Holidays to Phu Quoc & Con Dao: An Overview

Two island hideaways located in the South China Sea, previously home to Vietnam's prisons in paradise, and now the ultimate destination for those looking for peaceful sandy stretches, turquoise waters and glorious sunsets away from the crowds - welcome to Phu Quoc and Con Dao.

Phu Quoc is the larger of the two islands but its beaches and scenery are no less beautiful. You'll find more in the way of resorts, local bars and eateries here, as well as a lively street food scene, making use of the freshest-catches of the day. Take a trip along the coastal roads and stop at one of the empty beaches ringing the island, enjoying the picturesque scenery as you go.

The smaller destination of the two, Con Dao provides a more intimate setting. The rugged coastline has slowed development on the island and as a result has maintained the tranquillity of a true hideaway. Walk the sandy beaches, or trek through the forests and streams to a secluded bay, passing wildlife as you go. Connect with the solemn history of the island by visiting the largest island prison in Vietnam during the French Colonisation period, where thousands of Vietnamese revolutionaries were incarcerated.

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Snorkelling in Con Dao
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Snorkelling off Con Dao

The warm, calm waters around the Con Dao archipelago are ideal for diving and snorkelling, and we can book excursions for all abilities. The coral here is incredibly healthy and along with the usual tropical reef suspects, you can hope to see huge cobias, stingrays, barracudas, turtles, batfish, clown fish and cuttlefish. The best visibility for snorkelling and diving is between February and October.

Market in Phu Quoc
If You Do Three Things
Cookery Class in Phu Quoc

Learn to cook like a local during a hands-on private cooking class and come away with some recipes to impress your friends at home. Start by visiting the morning market to select fruit, vegetables and the catch of the day, and then visit a fish sauce factory to learn more about one of the island's biggest exports. Finally, get stuck into the cooking and enjoy your creations for lunch.

Forest in Con Dao
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Rainforest Hike in Con Dao

Venture into the rainforest on a guided hike and climb to 850ft above sea level where you'll find the So Ray Plantation. As you walk, your guide will point out various local flora and fauna including the endemic long-tailed macaques and playful giant black squirrels. Keen hikers might like to extend the trip to also explore the north of the island and the beautiful Ong Dung Bay.

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Phu Quoc & Con Dao
Phu Quoc & Con Dao
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Map of Phu Quoc & Con Dao

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A Note on Price

Direct flights cost from £700 per person, but once there, Vietnam is pretty good value – a good 10-day itinerary (staying in four star accommodation) costs around £2,600 per person including guides and domestic transport. Those with a bigger budget should expect to easily spend around £5,000 per person.

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