con Dao – the hell on Earth
- Con Dao – a revolutionary school
- Con Dao – historical relics of revolutionary
Besides the four main topics above, there is also a collection about Con Dao Prison. Let’s come and explore them yourself!
Besides Con Dao Prison and Chua Dao Palace, Con Dao Museum also stores a lot of artifacts and images during two wars. The museum preserves the long-term cultural and historical heritages of Vietnam. It contributes a part in the sustainable tourism development of the Con Dao District.

Con Dao National Park

Con Dao National Park, built-in 1993, is a part of a special-use forest system among 33 national parks in Vietnam. It has vibrant and diverse vegetation, from terrestrial to aquatic species. There are more than 370 species of woody, more than 100 species of vines, more than 200 beneficial herbs, and 30 different types of orchids scattered on the island.
Con Dao has up to 69 species of genera, 28 species of mammals, 39 species of reptiles. Some animals are considered local animals here, as they appeared years ago. They are the typical species on the island, including Con Dao deer mouse, black squirrel, ebony squirrel.
Visiting Con Dao National Park, you will have an opportunity to admire many kinds of rare corals and animals named in the Red Book of Vietnam, such as dugongs, crocodiles, etc.
Let’s travel to Con Dao, drop-in Con Dao National Park, and immerse yourself in the diverse world of flora and fauna.

Accommodation in Con Dao

Con Dao provides some good hotels and resorts for your stay, including hotels and resorts near the center or on the beach, suitable for transferring to tourist sites. You can refer to the listed hotel below for a wonderful vacation in Con Dao.
Six Senses Con Dao resort is in Dat Doc Beach with a total area of about 12 ha. It is about 9 kilometers from Con Son Airport, 17 kilometers from Ben Dam port, and roughly 200 kilometers from the city center of Vung Tau.
Inspired by the fishing village and the pristine beauty of the island, Six Senses Con Dao brings a cozy atmosphere between modern and traditional styles. All of the building materials of the resort are taken from nature, such as bamboo or wood. Couples or families always prefer to choose this place as their accommodation for relaxation in Con Dao.
Marina Bay Con Dao Hotel is located in the center of Con Son and is convenient for traveling to some tourist attractions in Con Dao, such as An Hai Beach, Dat Doc Beach, Con Dao Museum, etc. The rooftop outdoor swimming pool is a particular architectural highlight of this hotel. The pool is quite large, with a beautiful view of the sea. Enjoying the swimming pool and watching the sunrise or sunset in the ocean will be an interesting suggestion for you.
Poulo Condor Boutique Resort & Spa is our favorite hideaway resort on Vong Beach under the Chua Mountain. With the classical style design and the lush green garden around, the resort has created a unique, attractive beauty. The resort is also one of the choices for families and couples vacation in Con Dao due to its quiet and fresh space. One can find every natural element in one place: mountain, jungle, river, lake, and beach. That creates a beautiful all-inclusive beach holiday for travelers to Con Dao island.
Link: https://www.handspan.com/en/everything-you-should-know-before-visiting-con-dao-island.html


Author: Xuan Da

Source: www.handspan.com

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