What’s On

Con Dao - not just a pretty island

By Giang Linh, Van Pham   August 10, 2016 | 06:00 am GMT+7

A guide to take full advantage of Con Dao.

Con Dao, or Con Son, is a collection of islands in the southern province of Ba Ria - Vung Tau. Upon arriving here, you not only stand a chance to lay yourself flat on the pristine beaches, savor straight-from-the-sea food but also many other eco activities.

Flights to Con Dao depart from either Ho Chi Minh or Can Tho cities and will take you around one hour. Taking a boat from either city is another option. Some prefer the boat not because it's cheap but for the experience it offers. However, remember that the journey takes up to 14 hours (from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m.).

Coral reef 

Another coral sightseeing place worth being labeled unmissable. Tourists on Con Dao can hire a boat to get to Bay Canh Island, jump into the water and swim to the coral reefs.

Photo from @naty_ratajova/Instagram

Photo from @naty_ratajova/Instagram

Turtles laying eggs

From Bay Canh Islands, visitors can choose to continute the tour with mangrove forest visit in Cau Island. Right here lies the conservation site for turtles established in 1995 that offers those who wish a chance to spend the night here and take freshly hatching turtles to the beaches themselves.

Photo from @kimhanhj/Instagram

Photo from @kimhanhj/Instagram

Mountain climbing

Con Dao is famous not only for the waters surrounding it but also the rock inside it, that is So Ray Mount. Along the one-and-a-half-hour trekking route from the foot to the peak, you’ll find wild monkeys that have befriended people thanks to constant exposure since the two sides first met.

After making it to the top, don’t undo the magic by taking the same route on your way back. Take another two-hour route leading to Ong Dung beach to rest your exhausted body on the sand, wash the fatigue away in the water and come back like a king.

Photo from @mika_carr/Instagram

Photo from @mika_carr/Instagram

Museum

The museum offers information on both history, oceanic ecology, the famous prison and today’s Con Dao, giving you details to add to the story you’re about tell when you arrive home.

Photo from @hthienphuc/Instagram

Photo from @hthienphuc/Instagram

The prison

Not a story told about Con Dao lacks the chilling part about its role during the war. The prison here bore witness to the most horrifying scenes of oppression under colonization and the Saigon regime in the twentieth century. A tour here will render every heart heavy, but will make your trip a lot more memorable.

Photo from @cjrt/Instagram

Photo from @cjrt/Instagram

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