Con Dao Island – once the “Hell on earth” in the past – now becomes one of the most attractive destinations in Vietnam. Con Dao Island is a group of 16 islets. The largest island is known as Con Son. Con Dao was once a prison island jailing a large number of political prisoners under the French colonial empire many forms of tortures and punishments. Besides having an interesting history, Con Dao is also an island of immense natural beauty with forested hills, deserted sandy beaches and extensive coral reefs for some excellent diving. Do not forget the following top 10 things to do when traveling Con Dao Island in your 2015 summer Vietnam holidays.
From 1862 to 1975, Con Dao was known as a brutal prison for those who fought against the French colonialism and the former Saigon regime. To learn somewhat more about the historical Con Dao Island, as well as to feel the sense of loss that revolutionaries in the past had to undergo, tourists never miss to visit Con Dao Prison system which is now become the museum of Con Dao with heroic ruins of Tiger Cages, Hang Duong Cemetery, and fierce jail system... Con Dao Prison is one of most visited attractions in Con Dao and is recognized as one of the fiercest prisons in the world.
Nestled on the bank of Ot Stream (Pepper Stream), Lady Phi Yen Temple, also known as An Son Temple, has been an important point of worshiping in the spirit of Con Dao people. For the locals, it is a sacred temple associated with a tragic story of a talented, virtue and patriotic woman. After her death, local people mourned and built a shrine to commemorate her. In 1861, after occupying the island, the French decided to remove the entire island’s population to the mainland to build a prison in the island; therefore, the temple gradually became crumbling. In 1981, local people on the island rebuilt a spacious temple on the old ground and worship up until now. Todays, in Vietnam tours to Con Dao Island, Lady Phi Yen Temple is an indispensable stopover.
That will be a great “challenge” for almost anyone to visit a tomb at mid-night. However, this is one of the most interesting experiences in Con Dao tours. Tourists often share their experiences on popping in Vo Thi Sau Tomb at mid night. Unlike the thought of major people that there is no one coming to the cemetery of Vo Thi Sau – a famous heroine of Vietnam at night, it is the fact that, mid-night is the time when the historical site welcomes tourists most. Stalls around the cemetery are always shined with light to serve tourists.
Beaches in Con Dao are among the best diving and snorkeling places in Vietnam. The coral is relatively untouched and very impressive, with giant coral heads. The marine life includes turtles, rays, giant barracuda, cuttlefish, cobia, and dugongs as well as a whole host of tropical reef fish. Con Dao includes many smaller islands such as Bay Canh Island, Tai Island, Tre Island, Trung Island, Trac Island, and Cau Island… There are many choices to dive and discover vivid coral reef here. The island is the convergence of coral reefs with the highest density in Vietnam. Now, there are many diving tours in Con Dao with the average price from 500,000 VND including necessary devices.
The beauty of Con Dao can be described by one word – Perfect. It is because the island is bestowed by The Nature with all best criteria of a wonderful beach. To feel the amazing beauty of beaches in Con Dao Island, and enjoy the fresh air of early morning on the island as well, you should rent a bike and ride along the beach of Con Dao. With this interesting experience, you will be surely enchanted by pristine landscapes here; on one side, it is the vast blue sea, and the other is covered by green and majestic mountains, forming myriad sexy scenery.
Ong Dung Beach is to the north of town. Ong Dung Beach is seen as a charming and ideal beach of Con Dao National Park. Coming here, tourists can admire and immerse into turquoise and warm waters, colorful untouched natural scenery of the flora and fauna system. It will take about 1 hour to walk along roads in the forest to reach Ong Dung Beach, which may make tourists exhausted, but the tiredness will disappear when approaching the beach; the excitement will appear instead. The turquoise waters of Ong Dung Beach will be a fantastic award for all tourists’ effort in Vietnam tour packages to Con Dao.
The sea area of Con Dao is located in the South China Sea which possesses a large number of seafood, promising an interesting off-shore trip. The most ideal area to go fishing is Nhat Beach near Love Hill in Con Dao Island. According to “professional” fishermen, the best time to go fishing is when the night falls.
Located in the east of Con Dao Island, Bay Canh Island is covered by a primitive forests and mangrove forests belonging to island tropical ecosystem with 882 flora species and nearly 150 fauna species. Coming here, tourists will have chances to dive and admire colorful coral reef, fish, and other marine creatures living on coral reefs. The coastline of Bay Canh Island is long and pristine. It has a simple and familiar beauty, which makes tourists feel peacefully in the serene atmosphere.
Tripping to turtle sanctuary
With an area of about 14,000 ha of water, Con Dao Island has a large turtle sanctuary. Annually, in breeding season from April to September, there are thousands of turtles coming here to spawn. Witnessing and recording the moment when turtle digging and spawning is an interesting experience. Do not miss the second-to-none chance in Con Dao tours.
Staying in a Con Dao resort
The peace and serenity in a resort in Con Dao will make the island be the right place for those who desire to relax in a luxurious setting, experience a slow life, and escape the busy routine and habits. Traveling Con Dao Island, tourists will have many choices to take rest in one of beautiful hotels and resorts, fitting different needs of every tourist.