Vietnam's 'hellish' island ranks fourth in Lonely Planet's top Asia spots

By Kim Thuy   July 15, 2016 | 06:27 pm PT
Con Dao Island has come a long way from a notorious prison under French colonial rule to where it is today.

With improved flight connections from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam's isolated archipelago of 16 islands known as the Con Dao Islands has stolen tourists' hearts with its breathtaking beaches, fresh seafood and rugged mountains.

The island is about 230 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City and 180 kilometers from Vung Tau City.

Tips: Between March and September is the best time to visit the island as it has little rain and the sea is more "obedient", making it easier for goods to be transported from the mainland (making them chaper!).

You can hire a motorbike to explore the island but don't forget there are only a few gas station so fill up whenever you can.


The isolated paradise. Photo by VnExpress.

The island is known as a mysterious and untouched paradise that can be a little scary for those who have read the hellish stories about its infamous prison. But do not worry, the war ended decades ago and Con Dao has been transformed into a Vietnamese island heaven. 


Inside the infamous prison. Photo by Phan Ngoc Hanh

Lonely Planet's Best in Asia for 2016

1. Hokkaido, Japan

2. Shanghai, China

3. Jeonju, South Korea

4. Con Dao Islands, Vietnam

5. Hong Kong, China

6. Ipoh, Malaysia

7. Pemuteran, Indonesia

8. Trang Islands, Thailand

9. Meghalaya, India

10. Taitung, Taiwan

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