Con Dao Island (Ba Ria – Vung Tau province) is famous for its beautiful pristine beaches, fine white sand that charms visitors. In addition, the air on the island is very fresh, like a paradise resort. It is a great destination for those who want to get away from noisy and bustling in the city.
To help you get memorable experiences, this article will guide you everything you need to know before visiting Con Dao. So let’s pack your bags and read this informative article!
In February 1862, governor of South Vietnam Bonard signed a decision to establish a prison system on Con Son Island (Con Dao) and also officially from this time Con Dao has become a real “the hell on the earth” with many of the detention rooms and tiger cages. Together with Phu Quoc prison, this was one of the largest political prisoners in South Vietnam at that time.
Today, that prison still survives but this island has changed from a demon island into a paradise on earth. Con Dao today has changed, is no longer a place when every mention must be scary people, this island has become one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Asia.
Con Dao still has many features: calm, noisy, crowded, many scenic spots still wild, natural. The island becomes most seductive of the planet, an island that captivates the hearts of those who once landed on this beautiful and captivating island.
I. WHEN TO TRAVEL TO CON DAO ISLAND
1. Weather in Con Dao Island
The island is in in Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province, but it is located offshore, about 92 nautical miles from Vung Tau. The location of Con Dao is very beautiful, one side overlooking the sea, the others are surrounded by majestic mountains.
This location is also near the equator, so it has a tropical climate. Con Dao has 2 distinct seasons: the rainy season and dry season. Rainy season falls begins from May to September of the year. The dry season from October to April next year. This time on Con Dao the weather is dry, you will not encounter the sudden rain makes it difficult to travel around the visit.
The average temperature of Con Dao is about 27ºC. The hottest days can be up to 31ºC. However, because of the location on the island near the sea, it is very pleasant by the sea breeze and trees. The rain lasts about 1 hour and the time remaining in the weather is still beautiful sunshine.
Month Average Temperature (ºC) Average Rainfall (mm)
January 25 20
February 25 10
March 27.2 10
April 28.3 40
May 28.9 130
June 27.2 190
July 27.8 220
August 27.8 230
September 27.2 250
October 26.7 200
November 27.2 160
December 25.6 70
2. Best time to travel to Con Dao Vietnam
One of the interesting things about wildlife and nature is its unpredictability, as you never know precisely what you are going to see. Due to this, from year to year, there may be small variations in the timings of naturally occurring events. The time given here are based on historical patterns and experiences.
The best time to travel to Con Dao is from March to September. Although there are big waves during October to February, this is the dry season so it is usually sunny, also an ideal time to visit Con Dao.
Besides, you can also visit Con Dao from March to September because the beach is quiet. You will feel free to swim, kayaking, coral reef diving and explore islands in Con Dao.
October to February is the time that has northeast’s wind. At this time, Cong Son Bay has big waves but the sea at the west and southwest is still quiet. So that you can visit Dam Trau beach or hire a boat to explore Tre Lon and Tre Nho islands. Addition, you can walk, ride a bike to contemplate the best scene of Con Dao.
II. HOW TO TRAVEL TO CON DAO VIETNAM
1. How to get to Con Dao Vietnam
a. Getting to Con Dao by airplane – An easy way to get to Con Dao Island
Currently, only Vietnam Airlines in conjunction with Vasco Con Dao route can get to Con Dao. You can fly directly from Ho Chi Minh City or Can Tho to Con Dao. From Hanoi, you have to transit in one of the two places.
In particular, from Ho Chi Minh City has from 4-5 flights every day, customers are offered up to 20 kg of baggage and 7 kg of hand baggage for free. Flight time is about 55 minutes and the cost is between US$ 66 to US$ 132/ticket.
How to book an air ticket to get to Con Dao:
They are often full, sold out a week in advance. Unless your schedule is very flexible, we strongly recommend you book your round-trip ticket in advance because it’s full. Travel agents, tour operators, and Six Senses Resort have allotments.
The Con Dao airport is located in the northern section of Con Son Island. To travel from the airport to the island center you can take a shared minivan, a taxi or have airport pickup. An excellent budget option to get from Con Dao airport is to have your hotel/guesthouse book you onto the shuttle bus. Someone will meet you at the airport with your name on a sign and point you to the bus. It’s great: air-conditioned and only 2 US$ per person paid directly to the driver.
Advantages and disadvantages of getting to Con Dao by airplane:
There is no denying the convenience of flying. It is the most convenient means of transportation. Flight time is short to save time. However, an expensive ticket which will make you consider.
b. Getting to Con Dao island by boat – An interesting experience
Apart from airplanes, guests also have a more economical means, that is to take a boat from Cat Lo ferry (Vung Tau) to Ben Dam ferry (Con Dao).
How to book an air ticket to get to Con Dao:
You should book train tickets online and pay by bank transfer, then call the ticket office to confirm payment. Even if you have paid, you still need to arrive at the port 5 hours before the ticket. If you arrive late, tickets will be sold to others, even if you have paid.
Booking website: Click here
It takes about 12 hours from Vung Tau to Ben Dam. Therefore, I recommend buying a ticket for sleep. The one-way fare is about 16 US$ .At Tran De town in Soc Trang Province, you can take a speedboat to Con Dao via Superdong Ferry. The distance between the two regions is about 90 kilometers and the trip take only 2.5 hours via speedboat.
The one-way fare is about 15 US$ .
Ticket booking: (+84) 299 3843 888 / (+84) 299 3843 999
Advantages and disadvantages of getting to Con Dao by boat:
Getting to Con Dao by boat help you save a lot of money because the boat ticket is cheaper than an air ticket. Also, you will have a memorable experience and a chance to enjoy lovely view, feel the wind and breath clean air.
However, there is a point to note when you decide to choose this transportation, which is the possibility of carsick when moving. In the quiet seas (from April to August each year), it is an enjoyable experience to go to Con Dao. However, from September to March, the train will be a torment, especially for those who have been carsick
2. How to get around Con Dao Vietnam
a. Getting around Con Dao by motorbike and bicycle
Con Dao tourism has the advantage of cool air, wide roads, romantic nature, very suitable to enjoy a few rounds of motorcycles. The car can be rented at the hotel or motorcycle rental, from 5-7 US$ car/day.
Here are some of the rental phone number you can refer to:
Motorbike is the means to help you have convenient and many experiences in Con Dao.
Moreover, cycling is nice as the roads are all but empty and the scenery gorgeous. You can hire bike from most accommodations on the island. The price for rent is just about 2-3 US$ /day.
b. Getting around Con Dao by taxi
If you can ride a motorbike or you do not like cycling, taxi is the best choice. You can sit in the taxi and enjoy the beautiful sceneries, feel the wind sea, breath the fresh air.
Con Sơn Taxi has a modest fleet of cars that are always available to take you into town, or to the beaches around the island, or (particularly useful) to drop off and collect you at the beginning and end of trailheads.
Phone number: (+84) 643 908 908
III. WHERE TO STAY IN CON DAO ISLAND
Con Dao is not like some other islands. This place is full of hotels and resorts, gathered on Ton Duc Thang Street. Depending on what level of comfort and service you are looking for, prices vary greatly.
1. Con Dao Hotels
a. Con Dao Camping Hotel – One of the best-selling hotels in Con Dao
Centrally located on Con Dao Island, Con Dao Camping is just a stroll away from An Hai Beach and offers comfortable lodge accommodation.Van Son Pagoda is 700 meters away, while Con Dao Prison is 1.7 kilometers away. Guests can enjoy both Asian and Western cuisine at the all-day dining restaurant.
Address: 2 Nguyen Duc Thuan, Con Dao.
Phone: (+84) 254 3831 555
Reference price: 30 US$ /night
b. Villa Maison Con Dao Boutique Hotel – Friendly as your home
Located in Con Dao, 400 meters from Ben Dam, Villa Maison Con Dao offers rooms with amazing garden views and terrace. The hotel has a great restaurant with a nice menu and the staff is also very friendly and proposed nice activities. This little paradise to discover
Address: 46 Nguyen Hue, Con Dao.
Phone: (+84) 643 830 969
Reference price: 70 US$ / night
c. Con Son Island Hotel – Best place to relax
Located along the beautiful island of Con Dao, Con Son Island Hotel welcomes you in tastefully decorated holiday homes. The team of staff was friendly. They will organize some activities on the beach for you to enjoy your relaxing time. This hotel is just 700 meters from Ben Dam. Con Dao Island and Con Dao Museum are both 1.2 kilometers away.
Address: Residential 4 Ton Duc Thang, Con Dao
Phone: (+84) 254 3830 113
Reference price: 21 US$ /night
2. Con Dao Island Resort
Compared with hotels, resorts are more popular in Con Dao. Hotels also have beautiful sea view, clean and good service. However, there is no private beach. Some resort has a private beach for you and your friend and family to enjoy.
a. Saigon Con Dao resort – Favorable and beautiful resort
Conveniently located in Con Dao Islands, Saigon Condao Resort is a great resort to explore this vibrant city. Only 1 kilometer away, the resort can be easily accessed from the airport.
Saigon Condao Resort is renowned for its quality services and friendly staff. The resort recreational facilities, which include an outdoor pool, pool for kids, tennis courts, garden are designed for escape and relaxation. Saigon Condao Resort is an ideal place of stay for travelers seeking charm, comfort, and convenience.
Address: 18-24 Ton Duc Thang, Con Dao
Phone: (+84) 254 3830 336
Reference price: 60 US$ / night
b. ATC resort – Where to get away from bustling areas
Whether for business or pleasure, ATC Con Dao Resort is a great choice for your stay in Con Dao Islands. Only 1.5 kilometers from the city center, the resort’s location ensures that guests can quickly and easily reach many local points of interest. This modern resort is in the vicinity of popular city attractions and popular attractions.
The resort also has an outdoor pool, pool for kids and garden. The resort’s karaoke service is an ideal place to relax and unwind after a busy day. ATC Con Dao Resort is your one-stop destination for quality accommodations in Con Dao.
Address: 8 Ton Duc Thang, Con Dao
Phone: (+84) 643 830 456
Reference price: 60 US$ / night
c. Six senses Con Dao resort – An amazing experience in Con Dao
Isolated, exclusive and with one very spectacular view, Six Senses is Con Dao’s luxury resort and the top accommodation to stay. Six senses Con Dao resort, which was voted one of the seven most friendly resorts in the world. It is the paradise destination in Vietnam.Six Sense Con Dao is worthy of being the world’s most luxurious place to escape the hustle and bustle, full of peace with the cloudless sky and comfortable enjoy the luxury space.
All the villas have a pool, caliber – spa, restaurants, bar and even an ice cream shop. Six Sense Con Dao is modern, yet equally natural, blending in the midst of the blue sky, as a virtual landmark. All in Six Sense Con Dao give the amazing experience of life, complete with the immense nature of nature.
Address: Dat Doc Beach, Con Dao District, Ba Ria Vung Tau Province
Phone: (+84) 254 3831 222
Reference price: 430 US$ / night
IV. WHAT TO DO IN CON DAO ISLAND
1. Explore “the hell on the earth”
Con Dao was an archipelago with more political prisoners than the population. There are 11 prisons, of which Phu Hai is the largest prison. For over 100 years, about 20,000 Vietnamese have been imprisoned and sacrificed in what is known as the “the hell on the earth”. According to records, the guards often use various forms of torture both physically and mentally for the prisoner.
There have a lot of historical monuments has made traveling in Con Dao become more meaningful. These monuments are Con Dao Museum – a place preserving many ancient artifacts and photographs from the French colonial period, Phu Son Prison, Tiger Cages and Hang Duong cemetery.
Spiritual tourism is still a new concept but has become one of the special attractions of Con Dao tourism. When seeking spiritual travel in Con Dao, people seek to find peace and find human values by respect for the soldiers who lay down in this land to protect the peace of their country.
2. Diving and admiring the coral
As one of the exciting activities in Con Dao, diving is always the best choice for tourist when exploring this place. Con Dao includes a lot of smaller islands such as Tai island, Tre island, Trung island, Cau island, etc Which all have the most beautiful, colorful coral reefs with the highest density in Vietnam. Tourists can contact the providers of snorkeling tour to have the equipment and learn diving from professional divers. It will be an impressing experience in your life.
3. Sea fishing
The sea of Con Dao is in the South China Sea. Therefore, the species of sea animals are diverse and plentiful, promising extremely interesting fishing trips. The ideal location most chosen for this activity is Nhat beach near the famous Shark Cape of Con Dao. The moment sitting fishing will be the most relaxing moment of your trip.
4. Watching the green turtles laying their eggs
Watching the green turtles laying their eggs is such a unique type of thing to do in Con Dao to experience. If you want to experience this, it will be a quiet night but nervous and unforgettable on Bay Canh island. You will witness the Chelonia mydas sea turtles dug a hole to be the egg nests and laying their eggs.
Tourists will be guided how to watch the turtles laying eggs and learn the habits of sea turtle. It’s not just only that, the wonderful thing is that you also have a chance to let the little turtles go back to the sea with your own hands.
5. Immersing yourself in the sea water on Dam Trau beach
Dam Trau is one of the most beautiful beaches in Con Dao with golden sand, clear blue water, and the sunshine. 4 kilometers away from the center of the town to the northwest, this will be an ideal travel destination and camping site. Most of the travel companies choose to visit Dam Trau beach when having tours to Con Dao.
V. WHAT TO EAT IN CON DAO VIETNAM
Be like an island, Con Dao famous for this seafood cuisine. It will really regret that you have not known about the best food you must try in Con Dao Island yet. Here is the list of must-try food for you.
1. Vu Nang Snail – The best food you must try in Con Dao Island
Vu Nang Snail is actually a kind of unique snail and has become a famous food of Con Dao Island. At Con Dao, Vu Nang snail is available year round, but only appears on full moon days. Vu Nang snails are delicious when boiled, baked or made to mix, to make a salad. Boiled Vu Nang snail is considered the most popular because it is easy to make. With some wine, it is definitely the specialty making your day in a Vietnam beach vacation. It surely is on the list of the best food you must try in Con Dao Island.
Thu Ba restaurant is a famous place for seafood that you can ignore when you visit Con Dao, located in area 7 Vo Thi Sau, Con Dao district.
2. Oyster Porridge (Chao Hau) – One of the specialties in Con Dao Island
Porridge oysters in Con Dao hot, sweet meat cool, rice porridge soft but not broken rice, with a little pepper, cilantro, purple onion. Only enjoy oysters right at Con Dao, made by the local people visitors can feel why this dish becomes one of the specialties Con Dao. While you can realize that it is not so hard to find out where to buy oyster porridge in Con Dao Island but not all of them can bring customers the most brilliant taste.
You can go to Family restaurant to eat oyster porridge to get the best taste. Family restaurant located in Tran Phu Street, District 5, Con Dao, Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province.
3. Moon Crab – The dish brings a new experience
Also deserving the food you must try in Con Dao Island, Moon Crab will bring you a new experience of a new cuisine. Although it is called moon crab, crab meat is not delicious on the day of full moon. This will be the best at the end or the beginning of each month. Apart from being served with the mixture of salt, pepper, and lemon, the crab meat is also used to cook soup or noodle. In general, its taste is definitely smelling and unique. You must try to enjoy this taste.
Moon Crab should be eaten in Tri Ki restaurant, located in Nguyen Duc Thuan Street, opposite Con Dao resort.
4. Shark meat and vegetable salad – Special taste
For a Vietnam beach vacation in Con Dao Island, you will find it very difficult to lose out on Shark meat and vegetable salad. It is also listed in the deserving food you must try here. There is no way to forget the taste of this food. It is really the balance between the tender shark meat, fresh vegetables, sour pineapple, spicy mustard, and some other ingredients. You will not forget the taste of this food if you try.
Shark meat and vegetable salad can be found in Dinh Hai restaurant, located in Nguyen Duc Thuan Street, Con Dao.
5. Sa Sung – The ingredient of many delicious dishes in Con Dao Island
Referred as a species of seafood, Sa Sung has become the ingredient of many delicious dishes in Con Dao Island. You can find a large number of sa sung units from March to July. Therefore, coming here in this time, do not miss the chance to taste this food. The dishes made from Sa Sung include salad, soup, fried vegetables, crispy, and porridge. Or the simple way is grilled Sa Sung with chili sauce.
As said above, Thu Ba restaurant is a famous place for seafood that you can find in Con Dao. Or else, Tri Ki restaurant and Dinh Hai restaurant all are good.
VI. WHERE TO TRAVEL IN CON DAO VIETNAM
1. Con Dao Museum – A place to preserve historical values
Started construction in December 2009, Con Dao museum with a total cost of over 62 billion, is a meaningful work and a place to preserve historical values, evidence for the period of epic, but also very heroic of the nation.
With nearly 2,000 items, the exhibits are displayed in four major themes, reflecting the crimes of colonialism and empire; the resilient spirit of the revolutionary soldiers and patriotic Vietnam during 113 years. The development of Con Dao today as well as the promotion of the value of historical relics Con Dao as a heritage of the nation. It educates the younger generation today and later the tradition of revolutionary struggle of the Party and the people of Vietnam.
2. Hang Duong Cemetery – Dignified place in Con Dao Vietnam
Hang Duong Cemetery is the largest cemetery in Con Dao. This is where tens of thousands of revolutionary and patriotic Vietnamese soldiers have been buried for generations in prison, lasting from 1862 to 1975. There are more than 2,000 martyrs’ graves, including graves of famous patriots such as Vo Thi Sau, Nguyen An Ninh, Le Hong Phong …
And the special experience you have to try here is to visit the grave at 12 o’clock. Normally, visiting the grave at this time will be very quiet and few people but the cemetery midnight is still crowded tourists. When you come here to incense the national heroes, you should prepare offerings, a mirror, a comb and a bunch of fresh white flowers.
3. Nui Mot Temple – Where brings peace for you
Nui Mot Temple (Van Son Tu) is located on Nui Mot was built in 1964. Through time has been degraded, the temple was started embellishment on August 13, 2010, and inaugurated on December 2011. Due to located on the mountain, the temple has a view over the sea, overlooking the town of Con Dao and Con Son bay, An Hai lake.
The local people, the visitor with their heart, over 200 stairs steep mountain to standing in front of the Buddha burn incense blessings for family and relatives, as well as pray for the souls of heroic martyrs forever rest in peace.
4. Dam Trau Beach – The most beautiful beach Con Dao
Considered as the most beautiful beach Con Dao, Dam Trau beach is located 12 km northwest of Co Ong airport. From Con Dao town center, it takes about 30 minutes to get to Dam Trau by motorbike or car. It is famous for its soft white sandy, primeval forest with green trees and the cliffs with unique shapes. At Dam Trau beach, visitors can enjoy the beach, enjoy the beautiful scenery or dive into the coral.
5. Ong Dung Beach – Where to enjoy entertainment activities
The beach is a beautiful and ideal beach located in Con Dao National Park about 4 kilometers west of the center. From the center of the garden, you will walk for about an hour on the trail through the forest going to Ong Dung Beach. But in return, you will feel all the fatigue disappear, instead, it is a feeling of excitement. You can watch the fish swimming alongside the beach, colorful coral as welcome to welcome you to the blue water as the jade here.
6. Con Dao Prison – “The hell on earth’’
Con Dao prison is considered “the hell on earth” during the war against France, United State. The French built the prison system to contain particularly dangerous prisoners of French colonialism, such as political prisoners. After the French, this was later used by the United States to imprison prisoners during the American war.
The most famous place in the prison area is the “tiger cage”. The “tiger cage” is the harshest place in solitary confinement. Prisoners are detained in rooms only 5m² in size, with no beds. This area is for prisoners of war not subject to declaration, with the purpose of suffering to subdue the will of the prisoner. To avoid the public opposition, the “tiger cage” was isolated and kept secret, for a long time no one outside the existence of the “tiger cage”.
7. Con Dao National Park – Exciting place to enjoy in Con Dao Island
Con Dao National Park has an area of nearly 6,000 hectares on land and 14,000 hectares of water. Coral reefs, seagrass, and mangroves make an environment conducive to breeding, nursing and preserving marine species.
Currently, Con Dao is home to the largest number of sea turtles in Vietnam, with two common species being turtles and eels. There are 17 sandbanks recorded as spawning grounds of turtles, of which up to four are recorded as having 1,000 mother turtles laying each year.
Here, you will experience many interesting activities with diversified types such as fishing, diving, biking, walking or nature sightseeing.
8. Dam Tre Bay – The heaven to relax in Con Dao Vietnam
Located in the North of Con Son Island and 3 km from Con Dao Airport. This is a winding bay, deep in the land, the harmony between the sea and the surrounding mountains, giving the bay a lot of scenic, mysterious, charming scenery and fresh environment. Along the way, tourists can also enjoy the stunning view of the Gulf of Con Son, Dat Doc Beach, Lo Voi Cape, Chim Chim Cape, Northeast Bay.
VII. THINGS TO BUY AS A GIFT IN CON DAO ISLAND
Not only like a tourist center, Con Dao is not the best place to shop for souvenirs. Even though, shopping is quite interesting on this island. Con Dao has many things to buy as a gift but the special thing is seafood. Because seafood in Con Dao is very fresh, clean, delicious and reasonable price. Special products like Vu Nang snail, sa sung, dry fish, oyster porridge, etc can be your gifts on the island.
You can go to Con Dao Market, located in Con Dao town to find something to buy. Go and visit the Con Dao Market. Even if you don’t plan to buy anything as it’s quite a feast for the eyes. Most vegetables and fruits consumed on the island are sold here. The market starts very early each morning.
VIII. TIPS FOR VISITING CON DAO ISLAND