Con Dao was once known as hell on earth, where the famous Con Dao Prison was once. Today, Con Dao is one of the most attractive destinations with beautiful pristine beaches, primaeval forest system and many rare creatures. Let’s explore this Top 10 Things to Do in Con Dao Island with Origin Travel!
1. Con Dao Prison
Just once visiting the prison system of Con Dao, you will understand why this place was once called “Hell on earth”.
Con Dao prison is considered one of the most feared places in Asia. It is also in the list of the 10 most devastating prisons in the world. For more than 100 years, nearly 20,000 revolutionary soldiers were detained, tortured and died here.
Con Dao prison is famous for the brutal exile of the French colonialists and American imperialists. Which detained patriotic revolutionary soldiers and people with anti-French and American anti-sentiments. This prison system includes Camp Phu Son, Camp Phu Hai, Camp Phu Tho, Camp Phu Tuong, isolated area of the Tiger Cages, the area of Cages, Phu An, Phu Phong and Phu Hung.
Next to the Tiger Cages – the most brutal detention place in the prison system in Con Dao. There is also a system of uncovered prisons called “solariums”. The prisoner was stripped of all his clothes and laid to rest in the sun and rain. This is torture that many people judge “life is not equal to death”.
In addition to the beautiful natural beaches, sparkling coral reefs and lush tropical forests. Con Dao prison is also the place that many tourists choose to visit.
This place is a tourist destination with very sacred spiritual significance, a testament to the domination regime, brutal imprisonment of colonialists and invading imperialists. Con Dao prison also shows the passionate patriotism and indomitable will of Vietnamese revolutionary soldiers.
In the 90s, Con Dao was restored as a museum. It’s a place to visit and also stark evidence of atrocious crimes committed by the French colonialists and the US henchman government.
2. Diving and Snorkelling
Con Dao tourism associates from spiritual tourism and exploring unspoiled waters. Especially, diving activities to see coral in Con Dao are always the most popular.
– Con Dao archipelago includes many different small islands such as Hon Bay Canh, Tai island, Hon Tre, Hon Egg, Hon Trac, Hon Cau, … are the convergence of coral reefs with the highest density in Vietnam. The perfect place to explore the amazing ocean world.
The sea here owns 1383 species of marine life. The coral reefs here are composed of 219 species with an average coverage of 42.6%. The coral groups include block corals, branch corals, thistles, fungi corals, …
The best time to snorkel is from March to June. This is the time when the sea is calm, the seawater is clear, so it’s easy to experience the beautiful coral reefs firsthand. From November to January next year is also suitable for you to snorkel. However, you should follow the weather before deciding to dive to see the coral.
If you are travelling on a tour that requires diving to see coral. You should choose tour providers that include scuba diving. You just need to come and experience a wonderful coral diving.
In case you are travelling on your own, you can contact several centres to register for coral scuba diving services at your request.
After being guided the basic scuba diving steps, tourists will start scuba diving to see the coral reef in Con Dao. The highlight of diving to see the wonderful coral reefs with a variety of marine animals.
3. Hiking in Con Dao National Park
Coming to Con Dao National Park, you will be able to try your best with the beautiful trekking roads, explore the unspoiled beaches.
Con Dao National Park is a famous nature reserve located in the northern area of Con Dao District, Ba Ria – Vung Tau province, and was established by the Prime Minister on March 31, 1993. The entire national park covers an area of more than 15,000 hectares, of which more than 6,000 hectares are land and the remaining 9000 hectares are marine. In 2014, it was recognized as the Ramsar site of the World.
Con Dao National Park is considered one of the few national parks in the world that converge all four unique and rare marine and forest ecosystems. At present, it is nurturing and conserving 882 types of higher flora, belonging to 562 genera, 161 families and 144 animal species, including 28 mammal species, 69 bird species, 39 reptile species, 8 amphibian species. Among them, there are many rare species in the red book.
You should come here between April and October every year. Although this is the rainy season, the sea in Con Dao is quite mild and the weather is cool.
4. Visit Hang Duong Cemetary & Vo Thi Sau’s Grave
One of those sacred places in Con Dao is Hang Duong cemetery – The burial place of tens of thousands of revolutionary soldiers and patriots through many generations of imprisonment, including martyrs Le Hong Phong, Cao Van Ngoc, Vo Thi Sau … Those who come to Con Dao will visit at least once in their journey to discover this beautiful island.
Con Dao is the most sacred tourist destinatio. One of those sacred places is Hang Duong cemetery – The burial place of tens of thousands of revolutionary soldiers and patriots through many generations of imprisonment, including martyrs Le Hong Phong, Cao Van Ngoc, Vo Thi Sau … Those who set foot in Con Dao will visit at least once in their journey to discover this beautiful island.
Hang Duong Cemetery is divided into 4 zones A, B, C, D. Each area is associated with each historical period and names of heroes. Including many anonymous graves.
Vo Thi Sau tomb is located in B zone, and the Hang Duong central monument are the two places where incense is offered and celebrated the most. Areas A, C, D are quite deserted and cold.
If possible, you should arrange to offer incense during the day. After offering incense at the main monument, go to burn incense for the graves in the cemetery. At night, we will the ceremony at the Monument first and then at Ms Sau’s grave.
5. Discover Con Dao Museum
Located opposite 914 Historical Relic. This place displays memorabilia and archives about the heroic history of the Vietnamese nation. The museum was built on an area of 20,940 square meters at No. 10 Nguyen Hue Street, Con Dao District.
When you arrive at Con Dao Museum. You will find the museum including the gallery, the warehouse of artefacts and the restoring warehouse of material and artefacts, the hall, the working area and other auxiliary works.
There is an outdoor display area with a fairly large area offering open space. This place displays a lot of large-shaped objects of historical value such as the tomb of Hai Den Con Dao dunes, the tomb of Mieu Ba Con Dao dunes, …
The timeless historical artefacts combined with modern and scientific decoration. It increasingly attracts domestic and international tourists to visit. Con Dao Museum free entrance fee for visitors.
Con Dao Museum is an indispensable destination in your travel to Con Dao.
6. Van Son Pagoda
When you have the opportunity to come to Con Dao. Do not forget to visit Van Son Tu Pagoda in Con Dao, the most beautiful and unique temple in this immense sea of islands.
Van Son Tu pagoda in Con Dao is also known as Nui Mot pagoda. The pagoda is located on Nui Mot in Con Dao district, Ba Ria – Vung Tau province. Van Son Tu was built by the US government in 1964 to serve the needs of spiritual beliefs for those working in the administrative offices, officers and soldiers on the island. Also, the pagoda was built to disguise the people, disguise itself and covering the eyes of the press as well as the world opinion about the brutal domination of prisoners of the US regime at that time.
The total area of Van Son Tu pagoda is 19,434 m2. Including the following items: Gate, Bell guard, the statue of Buddha Ba Quan Am, Jizō temple, Son Than temple, guest house. Along with traffic technical infrastructure systems, power supply systems, water supply and drainage systems.
To visit Van Son Tu pagoda, visitors have two ways to walk up the stairs or drive-by motorbike to the pagoda by a road near the temple gate. When you reach the temple, you will step into a pure, comfortable space with the gentle scent of the sea and magical smoke. At the same time enjoy the peaceful feeling with the sound of temple bells and meaningful sutras.
Besides, visitors will find that this place is a cultural architectural work bearing Vietnamese national identity. At the same time, everyone will feel the spirit of resilience, steadiness, indomitable overcoming all the challenges of the patriotic soldiers.
7. Watch Turtle Laying eggs
With an area of 14,000 ha of water area. Con Dao has a very large sea turtle population. Every year during the breeding season (lasting from April to September), thousands of sea turtles go to the sandbanks to lay eggs. Seeing and recording the moment a turtle digs its nest, laying eggs is an enjoyable experience.
From 1995 up to now, in Con Dao, more than 300,000 baby turtles have been released to the sea and nearly 1,000 adult turtles have been tagged. The characteristic of Con Dao tortoise is to breed at night. So to see turtles dig their nests, they may have to be white at night on the beach. Season to nesting grounds of Con Dao sea turtles: from April to November each year, most concentrated from June to September.
Bay Canh is a protected area of Con Dao National Park. To get here, you must apply for a permit at the national park on the big island of Con Son (this permit is free of charge, valid until 5 pm of the day after).
How to discover it?
With a license, you rent a boat with prices from 1.5 million for two ways to go and return. After 45 minutes by train, visitors to Hon Bay Canh. After that, you just follow the trail about 700 meters along the mangrove forest to the Bay Canh ranger station.
On the way, you can see firsthand wild chickens, ebony squirrels, butterflies … Surrounded by mangroves with an area of about 5.1 hectares, with 24 species of mangrove plants, mainly Rhizophora, parrot, parachute, lime, …
After dinner, tourists rest on hammock tents on Bay Canh island. When the water is high, the mother turtle begins to flicker on the waves near the shore to find a place to spawn. This is also the time park rangers announce you are going to the turtle spawning area.
While you visit the hatching pond, you may see the baby turtles that were hatched before they hatched. You will see each turtle trying to get out of an eggshell and squeeze each other up the nest’s mouth to crawl towards the sea. The park rangers will put the baby turtles in a basket and take them to the sandbank when the water is high and the sun is not yet harsh. Because the light in the eyes will make the tortoise lose its way.
Visitors will witness hundreds and thousands of baby turtles crawling into the sea on a distance of only a few tens of meters. Before the baby turtles are immersed in the sea, they still have time to turn to record the image of where they were born. When they mature (about 30 years later), the sea turtles will return to their birthplace to spawn.
8. Shopping at Con Dao Market
Con Dao tourism is a famous tourist destination attracting domestic and foreign tourists to visit and experience. This place with fresh and pristine natural scenery. Along with diverse seafood and Con Dao market is a destination that visitors do not miss when coming to Con Dao.
Located right on the main island, Con Dao tourists can walk there if they want to go and see the surrounding scenery. Or choose a fast train with any kind of car that you rent. The most important thing is the time of the market meeting.The market open on the morning is from 5:00 am to 10:00 am, and the afternoon lasts from 16:00 until almost evening.
The products in The Con Dao market are extremely diverse. The big market is full of goods, clearly divided into zones, mainly consisting of two zones: the seafood area and the dry food area, essential goods and vegetables. Besides, the Con Dao market also has toad markets.
The most popular one is the market selling fresh seafood along the coast, mainly meeting in the early morning from 3:00 to 6:00, sold by fishermen. These toad markets are where seafood has just been delivered from the fishing boat directly, so the prices here are cheaper than in the main market and the seafood is also fresher.
9. Ma Thien Lanh Bridge – Ong Dung Beach
Ma Thien Lanh Bridge is one of the historical landmarks, which witness the tragic history of the war in Con Dao.
The reason that the bridge is called Ma Thien Lanh. Because people take the name of the mountain with dangerous terrain which is Ma Thien Lanh in Korea to put for this bridge.
Located about 15km from Co Ong airport. From the centre of Con Dao town. If you go by car to the west, through the national park about 3km to a small road, the trees on both sides are overgrown, climbing all the slope, then to the relic Ma Thien Lanh bridge. The bridge was built by the inmates on the high mountain to cross the other side of the mountain (at present the monument remains only two sides of the bridge foundation).
From Ma Thien Lanh bridge, you will take a mountain walk. After 45 minutes, you will go to Ong Dung beach and enjoy the famous speciality of her snail in Con Dao. Ong Dung beach is wide, clean and clear water, fine sand without people, captivating visitors to come here to enjoy the deserted nature.
If Ma Thien Lanh bridge has the beauty of history. When you come to Ong Dung beach, you will be lost in the perfect natural world, and this is also a favourite place of “travellers” all over the country.
Con Dao is an ideal destination for those who love nature and want to learn about history. Besides an attractive and mysterious natural scenery, Ma Thien Lanh bridge-Ong Dung beach will make you satisfied on your trip to Con Dao.
10. Dam Trau Beach
Dam Trau beach is the most beautiful beach on Con Dao archipelago, in Ba Ria – Vung Tau province. It is located near Co Ong airport, on the outer edge of Con Dao National Park and about 14 km from Con Dao town.
Coming to Dam Trau beach, Con Dao tourists will be immersed in true nature and enjoy the precious gift of nature. Blue, clear and cool water, smooth sand, gentle waves will be your miniature marine paradise.
Looking far away, visitors can also watch neighbouring islands on the sea, flocks of birds flying, a few boats to visit Con Dao tourists or fishermen’s fishing boats.
Moreover, in Dam Trau beach, there are unique cliffs shaped. On a rocky slope stretching out to the sea, Con Dao tourists will be able to see two large rocks clustering their heads together, like a pair of seabirds affectionately wrapped together.
The unique shape of those two rocks is also associated with the ancient legend, about the unfinished sad love of the couple. Lying on the windswept one-way beach, that story will surely make visitors feel sad and lingering.
Coming to Dam Trau beach, visitors can also feel free to relax with nature and immerse themselves in a wild, strangely quiet and peaceful space. Dam Trau beach is a bit strange but also very familiar.
Hope the above sharing about my most famous tourist destinations of Con Dao will be of some help to you. Make a schedule to explore Con Dao Nha now.