Exploring Con Dao Island Beaches: A Guide to Vietnam’s Hidden Paradise

Con Dao is a small island off the coast at the tip of southeastern Vietnam, and it is home to some of the most charming beaches in the country. Surrounded by blue sea, white sand, seafood restaurants, and a few hotels, Con Dao is any beach lovers dream destination! As well as being steeped in fascinating history, which we’ll dive into later. It is not the most well-known of Vietnam’s tropical islands, but that’s part of the reason it’s so pristine. In this guide, we’ll look at some of the best beaches in Con Dao.

Top 8 Beaches in Con Dao

Con Dao’s most famous features are its beautiful beaches, so let’s take a look at a few of the best ones, from the most popular to the most relaxing in no particular order.

1. Dam Trau Beach

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Dam Trau beach, Con Dao. Photo by Tau Cao Toc

Dam Trau Beach is undoubtedly the most popular beach in Con Dao because of its proximity to the Con Dao airport, Co Ong Airport. It’s so close, in fact, that Dam Trau beach visitors can actually watch planes landing and taking off on the nearby runway while sunbathing. This gives the beach a very unique feel.

Even though areas near airports aren’t usually the nicest part of town, though, the area surrounding Dam Trau Beach is absolutely gorgeous. The sands are a shining gold, the water is a deep blue, and the backdrop of forested hills is an electric green. It’s almost unbelievable how pristine Dam Trau Beach is given its centrality, but let’s chalk it up to a local culture that truly prioritizes natural conservation.

2. Suoi Nong Beach

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Suoi Nong beach. Photo by Con Dao Express

Suoi Nong Beach, a lesser-known but remarkable spot in Con Dao, is conveniently located near the more frequented Dam Trau Beach. Accessible via a short trek through a forest road, Suoi Nong offers visitors a unique experience with its flat, white sandy beach and distinctive mangrove ecosystem. This beach is a haven for those looking for a peaceful retreat, away from the usual tourist trails. Its natural, unspoiled beauty makes it an ideal spot for sunbathing and admiring the natural beauty surrounding the beach.

3. Dat Doc Beach

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Dat Doc, Con Dao. Photo from MIA

Dat Doc Beach is fifteen minutes northeast of Con Dao town center, which makes it a bit more secluded than most Con Dao beaches. It’s known for having the best snorkeling on the island, thanks to the vibrant underwater world of fish species and coral reefs that lie below the gentle waves.

Dat Doc Beach is next to Six Senses, the only major resort on Con Dao outside the main town. The hotel makes sure to keep it beautiful and pristine so it remains a great place for relaxation.

4. An Hai Beach

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Con Son – An Hai Beach. Photo by Côn Đảo Express

An Hai Beach is a good option for those who want to go somewhere remote and peaceful but don’t want to venture far from the main town. In fact, a leisurely walk from the town center to An Hai Beach makes for a great activity in the early morning or late afternoon, when the sunlight is not so harsh.

Visitors to An Hai Beach can have picnics, play beach sports like volleyball or badminton, go swimming, or just relax on the golden sand. They can also venture off the beach to tackle one of the nearby hiking trails.

After the peace and quiet of An Hai Beach, you can move to the nearby town and try out some of the best things to do in Con Dao.

5. Lo Voi Beach

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Lo Voi Beach. Photo by Beach Searcher

Lo Voi is another secluded pristine beauty near the main town, but this one is particularly famous for its sunset views. Vietnam already has some breathtaking sunsets due to its tropical location and some atmospheric conditions involving the particles in the air, but Lo Voi takes that beauty to another level by providing a perfect topographical theater to enhance the aesthetic.

In addition to the sunset, it’s worth checking out the local flora near Lo Voi, which is even more lush and tropical-feeling than on most parts of Con Dao.

Lo Voi also becomes a nesting site for turtles from April to September. Visitors during this time can see baby turtles hatching and making their way to the sea, which locals say is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

6. Nhat Beach

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Nhat Beach Con Dao. Photo by Tau Cao Toc

The most notable feature about Nhat Beach is its tidal phenomenon. The entire beach disappears underwater at high tide, but a stretch of beautiful golden sand dotted with brown rocks is revealed in crystal clear water at low tide. The phenomenon keeps the beautiful beach completely clean, which makes it seem even more untouched than it is.

Like Lo Voi Beach, Nhat is another beautiful location to catch sunset vistas on Con Dao.

7. Ong Dung Beach (Near Con Dao National Park)

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Ong Dung beach. Photo by Tau Cao Toc

For those exploring Con Dao Island, Ong Dung Beach is a must-visit destination. Located just 3km west of Con Dao National Park, this beach is renowned for its stunning natural beauty. Unlike the busier beaches on the island, Ong Dung offers a peaceful retreat with its calm waters and scenic surroundings.

Ideal for swimming and snorkeling, its clear waters provide a window into the vibrant marine life of the region. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely walk from Con Dao National Park to this hidden gem, making it a perfect spot for a day of exploration and relaxation amidst the island’s captivating landscapes.

8. Bay Canh Island (Exploring Beaches Beyond the Main Island)

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Bay Canh Island, Con Dao. Photo by VnExpress

While the stunning beaches of Con Dao, particularly on Con Son, the archipelago’s largest island, are a major draw, the surrounding islands offer their own unique experiences. Among these, Bay Canh Island, lying to the east of Con Son, is a standout destination.

Known for its rich biodiversity and stunning natural landscapes, Bay Canh Island is an unmissable part of any budget package tour to Vietnam. Whether you’re an avid nature lover or simply seeking a tranquil escape, a trip to Bay Canh Island from Con Son promises to be an unforgettable experience amidst pristine natural settings.

Beyond the beaches on Con Dao Island

Con Dao, the Island of Tropical Legends

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Exterior of jail cells in Con Dao Prison. Photo by Tycho

Con Dao stands out from the rest of Vietnam’s culture because of the many legends that dominate the island’s history. Some of the legends are haunting. For example, there’s one folklore about an ancient emperor’s wife who took her life on Con Dao’s Bai Nhat beach and still haunts the island. There’s another sad tale about missionaries haunting Con Dao prison, possibly rooted in war stories — learn more about the Legend of the Con Dao Prisoners here. And yet another about “The Madman’s Island,” a local island off Con Dao that served as the home for a shipwreck survivor who lost his mind.

Known for its historical Con Dao Prison, a site of deep historical significance, the island also teems with captivating legends. Tales range from mythical sea turtles predicting events to pirate treasures and Dragons from prehistoric times, adding a layer of mystique to the island’s allure. While these stories enrich the island’s character, it’s Con Dao’s unspoiled beaches and lush landscapes that truly define its exotic charm, making it a fascinating destination in Vietnam.

Even though Con Dao Island is mainly a beach paradise, it has some other activities that will keep you busy when you’re tired of sea, salt and sand. We’ll explore this in the next section.

Things to do in Con Dao Island:

  • Con Dao National Park: The vast majority of Can Dao island is taken up by an uninhabited national park. You could spend weeks exploring the diverse ecosystems, including mangrove forests, coral reefs, and tropical forests. The national park is one of the best places in Vietnam for jungle hiking, bird watching, viewing wildlife, and general tropical adventures. It’s definitely a more tropical alternative to the more rugged and mountainous National Parks in Northern Vietnam.
  • Coastal Hikes: Even besides Con Dao National Park, the island has some unique and memorable hikes that view the beach but don’t actually take place on it. Con Dao Archipelago and Shark Cape and two examples of areas hiking enthusiasts should really check out.
  • Go Sea Turtle Watching: As mentioned above, Lo Voi Beach on Con Dao is a nesting place for sea turtles between the months of April and September.
  • Explore the Local Market: Visit the local market to get a glimpse of daily life, buy local products, and try street food.
  • Try Local Cuisine: Don’t miss out on the local food, especially seafood. Con Dao is known for its fresh and delicious seafood dishes. Check out some of our picks for the best restaurants in Con Dao here.
  • Experience the Legend at Con Dao Prison: Learn about Vietnam’s history by visiting the Con Dao Prison complex. This site was used during the French colonial era and the Vietnam War and is a poignant reminder of the past.
  • Take a Motorbike Tour: Hiring a local easy rider tour guide to drive you around the island and introduce you to its sights is a great way to see the different landscapes and visit more remote areas. If you’re feeling up to a challenge, rent a motorbike to explore the island with an even greater feeling of freedom.Our more in-depth listing of things to do in Can Dao has some specific landmarks and some smaller islands around Con Dao for you to check out.

Accommodations and Facilities on Con Dao Island

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By the beach Six Sense restaurant with Lo Voi mountain behind. Photo by Six Senses

The settled portion of Con Dao is extremely small compared to other resorts and even modest beach towns in Vietnam like Quy Nhon, so there are not tons of accommodation options to choose from. There are a few very nice choices, though. From the luxury of the Six Senses Con Dao or the Poulo Condor Botique Resort and Spa to the coziness of local homestays to the captivating allure of camping on the beach, there’s something for travelers of every type.

Best Time to Visit Con Dao Island

  • November through February: are the most popular months to visit Con Dao, as there is usually no rain and the weather is not too hot. You may even be able to enjoy a cool sea breeze on some evenings!
  • March through May: is a decent time for those who want to avoid tourist season and don’t mind water that is a bit warmer and more humid.
  • Festivals: Celebrate the culture of Southern Vietnam at some of the annual festivals held on Con Dao.

How to Get to Con Dao Island

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A plane flying to Con Dao airport. Photo by Shutterstock/@hecke61
  • By Air: The most common and quickest way to reach Con Dao is by air from Ho Chi Minh City. Several flights operate daily to Con Dao Airport (Co Ong Airport) by Vietnam Airlines and a few other domestic carriers. The flight takes approximately 45 minutes. Flights from other major cities to Con Dao are also available, though they’ll usually transfer through Ho Chi Minh City.
  • By Sea (Ferry): You can take a ferry from Vung Tau City, a coastal town located about 125 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City. The ferry trip takes about 3 to 4 hours. However, it’s important to note that the sea between Vung Tau and Con Dao can be very rough.
  • By Sea (Speedboat): Speedboat services are also available from Vung Tau to Con Dao. These are faster than the ferry but can be more expensive.

Con Dao is Waiting!

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Yoga at Mui Tau Be, Con Dao. Photo by Nguyen Binh Huy

Con Dao Island is one of Vietnam’s last truly pristine tropical paradises! Nearly untouched by tourism, it’s a must-visit for travelers in South Vietnam who have a yearning for the island adventure you generally only read about in books or see in Steven Spielberg movies.

We hope this brief guide to the pristine beaches of the Con Dao islands will help you to make the most out of your trip. And if you have any favorite Con Dao Island beach retreats not listed here, reach out to us and we’ll try to include them!

Con Dao has some incredible beaches, but true aficionados of sand and sea will want to explore more of the most beautiful beaches in Vietnam!

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Written by Dustin Kemp
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Dustin moved to Ho Chi Minh City in 2014 and quickly fell in love with the culture and people of Vietnam.