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Con Dao Island: From Hell on Earth to Heaven on Earth

Con Dao Island used to be known for its highly strict jail system during the war period. In fact, it acquired the infamous monicker “Hell on Earth” because of such fact. But today, the island off the mainland of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province is gaining popularity for a different and much better reason, its promising tourist potential.


Con Dao Island is a place of natural beauty and peace. Mountains, forests, cliffs and the ocean are just some of the breathtaking sights that visitors can marvel at when in the area. Wild flowers and old trees such as Tropical Almond, Flamboyant, Frangipani and Crape Myrtle also abound. Flamboyant Tree is famous for its bright red color. The Frangipani Tree is known for its big canopy while Crape Myrtle is popular because of its beautiful purple flowers.


The sea is one of the pride of Con Dao Island, with its shimmering and clean blue waters. Visitors gather at the shore to witness either or both the sunrise and sunset. Even the wharf is a tourist destination because of its serene atmosphere despite the number and frequency of boats which come and go. Dam Trau Beach in particular is a tourist favourite because of its crystal clear waters and fresh air enveloped under the comfort of evergreen trees.

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Although the island is mostly provincial and traditional, it is not entirely without commercial establishments. Street vendors and drinking places are not allowed in the area, but several cafes can be found under the Tropical Almond trees where tourists can rest, relax and enjoy the scenery. The market of Con Dao is another tourist attraction with its variety of goods which come from the mainland. Visitors usually buy their souvenirs here.


Other spectacular sights to visit at Con Dao Island are the Phi Yen Temple and Prince Cai Tomb. The former is King Gia Long’s second wife while the latter is the same ruler’s son. The place is filled with relics which will surely excite the history lovers. Con Dao is also made up of other smaller islands which tourists can further take trips to. Watching baby turtles hatch and return to the sea guided by local rangers is one worthy and must-do activity when touring the place because this is an attempt and effort of the local government to preserve its ecology and natural state.


Of course, a visit to Con Dao Island will not be complete without stopping at its prisons which made its mark to the world to begin with.

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