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Con Dao

Con Dao – from infamous prison to pristine paradise. Immaculate beaches, lush parks, and poignant history make it a unique retreat.

“Vietnam’s Hidden Gem of Pristine Nature and Historical Depth!”

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Experience Con Dao

Attractions

Discover Con Dao National Park, the former prison turned museum, Tropical Beaches and Shark Cape.

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Rest

Choose eco-friendly resorts, luxurious 5-star hotels, or authentic local homestays.

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Taste

Experience a variety of fresh seafood and Southern Vietnamese cuisine, from casual beachside shacks to refined dining.

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Travel Inspiration & Local Legends

Con Dao Handbook: Essential Travel Tips

When is the Best Time to Visit Con Dao?

Vietnam’s diverse climate varies from region to region. To experience the best of Con Dao, visit during the dry season from November to April for pleasant weather and outdoor activities. For nature enthusiasts interested in witnessing the extraordinary sea turtle hatching, plan your visit between May and October, with the peak hatching season from June to September. This unique experience offers a rare glimpse into the life cycle of these magnificent creatures as they make their first journey to the sea.

Transportation Tips

A. Getting to Vietnam

Flying is the most convenient way to reach Vietnam. The two main international airports are Hanoi (Noi Bai Airport) for adventures starting in the North and Saigon Ton Son Nhat (Ho Chi Minh City) for trips starting in the South. For a budget adventure, you can also take an overland bus from Cambodia, Laos, or Thailand to Southeast Asia.

B. How to get to Con Dao

  • To reach Con Dao quickly and conveniently, fly directly from Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport; the flight takes 45 minutes to 1 hour. 
  • Alternatively, for a scenic journey, take a bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Soc Trang (about 4-5 hours), followed by a 2.5 to 3-hour ferry ride from Tran De Port to Con Dao.

C. How to get around in Con Dao

Con Dao’s main town is small and can be navigated on foot or by rented bicycle. For longer road trips to the other side of the island, you’ll want to hire a taxi, use a ridesharing app like Grab, or drive yourself on a motorbike.

Before You Go

  • Visa: Check visa requirements based on your nationality. Find out more about getting a Vietnam Visa before you visit Con Dao. 
  • Timezone: Vietnam is in the Indochina Time Zone (ICT), UTC+7.
  • Voltage: The standard voltage is 220V, and the outlets usually accept three different plugs: A, C, and F. If you are from Europe, Japan, or the Americas, your plugs will work fine. Otherwise, you’ll need an adapter. Note that many Vietnamese outlets do not have a third hole for grounding, and so can only accept two-pronged plugs.
  • Internet: Most establishments in Con Dao offer Wi-Fi, but the signal can be weak. Viettel and Mobifone work in town but not on some beaches or National Park.
  • SIM Cards: When you arrive at the airport or visit local stores, you can easily purchase SIM cards for data and calls. (Present your passport to get a SIM.) Additionally, please be aware that only the most populated areas of Con Dao have mobile service available.
  • Currency: Vietnam uses the Vietnamese Dong (VND). VND only comes in bills (no coins), and 1 USD equals about 24,000 VND (commonly abbreviated as 24k). Some shops catering to tourists may accept USD, but most only take VND.
  • Credit Cards: Several large businesses on Con Dao accept Visa and Mastercard, but most places on the island only take cash.
  • ATMs: There are five ATMs in the main town of Con Dao, but they often go out of service and take longer than most ATMs to get fixed because of the remote location. In short, bringing all the cash you’ll need is best.
  • Tipping: Vietnam is not a tipping culture, so a tip is not expected. A tip is a good way to bring a smile to someone’s face, though. Note that cab drivers and tour guides often rely on some tipping, so it’s a good idea to tip them.

Understanding Culture & Customs in Con Dao

Con Dao’s past as a prison island has shaped its somber historical significance. Today, it’s vital to respect the sanctity of memorial sites. The island is also strongly committed to conservation; visitors should be mindful of their environmental impact and participate in eco-friendly practices. Discover more about Vietnamese etiquette here.

Common questions about Con Dao

Six Senses is the best Con Dao Resort for those looking to get off the grid. Other good luxury resorts include Poulo Condor Boutique and Secret Resort. Try Little Home Homestay or Nha Cua Gio Homestay for cozier and more budget-friendly accommodations.

For more upscale dining, check out Infiniti Cafe and Resto, Spice Kitchen, or one of the other options in our guide to restaurants on Con Dao. For local cuisine, try Nam Dinh for pho, Thu Ba for seafood, or the night market in town for other specialties.

Con Dao is known as a remote and beautiful hidden gem of Vietnam’s Southern Coast with some of the most beautiful beaches in Vietnam. It is also known for the many ghost stories and other “urban legends” that helped shape the history of the island hideaway.

A few ideas for things to do on Con Dao include:
Lounging or playing water sports on Con Dao’s beaches.
Exploring Con Dao National Park, one of the largest national parks in Vietnam.
Trying local cuisine.
Touring cultural landmarks like a haunted prison or a shrine to a ghost queen.
Taking a boat to one of the tropical islands surrounding Con Dao.

Con Dao main town is small and can be navigated on foot or by rented bicycle. For longer road trips to the other side of the island, you’ll want to hire a taxi, use a ridesharing app like Grab, or drive yourself on a motorbike attained at a Con Dao motorbike rental agency.

The best time to visit Con Dao is from November to February, during the dry season. This period is characterized by temperate weather, making it ideal for snorkeling, diving, and hiking.

3-5 days. You should have at least one day to enjoy the island’s beaches, explore the national park, and visit local cultural and historical sites. Another day or two to make sure you hit all of these top 10 things to do in Con Dao and to see one or two of the islands surrounding Con Dao is a bonus, too.