• Con Dao Travel Guide
  • Con Dao Travel Guide

  • on Feb 6, 2024       By: BN
  • Renowned as the earthly hell where the famous penal colony of Poulo Condore once stood, Con Dao is today one of the most attractive destinations with beautiful pristine beaches, primitive forest systems, and many rare animal and plant species.


    Con Dao Climate

    Con Dao, also known as Con Lon, Con Son, is an island district in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, South-eastern Vietnam. Covering an area of 77 km2 with 16 islands and islets and an average temperature between 26 and 29ºC, the archipelago of more than 6,000 inhabitants has beautiful vegetation and dream beaches as well as an incredible history.

    poulo condore, vietnam, con dao, penal colony of Poulo Condore, Con Dao national park

    The fine sand beach.

    Best seasons to visit Con Dao

    From March to the end of September is the best time to go to Con Dao. The sea is calm despite the rainy season. Con Dao's showers do not mainly last more than an hour and other times of the day are always sunny. This time is ideal for cruises, scuba diving, and island exploring. It is also the nesting season for Con Dao sea turtles.

    From October to the end of February, Northeast winds often cause large waves in Con Son Bay. This dry season is recommended for hiking in the forests of the archipelago.

    Means of transport to go to Con Dao

    There are two options to get there, by plane and by speed boat:

    Airways: Vietnam Airlines ATR planes which can accommodate 65 passengers, from Ho Chi Minh City or Can Tho, are currently the only two flights serving Con Dao. The flight takes one hour from Ho Chi Minh City and 40 minutes from Can Tho.

    Seaway: Superdong and Phu Quoc Express high-speed boats currently operate sea routes between Vung Tau, Soc Trang, and Can Tho to Con Dao.

    poulo condore, vietnam, con dao, penal colony of Poulo Condore, Con Dao national park

    High-speed boats.


    Con Dao is known as an attractive tourist destination, suitable for those who enjoy tranquillity and wilderness. As the hotel system in Con Dao remains underdeveloped compared to other tourist sites, the price is therefore more important. However, it doesn't take much time to find good accommodation for any budget. Most hotels and resorts in Con Dao are located near the beach or in the centre of the island.

    poulo condore, vietnam, con dao, penal colony of Poulo Condore, Con Dao national park

    The hidden refuge.


    - Con Dao Resort (3 stars)
    Address: 8 Nguyen Duc Thuan, Con Dao, Ba Ria-Vung Tau
    Price: around $100/night/2 adults

    - Tan Son Nhat Con Dao Resort (3 stars)
    Address: 6 Nguyen Duc Thuan, Con Dao, Ba Ria-Vung Tau
    Price: around $75/night/2 adults

    - Poulo Condor Boutique Resort & Spa (4 stars)
    Address: Suoi Ot, Con Dao, Ba Ria-Vung Tau
    Price: around $150/night/2 adults

    - Six Senses Con Dao (5 stars)
    Address: Dat Doc beach, Con Dao, Ba Ria-Vung Tau
    Price: approximately $596/night/2 adults

    Exceptional biodiversity

    Many beautiful sites, and magnificent beaches as well as a tragic history of this island which in recent years constitute a great attraction not only for Vietnamese tourists but also foreigners.

    With more than 200 km of coastline, Con Dao provides its visitors with around twenty untouched beaches, totally isolated from the daily bustle, where the sun shines almost all day long. Dam Trau, Lo Voi, Ong Dung, and Dam Tre... are fine sand beaches whose waters are renowned for being the clearest on the planet.

    At this hidden refuge, tourists can swim, watch the sunrise or sunset over the sea, and discover the mysterious underwater world where around 285 species of corals, more than 200 fish, and many other rare species coexist.

    One of the best must-see places for those who want to discover the biodiversity of Con Dao is the virgin forests. Founded in 1993, Con Dao National Park is the only place in the country where forests and marine life are perfectly preserved. With more than 882 plant species and 150 animal species, the park will give you the opportunity to venture into all kinds of leisure activities such as fishing, boating, and cycling.

    A moving story

    Con Dao is also a destination not to be missed for history lovers. During the entire existence of the Poulo Condore prison (from 1862 to 1975), more than 20,000 Vietnamese lost their lives there during the Vietnam War.

    poulo condore, vietnam, con dao, penal colony of Poulo Condore, Con Dao national park

    Underwater diving.

    Activities to do

    Scuba diving: Many types of corals as well as impressive fish can be found in most of the islets of Con Dao. The Con Dao coral system is the richest in Vietnam.

    Fishing: we clearly distinguish two forms: recreational fishing (half day or one day) or professional fishing (generally 3 days 2 nights or more). Regardless of the form, this activity especially attracts fishermen from all over the world.

    Exploration of an entirely wild landscape: the archipelago of 16 islands and islets in the open sea perfectly preserves a great wealth of fauna and flora.

    Turtle nesting observation: You can choose an overnight excursion to one of the uninhabited islands of the archipelago to observe turtle nesting, a truly unforgettable experience.

    poulo condore, vietnam, con dao, penal colony of Poulo Condore, Con Dao national park

    Observing turtles laying eggs.

    Tips for staying in Con Dao

    - Due to its remoteness and its still modest infrastructure, the cost of services in Con Dao is therefore expensive and the night-time activities are quite limited. Good preparation becomes very essential.

    - Bring boots or high-collar shoes for hiking in the forest, anti-allergic medications, personal medications, and certain instant foods if necessary.

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