Con Dao is one of the fifteen islands in the archipelago of Con Son. Probably the wildest in Vietnam, with a very little number of tourists, Con Dao is very popular but it is not easy to go there.
How to get there?
It is difficult to get flight tickets to go to Con Dao. Maybe, this is the reason why there are not many tourists there. However, you can check on VASCO or Vietnam Airlines, but it is likely impossible to book tickets on weekend.
The second option if you really want to go there but cannot take days off, it is to take a boat. You need to get from HCMC to Soc Trang (another floating market of Mekong Delta), it will take you 4-5 hours by bus. You have many buses leaving everyday from Pham Ngu Lao street and can book from any travel agency in Bui Vien. From Soc Trang pier, there are only 2 boats leaving per day. Here is the schedule and how to buy your tickets. The ticket one-way costs 310,000 VND and it takes 2,5 hour to get to Con Dao pier. The first boat leaves at 8AM and the other one at 1PM.
Where to stay?
Poulo Condo Boutique Resort is one of the best resort on the island. It is only 5 min from the airport and 5 min from the most beautiful beach of Con Dao. Therefore, the location is perfect. The hotel provides a free airport transfer, free bicycles and motorbikes (140,000 per day). The entire hotel is a gemstone in a French colonial way, decorated with a very great taste. The resort is divided with roads: Tonkin, Touraine and Cochin. A river comes across the resort where you have a nice bridge and where you can also do kayak. The resort has a direct access to the beach where you have deckchairs at disposal for the guests of the hotel. Poulo Condor Boutique Resort has mountain and regular bikes at disposal for free for you to explore the island.
All room are very huge, minimum 90 sqm. Each room has a big entrance with a sofa, coffee table, coffee machine and mini bar, where you can relax and read. The bed is very comfy with a high-quality bedding, covered by a mosquito net which is a must! The bathroom is half the room, with a large space for dressing, a cute bath and a shower. You have towels and a large bed sheet at disposal that you can use at the beach to put under your towel and it is very convenient. You also have very pretty blue silk dressing gown and all toiletries. All rooms have a terrace with arm chairs and table to relax and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea.
There are 4 kinds of room: Junior suite, Colonial suite, Indochina Pool Villa, and Poulo Condor Pool Villa. The room are all as spectacular as other, with very nice furniture, in a French colonial style well executed.
The spa is located nearby the pool and the restaurant. You have the spa reception that drives to down to small villas where you can have your treatment. The therapists are very good and they use great products. For your information, a 60′ minutes facial treatment costs 990,000 VND.
The restaurant serves Western and Vietnamese food. For breakfast, it is always à la carte, and sometime they have buffet. You can choose between basic Vietnamese food such as Pho or Western dishes such as Egg Benedict, English breakfast. For lunch and dinner, they have a large choice of dishes such as Beef Burger, Bolognese or Carbonara Pasta, Pork with Mushrooms and many more.
Con Dao seems to be the wildest island in Vietnam and it is surprising good to see all staff speaking very good english. They all very smily, you walk down on Tonkin road for example and run into a receptionist or a housekeeper, they all say Hello to you. They create a special relation with you by knowing your name, recognizing you and talking to you upon breakfast to know your feeling and feedback. Every single request is well listened and comes with immediate action.
What to do?
Enjoy the beach
From the resort, you can book a motorbike for 430,000 VND for 2 days, the tank is already full so you dont need to bother with that. The most beautiful beach of Con Dao is near the airport, so only 5 minutes from the Poulo Condor Boutique Resort. You can safely park your bike at the restaurant and enjoy the beautiful sea and sand of this place. It is not indicated on the map below but there is actually a road that drives you to the beach. If you are not confident with riding a motorbike, you can ride a bicycle that is at disposal at the resort. You can eat fresh seafood at the restaurant, it is very good. Count 650,000 VND for a crab and a fish with 2 beers. After lunch, you can have a nap on their hammocks.
Stop at some point-views
You can easily discover and explore the island in one day. There are 2 main spots of you want to admire the sea-view.
You can also explore more and go behind the city center, up to the hills.
A MUST-SEE is the lotus lake on Hoang Phi Yen street located just after the city center. You can see people fishing and you also have a small bench where you can sit and enjoy the quietness that the island has to offer.
Where to eat and drink coffee
At the end of the lotus lake, there is a Vietnamese restaurant where you can grab food. Its name is Thanh Huyen restaurant and it is nothing fancy but people are nice. You will have to look up to find a billboard where there is a “Bia Saigon” advertising, this is where the restaurant is. You have small spots alongside a small lake where you can have basic Vietnamese food like Mi Xao Bo and Bo Luc Lac.
In the heart of the city center, at the crossroad Nguyen Van Troi street and Pham Van Dong street, you will find 2 very cute coffee shops. Those places offer cocktails, coffee, ice cream, pizza, pasta and steak. The decoration is amazing and very arty. You must definitely discover this place. Cocktails cost roughly 85,000 VND and a glass of wine for 110,000 VND.
You can discover more weekend getaways here.