Con Dao is a group of 16 mostly uninhabited islands cast adrift in the South China Sea off the southeast coast of Vietnam. Each of these emerald-green islands are rugged and mountainous and offer expansive white sand beaches lapped by sublimely clear waters home to dugongs (sea cows) and turtles that lay their eggs on the beaches between March and August.
Con Son, the largest and only inhabited island within the archipelago, is a laid-back destination with some striking colonial buildings, seaside promenades and spectacular unspoilt beaches. Beneath the waves Con Dao's extensive coral reefs arguably offers the best underwater seascapes in Vietnam, so divers and snorkelers won't be disappointed.
Away from the coast, about 80% of Con Dao is a nature reserve with thick canopies of forest protecting indigenous wildlife such as long-tailed macaque monkeys and giant black squirrels. There are trails through the wild jungle for all levels of hikers keen to explore this untamed wilderness.
The island was formerly used as a French-run penal colony to house political captives and today haunting remnants of that dark time are still visible at the Con Dao Museum and several of the former prisons, including the chilling Phu Hai.
GMT +7 hours
The Con Dao islands are within an hour’s flight from Ho Chi Minh City.
Con Dao can be visited year round. The rainy season is from June to September, however it’s usually late afternoon or overnight downpours rather than prolonged rain. The diving season lasts from March to October.
A visa may be required. Please ask for details.Find out more