Con Dao Island Vietnam: Location, History and Time to Visit

Con Dao Island of Vietnam, also called Con Lon or Con Son, is an archipelago belonging to Ba Ria – Vung Tau province. It is about a one-hour flying from Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City. Being known as "The hell on Earth," the island witnesses Vietnam's history of the colonial times and the sacrifice of many heroes. Today Con Dao Island is an ideal attraction for those interested in discovering Vietnamese history and enjoying the pristine beauty and escape from the daily bustle life. Con Dao Island has long and white sandy beaches, a beautiful ocean world with colorful coral reefs, and primary rain forests with rich flora and fauna.

1. Location and Geography of Con Dao Island:

Situated about 185 km (115 mi) from Vũng Tàu City and 230 km (143 mi) from Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City, the group includes 16 mountainous islands and islets. The total land area reaches 75.15 km2 (29.02 sq mi) and the local population is about 5,000.


The islands are composed of magmatic rocks of different ages. Hòn Bảy Cạnh, Hòn Cau and Hòn Bông Lang are composed of cretaceous microgranite rocks. The northern part of Côn Đảo Island is composed of quartz diorite and granite - granodiorite of late mesozoic- early cenozoic age, and is partially covered by quaternary marine sediments. The southern part of this island and Hòn Bà island are composed of the rhyolite and intrusive formations of unknown age. On the western slope of Côn Đảo Island, there exist groups of outcrops of diorite and microgranite penetrated by big quartz bands.


The island group is served by Côn Đảo airport situated on the largest island in the archipelago, Côn Sơn Island. Côn Sơn airport has IATA airport code is VCS. Total size of Côn Đảo Airport is 3.792 square meter, with 1 runway has 1.830 meter. It can handle 400.000 passengers per year. Currently, Vietnam Airlines (Operated by VASCO), Bamboo Airways and Southern Service Flight Company are three airlines operating flights to the island.

2. History of Con Dao Island Vietnam:

On June 16, 1702, the English East India Company founded a settlement on Pulo Condore as an entrepôt for ships plying between India and China. Three years later, on 2 March 1705, the Bugis mercenaries hired by the Englishmen muntinied and murdered the agents, destroyed the factory, and expelled the remaining settlers.


During the internecine wars for the Court of Huế, the Nguyen Prince Nguyễn Phúc Ánh ceded the islands to France in the Treaty of Versailles (1787) in return for military assistance. The treaty however was abrogated as France failed to provide the aid.

It was only under conquest that the islands came under French control in 1861. During the French colonial era Côn Sơn Island was made infamous for its penal facilities and the notorious "tiger cages". Vietnamese and Cambodian nationalists and revolutionaries were sent here to serve their sentence for anti-French activities. Many Vietnamese Communist leaders were "schooled" on Côn Đảo Island as well.


The French Indochinese government named the group of islands Poulo-Condore Islands, a name that derives from the islands' Malay name Pulo Condore (pulau meaning "island" and kundur meaning "wax gourd"). The islands can be identified with Claudius Ptolemy’s Satyrorum insulae (Isles of the Satyrs), a name probably drawn from the monkeys endemic to the islands, the Con Song Long-tailed Macaque (Macaca fascicularis ssp.Condorensis). Ptolemy refers to the three islands inhabited by people, 'said to have tails such as they depict satyrs having'.


In 2020, the U.S. Navy sent ships on freedom of navigation exercises around the islands to challenge what they deemed to be Vietnam's "excessive maritime claims."

3. Con Dao Island Weather & Climate:

Con Dao Island of Vietnam features a “None” climate. The highest temperature is about 29.7°C (85.46°F) and the lowest is 25.0°C (77.0°F), with an average yearly temperature of 27.7°C (81.92°F). Annual rainfall averages nearly 1455.0 millimetres (57.28 inches).

Historical monthly average weather conditions for Con Dao Island.

Months High / Low (°C) Rain Falls


25.8° / 25.0°

3.3 days


25.7° / 25.1°

0.8 days


27.0° / 26.3°

2.0 days


28.2° / 27.5°

5.8 days


29.7° / 29.0°

16.8 days


29.4° / 28.3°

22.5 days


28.9° / 27.9°

24.9 days


28.9° / 27.9°

23.2 days


28.8° / 27.6°

23.0 days


28.5° / 27.2°

23.5 days


27.9° / 26.8°

18.5 days


26.9° / 26.0°

8.3 days


4. Best time to visit Con Dao Island:

The best time to visit Con Dao Island of Vietnam is between March and September, with mellow sea waves and beautiful sunshine. Coming to Con Dao this time, you will have a chance to see Vic coming to Con Dao from everywhere to lay eggs. Snorkeling and watching corals, fishing, and watching turtles laying the egg and exploring deserted islands are some activities you must take when taking foot on Con Dao.

From October to February the following year, due to the influence of Northeast wind, the beach in Con Son Bay often have large waves. However, as this is the dry season, there is always sunshine; therefore, you can travel to Con Dao this time instead of not arranging your time.

5. How to get to Con Dao Island:

There are two different ways to get Con Dao Island of Vietnam, which are by waterway and air route.

5.1. By waterway:

  • From Vung Tau:

Speed boats are leaving daily Vung Tau, Can Tho, and Soc Trang to Con Dao island. From Ho Chi Minh City, it's popular to go to Vung Tau city, to catch the ship to Con Dao. The best ship is Con Dao Express 36. It is the first five-star high-speed ship in Vietnam with comfortable compartments and luxury compartments. The travel time from Vung Tau to Con Dao is roughly 03 hours and 45 minutes.

The boat from Vung Tau to Con Dao leaves at 08h00 and from Con Dao to the mainland departs at 13h30. Weekday rate is 660,000 VND per person, while the weekend rate is 880,000 VND per person.

  • From Can Tho:

Ships are departing from Ninh Kieu pier at 7 am, arrive at Tran De port in Soc Trang after an hour, docking at Ben Dam port (Con Dao). It takes three hours to four hours, depending on the weather conditions. The boat from Con Dao to the mainland departs at noon. The ticket price is 610,000 VND for weekday and 690,000 VND for the weekend.

  • From Soc Trang:

Ships are departing from Soc Trang at 8 am from Tran De port, docking at Ben Dam port (Con Dao). It takes one hour and forty-five minutes one way. The boat from Con Dao to the mainland departs at 13:00. The ticket price is 320,000 VND for weekday and 350,000 VND for the weekend.

5.2. By Airplane:

Another way to get to Con Dao Island is by airplane. It will take you 45 minutes to get to the island of Con Dao. Con Dao currently has Con Son Airport for domestic flights from Saigon and Can Tho. If you travel from Hanoi, you will have to transit in one of these two destinations. The airport is 12 km from town, most hotels and resorts provide free shuttle service or travel by taxi to the center of the island.

6. Getting around in Con Dao Island:

Taxi, motorbike taxis are readily available on the island. The cost of renting a motorbike is 100,000 to 150,000 VND a day. Resorts such as Six Sense and Paulo Condo offer regular shuttle buses between their resorts and town.

7. Accommodation to Stay in Con Dao:

Where to stay in Con Dao? Con Dao Island provides some good hotels and resorts for your stay, including hotels and resorts near the center or on the beach, suitable for transferring to tourist sites. You can refer to the listed hotel below for a wonderful vacation in Con Dao.

- Six Senses Con Dao resort is in Dat Doc Beach with a total area of about 12 ha. It is about 9 kilometers from Con Son Airport, 17 kilometers from Ben Dam port, and roughly 200 kilometers from the city center of Vung Tau.

Inspired by the fishing village and the pristine beauty of the island, Six Senses Con Dao brings a cozy atmosphere between modern and traditional styles. All of the building materials of the resort are taken from nature, such as bamboo or wood. Couples or families always prefer to choose this place as their accommodation for relaxation in Con Dao.

- Marina Bay Con Dao Hotel is located in the center of Con Son and is convenient for traveling to some tourist attractions in Con Dao, such as An Hai Beach, Dat Doc Beach, Con Dao Museum, etc. The rooftop outdoor swimming pool is a particular architectural highlight of this hotel. The pool is quite large, with a beautiful view of the sea. Enjoying the swimming pool and watching the sunrise or sunset in the ocean will be an interesting suggestion for you.

- Poulo Condor Boutique Resort & Spa is our favorite hideaway resort on Vong Beach under the Chua Mountain. With the classical style design and the lush green garden around, the resort has created a unique, attractive beauty. The resort is also one of the choices for families and couples vacation in Con Dao due to its quiet and fresh space. One can find every natural element in one place: mountain, jungle, river, lake, and beach. That creates a beautiful all-inclusive beach holiday for travelers to Con Dao island.

Adventure Journey

See Related Articles:

Con Dao Island Vietnam: Location, History and Time to Visit Con Dao Island Vietnam: Location, History and Time to Visit
Rate This Place

Best of Vietnam

Best Vietnamese Food You Have to Try in Vietnam

Best Vietnamese Food You Have to Try in Vietnam

Best Food in Vietnam: Vietnamese Traditional Food is top World well known to be both healthy and...

Read More

10 Best National Parks in Vietnam

10 Best National Parks in Vietnam

Vietnam Travel Guide: If you look for the Best Wildlife Discovery Experience in Vietnam, here are...

Read More
Best Souvenir to Buy in Vietnam

Best Souvenir to Buy in Vietnam

If you look for Best Things to Buy when traveling to Vietnam to bring home for your family & friends...

Read More
The 10 Best Places to Visit in Vietnam

The 10 Best Places to Visit in Vietnam

Vietnam Travel Guide: Home to an extensive collection of historical and cultural attractions,...

Read More
Top 10 Museums You Should Not Miss in Vietnam

Top 10 Museums You Should Not Miss in Vietnam

Vietnam, 4.000 years old country has a unique and lengthy history, culture with 54 ethnic groups. It...

Read More

Find your trip