There are 16 small islands that make up the Con Dao Group off the Southern coast of Vietnam. If you are talking to a Vietnam travel agent about an organised Vietnam tour package you will be able to get it tailor-made to your particular interests. It is worth considering Con Dao which could be a great place to relax during your Vietnam holiday.
During the time that the French were ‘’masters’’ of Indochina, they used Con Dao as a prison island for political prisoners; there was constant struggle against their presence. The precedent was set and after the French left, the regime in South Vietnam continued to use the island to hold prisoners in what was commonly known as ‘’tiger cages.’’ You can still see the old prison buildings and learn more about the history in a small museum.
Even though the conditions were fairly harsh, today surviving prisoners and their families live side by side with former guards and theirs.
The prison buildings are in sharp contrast to the natural beauty of the islands; forests on the slopes, lovely sandy beaches and coral reefs. Every inch is worth exploring. The black squirrel and crab eating macaque are two of the species in the forest; this is one of Vietnam’s National Parks. The marine area is also home to the green turtle and the dugong, though neither is common. Divers may also see rays, barracuda, cuttlefish and a variety of colourful tropical fish.
There is little traffic so it is perfectly safe to rent a motor bike to get around but be certain that you have a full tank of petrol because there is a limited supply on the island. If you take a cycle instead, you should realise that this is hilly country so you will have to be fit to really see the interesting things on the island.
Inevitably the lovely beaches and clear blue sea means that if you go to these islands, you will inevitably spend plenty of time sunbathing, snorkelling and diving though for the best sea conditions, travel between May and October. There are five prominent beaches:
• An Hai is the best if you are looking for somewhere quiet. There are hotels at the north end but the beach stretches away south quite a distance.
• Lo Voi is in the north and does not have any development nearby.
• Dat Doc Beach is where the Six Senses Resort is located so access may be restricted.
• Ong Dung Beach charges for access and you have to keep an eye on your belongings; thieving monkeys!
• Dam Trau Beach is to the west of the airport.
You are certain to enjoy your time on these islands. As already mentioned for those interested in diving, the best time to go to Con Dao is probably during the months of summer. However, such is the variety of Vietnam weather that even outside those months, there is much to enjoy, especially after a hectic itinerary.