From pristine beaches, dense jungle interiors, dramatic historical backdrops and bountiful seafood Con Dao has a bit of everything. You may have heard of the 300km of coastline with all it has to offer but, take a short plane or boat off of the mainland and explore this tiny archipelago while it’s still the pristine beauty it is now.
A Slice of Paradise
One of the most remote of the island destinations in Vietnam, sitting at 155 miles from Ho Chi Minh the Con Dao islands are home to just about 6,000 permanent residents all of which reside Con Son the main island. The other 16 islands, scattered in a loosely associative fashion about are able to be visited and offer some of the most rugged untamed beauty you’ll find anywhere.
Along with snorkeling amongst hawkbill turtles, and tie dye coral reefs teeming with life, you’ll dine on freshly caught crabs, and can explore an interior jungle home to 11 types of trees exclusive to the Con Dao islands.
Growth of a Nation
Vietnam is a country growing rapidly. Economic expansion, industrial growth, and political stability are shaping the framework of a very modern country on the brink of establishing itself as more and more of an influential factor within the region.
Vietnam’s history however is always apparent as evidence of the nation’s growing pains and resilience are felt throughout the daily experience of a visit to Vietnam. Nowhere else then Con Dao is that more important as a tour of the islands is incomplete without a visit to the Hang Duong Cemetery.
The resting place of over 2000 Vietnamese resistance fighters who fought against French colonial imperialism and were held in Phu Hai jail, or executed in the Con Dao Islands the cemetery is a somber reminder set in paradise of how much struggle the Vietnamese nation has endured to establish itself as it is now.
The living history within the setting is palpable as daytime allows for the reading of inscribed names of those who have passed dating back decades, while at night pilgrims from all around the country come to pay their respects and hold vigils for the national heroes who were laid to rest here.
Most prominent among them, and regarded as a national icon, if not somewhat of a saint is the first woman executed during the rebellion Vo Thi Sau who took up arms at 14 against the French.
Later as Americans invaded the country these same prisons were taken over and held for years longer. While a visit to Con Dao is very easily on of the most stunning island destinations in the tropical world, with boating, beaching, and relaxation aplenty the historical significance for the Vietnamese people and the greater world at large makes it that much more of a must see location to list as you plan your trip to Vietnam.
Completely Worth the Journey
With convenient flight options from Ho Chi Minh, Con Dao is slightly more expensive to reach and stay then other more often trod island destinations in Vietnam but it is worth budgeting around this extra expense and making it there.
Once you have spent time touring the beautiful architecture, culture, and pace of life on offer from Vietnam’s best tours treat yourself to the tranquility of Con Dao, recharge, and leave with a renewed sense of beauty both in how far we have come, and the natural beauty of a world we’ve been given to enjoy.
Jacob Sneed is an avid traveler, hobbyist photographer, and author. What began five or so years ago as a short vacation has turned into a nomadic lifestyle that has taken him to many central hubs and remote corners of the earth alike. More of his writings can be found at principejacob.wordpress.com
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