Are you looking for a remote place to travel in Vietnam? Every year there is a vast number of local and foreign travelers coming to sightsee and relax at the gorgeous beaches at Con Dao Island, located off the Southeast coast of Vietnam. Known as “the Devil’s Island of Indochina,” Con Dao was used as a political prison in the war between Vietnam and the Colonials. On the other hand, this island is famous for its crystal clear beaches, green coconut trees, and white sand that attract anyone looking for a great relaxing vacation. With much of its natural beauty untouched and not affected by the tourism boom, Con Dao is now a one-of-a-kind destination in Vietnam to discover a part of Vietnamese history and enjoy the beauty of this remote island.
BEST TIME TO VISIT CON DAO ISLAND
-Con Dao’s weather is tropical all year round with temperature ranges from 82F – 99F or 28C – 37C degrees
-Rainy Season is from May – November, Dry Season is from December – April
-From February to July, the waters around Con Dao are at their clearest for diving
-From May to October, Green Turtles nest on beaches around the islands
HOW TO GET TO CON DAO
By plane from Ho Chi Minh City:
Travel time: 1 hour
Airlines: Vietnam Airlines
By high-speed boat from Vung Tau:
Travel time: 4 hours
Price: VND 350,000
Port Address: 120 Ha Long, Vung Tau
Book your tickets to Con Dao on 12GoAsia:
WHERE TO STAY IN CON DAO
Six Senses Con Dao
Booking link: Six Senses Con Dao
Explore the untouched beauty of Con Dao in the most extravagant way possible at Six Senses Con Dao. The first five-star resort to have been established on the island boasts an impressive contemporary blending harmoniously with the traditional fishing village surroundings. Besides the typical dining and spa services, the resort also carries scuba diving sessions at secluded locales so you can take a closer observation of the charming marine life of the Con Dao Islands.
Poulo Condor Boutique Resort & Spa
Booking link: Poulo Condor Boutique Resort and Spa
Con Son is the main island of the archipelago with forested hills and dazzling coral reefs, and Poulo Condor Resort & Spa is the perfect sanctuary for you to immerse fully in pristine nature. Their architectural design bears significant colonial French characteristics, yet gleams with the traditional Vietnamese charm. Whether it is dining at an exquisite restaurant and having a drink by the beach, spending your time at the resort is always the best time in your Con Dao Travel.
Villa Maison Con Dao Boutique Hotel
Booking link: Villa Maison Con Dao Boutique Hotel
Though Villa Maison Con Dao Boutique is rather new to the area, its professional service and highly-trained staff would not let anybody disappoint. The hotel is only a short distance away from the historic Con Dao Prison, which is super convenient for exploration. After a full day of visiting the island, you can grab a bite at the fancy on-site restaurant, or have a nice cold drink at the elegant bar.
Lighthouse Boutique Hotel
Booking link: Lighthouse Boutique Hotel
Serving at a much affordable price, Lighthouse Boutique Hotel is a family-friendly option for your trip to Con Dao. The necessary modern facilities and the attentive staff surely make your stay at Con Dao the most enjoyable possible. The hotel’s location gives you easy access to Vietnam’s most beloved island as it is only 0.2km away from the city center and other Con Dao’s favorite beaches such as An Hai and Lo Voi, giving you easy access to uncover Vietnam’s most beloved island.
Booking link: Red Hotel
Although the Red Hotel is quite a humble accommodation, its impeccable services, and well-equipped rooms will ensure the most comfortable stay for your Con Dao Travel. On the other hand, the strategic location of the hotel, which is super close to Con Dao’s famous attractions and historical sites, makes it the perfect place to stay and discover all the sights and sounds of the archipelago.
WHERE TO GO AT CON DAO ISLAND
Vo Thi Sau’s Grave and Hang Duong Cemetery
Born in 1933 in Vung Tau, Vo Thi Sau was a patriot who fought against the French colonials in Vietnam. After several anti-French revolts, she was caught and executed at Con Dao. As a brave woman, she refused to be blindfolded at her execution. To celebrate her as a symbol of patriotism, she is now represented as a guardian of the island.
Since Con Dao used to be a political prison where many Vietnamese soldiers died, Hang Duong Cemetery was established and contained more than 2,000 graves including Vo Thi Sau’s Grave. Apart from the worship activities of the locals, foreign visitors are all welcome to the cemetery to learn about the spiritual customs of the Vietnamese and to listen to the old stories about the war in Vietnam. Besides, there is a museum nearby where visitors can come to see the photos and historical belongings of Vo Thi Sau. Moreover, nightly from 11 PM to 2 AM is considered the ideal spiritual time for some people to come to the cemetery to honor and pray for the dead. This is a ghoulish chance for visitors to observe the Vietnamese worship customs.
Con Dao Prison System
To learn why Con Dao was named “the Devil’s Island of Indochina,” a visit to its Prison System is a must. Being there, you will have a chance to witness different methods of torture. For example, with the Vietnamese political dissidents and the communists were captured by the French and then the Americans, they used barbed wire rectangular cages called tiger cages and put several prisoners under the hot sun. Whenever the prisoners moved, the nails from the barbed wire would poke them in the tight cages.
Read more on Vietnam War tours
Con Dao Museum
Apart from the Prison System, the Con Dao Museum is an entrance-free visit that you should never miss on the island. Spending an hour there, you will have a chance to learn about the prehistory and the island’s brutal past. Moreover, the displayed information and photos are vivid evidence to deeply understand the meaning of “the Devil’s Island of Indochina.”
Location: 10 Nguyen Hue Street (East of town)
Hours: 7:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Con Dao’s Beaches
Since Con Dao is an island, it is geographically blessed with some of the best beaches in Vietnam. Luckily, Con Dao’s beaches are the jewels of this island. They are gorgeous and not very crowded. Here is an introduction to a few beaches of Con Dao:
Dam Trau Beach
Loi Voi Beach
Dat Doc Beach
Suoi Nong (Hot Stream) Beach
Con Dao’s Archipelago
Specifically, Con Dao is not a single island but an archipelago of 16 smaller islands and islets. Hence, it is a perfect paradise for marine explorations and activities. If you would like to visit the smaller islands, there are two standouts:
Bay Canh Island
Recognized as the second largest island in the Con Dao archipelago, Bay Canh is one of the most popular sites that is covered by an extensive rainforest; it is an excellent eco-environment to see the rare species and exotic animals in Vietnam. Also, this island is where the majority of sea turtles lay eggs. May – October is the eggs-hatching season.
Tre Lon Island and Tre Nho Islet
Tre Lon Island, known as Big Bamboo Island, is the second most popular place where sea turtles gather to lay eggs. Besides that, there is other marine life, such as snails, giant clams, and reef fish. Alternatively, you can visit Tre Nho Islet or Small Bamboo Island to see many birds nesting ground.
With a diversified ecosystem, a nature tour of the smaller islands is worth a try. For your Con Dao Travel Guide, there are some recommendations:
Hon Cau (Cau Island)
Hon Ba (Ba Island)
Located on Con Son island, So Ray is a harvesting area dating back to French regulation time. Nowadays it is one of the tourist sites of Con Dao National Park. At this place, you will go through a rainforest with plenty of plants and rare species. If you love to participate in an eco-tour, So Ray is an ideal place for a nature discovery.
Dinh Chua Dao (The Lords’ Island House)
The Lords’ Island House is a historical site dating back to the late 19th century. It was the living and working place of more than 50 Lords on the islands in the past. Currently, this House is a museum to display the historical documents of Con Dao since the island was released from the Colonials.
Ben Dam Harbour
As a part of Ben Dam Bay, Ben Dam Harbour plays an important role as the main gate coming to and leaving Con Dao. This is where tourist boats dock and provide travel services for visitors throughout the whole island. It is an opportunity for you to see the marine transportation systems of Con Dao Island, and the locals trading seafood and fishing as well.
Chua Nui Mot (Nui Mot Pagoda)
Built in 1964, Nui Mot is one of the amazing pagodas in Vietnam. It was established to remember the patriots who sacrificed themselves for the independence of the country. Hence, this pagoda is also a historical site for every visitor. Unlike the majority of pagodas with gorgeous religious architecture, Nui Mot is strongly connected with a naturally breathtaking scenery on a hill. If you would like to find peace on a spiritual level, this pagoda is the right place you must visit.
Fishing at the 914 Pier
The 914 Fishing Pier is located in front of the Lords’ Island House. It is a recommended spot to rent and charter a fisherman boat and go deep-sea fishing, or simply fish from the pier.
WHAT TO EAT AT CON DAO ISLAND
At Con Dao, marine dishes are the specialties of the island. It promises a broad range of seafood collections that you would need to visit for more than a couple of days to try them all. Here are a few local specialties from Con Dao:
Goi Ca Nham (Shark Salad)
Oc Vu Nang (Hat Snails)
Sa Sung (Sea Worms)
Ca Mu Do (Red Grouper)
Summary of What to Do at Con Dao Travel Guide
Recognized as one of the most remote sites in Vietnam, Con Dao is a place for every tourist who loves to explore both the historical aspect and the beautiful nature of the country. This Vietnam Travel Guide is completed with the best time to visit Con Dao, where to go at Con Dao, and what to eat at Con Dao. For your insider’s travel tips at other cities in Vietnam, check our What to Do in Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) Travel Guide and our What to Do in Hanoi in 3 Days Travel Guide.