The Con Dao consist of 16 mountainous islands (and islets) off the southern coast of Vietnam, with an indigenous population of only approximately 5,000 people.
For most of the twentieth century a trip to the Con Dao Archipelago meant incarceration in Indochina’s most brutal political prison. For both the French and the US backed South Vietnamese regimes, Con Dao’s main island, Con Son, was a dumping ground for Vietnam’s most feared nationalists and communists. In 1984 the islands were given protected status and became Con Dao National Park and endangered species are now protected within the park, including the hawksbill turtle, the green turtle and the dugong. There are also rare ecosystems to preserve such as sea grass meadows, mangrove forests and coral reefs. However, the key to Con Dao’s newfound popularity are the simply amazing beaches. They are the best in Vietnam … and by some margin. Add to this lush forests, a diverse eco-system and the quaint quiet streets with a heavy historical backdrop – then the case for including Con Dao on your itinerary becomes compelling.
Over recent years a handful of resort hotels have sprung up on the islands, most notable of which is the very luxurious and stylish Six Senses.