Con Dao is an incredible and soul-stirring region where you can experience crystal clear waters along with majestic jungles. Otherwise, this island is jam-packed with historical attractions as the islands’ harsh history as a penal colony. That’s why you can experience an unforgettable journey with both harmonious relaxation and haunting points-of-interest. Here you will find our list of the best things to see and do while you vacation at this island paradise. You definitely won’t want to miss any of these!
1) Traveling by Foot and Motorbike
Con Dao is a haven for hikers and outdoor explorers, and you won’t be disappointed. Whether you want to discover a location in detail by foot or cover a great distance by a motorbike. There are a variety of trails and beachfronts where you can enjoy the islands’ gorgeous scenery and majestic sunsets. You will be spoilt for choice as each hike reveals a unique flavor to the island. For example, the Ong Dung Beach hike will take you from the Con Dao National Park through a tropical jungle with verdant greenery and vibrant wildlife, to a gorgeous beach with calm and clear waters. If you want to cover as much ground as possible, renting a motorbike or scooter is a must. The island is small enough to traverse the whole day while the roads are well-maintained enough to travel safely.
2) Diving & Boating
As its crystal clear waters along with the abundance of colorful coral reef and aquatic wildlife, Con Dao is the best place to go diving. Be sure to check the weather beforehand, as the water conditions can change depending on the season. Besides, nothing beats the feeling of the wind in your face as you sail through the sapphire waters. If you are lucky, you can witness the sea turtle nesting phenomenon that they come here to lay their eggs.
3) Sacred Temples & Pagodas
The mysteries of Con Dao island are exemplified by their grand temples and pagodas which are scattered throughout the island. Phi Yen’s temple, or An Son Shrine, is a tranquil building next to a peaceful and large lake of waterlilies. Plus, there is also other magnificent temples such as the Hang Duong Cemetery Complex. As for pagodas, the Van Son pagoda offers gorgeous views of An Hai Lake as well as the town beneath.
4) Historical Sites, Prisons, and Museums
Con Dao has many mysterious stories befitting its use as a site for the political prisoners for over a century. It offers several prisons you can visit such as Phu Hai and Phu Son, which were the most infamous prisons. Phu Tuong is another site which was known for its “tiger cages”. Guards would poke at prisoners using spears and rain lime juice down on them, causing disfigurations to the skin there. As an avid museum-goer, the Con Dao Museum is a must-see destination. You can observe many photographs of Con Dao’s history, with portraits of prisoners and important moments from the island’s past.
5) Markets & Shopping
Con Dao is an actively inhabited island, and you can catch a glimpse of its newfound life through its sprawling marketplaces. Con Dao Market is a great location to explore, with plenty of Vietnamese dishes to satisfy your taste buds. In addition, Con Dao Gift Shop is an ideal spot to find souvenirs and Vietnamese dishes.
Let’s explore and share your memories in comments below. Have any questions about any specific itineraries in Viet Nam? Ask away here!