Con Dao Vietnam has much to offer travellers
Con Dao Vietnam, including 16 big islands, is about 230 kilometres from Ho Chi Minh City. The place is known as a well-known landscape hiding great potential to develop tourism.
Apart from the national park with a diverse fauna and flora system and beautiful beaches getting sunlight around the year, Con Dao also owns valuable cultural, historical and revolutionary sites.
The Con Dao National Park is on a total area of nearly 20,000 hectares covering the whole 16 islands. Forests on the islands are mainly primeval with a rich fauna system. This is one of the best protected national parks in Vietnam.
Originally it was used by the French to incarcerate revolutionary prisoners. The prison, built in 1861, covers a total area of 347,140 square metres Part has been transformed into a museum where tiger cages, set up during the period of colonialism, still remain. One kilometre behind the prison is Hang Duong Cemetery where tens of thousands of revolutionaries of Vietnam were buried, including heroes and heroines Le Hong Phong, Vo Thi Sau and Cao Van Ngoc.
Con Dao island is part of an archipelago comprised of 16 islets. The area providing facilities for tourists is now a national park with beaches, crystal-clear waters and coconuts groves.
The islands remain largely undisturbed and are one of the most lavish natural regions in the country. The beauty and contrast of the islands is striking, encompassing dense tropical forests, luminous green paddies, prominent mountain peaks and deep valleys. The surrounding waters are home to some of Vietnam’s most pristine coral reefs, grass meadows and mangroves.
Con Dao is one of only two national parks in Vietnam which encompass both terrestrial and marine natural resources. The region was given protected status in 1984 and made a national park in 1993. In 1998, the park was extended to include 14,000ha of sea together with an additional 20,500ha marine buffer zone. Con Dao has largely escaped the exploitation and destructive fishing that have been the fate of other reefs in Vietnam and is considered one of the best examples of marine conservation in the country.
Con Dao’s environmental significance is recognised internationally and is included in the list of “Areas of highest regional priority” in The World Bank Global System of Marine Protected Areas.
Con Dao Vietnam is an absolute haven for divers. The surrounding waters offer a visual feast, with over 1,000 hectares of stunning coral reefs teeming with a colourful array of marine life. Con Dao supports a high level of biodiversity - over 1300 marine species have been identified so far!
Travellers with a special interest in nature will be thrilled with the diverse range of plants and animal life living in the island’s forests. More than 1,000 plant species, 44 of which were discovered on Con Dao for the first time and 144 animal species of which 18 are rare in Vietnam can be found in the forests.
Walking through the rainforest you may come across endemic species of Black squirrel and rare birds, you may even encounter some macaque monkeys foraging for leaves and fruit. Spend an afternoon climbing Thanh Gia Mountain and be rewarded by the spectacular view of the surrounding islands.
Con Dao Vietnam has a strong political and cultural history and still offers many opportunities to discover its somewhat sordid past. Under the French, Con Dao Vietnam was developed as a major prison, earning a fearsome reputation for the use of Tiger Cages and the maltreatment and torture of prisoners.
Subsequently, the South Vietnamese government, continued to take advantage of the island isolation to hold prisoners of war, political prisoners and common criminals in horrifying conditions. The main sites relating to the island’s history include a museum, a prison, prison cages and a cemetery.
Con Dao Vietnam is set to become one of the top ecotourism spots in the country but so far the island remains largely untouched and undiscovered. The island’s small population are most genuinely friendly and welcoming to tourists. Why not come and be among the first to discover what Con Dao has to offer.
Con Dao district’s authority has called on investors to invest in 18 tourist projects on the islands. There are now four hotels on the islands with 130 rooms. The National Administration of Tourism has made an official plan to turn Con Dao into 17 major tourist sites of the country.
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