After heading to some of Vietnam’s lesser visited beaches, Charlotte fell head over heels (or flip flops) for the Con Dao Islands.
Con Dao Islands
These 16 islands, known collectively as Con Dao, are only an hour from Ho Chi Minh City by propeller plane. The small airport is on Con Son which at just under 52 square kilometres is the largest of the islands. The landing here was pretty spectacular, up until the last second when a water landing seemed imminent; unsurprising with the petite size of the island!
Having been a distribution centre for the English East India Company in 1702, and a prison for Vietnamese nationalists and other political prisoners during both the French colonial rule and the Vietnam War, the islands have a colourful history. But in 1984, over 80% of Con Dao was given National Park status, becoming a firm favourite for those escaping busy mainland cities ever since.
Activities and wildlife
The calm waters are home to several species of sea turtle, who nest on the beaches each year, as well as dugongs, dolphins and an array of corals and fish.
The islands suit those looking for both relaxation and adventure. Hotels are few and far between and there are empty expanses of beach, but there are also opportunities to trek jungle-clad mountains, scuba dive coral reefs, or take a speedboat to an uninhabited island.
Accommodation is limited in this small destination, but I loved staying at the Six Senses Con Dao – a luxury hotel perfectly married to its surroundings. With their spotless sand favoured by nesting turtles and their own water processing plant, it’s also very environmentally conscious.
The perfect place to unwind for a few days!