(VOVworld) – Con Dao archipelago in Ba Ria Vung Tau province consists of 16 islets. It used to be known as a hell on earth where revolutionary Vietnamese soldiers were jailed during the wars against French colonialists and American forces. Recently, Con Dao has become a popular tourist site and was elected by leading American tourism magazine Travel and Leisure as one of the Best Secret Islands on Earth. Con Dao inspires tourists with its primitive nature and magnificent landscape.
Getting away from the scorching summer and noisy cities, tourists come to Con Dao to enjoy the pure air and relax in a paradise of the sound of wind and sea. On the drive over, the tour guide enthusiastically introduces the island: “Covering an area of 76km2, Con Dao is a collection of 16 islands. We are now on the largest island which is about 12 square km. When viewed from above, the island shaped like a bear. We are driving on the only main road in Con Dao”.
The first leg of the tour leads visitors to the Con Dao prison complex, where revolutionary Vietnamese soldiers were jailed during the wars. Nguyen Thi Tam, a tour guide, says: “The French built the prison with strong walls with simple barbed wires. When entering the prison, we first see two warehouses, a kitchen, and a clinic. Behind them are 384 cells divided into 4 sections, each section has 48 cells, where prisoners were brutally tortured”
The structure of defunct Con Dao prison relic has remained intact. Visitors still have a chance to visit the island warden’s house, the pier, the system of jails built by the French and Americans, the isolated tiger and cow cages. Not far away from the prison is the 19 ha Hang Duong cemetery. Nguyen Binh, the cemetery caretaker says visitors come to pay their respect to the memory of heroes and martyrs who sacrificed their lives for national liberation. Binh says: “Most Tourists visit the cemetery on Friday and Saturday. They burn incense and votive papers until 4am. We work here to pray for the health and prosperity for our family”.
The Con Dao National Park is a must-see for any visitors to Con Dao. The 20,000 ha park is home to both forest and sea ecological systems. The protected environment of 7,000 ha forest and 14,000 ha sea resources in the park remain almost untouched. According to Le Hong Doan, a ranger of Con Dao National Park, there are also endemic species in the park: “This park has two species of rare pigeons, one of which is endemic- the Scopoli that only lives in Con Dao, Vietnam. The other is the Nicobar pigeon. It gets its name because it lives mainly in the Nicobar Islands, an archipelago in the eastern Indian Ocean. ”
Con Dao is surrounded by dozens of beautiful and wild beaches, namely An Hai, Dam Trau, Lo Voi, Suoi Ot, and Hon Ba. The waters is so clear that you can see corals. The island is an ideal tourist site that brings tourists fresh exotic feelings.