Located off the coast of the southernmost tip of Vietnam, Con Dao is a cluster of islands which promises both barefoot luxury and natural splendour in equal measure. This undiscovered string of white sand beaches, palm flanked coastlines, and turquoise blue waters is the perfect place to get away from it all confirms Asia expert, Blanche.
Just a short flight from the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City lie 16 little islands that make up the Con Dao archipelago, an area of outstanding natural beauty steeped in history. During the French colonial era, Con Dao’s main and biggest island served as a prison for political prisoners. Years later, during the Saigon regime, the island was used again to imprison opponents of the regime in infamous cells known as “tiger cages”. Nowadays, almost all of the archipelago’s land is covered in jungle, filled with exotic wildlife, and with very few tourists, Con Dao is a paradise for those looking for something a little more off the beaten track. Here are our top four reasons to visit the island:
- Six Senses Con Dao – Nestled on a curve of white sand on the island of Con Son, looking out over the glistening South China Sea, is Six Senses Con Dao. Protected by lush, forest-clad mountains on a mile-long stretch of sand, each villa is carefully designed to reflect their incredible natural surroundings, using timber frames and natural materials, and with fantastic views out to sea. Coupled with an extensive menu of incredible spa treatments, this property is a real treat and offers a total escape.
- The beaches – The pristine white sandy beaches almost look so perfect that you don’t want to leave footprints in the sand! The sea is completely calm and so transparent that you don’t need a mask to see the colourful little fish that swim in the shallows around your feet. There are also some great snorkelling spots, with the best being on the smaller islands, which are reachable by boat.
- Marine life – Con Dao has been a designated marine reserve for decades and its unspoilt seas are home to endangered species such as the elusive sea cow and turtles. The natural parks office has also started an important breeding program for turtles on Bay Canh island, which from June to September allows gives visitors to unique chance to see turtles laying eggs.
- Trekking and wildlife – Con Dao’s incredible wild jungles are perfect for some incredible treks, which expert guides can tailor to the level of each group. This beautiful area’s raw natural beauty is home to many endangered and indigenous species, which you are likely to encounter on a wilderness trek. As well as exotic flora, if you’re lucky you might encounter the endemic black squirrel or the crab eating macaque.