VietnamBeachesFirst Time at Con Dao Islands

First Time at Con Dao Islands

Con Dao is a group of 16 islands belonging to Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province in Southeast Vietnam.

Population of Con Dao City: 6,600 (2016); Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province: 1.2 million (2019)

Ethnic groups: Kinh (Viet)

Highlights: beaches, Con Dao Prison, Con Dao National Park

Climate

The average annual temperature is 26oC (78.8oF). The warmest month of the year is May, with an average temperature of 28.3oC (82.9oF), and the coldest month of the year is January with temperatures averaging 25.3oC (77.5oF).

With a generally hot and temperate climate, the summer has a good amount of rainfall with precipitation of about 2,200 mm (86.6 inches) per year. Most of the precipitation is in October.

Transport

Con Dao is 97 nautical miles from Vung Tau City (Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province)

Most people will travel from Ho Chi Minh or Vung Tau to Con Dao through options:
1) Take a direct flight from Ho Chi Minh’s Tan Son Nhat Airport to Con Dao Airport
2) Take an express boat from Cat Lo Port (97 km from Ho Chi Minh, 1.5 km from Vung Tau; view map) to Con Dao

Look for discounted travel tickets below for your first time in Con Dao:

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Air

Con Dao Airport in Con Dao Island (view map) has flights connecting with Can Tho and Ho Chi Minh City. However, the number of flights per day is quite limited because the Con Dao Airport is still small and needs more developments, do check the flight schedule carefully before booking your tickets.

Boats

Boats to Con Dao at Cat Lo Port (Vung Tau)

The Con Dao 09 and Con Dao 10: One trip takes 12 – 14 hours and costs VND 150,000 – 200,000/pax

CQ-03: One trip takes 10 – 12 hours and costs VND 350,000 – 420,000/pax

Greenlines Hydrofoil: One trip takes 4 hours and costs VND 350,000/pax

Boats to Con Dao at Cau Da Port (Vung Tau)
(view map)

Con Dao Express: One trip takes 4 hours and costs from VND 660,000/pax

Boats to Con Dao at Tran De Port (Soc Trang)
(view map):

Superdong Speedboat: One trip takes 2 hours and 30 minutes and costs VND 310,000/adult and VND 220,000/child

Con Dao Express: One trip takes 1 hour and 45 minutes and costs from VND 400,000/pax 

Motorbikes

You can send your motorbike on the boat when traveling to Con Dao, which can cost around VND 180,000/bike 

At Con Dao City, motorbikes for rent are available for around VND 150,000 per day at the hotels or hostels. 

Taxis

Taxis are available almost everywhere in the city. Some of the taxi brands are Mai Linh, and Con Son. 

Most hotels and resorts in Con Dao also provide airport transfer upon your arrival, and the receptionists can also help you arrange a taxi.

Con Dao Travel Guides:

Con Dao Travel Guide

Accommodations in Con Dao City:

Con Dao is home to many luxurious resorts and affordable homestays (View more on Agoda)

six senses con dao

Six Senses Con Dao (Check price and availability)

tan son nhat resort

Tan Son Nhat Con Dao Resort (Check price and availability)

Attractions in Con Dao

Con Dao National Park 

(view map)

As a natural reserve area in a somewhat remote island for tourism in Vietnam, Con Dao National Park including the part of Con Son Island and the surrounding sea is home to a diverse ecosystem of coral reefs, rare sea turtles, dolphins, and endangered dugongs. The national park also holds frequent tours to explore the wildlife here such as the half-day tour to watch sea turtles laying eggs.

Con Dao Prison

(view map)

Due to its far-off location, Con Dao used to be a prison island established by the French invaders for political prisoners. The living conditions for the inmates were so horrid that Con Dao has earned its name as “Hell on Earth” during wartime. Con Dao Prison now serves as a relic site containing proofs and candid insight into the wars in Vietnam. 

Con Dao Museum

(view map)

Con Dao Museum is within the vicinity of the prison, preserving and exhibiting the obtrusive truth about French colonialism and imprisonment in Con Dao in particular. Though the gruesome pictures and artifacts are difficult to look at, those are important facts about the island’s history.

Hang Duong Cemetary

(view map)

After witnessing the past stories of Con Dao, stop by the Hang Duong Cemetary to pay respect to those fallen. Locals strive to keep the site tidy and sacred, and people offer incense to both the named and anonymous graves here.

Hiking in So Ray

(view map)

So Ray is a primitive forest in Con Dao with little human traces which was used by the French colonists to abuse the prisoners’ labor for planting industrial plants. Now it is not only a historical landmark but also a lovely hiking trail for visitors to immerse in the wilderness of Con Dao. The hiking trail is easy to follow but by no means is it an easy hike, so for those looking for a challenge, So Ray can be a fulfilling adventure. 

Con Dao Beaches

Beaches in Con Dao are what have brought a reputation to this off-the-beaten-track island as one of the most wonderful beach escape havens in Vietnam.

An Hai Beach (view map) is among the most scenic and yet also one of the most bustling beaches in Con Dao. There is easy access to almost all tourism facilities here and affordable hotels stand along the seashore, and with that said, there are high chances that you’re 

Dat Doc Beach (view map) belongs to Six Senses Con Dao Resort for the most part but you can also get to experience its beauty as well by hiking across the Elephant Mountain. 

Ong Dung Beach (view map) lies behind the national park, and you have to pay VND 60,000 for the entrance fee which also includes snorkeling activity. 

Dam Trau Beach (view map) is arguably the most famous beach in Con Dao mainly because its location is right on the south of the airport’s entrance

Diving in Con Dao

Rainbow Divers (view map): 40 Ton Duc Thang Street, Con Dao, Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province 

Con Dao Scuba Diving Center (view map): Nguyen Van Linh Street, Con Dao, Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province

Eating and Drinking on Your First Time in Con Dao:

– Seafood (fish, crabs, sea urchins)

– Shark Salad (Goi Ca Nham)

Shopping in Con Dao:

Con Dao Market and Con Dao Night Market are where you can try local cuisines, and find locally made souvenirs, cheap products, and freshly-caught seafood.

What to buy in Con Dao: fresh and dried seafood, pearls, birds’ nests

Festivals in Con Dao

Con Dao Day happens annually on the 20th of the 6th lunar month when Vietnamese veterans gather and hold the yearly death anniversary for the fallen soldiers in Con Dao.

Ms. Sau’s Death Anniversary (Gio Co Sau) is celebrated on the 27th of the 12th lunar month to commemorate the death of Vo Thi Sau. Vo Thi Sau was a courageous schoolgirl who worked as a guerilla against the French army, She was captured, tried, and convicted by the French colonists, and was the first woman to be executed in Con Son Prison in Con Dao when she was just 19.  

Have questions or comments? Please feel free to leave us a comment below.

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