CON DAO TRAVEL GUIDE 

Located in the southern Vietnam East sea, Con Dao island is a large archipelago and is a famous tourist destination in Vietnam which attracts tourists with marine tourism activities and famous historical sites. 

Table Contents
  • I - How to get to Con Dao islands?
  • 1 - Moving by high-speed boat
  • 2 - Flights to Con Dao island    
  • 3 - Helicopter - 22 seaters
  • II - Weather in Con Dao island 
  • III -  How to get around in Con Dao island Vietnam
  • IV -Top places to visit 
  • 1 - Con Son island
  • 2 - Hon Ba Island - the second largest of 16 islands in Con Dao Vietnam
  • 3 - Bay Canh island
  • V - Things to do in Con Dao Vietnam
  • 1 - Fishing
  • 2 - Night Catching Squid in Con Dao island Vietnam
  • 3 - Trekking in Con Dao National Park
  • 4 - Watching turtles lay eggs and back the baby turtles to the sea
  • 5 - Exploring culinary paradise in Con Dao Vietnam
  • VI - Con Dao island accommodation
  • 1 - Resort
  • 2 - Con Dao island Hotels
  • VI - Other information
  • 1 - Suggested Con Dao tours
  • 2 - Con Dao island history
  • 3 - Con Dao map
Jan 01
Source: Zing

Con Dao Vietnam belonging to Ba Ria Vung Tau province, is an island district including 16 islands with a total area of 76km2, the largest of which is Con Son island with an area of 52km2, about 230km from Ho Chi Minh City and 187km from Vung Tau city. This island owns several important historical relics and many attractive cultural destinations...

I - How to get to Con Dao islands?

You can choose one of the following three forms to get to the island from mainland:

1 - Moving by high-speed boat

High-speed boats depart from Vung Tau port or Tran De high-speed pier in Soc Trang province, then dock at Ben Dam port in Con Lon island. The extra fee of motorcycle shipping by speed boat ranges from 400,000 - 550,000vnd/vehicle (one way) (~ $7 - 24). Instead, you should rent motorbikes on the island with 150,000 - 200,000 vnd/ day (~ $ 6.46 - 8.62).
Ship from Vung Tau port
- Number of seats: 598
- Ticket price: 660,000vnd/person (one way) (Monday - Thursday) (~ $28.4); 880,000 vnd/person (one way) (Friday - Sunday and public holidays) (~ $38).
- Frequency: 01 trip / day at 8am.
- Location: No.9 Ha Long Street, Ward 2, Vung Tau City, Ba Ria - Vung Tau Province.

 

how to get to con dao

Travel to Con Dao island by speedboat - Source: Internet

Ship from Tran De port, Soc Trang province
- Number of seats: 306
- Travel time: 2.5h / trip
- Ticket price: 310,000 vnd / person (one way) (~ $13.4)
- Frequency: 02 trips/ day at 8am & 1:15pm
- Location: Dau Giong hamlet, Tran De town, Soc Trang province

2 - Flights to Con Dao island    

You can take a flight from Noi Bai airport in Hanoi; Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Currently, there are only two airlines operating routes from mainland to this island, which are Bamboo Airways and Vietnam Airlines, with an average frequency of about 01 flight/day. Ticket price ranges on average from 1,500,000 - 2,500,000 vnd/person (one way) (~ $65 - 108)

3 - Helicopter - 22 seaters

This new form of transportation is faster and more convenient than the old ones. Helicopter departs from Vung Tau airport at 1:30 pm (check-in at 00:30 pm) and takes about one hour to get to this island. The ticket price is vnd 2,200,000 / person (one way) (~ $94.82).
Notes:
- Carry-on baggage up to 5kg
- Check-in baggage up to 10kg
- Identification required and check-in at least 1 hour before departure.

II - Weather in Con Dao island 

As a typical Equator - ocean climate, the weather is divided into two distinct seasons: rainy season (May - November) and dry season (December - April). The annual average temperature gets 26.9oC - relatively cool and comfortable; The hottest time is in May - the temperature can rise up to 34oC. The sea water temperature varies from 25.7 to 29.2oC.
The best time to visit is from October to February, when it is in the dry season. There is more sunshine, but your trip will sometimes be unencumbered by the heavy rain. During this season, you should also pay attention to the strong waves caused by the northeast wind. Moreover, this period is not the peak domestic tourist season, international tourists can avoid overcrowding. 

III -  How to get around in Con Dao island Vietnam

Electric tourist car

 

Travel to Con Dao island

Xanh Green Transport - Source: Vantaixanh

Electric tourists car is very popular in this island because they are safe and environmentally-friendly. You can rent one at the airport and the port.
- Thu Tam - 7 seats: Price: 20,000vnd / hour (~ $0.86); waiting cost: 1,000vnd / minute (~ $0.05); Contact: 0254 363 00 88.
- Xanh Green Transport 7 - 12 seats:
+ Coupling price for less than 3km route is 10,000vnd / person / way (~ $0.43); 
+ Full renting prices: / first 15 minutes: 100,000vnd / car (~ $ 4.31), the next 30 minutes: 200,000vnd / car (~ $8.62); price increased by 75,000vnd / each of the next 15 minutes (~ $3.23); Phone number: 0326 306 306.
Taxi

Some taxi brands in Con Dao Vietnam
- Mai Linh taxi: 0254 3 850 850.
- Con Son taxi: 0254 3 908 908.
- Sai Gon Con Đao taxi: 0254 36 36 36 36.
Motorcycle

Some recommended motorbike rental shops in this island include:
- Phuong An motorbike rental: 30m from Ben Dam Port; Rental price:  150,000vnd / motorbike / day (~ $6.6); Phone number: 0945 609 470.
- Mong Trinh motorbike rental: No.36 Nguyen Hue street, Con Son island; Rental price: 120,000vnd / motorbike / day (~ $ 5.2); Phone number: 0915 080 827.
- Phuc Tuong motorbike rental: Phi Yen hotel, No.34 Ton Duc Thang street, zone 4, Con Son island; rental price: 100,000 - 120,000vnd / motorbike / day (~ $4.3 - 5.2); Phone number: 0915 643 079.
Boat or Canoe
To transfer among the islands, you can rent a boat or canoe 

 

Con Dao Vietnam

Moving by canoe between the islands in Con Dao - Source: Canocondao

Below is the boat rental prices for some specific islands:
Some recommended boat and canoe rental shops in this island:
- Hung Thinh canoe: 038 85 05 286.
- Con Son Land: 098 810 00 88.
- Phuong Nam Canoe: 094 887 59 22

IV -Top places to visit 

1 - Con Son island

Con Son is the largest island in Con Dao and includes many beautiful beaches which are home to sea cows and sea turtles that lay their eggs on the beaches from March to August. Most of the area of this island is covered by forest and rugged mountains, it is the best place for jungle hiking and wildlife exploring. In addition, the system of restaurants and accommodation in Con Son Island is also the most developed among the islands.
Dam Trau beach

 

Con Dao beaches

Dam Trau beach - Source: Ins chilli_yuquan

Dam Trau beach is like a pristine and green oasis in Con Son - the ideal place to watch the sunset, walk upon the fine white sand beach and swim in clear blue water. The special feature of Dam Trau is the rocky slopes in many unique shapes and colors.
Location: Northwest of Con Son island - about 1.2km from Con Dao airport
Bai Nhat beach
Bai Nhat is one of the most beautifully pristine beaches in Con Son. There are many cliffs and rocky outcrops to the sea. The most beautiful time to savor the beautiful scenery of the beach is in the early morning or late afternoon.
Location: South of Con Son island, about 3.6km from Ben Dam port
Ong Dung beach
This is a wild beach with many rocky outcrops covered with moss. You can explore a mangrove where large-sized mountain crabs live and do scuba diving to see colorful coral reefs,...Dam Trau beach, Bai Nhat beach and Ong Dung beach are the best Con Dao beaches that you should not miss. 
Location: West of Con Son island, about 9km from Ben Dam port.
Hang Duong cemetery
This is the final resting place of thousands of Vietnamese patriotic soldiers, of which, there are 25 mass graves, thousands of anonymous tombs, ... Locals and tourists regularly schedule to Hang Duong cemetery in the evening to visit the soldiers' graves.
Location: near Luu Chi Hieu street, Con Son island
Con Dao prison
This prison reconstitutes vividly the war crimes. Beside the cramped cells, it also has a system of separated cow shed and tiger cages to detain and torture prisoners.
Tiger Cages: This division is built on an area of more than 5,000m2 with a total of 120 solitary confinement rooms and 60 cells without roofs. Then in 1971 the Americans continued to build 384 more solitary confinement rooms. The area is the harshest place because each cell is only 5m2 without beds. The pictures at the Tiger Cages, published on July 17, 1970 in Life magazine, made the world tremble with shock.
Separated cow sheds: The original purpose was to raise cows, provide food for guards, but then be utilized as places to keep and torture prisoners in Con Dao prison.
- Location: Nguyen Chi Thanh street, Con Son island
- Ticket price: 20,000 vnd /person (~ $0.86)
- Opening hours: 7:30am - 11:30am and 1:30pm - 4:30pm
Island Lord Palace
It is also known as Ong Lon Palace, built from 1962 - 1976, with a total area of 18,600m2 divided into many subdivisions: garden, main house, gate, other auxiliary areas, ... It is also the residence of 53 island lords, who directly control and run the activities in the island. After the liberation in 1975, it was used as a gallery of the historical relics of Con Dao island.
- Location: Ton Duc Thang street, Con Son island
- Opening hours: 7:30am - 4:30pm
Lady Phi Yen Temple
The temple is also known as An Son Temple - a famous cultural and spiritual tourist place. This temple still retains the ancient worshiping architecture with a moss roof, light yellow walls and bronze relic in front of the yard.
On October 18th of the lunar calendar every year, the anniversary ceremony takes place with many different cultural activities such as procession, tray dance, vegetarian banquet, ...
Location: Hoang Phi Yen street, Con Son island
Nui Mot Pagoda - the most beautiful pagoda in Con Dao island
The pagoda is located on “Mot” Mountain, facing the sea. To reach the place, you have to climb about 200 stone steps. The pagoda was built with typical Asian Buddhist architecture. From here, you can admire the beautiful horizon where the sea and sky meet each other. 
Location: Mot Mountain, Con Son island - near Ben Dam Street
Thanh Gia (Cross) Mountain
This is one of the highest mountains in this island, from here you can see the whole green and beautiful scenery of the island. There is only one way to get here from the foot to the top of the mountain with travel time of about 1 hour. On the way you can contemplate the diverse vegetation and wildlife on the island. The best time to climb the mountain is in the morning because it is not too hot.

2 - Hon Ba Island - the second largest of 16 islands in Con Dao Vietnam

 

Con Dao what to do

Hon Ba Island - Source: Truyenhinhdulich

Hon Ba is about 400m from Ben Dam port. Hon Ba island is famous for the Love peak, primary mangrove system with many kinds of precious plants, ...
Location: southwest of Con Son island

3 - Bay Canh island

From Con Son island, you have to travel by canoes to get to Bay Canh island. Bay Canh island consists of two areas connected by a large sand beach. The ecosystem here is also diverse with many endangered animals such as: ebony squirrel, seabird, coral, sea cucumber ... a large mangrove forest with an area of about 51ha. Especially visiting Bay Canh Island from April to October of the calendar every year, you can watch turtles laying eggs, releasing turtles back to the sea… memorable experiences.
Location: Southeast of Con Son Island

V - Things to do in Con Dao Vietnam

You can also experience some other interesting marine tourism activities such as:

1 - Fishing

Offshore fishing tours offer transportation, bait, fishing rod, ... You can contact the following units to know more about the detailed service package:
Viet Sense Travel Joint Stock company
- Schedule: Pick up at a previously agreed place on Con Son Island by car → boarding a canoe to the fishing spot
- Tour length: 1 day
- Tour price: 700,000 - 1,700,000vnd / person (~ $30 - 73) (depending on the number of visitors)
- Contact: 024 397 282 98 or Info@vietsensetravel.com
Exploring Con Dao
- Schedule: You are picked up at an agreed location on Con Son Island → boarding a canoe to the fishing spot
- Tour length: 1 day
- Tour price: 2,500,000 vnd / person (~ $107)
- Contact: 0979 973 434 or datxe@khamphacondao.com
Nori food
- Schedule: Nori food picks you up at a previously agreed place on Con Son Island → boarding a canoe to the fishing spot
- Tour length: 1 day
- Tour ticket: 700,000 - 1,700,000 vnd/ person (~ $30 - 73) (depending on the number of visitors)
- Contact: 0963 720 720

2 - Night Catching Squid in Con Dao island Vietnam

This special form of entertainment allows you to enjoy the fresh steamed, grilled or hot squid soup after catching them. Contact the following units to book a tour:

 

Con Dao travel guide

A Chau - Travel Co., Ltd. - Source: Zing

A Chau - Travel Co. Ltd
- Schedule: You will be picked up at 5:30 pm on Con Son Island → travel by canoe → watch the sunset near the top of Love Peak → get to the calm sea 5-7 km from the shore to catch squids
- Tour price: 450,000 vnd/person (~ $19.4) (including catching equipments, transportation fee, water, environment fee but excluded insurance)
- Contact: 094 333 66 78 or achautravelvietnam@gmail.com

3 - Trekking in Con Dao National Park

It has a total area of more than 19,883ha, of which marine conservation area accounts for more than 70%. You will be completely enchanted by the diverse floristic composition (370 species of woody plants, 200 species of herbaceous, 100 species of vines and more than 30 types of orchids) and many rare animals such as sonneratia alba, white toad, red toad,...
During the trekking roads through this national park, you should visit the mangrove areas, along with the attractions in the national park such as An Hai Lake, Dam Tre Bay, Ma Thien Lanh Bridge, Virgin Mary cave,...
Ticket price: 60,000 vnd/adult (~ $2.6) and 10,000 vnd/child (~ $0.25) (including entrance fee, excluding costs for other services)
For more information, please contact: Con Dao National Park Management Board
- Location: Ma Thien Lanh street, Con Son island, 
- Contact: 0983 830 669 or sale@condaopark.com.vn

4 - Watching turtles lay eggs and back the baby turtles to the sea

This activity usually takes place from April to October. Turtles usually come ashore and lay eggs between 6pm - 8pm. You can move far away to observe them, then the staff will collect eggs to the hatchery. When the turtles hatch, you can take part in backing the babies to the sea in the early morning. 
- Price: 350,000 - 600,000 vnd/ person (~ $15 - 25) (min: 6 people / tour) (50% refund if no turtle spawns)
- Tour length: 1 hour
- Contact Con Dao National Park Management Board for more information.

5 - Exploring culinary paradise in Con Dao Vietnam

The dishes here are extremely rich in flavors, giving guests an interesting culinary experience. The recommended dishes include:

 

Con Dao food

 Indian almond seed - Slipper lobster - Oyster soup - Moon crab - Source: Internet

Indian almond seed
This nutritious nut is only found in this island with a creamy taste. The most popular food made from Indian almond seeds are roasted almond seeds and almond seed jam. Indian almond seeds are preferable to buy as a gift.
Price: 225,000 vnd / 500gr pack (~ $9.7)
Slipper lobster
This is one of the most famous and fresh seafood here. Grilled or steamed slipper lobster is recommended. You can find them at Con Dao market and bring them to the gate to ask for processing.
Price: 1,200,000 vnd / kg (~ $52).
Oyster soup
It is the delicate combination of ordinary rice, sticky rice, oysters and a little onion, coriander, ... to make a delicious and nutritious oyster soup, ...
Price: 30,000 vnd/ bowl (~ $1.3)
Moon crab
This crab has an average size of 18cm, thick shell and many dark brown round spots that look like the moon. Crab shell is not only a nutritious dish, but also can be used as a beautiful fine arts product.
Price: 300,000 - 600,000 vnd/ kg - depending on the size (~ $13 - 26)

Some famous Con Dao restaurants
Bar 200
The bar specializes in coffee, pizza and Western dishes. The space here is quite simple, small and close to nature with unique images. The restaurant's most attractive and popular dish is Pizza, Banh mi or burger.
- Address: No.7, Vo Thi Sau street, Con Son island
- Opening hours: 10:00 - 14:00 and 17:00 - 21:00 daily
- Phone: 0643 630 024
- Price: 50,000 - 250,000 vnd / dish (~ $2.15 - 0.77)
Thu Ba restaurant

Con Dao restaurants

Thu Ba restaurant - Source: Tripadvisor

The restaurant specializes in fresh seafood such as slipper lobster, oysters, crabs, sentinel crabs,...typical Vietnamese dishes such as fried noodles, fried vegetables and many other Con Dao food as above. For seafood, after you choose the food, the chef takes seafood from the restaurant's tank to ensure the finest freshness of the food and the price is also quite reasonable.
- Address: Vo Thi Sau street, Zone 7, Con Son island
- Opening hours: 9:00 - 23:00 daily
- Phone: 090 883 20 23
- Price: 60,000 - 300,000 vnd / dish (~  $2.58 - 13)
Infiniti Cafe and Resto
At this restaurant, you can feel the rustic but unique space by the beautiful small wooden decorations. Gentle elegant colors and green trees create a feeling of warmth, and freshness for you.
You can enjoy delicious drinks, western dishes or attractive food such as pork chop, spaghetti, salads, rice with grilled pork, pizzas,...Vegetarians can also find food in this Con Dao restaurant.
- Address: Tran Phu street, Con Son island
- Opening hours: 7:00 - 23:00 daily
- Phone: 096 190 89 09
- Price: 135,000 - 395,000 vnd/ dish (~ $6 - 17)
Quan an Gia Minh
The restaurant serves Asian, Western, Vietnamese and vegetarian dishes. Diners who came here have left many compliments on Tripadvisor about the taste of the dishes, the space of the restaurant and great services. 
- Address: Nguyen Van Linh street, Con Son island
- Opening hours: 10:00 - 22:00 daily
- Phone: 090 900 37 09
- Price: 50,000 - 400,000 vnd/ dish (~ $2.15 - 17)

VI - Con Dao island accommodation

1 - Resort

Poulo Condor Boutique Resort and Spa - 4-star resort
The resort owns an isolated beach and pursues the old Vietnamese royal style. The highlight is the perfect combination between luxury but simple space inside the resort and green outdoor space. The resort also offers currency exchange services, airport transfers, ...
- Address: Bai Vong, Co Ong Site, Con Son island,
- Price: 2,000,000 - 6,000,000 vnd/ night (~ $86 - 259)
- Contact: 0913 831 500 or info@poulocondorresort.com
Six Senses Con Dao - 5-star resort 

 

Con Dao islands accommodation

Six Senses - Source: Sixsensescondao

This Con Dao resort is described as a paradise with 50 villas close to the beach. Each villa has 1 infinity pool. The resort provides services as: movie theater in the forest; family farming with chickens and goats; snorkeling service in Hon Bay Canh; bicycle rental to explore Con Son island; ...
- Address: Bai Dat Doc, Con Son island
- Price: 15,000,000 - 44,000,000 vnd/ villa / night (~ $47 - 190)
- Contact 0254 3831 222 or reservations-condao@sixsenses.com
Tan Son Nhat Con Dao Resort - 3-star resort
The resort provides amazing space of the sea, mountains, forests and gardens with furnished single and double rooms made of wood. The resort's private beach and cycling area will definitely make a lasting impression.
- Address: No. 6 Nguyen Duc Thuan Street, Con Son island
- Price: 1,400,000 vnd/ night (~ $60)
- Contact: 0254 6274 999

2 - Con Dao island Hotels

Villa Maison Con Dao Boutique Hotel

It is a harmonious combination of old and modern architectural styles. The hotel offers 3 types of rooms (single room, small double room, large double room) with elegant and minimalist decoration details. The hotel has a cozy restaurant serving local dishes, Western dishes, ...
- Address: No.46 Nguyen Hue Street, Con Son island
- Price:  1,220,000 - 1,490,000 vnd/ room/ night (~ $53 - 64)
- Contact: 064 3830 969
Tuan Ninh Hotel - 2-star hotel
Two-star Tuan Ninh Hotel is designed in a modern style with two main colors of blue and white. The hotel offers Double, Twins, Family rooms to meet the demand of solo travellers, couples and family guests.This Con Dao hotel provides flight booking services, motorbike rental, consulting and tour book support, ...
- Address: Pham Van Dong street, zone 7, Con Son island
- Price: 730,000 - 800,000 vnd/ room/ night (~ $31.5 - 34.5)
- Contact: 096 701 71 81 or tuanninhhotel.condao@gmail.com
Khang Binh Hotel
The hotel is designed in a simple and dynamic style with brown and white colors, fully equipped with great amenities for a wonderful holiday. You can rent a bicycle from the hotel to visit Con Son Island.
- Address: Nguyen Hue street, Con Son island
- Price: 600,000 - 800,000 vnd/ room/ night (~ $26 - 35)
- Contact: 097 478 8096 or thaohth93@gmail.com

VI - Other information

1 - Suggested Con Dao tours

If you come here by high-speed boat

 

Con Dao tours

Source: Internet

Day 1
- Boat to Ben Dam port
- Have lunch at Kim Floating Restaurant
- Visit Ben Dam port
- Go to Bai Nhat
- Visit Shark Cape
- Enjoy seafood at Con Dao market
- Evening walk and visit Hang Duong cemetery
Day 2
- Morning: Con Dao prison → Lady Phi Yen temple → Nui Mot pagoda
- Afternoon and evening: swimming and snorkeling at Dam Trau beach → going to Bay Canh island by canoe → visiting surrounding islands and mangrove forests in Bay Canh island → evening watching turtles spawning
Day 3
Morning: Backing sea turtles to the sea → having breakfast at Hon Bay Canh by canoe → getting to Con Son by canoe → exploring Con Dao National Park → having lunch and return to the mainland
If you come here by plane

 

Things to do in Con Dao

Source: Internet

Day 1: Swimming and snorkeling at Dam Trau beach → Con Dao prison → Lady Phi Yen temple, Nui Mot pagoda → having dinner at Con Dao market → visiting Hang Duong cemetery → getting to Bay Canh island to watch turtles lay eggs and spending the night here.
Day 2: Backing the baby turtles to the sea → having breakfast at Bay Canh island forest ranger station → visiting the mangrove forest → boarding a canoe to return to Con Son → having lunch → Con Dao National Park → returning to the mainland.

2 - Con Dao island history

Based on archaeological results, this island is believed to be the home of humans from prehistoric times. Later, it was soon known by the Westerners for its convenient location (located in the maritime route connecting Asia). In the ninth century, an Arab businessman named Soleyman found this island and named it as Sender-Foulat. During the period of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it was always the target of the British and the French because of its important strategic position. Each year hundreds of merchant ships stop by to avoid storms.
The island first ceded to the French on November 28, 1783 after Ba Da Loc represented Lord Nguyen Anh (descendants of the kings of Central and South Vietnam, later known as King Gia Long - the first king of the Nguyen Dynasty in Vietnam) to sign Treaty of Versailles with Count De Mantmarin (the representative of King Louis XVI of France). But for some reason this Treaty could not be implemented. Through many historical events, on January 14, 1862, the French army officially proclaimed sovereignty in Con Dao island by the ceremony of the French flag.

 

Con Dao island history

Source: Zing

The Treaty of Sai Gon signed on June 5, 1962 between Vietnam and France clearly stated that Nguyen Dynasty had to completely transfer the sovereignty of Kunlun to the French Emperor. Also in this year, the French signed a decision to establish Con Dao prison to detain Vietnamese political prisoners with a system of tiger cages, separated cow sheds, solitary confinement rooms, ... For more than 100 years, the prison has been the place of confinement and sacrifices of about 20,000 Vietnamese people through generations.
Under the Republic of Vietnam, it officially belonged to the administrative unit of the Vietnamese government. After the historic victory on April 30, 1975, on May 1, 1975, the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam - officially took over this island.

3 - Con Dao map

It can be seen that Con Dao island Vietnam is a famous tourist destination because of its beautiful natural scenery, friendly people, and attractive cuisine. 

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