Travelling to Con Dao is one of the most beautiful and peaceful getaways you will make in Vietnam.
Remote from the mainland, the Con Dao Islands are one of Vietnam’s top attractions. During your visit, you will notice the two aspects of the island when you travel to Con Dao: that of the tropical paradise, the other of the brutal penal colony. You will spend the day swimming in the crystal clear sea, walking on white sand beaches, hiking in the jungle, riding a scooter along deserted coastal roads and drinking cocktails on the promenade; You will visit the prisons of the colonial era, and you will learn about political prisoners.
How to travel to Con Dao?
To travel to Con Dao, there are several daily flights from Saigon and weekly flights from Can Tho in the Mekong Delta. There is also a new fast and daily ferry service from Soc Trang (2h30), in the Mekong Delta, and a slow ferry service from Vung Tau (5h). Cruise ships even make occasional stops at Con Son. On the island of Con Son itself, it is easy to get around, thanks to the good roads, light traffic, taxis and the rental of scooters.
The ideal time to travel to Con Dao
The best time to travel to Con Dao is from March to June: it is hot and generally dry, and the sea is blue and calm. The two New Year’s seasons (November to February) are the driest, but there can be a lot of wind: the sea is rough, diving conditions are not good, and if you plan to arrive by sea, boats are often forced to cancel. The summer months are warm with calm and clear waters, but there is always a risk of heavy monsoon rains. October tends to be the least favourable month as the islands are subject to typhoon winds from the northeast.
What to visit?
For the majority of Vietnamese visitors, prisons, museums and historical sites are the history of Con Dao, and what brings tourists here. Every year, tens of thousands of Vietnamese of all ages and backgrounds come on pilgrimage to pay tribute to former prison inmates, many of whom are considered great national heroes. More than 20,000 prisoners died on the island due to malnutrition, illness, ill-treatment or execution. Of course, this makes prisons and associated sites very dark. But for a foreign visitor, it also gives a historical perspective and makes you appreciate how this island, which today seems to be the tropical paradise, was a dark and infernal place for thousands of prisoners for more than a century.
Phu Hai Prison
Con dao Prison
Con Dao Museum
Relax and enjoy the beaches in Con Dao: Ong Dung, Dam Trau, Bien Dong... It is very easy to reach them by motorcycle or scooter.
Dive or snorkel with a specialist agency such as Con Dao Dive Center, Rainbow Divers or Lighthouse Con Dao Travel.
What to eat?
Villa House Kitchen & Wine Bar
This restaurant, very nice, is the ideal place to go to Con Dao when you are looking for a beautiful setting and good cuisine. We suggest you try the "Seafood Red Curry", which is amazing!
Address: 46 Nguyen Hue, Lo Voi Beach
Opening hours: Daily from 10am to 11pm
If you’re looking for quality burgers and pizzas, Bar 200 is the place to go!
Address: 7 Vo Thi Thi Sau | thi tran Con Dao, huyen Con Dao
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 6pm to 9pm
Where to stay?
The number of hotels on the Con Dao Islands has increased significantly over the last two years. Here are our recommendations for each budget.
Poulo Condor Boutique Resort & Spa $$$
This resort is a short drive from the airport and the only accommodation on this side of the island. The hotel has a private beach. The style and decoration are superb, the theme is "French colonial". Inside, the rooms are very spacious and beautifully appointed. Other facilities include a beautiful infinity pool, spa, large gardens, restaurant and bar.
Tan Son Nhat Con Dao Resort $$
This place is right next to Con Dao Resort and shares the same beautiful location on the beach. Large, well-made wooden bungalows are set under tall trees on the beach.
Uyen’s House Homestay $-$
With its pastel tones, its antique-chic decor pleasantly young and trendy, Uyen’s House has become the favorite place of young Vietnamese.