Con Dao - Asia's Paradise Island

Located off the coast of southeastern Vietnam, Con Dao (also known as Con Lon, Con Son) is considered one of the most beautiful and mysterious islands in the world.

This oceanic district has a total area of 76km2 with 16 islands, large and small. This land was first mentioned in the late 13th century, after Marco Polo completed his voyage from China to India. In the 18th century, it was used as a trading post for large ships traveling between India and China, known as the Pulo Condore.

During the war between Vietnam and the colonials, Con Dao was put to use holding political prisoners. Today, Con Dao is a land that retains the history and relics of the past, while attracting tourists for a great relaxing holiday amidst its unspoiled natural scenery, beautiful long white-sand beaches and green coconut trees. With a population of about 7000 and a limited number of tourists, this is a great place to escape from the bustle of the city. Thanks to the natural attractions and historical artifacts, Con Dao is now an enticing destination for domestic and foreign tourists.

Best time to visit Con Dao Island

Con Dao has a tropical monsoon climate, so it’s hot and humid all year round with temperatures ranging from 28-37C.. Con Dao has  two seasons: rainy season and dry.

The rainy season lasts from May to November. The highest rainfall is in August and September but when it rains it’s very brief, lasting about 30 minutes to 1 hour. The sea in this season is calm with the light waves. From July to September, the weather is a mixture of heat, humidity, rainfall and blue skies. In October and November, the monsoon arrives with high humidity.

The dry season runs from December to April, when it’s cooler with an average temperature of 27C degrees with less rain. However, between December and January it can be windy and the sea often gets rough, so it’s not suitable for beach activities.

The ideal time to visit Con Dao is from February to June, especially for those who love diving and exploring the ocean.

The weather, temperature and the waters are suitable for diving, snorkeling, and surfing. Or if you are interested in hiking and trekking, you can pursue these activities on Con Dao island in June and July.

Con Dao island

Interesting places to visit in Con Dao

  • Con Dao prison

Con Dao was known as one of of the 10 most brutal prisons in the world and was dubbed “the living hell on earth”. The former prison is the most famous tourist attraction on Con Son Island. It was built in 1861 for the purpose of jailing those considered dangerous to the colonial government.  For more than 100 years during the French and American wars, nearly 20,000 political prisoners were jailed, abused, tortured and sacrificed there. This prison system includes small prisons such as Phu Son, Phu Hai, Phu Tho, Phu Tuong, Phu An, Phu Phong, Phu Hung, and Cow Cages. The most famous objects in the prison are the "tiger cages". Con Dao prison has been restored as an important national historical site with unforgivable evidence of the crimes of colonialism and imperialism in the past.

  • Con Dao Museum

Con Dao Museum is a popular historical site located in the center of Con Dao district. Here, you will have the opportunity to learn about historic times and view artifacts and documents including information placards and photos. All of this reflects a period of heroism of the Vietnamese people and denounces the brutal treatment by the colonialists and imperialists.

  • Van Son Pagoda

Van Son pagoda, also known as Nui Mot Pagoda, is a monument that U.S. imperialists built in 1964 to meet the spiritual needs of the local people on the island. This is a place to remember the patriots who sacrificed for the independence of the country. Although the pagoda is small, it was built on a hill, so it is a great place for you to enjoy the panoramic view of the South of Con Dao.

  • Con Dao National Park

As a natural reserve area on Con Dao Island, Ba Ria - Vung Tau province, Con Dao National Park is a destination attracting visitors every year. The park has an area of 6ha of land and 14ha of water and is home to over 800 species of plants and animals. In particular, the coral system and sea turtles are quite special. If you are a nature lover, this is an ideal place for you to spend time trekking and exploring.

  • An Hai Beach

An Hai beach is one of the most famous beaches with great scenery in Con Son town. The beach is unspoiled, offering clean fresh air with mountains and primeval forests all around. An Hai offers visitors many outdoor activities such as swimming, lying in the sun, walking around the coast and observing the fishing boats.

  • Dat Doc Beach

Dat Doc beach is a beauty, located not far from the center of Con Dao district. The beach attracts visitors with long sandy beaches, flat and smooth, and blue sea water. Located in Dat Doc beach is the luxurious Six Senses Resort. Visiting Dat Doc beach, besides immersing yourself in cool water or lounging along the coast, you also have many chances to explore and enjoy the charming landscape.

Con Dao island

  • Nhat Beach

Nhat beach is the most beautiful beach in Con Dao, located on the main road connecting Ben Dam port and Con Son town. Its unique feature is that visitors only see it for a few hours each day, as Nhat Beach only shows itself at low tide! When the tide ebbs, visitors will see the long sparkling white sand with beautiful scenery all around. Bai Nhat in Con Dao is on the top of the list of 6 pristine beaches of Asia: Tropical (Indonesia), Furuzamami (Japan), Talalla (Sri Lanka), Kanawa Island (Indonesia) and Bako National Park (Malaysia). This is a worthy destination for many tourists coming to Con Dao.

  • Dam Trau Beach

Located 15km north of the center of Con Son town, Dam Tram beach attracts visitors with the softest and deepest sand in Vietnam. The beach still retains its pristine and deserted character, so it attracts many visitors. The large boulders are probably still the most prominent feature mentioned regarding Dam Trau beach. With calm and peaceful space, this is an ideal place to watch the sunset, an experience not to be missed when you visit  Con Son island.

In addition, there are other attractive places that you can visit when arriving at Con Dao island such as Phu Son Prison, Phu Hai, Hang Duong Cemetery (where there are graves of more than 2000 martyrs and the Vo Thi Sau tombs), and Phi Yen Temple.

Con Dao island


Interesting activities in Con Dao

Besides visiting historic sites and charming beaches in Con Dao, you can try some of these interesting activities:

  • Watching turtle nesting on the island

With an aquatic area of 14,000 hectares, Con Dao is famous for this activity since 14 out of its 16 islands contain turtle nesting sites. For most visitors to Con Dao Island, watching turtles nest is one of the most interesting and memorable activities.

Every year during the breeding season (lasting from May to October), thousands of sea turtles come to the beach to lay their eggs in the sand. The Con Dao turtles nest at night, so if you would like to watch the turtle nesting, you must be patient and spend a full night on the beach. You also need a little good luck because the turtles are very cautious and easily frightened.

  • Fishing

With many species of sea fish and 16 islands, Con Dao is an ideal destination for those who are interested in fishing. Unlike fishing in Nha Trang or Phu Quoc, the fish and squid in Con Dao are often hidden behind rock falls, but they are easy to catch. You can choose to fish during the day or at night depending on the temperature and weather conditions that suit your itinerary. Every fishing session will be a different experience. The best places for fishing in Con Dao are Nhat beach, 914 Pier, Ben Dam Port, and Mui Dai Cape.

Boat trip Con Dao island

  • Boat trips and water sports

For a unique experience, you can choose from the available tours or customize your boat trip around Con Dao to many other islands, stop for island exploration or water sports. Besides enjoying the beautiful scenery of the sea and nature, this is a great opportunity for you to swim, immersing yourself in the marine world with many species of fish.

If you are a fan of aquatic sports, this is the perfect place to dive and snorkel, providing vivid views of marine species such as dolphins, green turtles and tortoises.

  • Trekking and hiking

Besides the beautiful beaches, Con Dao is famous for its national park with an area of 6 ha on land on 14 ha wetlands surrounded by mountains. The park offers opportunities for many activities on your trip. From the park, you can take the trail along the So Ray mountain to explore the diverse plantlife in this primeval forest, enjoying the fresh aromatic atmosphere. On this trek you will observe many wild monkeys or even the black squirrel, one of three mammals native to Con Dao.


One of the best things Con Dao offers is fresh and tasty seafood as it was meant to be eaten. Shellfish is popular on the island. Red lobsters and moon crabs make regular appearances on the menu of restaurants.

Some good local restaurants to recommend are Thu Ba on Vo Thi Sau street, Phuong Hanh Restaurant on Nguyen Hue street, Tri Ky Restaurant on Nguyen Duc Thuan street, and the restaurant at Saigon Con Dao Resort.

And, if you like famous Vietnamese foods with an authentic taste, please stop by Pho Nam Dinh, Diem Tam or Quan Ngoc Minh.

Sampling street food at the night market will be a new experience for you. The night market opens at sunset every day and it is located on Tran Huy Lieu street (stretching from Red Hotel to the beach)

How to go to Con Dao?

  • By air

Con Dao is located 230km away from Ho Chi Minh city, so the first option and the most comfortable one is to fly there. However, please note that there is only a small airport in Con Son – the main island of Con Dao and only Vietnam Airlines operate the direct flight there, so the number of tickets is limited. You can choose one of two options: Ho Chi Minh – Con Dao or Can Tho – Con Dao (the number of flights in Can Tho is fewer). Each flight takes about 45 minutes to Con Dao airport. From here, it’s easy for you to get a car within 15 minutes driving to the small town of Con Son.

If you are in other cities such as Hanoi, Da Nang, or Hai Phong, you need to book one additional flight to Ho Chi Minh City, then continue on to Con Dao. 

  • By speed boat

From Ho Chi Minh City, you can transfer to Vung Tau or Can Tho, about a three-hour drive. The speed boat will then depart from the port of Vung Tau city/ Can Tho with travelling time from two hours 30 minutes to four hours.

*** Travel Authentic Asia Company is your best choice for discovering the beauty of Southeast Asia. Our experienced and knowledgeable travel advisors are committed to helping you create a tailor-made tour and extraodinary experiences in this majestic region.

If you're looking for an authentic cultural experience, do not hesitate to contact Travel Authentic Asia to choose a Vietnam tour or  to customize your own style tour to Southeast Asia.

Vietnam bestselling tours