Sixteen remote islands and islets make up the Con Dao archipelago, 185 km south of Vietnam in the South China Sea. Con Dao was once the location of the prison for political opponents during the French colonial period. Nowadays, however, the islands are the perfect setting for a relaxing getaway, particularly if you’re interested in snorkelling and diving as the waters here are home to some, if not, the best reefs in Vietnam. Dive down beneath the clear waters and you’ll discover healthy coral, marine life and shipwrecks.
The main island is Con Son, covered in jungle and fringed with white sand. Here you’ll find pristine beaches and coves, hiking trails and exciting outdoor activities, an ideal spot for those wanting adventure on land and in the water. It’s a great place to rent a scooter or bike and cruise around the hills and along the coastline, otherwise, you can still get around on foot.
Dam Trau cove is a lovely swimming spot beneath the hills and shacks here serve freshly caught seafood from the surrounding waters. For hiking, head into the national park and with your permit, you can trek to the bay of Ong Dung for spectacular snorkelling opportunities. A more challenging hike will take you up to So Ray for expansive views out over the islands below. Con Son town is a lovely area to simply wander around, visiting the markets and seafood restaurants, or you can take a tour of the prisons to uncover the island’s heartbreaking past.
Con Son can be reached on a short flight from Ho Chi Minh City, and while travelling by boat is an option, the ferry is known to be very rough, basic and takes 12 hours. For a more alternative beach break in Vietnam, Con Dao is a great option and is home to one of the world’s best resorts, Six Senses, bringing ultimate luxury to the islands.
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