A little more than 100 miles off the southern Vietnamese coast sits the breathtaking 16 island Con Dao archipelago.
Out of the 16 islands which make up the Con Dao archipelago only one is inhabited – Con Son. It’s the second-largest island in the group and is known for its crystal clear blue waters and spectacular deserted beaches. However, the beaches won’t be deserted for long as the Con Dao islands are fast becoming one of the top Vietnamese island destinations. Currently, Con Son is the most developed and is starting to see a variety of luxurious resorts and condos being built along its coastline. The island is complete with virgin beaches, beautiful bays, several coral reefs, and the interior has untouched virgin jungles. It’s a great place for wildlife watching, scuba diving, enjoying beaches that are completely deserted, and hiking along the coastline as well as jungle trails.
Where Are The Con Dao Islands?
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Things To Do On The Con Dao Islands
Visit The Turtle Sanctuary
If you visit the Con Dao islands during July or August then why not head a few miles north from the main town on Con Son island to book a tour of the turtle sanctuary at the National Park Office? It’s strongly advised that you do not book a tour outside of July or August as these are the only 2 months of the year that these sea turtles come onto the beaches to lay their eggs. Overnight accommodation will also be arranged by the National Park Office when you book the tour.
Go On Jungle Hikes
Most of Con Son island – as well as the other 15 islands, have pristine and untouched tropical jungles and these are often great for hiking trips. Many of the trails are unmarked and it’s advised that you use an experienced guide when taking these as it’s very easy to get lost. You can find a guide and book an accompanied jungle hike at the National Park Office. A year ago you would hardly see any tourists along these trails but with the latest developments on the islands, you will now see a lot more people doing the jungle hikes.
Go On Motorbike Rides
Con Dao has many beautiful mountain roads that offer some of the most incredible views you will ever see. The best way to travel these roads is by renting a motorbike. You will find numerous places on Con Son Island from where you can rent a motorbike for the day and prices usually range from $10 US for 3 hours up to $25 US for the day.
Many people claim that Con Dao island is the best scuba diving destination in Vietnam and with so many unspoiled and beautiful coral reefs that surround the island it’s not that hard to believe. The is an incredibly diverse range of marine life which includes cobia, barracuda, sea turtles, and hundreds of tropical fish species. Having diving insurance is a prerequisite for diving here because of the remoteness of the island and because the coral reefs are protected you will have to go diving under the supervision of a local scuba diving tour operator.
How To Get To The Con Dao Islands
Interested in visiting? Great! There are three ways of getting there from the Vietnamese mainland and here we will show you how.
Feeling brave? If so, then take the ferry. Not only does it look as if it’s not going to be able to complete the journey, but the actual trip takes around 12 hours. Interestingly, most tourists, and even locals alike, who took the ferry, opted to fly back to the mainland instead of taking the ferry again.
Still interested? Okay! Head to Vung Tau on the mainland. The trip will cost less than $10 per person. Just keep in mind that the ferry does not make the trip each day, because weather and sea conditions play an important factor.
Yes, you heard that right.. speed boat. The boat, named Superdong, will reach the Con Dao Islands in around two hours, and tickets costs about $10 US per adult. Visit their website where you can make online bookings here.
Taking a plane is the fastest, but most expensive way of getting there. You can catch a flight from Ho Chi Minh City with most Vietnamese airlines. Check their websites for availability and ticket prices.
When To Go
The Con Dao islands – as with many other places in Southeast Asia – has a wet and dry season. Between the months of June to September is the wet season and this is when monsoons hit the archipelago. November to February is the dry season and also usually the hottest period, although it never gets too hot unlike other islands in the vicinity thanks to the constant cool winds.
Find Out More
Senses Diving: Senses Diving is the leading scuba diving tour operator on the Con Dao islands and comes strongly advised to any interested in scuba diving here.