Nearly 200 kilometres from the South coast of Vietnam, travellers will be able to unravel the mysteries of the Con Dao Islands. It is an archipelago composed of sixteen mountainous and heavenly islands of different sizes. The largest island of the archipelago and the only inhabited one is Con Son. It is home to the capital and largest city of the archipelago which bears the same name as the archipelago, Con Dao. Turquoise waters, white sandy beaches as far as the eye can see and lush nature are the perfect recipe for a relaxing and exotic moment far from the hustle and bustle of Vietnam’s big cities.
The climate on the Con Dao archipelago changes according to the seasons. From March to September, the sea will be calm and there may be heavy rains at the end of the day or in the evening. From October to February, the sun is milder but the sea is rougher.
Beyond this idyllic scenery, the islands of Con Dao have lived an eventful history. Like the Vietnamese territory, they were colonized by the French and were renamed the Poulo-Condor Islands during this historical period. Many Vietnamese were imprisoned in the eleven prisons of the Con Dao archipelago during the Vietnam War. Only the prisons of Phu Hai, Phu Binh and Phu Tuong are open to the public. The museum of Con Dao is also very interesting to trace the history of these islands. Nowadays, the Con Dao islands represent a true symbol of the struggle for independence and some Vietnamese come there every year for a pilgrimage.
Con Dao, the capital of the archipelago is very pleasant to visit on foot. Take your time to stroll around this small town with its charming alleys and where it is good to live. The atmosphere of the city is calm, there is very little traffic. You will be able to stroll along the promenade, which will offer you an incredible view of the ocean. Lulled by the waves of the turquoise sea, you will observe traces of French colonization with buildings in French architectural style and ochre-coloured facades.
The Con Dao archipelago is also famous for its national park which abounds in numerous species of animals and plants within its 20,000-hectare area. Between land and sea, this nature reserve is part of the marine turtle conservation program. Every year, two endangered species of turtle reach the beach to lay their eggs.
Diving is one of the many nautical activities that can be practiced on the beaches of the archipelago. More than thirty diving sites have been identified. The coral reefs will offer you a diversity of tropical marine species. Thanks to the clear waters of the sea, you may have the chance to observe colourful fish, turtles or rare marine species. The best time to dive on the Con Dao Islands is between January and June. During your diving session, you can also explore wrecks, the most famous of which is a Thai freighter over sixty meters long.
Some of Con Dao’s beaches are the most beautiful beaches in Vietnam. Among the most famous are Dam Trau beach with its white sand and transparent water, Lo Voi beach, located in the city centre and Dam Tre bay, a lagoon accessible after a short hike in the jungle.
A trip to the Con Dao archipelago will offer you incredible natural landscapes while enjoying the calm of the islands. Talk to your Travel Designer if you want to add this step to your custom made tour in Vietnam.