Con Dao Islands – Exploring Vietnam’s Unknown Island

Con Dao Islands are an archipelago that consists of 16 islands in the Southeast region of Vietnam. Once you reach it, you will constantly have a feeling that you’ve found yourself on a picture from some beautiful postcard! Wherever you go, you will see breathtaking sceneries of a wild untouched nature. Except this, Con Dao is also an important place in the history of Vietnam. It really seems that even time stops here. This is a real paradise off the beaten track, which you will, probably, never forget!


How to Reach Con Dao Islands Vietnam?

By plane

Côn Sơn Island, which is the biggest island of the archipelago, has an airport that serves domestic flights from Ho Chi Minh City and Cần Thơ, operated by VASCO (Vietnam Airlines). The round trip from Ho Chi Minh City costs nearly $380.

To get from the airport to the city centre, you can use any hotel bus – the drivers will be only happy to give you a ride only for $3 (70,000 VND). The taxi from the airport will cost approximately $18 (420,000 VND).

By boat

You can hire a boat at the national park office on the Côn Sơn Island, in a case you want to explore the islands around by boat. A 12-person boat costs about $55 (1,280,000 VND) per day.


Things to do at Con Dao Islands

Enjoy a day on the beach

Probably, spending a lazy day on the beach will be your biggest wish after a flight and long travel to the island. Be careful, the Con Dao beaches are so beautiful that you may easily spend here the rest of your trip, but there’s still a lot of other interesting things to do and to see! If you stay on the Con Son Island, you may check Bai Dat Doc beach, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful on the island. It’s a lot of less crowded with tourists, but no less awesome than other beaches on the smaller islands around. If you want to explore them as well, visit a beautiful white sand beach of Tre Lon Island, located to the west of Con Son.

Take a tour in Phu Hai Prison


Phu Hai Prison was built in 1862 to house the first anti-colonial agitators. Nowadays this is an important historical site of the country that attracts visitors from all the parts of the world. It is known that the prisoners were kept here in the terrible conditions and more than 20,000 of them have died here. Next to the prison, you may find a Revolutionary Museum, where the guided informative tour costs less than $1 (20,000 VND).

See the turtle sanctuary

turtle sanctuary Con-Dao Island

If you want to see an exciting natural phenomenon of turtles laying eggs, you can book a special turtle tour at the National Park Office. When booking your trip, remember that the turtle season lasts only from June till the middle of September. It may still happen that the office will sell you tickets out of season and promise turtles, but in the end you will see nothing. However, if you come during the right season, use your chance to see it!

Scuba Dive!


Con Dao has a reputation of one of the best destinations for diving in Vietnam. It’s corals are untouched, the underwater life is diverse and the flocks of fish are colourful and impressive! Among the reliable and trustful companies that provide diving service there are Dive! Dive! Dive!, Rainbow Divers and Senses Diving Con Dao. The prices start at $75. Pay attention that the medical insurance is obligatory due to the island’s remote location.

Visit the Con Dao National Park

Con -Dao-National-Park

Almost 80% of the land area of the archipelago are a National park. Here you can see the unique animals, for example, the endemic black squirrel and the crab eating macaque. Part of the territory is covered with wild rainforests with beautiful lakes and waterfalls. Remember to plan and check your route in advance. Doesn’t matter how beautiful are the landscapes, it’s never a good idea to get lost!

Read also: The Ultimate Guide to Cycle Touring Vietnam

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Con Dao worth visiting?

The Côn Do islands are a quiet paradise off Vietnam’s southern coast, with white sand beaches, vivid vegetation, rare fauna, and some of the greatest scuba diving in the area. Con Dao is an excellent choice for a calm, serene holiday in a location with some of the greatest diving in Vietnam. Con Dao has been an exile island for almost 100 years and remains untouched by mainstream international visitors. In reality, the majority of visitors to Con Dao are Vietnamese. This is due to the island’s significance in contemporary Vietnam’s history and cultural identity.

Although Con Dao seems to be a little island, it does provide tourists with a variety of amazing unspoiled beaches. Most of the beaches have relatively few other visitors throughout the day. The Con Dao Prisons are a must-see site. The public is welcome to visit the three major prison sites: Phu Hai, American Tiger Cages, and French Tiger Cages. It’s humbling to consider how far humanity went to torture and murder thousands of Vietnamese combatants and revolutionary troops.

When is the Best Time to Visit Con Dao?

Con Dao’s weather is reasonably temperate and pleasant all year, which may be attributed to three key factors: its position in the Asian monsoon climate, the effect of ocean climate, and typical weather in southeast Vietnam. Con Dao is best visited between March and September, when the sea waves are calm and the sun is shining brightly. Coming to Con Dao this time, you will get an opportunity to witness Vic come from all around to lay eggs.

Snorkeling and observing corals, fishing and seeing turtles lay eggs, and exploring desolate islands are all things you should do while visiting Con Dao. Although the water is calmest from March to July, the driest season from November to February is ideal for diving and exploring the ocean. Hiking and trekking vacations in July will undoubtedly appeal to adventurous vacationers.

From mid-July to early-November, you’ll be able to get a close-up look at newborn turtles making their way down to the beach as they begin their life’s journey directly on the resort’s grounds. Our turtle incubator “Let’s Get Cracking” has been host to numerous hatchlings thanks to our partnership with Con Dao National Park.

Read also: What Is Best Time To Travel Da Lat Vietnam?

How do I get from Saigon to Con Dao?

Traveling by plane from Saigon to Con Dao island is the best and quickest option. Vietnam Airlines and Bamboo Airways provide direct flights to Con Dao, and the travel from Tan Son Nhat Airport (Saigon) to Con Dao airport takes around an hour. Passengers are permitted to bring 20 kilogrammes of checked bags and 7 kg of carry-on luggage.

Another option is to take ferry. However, most tourist advise against using the ferry and instead flying. This is correct. The ferry ride takes around 12 hours. It leaves from Vung Tau on the mainland and is characterised as a dreadful experience by locals. There are instances when the ferry will not even leave due of bad weather, making it an uncertain alternative.


I’m in my late twenties who loves the freedom of traveling, the feeling of being anonymous in cities, vegan food, nature and the ocean. I feel the happiest when I’m on the move and in the moment.

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