CON DAO ARCHIPELAGO
The Con Dao archipelago is located in Vietnam’s Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, with a population of around 7,000 people. The archipelago is located 185 km offshore from the Vung Tau Peninsula and 80 km from the Mekong Delta. Half of the inhabitants are military border guards and the other half are fishermen. The largest island in the Con Dao archipelago is Con Son, where also is an airport, and varying levels of accommodation, from guest houses to 5-star resorts.
Separated from the mainland, the Con Dao archipelago is a paradise with beautiful sandy beaches, hidden blue lagoons, coral reefs surrounded by mountainous terrain, with the highest peak at 557 metres. The Con Dao archipelago is made up of 16 beautiful islands, 80% of which are covered by a national park. The national park is covered by thick jungle and is home to the unique black squirrel, macaws that feed on crabs and sea turtles, tropical fish and dolphins.
The best time for diving and snorkelling is from February to October with water visibility of 20-30 metres. In the calm you can dive to the underwater shipwreck, and diving is offered for all levels with certified instructors. Côn Đảo – Wikipedia
As the Con Dao archipelago is only eight degrees from the equator, it is almost always dry tropical climate with daily sunshine. The warmest months are June, July and August with temperatures of 37 C and cooler winds. In March and April there is less wind and the average temperature is around 33 C. The wind is also strong in the summer. The coldest period is from September to January where the temperature is 28 C.
HOW TO GET THERE?
Con Dao Island can be reached by plane from Ho Chi Minh and Can Tho airports and by helicopter from the Vung Tau Peninsula. Since July 2017, a new speedboat service (Superdong Speedboat JSC) has been opened linking Soc Trang city (Tran De port) in Mekong Delta province, and Con Dao island. The boat can accommodate 306 passengers and reaching destionaion within 2.5 hours.
CON DAO HISTORY
Con Dao has been part of the Khmer Empire and an archipelago called Koh Tralach until the fall of the Khmer Empire in the 15th century. The Con Dao archipelago has been used as a trading port for centuries by Arab, Spanish and Portuguese traders. The archipelago was also the stopover of Marco Polo in 1294, who sailed from China to India and sought shelter from a storm in the Con Dao archipelago. Later the archipelago belonged to the Malay people, whose name in Malay was Pulo Condore where ‘pulo’ itself means corruption. Malay has the status of the official language in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore today.
In the 17th century, the archipelago was settled by the Vietnamese, and by the 18th century it belonged to a British-Indian company. By 1862, the Con Dao archipelago was officially recognised as part of the French colony, and renamed Grande-Condore. Grande-Condore (Con Dao) Island was also known as Devil’s Island during the French colonial era, where political prisoners and undesirables were held, so Con Son was a hell on earth for thousands of political prisoners, many of whom were unfortunately never released.
In 1975, with the liberation of Saigon, the prison was closed where you can now find a prison museum open to the public to reflect the history of Con Dao. Today, the Con Dao archipelago is famous for its striking natural beauty, with beautiful sandy beaches, hidden blue lagoons, coral reefs surrounded by a mountainous landscape. The largest beaches are An Hai, Lo Voi, Dat Doc, Ong Dung, Dam Trau.
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