Côn đảo

Con Dao, Vietnam is one of those quiet và relatively unknown places that needs khổng lồ be on your South Vietnam itinerary. Located in the southeast part of Vietnam in the tía Ria – Vung Tau (Bà Rịa–Vũng Tàu) province, bé Dao (Côn Đảo in Vietnamese) is an archipelago of 16 islands. Nhỏ Son (Côn Sơn) is the largest island và most populated island.

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From the island’s dark past as a former prison for 113 years & the use of the infamous “tiger cages” khổng lồ the current unspoiled, stunning beaches, you can’t go wrong with a trip here.

In this post, we’re sharing our top recommendations of the 8 best things to do in nhỏ Dao & helpful tips lớn plan your trip here.

We highly recommend that you visit con Dao as soon as possible. Con Dao’s tourism is still not heavily developed so there are fewer crowds and a lack of mega-resorts along the beachfront. We love how this beautiful island maintains its local lifestyle as many local restaurants close early by 8:00pm. If you’re into nightlife, then you’re out of luck as there isn’t any.

All you need is lớn spend a weekend from Ho bỏ ra Minh City or at least 3+ days on con Dao khổng lồ feel relaxed & rejuvenated. 


Click on the links below khổng lồ skip to your nhỏ Dao Islands topic of choice:


If you’re looking for other Vietnam beach destinations, kiểm tra out our other posts on DanangNha Trang, Mui Ne, Phu Quoc, Quy Nhon, and Ly Son Island.*Disclosure: This post contains tiếp thị liên kết links. If you click on them and make a purchase, we receive a small commission. There is no additional cost to lớn you. Appreciate the support.

Incredible 8 Best Things to bởi vì in con Dao 

We’re sharing our recommended attractions khổng lồ visit in nhỏ Dao Islands. Most of the con Dao sightseeing is on bé Son Island.

1. Con Dao Museum

Con Dao Museum (Bảo Tàng Côn Đảo) is a good introduction to lớn the history of con Dao and its dark past. First the French then the Americans occupied nhỏ Dao và used it as a prison (also known as “Hell on Earth”) from 1862 – 1975.

We recommend that you visit the museum before checking out the prison cells on the island. The museum has plenty of English-translated signs as you walk through the galleries.

There are two parts lớn visit – 1) Overview of nhỏ Dao’s biodiversity & 2) History of the prison system. The history section is extensive with over 2000 artifacts & photos of life in the prison và its influential Vietnamese fighters, including Vo Thi Sau (Võ Thị Sáu) who fought against the French, was captured, tried, & executed at 19 years old. You’ll also see how two U.S. Congressmen, Augustus Hawkins & William Anderson, exposed the gruesome tiger cages lớn the world.

If the outdoors of con Dao are too hot for you, the museum is where you can cool off with AC units everywhere.

Admission: 10,000 VND ($.40 USD)

Address: Số 10 Đường Nguyễn Huệ

Opening Hours: 7:30am – 11:00am, 1:30pm – 4:30pm

2. Bé Dao Prisons

Con Dao Prisons is a must-visit attraction. The three main prison sites are open to the public for you to explore – Phu Hai, American Tiger Cages, & French Tiger Cages.

It’s a solemn experience lớn think about how far the human race went to torture & kill thousands of Vietnamese fighters and revolutionary soldiers. You’ll see the tiger cages which were cells with bars và barbed wire so prisoners could get tortured và abused lượt thích animals.

Phu hai Prison (Di Tích Phú Hải) was built in 1862 & was named No. 1 Prison và No. 2 Prison before officially called Phu nhị Prison in 1974. As the largest & oldest prison on the island, there are 10 large rooms & 20 smaller blocks of prison cells for you to glance at how life was lượt thích back then. Some of the rooms are dark and damp so it can be a bit spooky. You’ll see mannequins representing their anguish with their ankles chained. The center of the prison has a memorial which also shows a đoạn phim on bé Dao history.

Address: Along Lê Văn Việt


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Visiting the nhỏ Dao Prisons is one of the chất lượng things to bởi in nhỏ Dao.


American Tiger Cages (also called di tích Chuồng Cọp Mỹ và Trại Phú Bình) is the prison area with the Americans style tiger cages used during the Vietnam War. When you inside the prison cells near the entrance, you’ll see bars in the ceiling that guards used lớn torture the prisoners. The idea is that prisoners were captured and placed in cages (cells) just like a tiger. Check out the A-H Buildings with 48 cells in each building. After you see one of the buildings, the others look the same so you don’t necessarily need lớn go lớn them.

Across from this prison is the Phu An Camp (Trại Phú An) which has two sections of cells lớn browse through. There isn’t any additional fee to lớn visit và an admission ticket isn’t necessary.

Address: Off of Nguyễn Chí Thanh

French Tiger Cages (Di Tích Chuồng Cọp Pháp) was built in the 1940s & located next to the American tiger cages prison. Even though the area is much smaller between the other two prisons, the French tiger cages were more brutal. One of the more infamous rooms was one large cell area that had mở cửa ceiling bars where guards poked và abused the prisoners from above. You’ll need to lớn walk up a mix of stairs so you can see the guards’ perspective. Another cell area didn’t have roofs so prisoners exposed khổng lồ sunlight all day eventually became blind.

Address: Off of Nguyễn Chí Thanh


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It’s a humbling experience lớn visit the French Tiger Cages và imagine the pain & torture that people went through.


With the increase in tourism, we hope that these prison cells increase their signage lớn describe the various area. Otherwise, it was a quick look for us as we navigated to lớn the next prison area.

Admission: 40,000 VND ($1.70) which provides you access khổng lồ all four locations on the same day, including the Palace of Island’s Governor (Di Tích đơn vị Chúa Dảo)

Opening Hours: 7:30am – 11am, 2:00pm – 4:50pm

3. Relax on the Beaches

Con Son Island doesn’t have a shortage of beaches. You’ll find that many of the public beaches are in pristine conditions with the superfine white sand và the lack of garbage. It’s truly paradise! Let’s hope everyone makes an effort to sustain these beautiful beaches for future visitors.

Here are the top beaches that we went to:

Nhat Beach (Bãi Nhất)This unassuming beach is off of the main road, Bến Đầm. It’s the perfect spot khổng lồ see the stunning sunset from the warm và clear waters. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything interesting to see in the water. Many minivans stop by here in the late afternoon for the sunset view.Dam Trau Beach (Bãi Đầm Trầu) – Located on the north side of the island near the airport is the Dam Trau Beach. If you want a good place lớn relax & see the propeller planes fly by, then this is the place khổng lồ visit. It’s a neat experience khổng lồ have them fly right overhead và so close to lớn you.
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Dam Trau Beach has a unique view where you can see planes from Ho chi Minh city land in con Dao.


An nhị Beach (Bãi An Hải) – It’s an early wake-up gọi to see the orange & pink hues of the sunrise at 5:00am. Since you’re hanging out in the area, check out the fishermen’s daily catch of fresh seafood in the morning. The beach turns into a mini-market with the sale of squid, fish, & rays.

Admission: không lấy phí for public beaches

As a heads up, bé Son has numerous beaches that do not have sand. These are shingle beaches where the water hits an area full of large & small rocks. For these beaches, it’s recommended khổng lồ go swimming.

4. Take a boat trip and snorkel on nhỏ Dao’s other islands.

While riding your motorbike around con Son, you’ll see many signs for boat day trips và phone numbers listed. By collecting these numbers & calling around, you can find yourself a boat tour operator lớn explore the other con Dao islands via a day trip. It’s recommended to lớn speak Vietnamese to lớn make the arrangements as English isn’t widely spoken.

An easier way is to pre-book a tour on Klook here!

We met our tour tương tác and the boat operator at the ferry terminal (Cầu tàu du lịch) which is in the downtown area. The boat holds 7-8 people so the more people that you have in your group, the cheaper it costs per person. Foreigners need khổng lồ carry their passports for the trip to lớn register at the port.

The day trip includes two swimming excursions and hanging out at a private island. The coral reefs were the most impressive that have seen in Vietnam, even after snorkeling in Ly Son, Phu Quoc, and Quy Nhon.

The water was also super blue and clear due to the low number of visitors. We saw no one else at our “private” island và just 2-3 groups snorkeling at the second swimming spot.

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Admission: 3 million VND ($128) for the boat ride và paid an extra 300,000 VND ($12.80) lớn visit a private island.


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If you’re a beach addict, check out these clean beaches and clear waters in bé Dao!


5. Nhỏ Son Night Market

Vietnam loves having night markets! Con Son Night Market is an impressive form size as the intersection between is closed khổng lồ vehicles every night. kiểm tra out the various sections of fresh grilled seafood, Vietnamese local delicacies, và desserts. Or, sing your heart out in the public karaoke section & also try traditional Vietnamese games such as balancing on a beam.

Admission: Free, additional costs for food

Address: Intersection of Lê Hồng Phong & Nguyễn Huệ

6. Nhỏ Dao National Park

If you want some hiking and to experience nature through the forest, then you must visit bé Dao National Park (Vườn giang sơn Côn Đảo). Depending on your interest và time, feel không tính tiền to spend all day here. While we didn’t vì chưng any of the longer hikes, we’ve read that there are beautiful views from the mountain peaks.

Due khổng lồ the humidity và heat, we spent 4 hours at the park and we started at 8:00am. The highlights include:

Taking a short hike to Ave Maria holy cave (Hang Đức Mẹ).Hiking to Ong Dung Beach (Bãi Ông Đung) to lớn experience the crystal clear waters. Feel miễn phí to snorkel in the area. As a heads up, the walking path has steep steps. While there isn’t a sandy area khổng lồ relax, you can rent lawn chairs for extra comfort. Ensure that you have your ticket as there will be a guard asking for it. Walking through the trees on unmarked paths khổng lồ see the hundreds of years old Heritage Tree. We encountered lots of spider webs along the walking path so not too many people have seen the heritage tree. On the way, there are chất lượng twisted branches khổng lồ sit on and take photos with.
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The nhỏ Dao National Park has trails khổng lồ visit other beaches in the park, such as Bang Beach (Bãi Bàng) và Dat Tham Beach (Bãi Đất Thắm) but it’ll require more time. Expect lớn spend about 1-2 hours each way lớn get to lớn the beaches. Come prepared with water and sunscreen. These are rocky beaches as we mentioned before.

Admission: 60,000 VND ($2.50) per person. Based on availability, you may hire a guide at the ticket office for an additional fee.

Address: Continue west from Huỳnh Thúc phòng until you reach the entrance

Related: check out fun hikes to vì chưng in Vietnam

7. Hang Duong Cemetery

Hang Duong Cemetery (Nghĩa Trang hàng Dương) is one of the somber locations which reminds you of con Dao’s horrific past. While there are over 1900 graves with many unmarked tombstones, it’s a peaceful place to walk through.

Most Vietnamese people pay respect to lớn the unknown prisoners of wars & famous martyrs, such as Vo Thi Sau. You’ll see a crowd of people praying in front of her grave. The center of the cemetery also has an impressive memorial.

Please wear appropriate clothes prior lớn entering the cemetery, such as no shorts above the knees. If you’re sensitive khổng lồ incense smoke, you may want khổng lồ avoid this place.

Admission: Free

Address: On Nguyễn an ninh Street

8. Eat delicious food and seafood!

Considering that con Son is surrounded by the ocean, you won’t have any difficulties eating delicious và fresh seafood here. Kiểm tra out our recommendations on places to eat in bé Dao’s nhỏ Son. Don’t forget to lớn bring cash as many places don’t accept credit cards.

Address: Off of the smaller side street of è cổ Huy Liệu & Nguyễn An Ninh


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The seafood is amazing on con Dao Island.


Nhà mặt hàng Thu chổ chính giữa is another recommended place to have seafood. We recommend any of the seafood hot pot, mango salad, and sliced conch in a ginger broth. The mango salad had a delicious umami flavor of slightly spicy & sweet mixed with herbs & peanuts. The cost is slightly higher compared to the local places, but it’s still worth it.

Address: Off of Nguyễn Đức Thuận và Lương nắm Trân

Bún Riêu Cua Bà nhị Khiêm has one of the best bun rieu (bún riêu) noodle soup that we’ve eaten. The hot soup and generous amount of fish cakes have lots of flavors. Pair the noodle soup with a fresh-pressed sugarcane juice (nước mía) và eat away. We ate here three times during our stay. This place is popular at all hours including breakfast. Plus, you won’t be able lớn find a cheaper joint at 25,000 VND ($1.10) a bowl.

Address: 22 Đường Nguyễn Huệ

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How to Get kếch xù Dao

What is great about living in Ho đưa ra Minh City, is that visiting bé Dao is easy with a little bit of planning.

What is the easiest way khổng lồ get from Ho đưa ra Minh to con Dao? There are several options khổng lồ take depending on your budget and your preferred transportation method.

1. Take a flight on Vietnam Airlines directly đẩy đà Dao Airport.

Bamboo Airlines và VASCO, partnering with Vietnam Airlines, are two airlines that have nonstop flights lớn tưởng Dao (airport code: VCS) from Ho bỏ ra Minh city (airport code: SGN). It also has flights from Can Tho (airport code: VCA). The flight from HCMC is convenient và quick as it’s a one-hour flight, yet it’s one of the most expensive options.

Flights from Hanoi kếch xù Dao are also available on Bamboo Airlines và VASCO. The Bamboo Airlines from Hanoi (airport code: HAN) has a direct flight khổng lồ Dao. The direct flight is 2 hours and 20 minutes.

Cost: $155-$275 round trip depending on your time of visit

2. Take the speedboat that departs from Vung Tau or Can Tho.

A new speedboat route started from Vung Tau to con Dao in February 2019. The other speedboat route is from Soc Trang, south of Can Tho, which is still running.

Vung Tau is located 2 hours south of Ho đưa ra Minh City, so you’ll first need to take a bus or a minivan to lớn get from Ho bỏ ra Minh city to Vung Tau.

Cost: 115,000 VND ($5.00) one way

Address: 272 Đường Đề Thám, Phường Phạm Ngũ Lão, District 1, Ho đưa ra Minh

Cost: 120,000 VND ($5.10) one way

Address: 44 Nguyễn Thái Bình, Phường Nguyễn Thái Bìn, District 1, Ho chi Minh

Speedboat

We’re finally taking the speedboat! Phu Quoc Express is a large boat that transports 600 people between Vung Tau & Con Dao’s bé Son Island daily. Enjoy a comfortable & smooth 4-hour ride each way with spacious legroom & the ability to lớn recline your seat. It’s also a cheaper way khổng lồ travel đẩy đà Son Island. 

The daily speedboat ride departs Vung Tau at 8:00am và arrives in bé Son at 11:50am. The boat returns lớn Vung Tau at 1:30pm & arrives in Vung Tau at 5:20pm.

All guests must have their ticket scanned prior to lớn boarding the boat và will receive a small bottle of water and a wet napkin. Không lấy phí wifi is available on the boat but only works when closer to the mainland. Otherwise, guests can relax & watch the three consecutive Jackie Chan movies shown on TV screens. These guys are big Jackie Chan fans.

It’s recommended that you make your reservation in advance. Click here to lớn find out how to lớn make reservations directly on the website. Or, click here to purchase on Klook.

We reserved seats over 1 month prior to lớn departure as we also traveled during a holiday time frame so seats WILL SELL OUT.

Cost: 660,000 VND ($28.00) for Monday – Thursday travels; 880,000 VND ($37.60) one way for Friday – Sunday travels and holidays

Address: 9 Hạ Long, Tp. Vũng Tàu, Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu 78000

If you’re coming from Can Tho, there is a new speedboat via Trung Trac line. The Can Tho route departs at 7:00am và arrives at con Son at 10:45am. To lớn return đẩy đà Dao, the boat departs con Son at 12:00pm và arrives at 3:45pm. It takes about 3.5 hours one-way. **Note: The route has been temporarily stopped. Check out this site for more info.

Cost: 660,000 VND ($28) for Monday – Thursday travels; 690,000 VND ($30) one way for Friday – Sunday travels

In conclusion, the combination of taking a bus from HCMC to lớn Vung Tau and speedboat will save you money depending on which days you travel.

How lớn Get Around nhỏ Dao

Driving a motorbike is the best way to lớn get around con Son. Since we arrived in con Dao via speedboat, we rented motorbikes from the dock area for 150,000 VND ($6.40) per day. Otherwise, inquire with your guesthouse on rentals.

The roads in nhỏ Son have very little traffic (many times empty!) & also road chất lượng is pretty good so you can technically learn how lớn drive a motorbike on this island.

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Your guesthouse may also have bicycles for rent which is an environmentally friendly option. However, you’ll need to vì chưng some pedaling strength going up the hills.

Otherwise, metered taxis và electric golf carts are available around the island.

Where to Stay in con Dao

For your con Dao accommodation, we suggest that you stay in the main nhỏ Son downtown area as you’ll be close to lớn the restaurants and the beaches. Click here & find a place to lớn stay on nhỏ Dao here.

Budget: We stayed at Lan Anh’s Home & loved our time here. It’s a brand new guesthouse with friendly owners & clean rooms with private bathrooms. The bathrooms come with shampoo and body wash. They will help out with any inquiries that you have. If you need khổng lồ purchase snacks or drinks, visit their convenience store on the ground level.

Check availability và reserve a room at Lan Anh here.

Splurge: If you fancy posh accommodations with your own private beach & exclusivity, stay at Six Senses. While it’s about a 20-minute motorbike ride from the downtown area, maximize the resort lifestyle here. Many of the celebrities such as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie stayed here.

One of our friends tried khổng lồ reserve one of the tables at their restaurant for dinner but they are only available for guests.

Check availability and reserve a room at Six Senses here.

We hope that you’re inspired to visit nhỏ Dao Islands và visit these incredible attractions. There are plenty of activities for everyone. Definitely, plan a trip to visit this place soon và admire its beauty before the tourism boom.

If you extending your Vietnam trip và need more ideas on what to lớn do, check out our other Vietnam posts:

Interested in visiting con Dao Island in South Vietnam? Let us know if you have questions or comments in the bình luận box below.

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