Some Notes You Should Know Before Visiting Con Dao Island
Con Dao Islands, also known as the Con Dao National Park, is an archipelago of 16 mostly uninhabited island sites off the southern coast of Vietnam. Ideal for knowledgeable tourists seeking to escape the busy city life, the principal island offers also miles of coastal routes.
Con Son, the main (and only living) island, was once a site of Vietnamese independence Franco-run prisons. Most of the abandoned prisons are in Con Son Town, which allows you to see prisons and tiger cages. Many people visit Con Son to pay respects to revolutionaries like Vo Thi Sau, the first woman on the island to have been executed by the French.
Aside from this rather bleak part of Con Son, the island has plenty of unspoiled beaches where you can enjoy a day of sunbathing, swimming, and dining on fresh seafood. Closest to the town is Bai An Hai Beach, which connects Ben Dam Harbour to several beachfront resorts and fishing villages. If you prefer privacy, rent a motorbike and make your way south towards Mui Ca Map (Shark Cape) and Nhat Beach to enjoy fine white sands and breathtaking views of the ocean.
Island-hopping and diving are popular activities on Con Dao Islands, where you can explore most of the uninhabited islets and spot various wildlife such as stingrays, barracudas, moray eels, and dugongs. Due to its status as a national park, you need to arrange your trip with Con Dao National Park Headquarters (29 Vo Thi Sau, Con Dao District, Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province). Hon Bay Canh Island is renowned for its turtle breeding grounds, so if you’re visiting between June and September, you may even get a chance to watch turtles laying their eggs.
Best Time to Go
The best time to visit Con Dao Islands is during the dry season (November to February), but if you’re looking to see turtles nesting on Hon Bay Canh Island, visit between June and September. February till July is ideal for diving excursions as the waters around Con Dao have visibility averaging between 20 and 30 meters.
How to Get to Con Dao Islands
Con Dao Islands, particularly Con Son, are accessible within an hour’s flight from Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam Airline’s VASCO is the only airline with regular flights to the island, with roundtrip tickets priced around USD210 for adults, USD160 for children age 2 to 11, and USD25 for children below 2 years old. Con Dao Aiport is 15 kilometers south of Con Son Town, with the majority of luxury resorts and hotels offer roundtrip shuttles to guests. Some drivers charge about VND 50,000 to non-guests, making it a cost-effective way of getting to your destination.
What to eat there,
Over the past couple of years, the food scene on Con Son Island has improved, though still nearly as rich and varied as mainland Vietnam. With the population of Con Son (while settlers have moved here from the mainland), street food vendors have begun to emerge, cleaning up a population from all over Vietnam’s different palates. There are also a few fine seafood restaurants that are mainly dedicated to Vietnamese visitors from big urban centers.