One of the best beaches near Ho Chi Minh City is Con Dao, which is a group of islands belonging to Ba Ria Vung Tau province.
Con Dao Islands has another name, Poulo Condore. It is an archipelago of 15 islands within the sea region of Ba Ria-Vung Tau province in southeastern Vietnam.
Dat Doc beach in Con Dao Island
Things to know before you go
The island is most well known for its colonial past, during which period the French built the most notorious prison on the main and largest island of the archipelago to keep anti-colonial protestors. Owing to the lack of transportation to the island, it is left rather untouched by mass tourism. Also, for that same reason, the islands can preserve its pristine nature and serene atmosphere. In addition to great diving experience with lovely coral reefs and the marvelous scenic beach, there are some wide life watching opportunities, one of the most famous is the green sea turtles.
Con Dao archipelago has a total of 200 km of coastline with several pretty beaches with soft and pristine white sands, blue crystal-clear water, amazing coral reefs such as Dam Trau, Lo Voi, An Hai, Dat Doc, Tre Lon, Hon Ba … where you can enjoy a variety of activities ranging from water sports to biking and trekking into the rain forest of tropical weather.
How to get there
You can get to Con Dao archipelago by reaching Con Sao islands via daily flights from HCMC operated by Vasco (Vietnam Air Services Company) for roughly US$80 a return ticket. From the airport, you can get to town by hotel shuttle vans either by grabbing a seat after arrival or booking a hotel before heading to the islands.
Airplane landing in con Dao Island
There are boats to Con Dao islands departing from Vung Tau city. So if you want to travel by sea, you must first get to Vung Tau and take a boat from Cat Lo port. The whole trip will last for 12 hours. Although getting to Con Dao by boat is long hours, the traveling experience is not as tiring as you may imagine since the boats are equipped with air-condition. Safety should not be a worry as well because all the boats can only set sail when the weather is in good condition. The cost for traveling by sea is also mush lower with around 10 USD for a one-way ticket.
Boat carrying visitors in Con Dao Island
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Con Dao is March till July, when the sea is at its calmest. However, you may want to schedule your trip according depending on your other planned activities such as seeing turtles or diving.
In general, Con Dao’s weather is moderate all year round owing to the surrounding waters with two seasons - dry and rainy. 80% of the island is covered in forest so the average rainfall is around two meters per year and the rain can be very heavy and unexpected as in any other tropical area. Be reminded of the high humidity so as to prepare light clothes and don’t ever forget sunscreen lotion to protect from the fierce sun rays. June, July and August are the hottest time of the year when temperature can go up to 40 Celsius. However, thanks to the cool sea breeze, you won’t experience extreme heat. The weather will be less windy during March, April and May and the coolest times of year will be from September to January.
Beautiful beach in Con Dao Island
If observing the nesting and hatching of the turtles is on your plan, you must make it to Con Dao from May to October. On the other hand, you should head to Con Dao any time from February to July for diving, when the waters are at their clearest, with visibility up to 30 meters.
- Location: Con Dao, Vung Tau
- Best for: Solo, couple, family, group
- Entrance: Free
- Hours: 08:00am to 20:00pm