Con Dao Island - Con dao Resort
This property has two advantages comparing to others on this small and nice island. It has the pool and it locates right on the beach, probably the best beach on this island. Rooms divided into two categories (building). Major of the rooms locate in the main building, and several rooms locate on another building or called villa which are very spacious.
The facility has the restaurant, tennis court and free internet. You can also rent the bicycle or motorbikes from the front desk.
The manager is young, very courteous and professional. He missed my reservation and then upgraded me to the room (307) with the sea view in villa. If you book directly to the hotel, the chance is you would get reply from him.
When I come back to this island in the prime season, this is where I'll stay.
Con Dao Island
Con Dao is a main island within a group of small islands in this South China Sea archipelago and locates southeast of Saigon (aka Ho chi Minh) city. It was once housed a prison (tiger cages) built by the French in the 18th century. It name was often and notoriously used to scare those rebellious students or hard-headed child in the family if they were not well-behaved. It has now destined to be another tourist location in Vietnam.
The Con Dao main town lies in the middle of the 30km-paved road. One end is the airport, other end is the fishing town. There is one or two gas stations and it is not open 24 hours. It operating hours is just like the bank hours meaning it closes on weekend and after 4 or 5pm. The best method to get around here is to rent the bicycle or scooter. You can rent by hours or by day. There is no traffic on this island.
The prime season here is around late April to mid September when the sun can change your skin tone and the blue sky shows it best color. It is also the season that traveler can find many water sport activities such as diving, jet skiing, etc… Or if the travelers want to join the conservation project, they can take the boat to the small outer islands near by to help those special and protected turtles laying their eggs. According to the hotel manager I spoke to, the national park staff only allow a limit set of people to do the tour such as 10 person max for each group.
The seafood is also abundant in the prime season. Off-season, some of the items on the menu may be not available or it can be quite expensive. There are many local restaurants on the island which serve the local specialties. One is the “oc buu”, some kind of oysters. Another is the wild goat. And there is some kind of special fish but I have not tried it or seen it. There is also crocodile meat on one of the local restaurants menu and I wondered where the crocodiles come from. Hmm, I hope it is not from the island itself.
There is one bank with the ATM machine that accepts international cards. My ATM card worked fine. There is also a small market forming every morning next to the town center.
Nightlife here ? There are no pubs to hop. There are bars, karaoke joints but it seems it caters to the local tastes.
Where to stay ?Lodging is very limited. I list 3 hotels that I knew of and they are currently operating. There is one budget hotel but it is more like a guest house which locates in the center of the town. It is called Phi Yen hotel. There is one luxury hotel and is under construction .
There are several nice beaches on this island. Riding around the island, the traveler can find some deserted/pocket beaches. Just bring your swim gears, your lunch and the beach is all your. The travelers can also do the hiking the tropical forest around this island but I think you better have tour guide. It is tropical jungle.
Crime is almost zero or non-existent here. Where would they hide or run if they committed the crime ?
This island is nice in it own way that you don’t have to fight the crowd, traffic, pollution. If you want to kick back, take easy, or enjoy family vacation then this island is a great place. Looking for bustling night life to dance the night away ? You’d better head to Bali or Phuket.
http://www.condaoresort.com (Con dao Resort)
http://www.saigoncondao.com (Saigon Con dao resort)
http://www.atcvietnam.com/about.asp (ATC resort )
http://www.sixsenses.com (Six senses Hide-away Con dao Resort - under construction)
All of these hotels will pick you up and take you back to the airport free of charge. All of these hotels are located at the town center, and in within walking distance but the Six senses hotel.
Con Dao Island - "Oc Buu" local specialty
There are several specialties in the menu when you are in Con dao. “Oc buu” as local calls it, is some kind of oyster. The waitress told me these oysters used to be big as half the size of the palm of my hand. However, due to the over fishing/harvesting and in addition, they are now on the list of the protection species, they are considered off-the-menu items. Why I have it here? People are now cultivating and then harvesting it. Their size is not as big it is once used to be.
You can find it almost at any local restaurants in Con Dao Island. The dish shown in the picture here are grilled ”oc buu” with Vietnamese scallion oil (chopped green onions in hot oil) and crushed peanuts. Just squeeze the provided lemons/limes on top and around it, or you can mix it with salt/pepper and you are set to go. It can be served as an appetizer. Don’t try it w/o with beer.
Just a warning: If your body got any reactions (allergies) to sea food, then it may be not for you.
In Con Dao Island, seafood is first grade. You can have fresh squid, shrimp, different kind of fishes. If you are the careful type, try the seafood hot pot.
Din Ky restaurant
There are so many eateries around Saigon nowadays. It is really hard to choose which is good. I rode my scooter around and if I saw the restaurant full of local patrons, I parked my rental bike.
Din Ky (sound as Chinese) is one that locates not far from the Pham Ngu Lao area. If you are looking for exotic stuff, this one would not disappoint you. The menu has wild boar, deer, pigeon, various type of clams (bloody, “mai”, “duong”,..), snail (len, sweet), frog, crocodile, eel, many type of fishes.
The menu also has the regular or normal food such as rice dishes, noodle soup, etc…
The picture show the rice dish with seafood, meat, vegetables. My body still felt the reeling from the Con Dao local specialty so I took a break from those exotic items.
On another picture show the cart at the corner. That cart is used to cook the noodle soup. You may wonder why don’t they cook in the kitchen instead. In the old day and at night, there was an area where the hawkers gathered their cart, set out the table and chairs to serve their menu. With the price of the real estate skyrocketed in District 1 and the expanding of the commercial real estate , those areas were no longer available so they now have nowhere to park it but permanently in their restaurant.
There are lots of ways to view Vietnam from the water. In a country so hot, it can be a nice way to do some of your sightseeing. We did a number of different trips. There was the overnight junk boat on Ha Long Bay...a real 'must do' if you are in the north, the traditional sampan on the Mekong...another 'must do', but this one for the south. There was the dragon boat cruise on the Perfume River in Hue. That was fun...but smelly. A dive or snorkelling trip is another option. We went in Nha Trang, but there are plenty of other places... Cham Island at Hoi An, or Phu Quoc and Con Dao Islands down south for instance. You can also Kayak in many places, or even have a crack at the traditional bowl boats.
For our dive trip we used Rainbow Divers and I highly recomend them. They are well set up in many area's of Vietnam and besides having loads of experience, they are a bunch of really fun people. www.divevietnam.com
We used Jason Superstar (from the Tripadvisor forum) as our tourguide in the Mekong and he organised our boat trips there. He was OK...but way over rated. He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ha Long Bay junk boat was on Bhaya...high end but worth every penny. www.bhayacruises.com
For the Perfume River Dragon Boats can be booked anywhere in Hue, or just walk down to the dock yourself.
Kick back in Con Dao island
con dao and con son
Has anyone been to the con son island? I am working my way down the coast in the middle of may. I really like beaches,but I need beaches better than nha trang. I want to check out con dao. thanks
Re: con dao and con son
Con Dao is island group, county of Ba Ria - Vung Tau province. Con Son is one in it. It is very beautiful, natural. It has Con Dao National Park. You can go there by plan from Ho Chi Minh city, by boat from Vung Tau city.
Has anyone been to Phu Quoc Con Dao island in Vietnam?
Wonder what's the above two islands like. Has anyone been there?
Re: Has anyone been to Phu Quoc Con Dao island in Vietnam?
Phu Quoc Island is a great place for beach vacation. It is often called the Emerald Island because of its natural treasures and beauty.
Con Dao used to be a jail in the war, however its beautiful white sandy beaches shaded with evergreen trees, fresh clean air, clear blue waters are worth enjoying
You can take flight from Saigon to PHu Quoc Island by VN Airlines. From Vung Tau to Con Dao, they have helicopter. Of couse you can get there by boat, but this long way makes you tired and is not recommended
Hope this helps
Phu Quoc - how long to stay?
Hello again, I'm still in the process of planning a trip to Vietnam at the end of March (for nearly 3 weeks). We're now planning to go to Phu Quoc for part of the trip and just wanted to see if anyone has any views on how long to spend there..... would one week be long enough or too long? Also thinking of staying at the Tropicana based on some recommendations on VT unless anyone knows anywhere better (mid range price)?
Thank you for any advice :o)
Re: Phu Quoc - how long to stay?
My family and I are planning on going to Phu Quoc and staying at the Tropicana. I reckon we will only stay for about a week at the end of a holiday because it seems like there is not a great deal to do.
BTW I read on a Vietnamese news publication that there were 2000 beds under construction in PQ. I don't know if they are being built near the Tropicana and as yet have not been able to find out. My thoughts are that if there are 2000 beds being built then I would rather not visit a building site.
The alternative for my money is Con Dao which has now got regular flights from HCMC. The time you are going seems to be ideal.
Whichever you decide could you report on it when you get back, i will be going after you.
Re: Re: Phu Quoc - how long to stay?
Thank you for that - I haven't heard anything about Con Dao so will look into that too.....
Re: Phu Quoc - how long to stay?
My husband and I just spent two weeks on Phu Quoc Dec/Jan - absolute heaven! We stayed at the Tropicana Resort in a bungalow $28 per night (Incl breakfast). We flew from Saigon return for $90 each. Can't recommend Phu Quoc highly enough - could have easily spent a month there. Food at the Tropicana is excellent and the staff are wonderful. We will definitely be back there again.
Thanks for that, I think I'm pretty much decided on phu Quoc. Con Dao looks lovely but I'm not sure how i'd feel about having a relaxing beach holiday on the site of a former prison / torture place...... may try to visit though for a day or two if possible.