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Where to sleep on Con Dao Island

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There are some types of accommodation on Con Dao Island that you can choose to fix your budget. Backpackers will be most interested in local hotels/guesthouses – little or no English is spoken and keep in mind that everything is more expensive on the island than on the mainland. Expect to pay 300,000 dong for a decent budget guesthouse. Try the cluster of affordable hotels at the western end of Ton Duc Thang or Nguyen An Ninh streets.

There’s a slew of mediocre generic resorts owned by the big travel agencies (Saigon Tourist, ATC, Con Dao Resort) servicing their package tours – aside from a swimming pool and ocean views, there’s nothing noteworthy and we haven’t reviewed them – you can easily find them.

Lastly, the only accommodation located outside of town is the ultra-luxurious, ultra-exclusive Six Senses Con Dao Resort or a new one Poulo Condor Boutique Resort & Spa. If you have to ask “How much?” it’s probably out of your budget.

There is still only a limited choice of places to stay on the Con Dao Islands – incredible considering its natural beauty and proximity to Saigon. Lack of competition keeps prices relatively high, and value for money isn’t great. In general, expect to pay 25% more than you would on the mainland. However, with 2-4 days on the islands is well-worth the extra cash. All accommodation is on the main island of Con Son.

  1. Six Senses Resort and Spa – $600-$2000;Add: Dat Doc Site

There’s only one place in this category at present – although many more luxury resorts are planned for the coming years. The Six Senses Con Dao Resort opened a few of years ago. The Six Senses brand has a reputation for atmospheric resorts in superb natural surroundings throughout Southeast Asia, and this one received a lot of media attention in 2011, when ‘Brangelina’ stayed here. The resort consists of contemporary-looking private villas made entirely of wood, built along a lovely, long stretch of sand. The villas are very well-made, and all of them have ocean views and private plunge pools, as well as other chic touches like in-room espresso machines. Service here is exceptional: staff are incredibly well-trained and very friendly.

Of course, all this luxury comes at a price: the cheapest villas start at around $600 a night, and continue up to $3,000 for the large family villas. When you’re paying this amount it’s difficult to determine value for money. When I can, I love staying in luxury resorts, and I have no qualms about paying hundreds of dollars for outstanding accommodation and service in amazing locations.

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MID-RANGE:

You’ll pay $20-$30 above the ‘real’ value of these mid-range hotels, but it’s worth it for the location: either on the beach or on the seafront promenade in town.

  1. Poulo Condor Boutique Resort & Spa – $200 – $1000; Add: Suoi Ot Site

It is just 3.1 km from American Tiger Jail and 3.9 km from Con Dao Museum. The Resort is ideally situated on an immaculate stretch of picturesque white-sand beach and as its back is the foot of Lo Voi Mountain. With 750m private beach, it is the perfect place to find peace, relaxation, and comfort. The resort has an outdoor pool and terrace, and guests can enjoy a drink at the bar.

All rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TV. Some rooms have a sitting area for your convenience. Certain rooms include views of the sea or mountains. Each room is fitted with a private bathroom.

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  1. Con Dao Resort – $60-$140;Add: Nguyen Duc Thuan St.

Right on An Hai beach with clean, comfortable, but sparse rooms, Con Dao Resort is the best option in this category. Pay a little extra for one of the sea-view rooms, which have easily the best vistas over the bay of any accommodation on the island (including Six Senses). There’s a pool, tennis court and seafront gardens. Breakfast is plentiful if a bit on the ‘school dinners’ side. For a few years this resort got negative reports for being ‘run-down’. It has addressed this by building a new wing, in which the rooms are new, crisp and comfortable, though more expensive than the old wing. The resort is definitely aimed at domestic tour groups rather than foreign visitors, but it’s still bright, airy, and good, solid mid-range accommodation.

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  1. Con Dao Seatravel Resort – $50-$80; Add: Nguyen Duc Thuan St.

Next door to Con Dao Resort, this place shares the same great beach location. Nicely made wooden bungalows are set under trees right on the beach. The resort has recently expanded, adding slightly cheaper bungalows around a pretty garden. Inside, rooms are spacious if a little empty. There’s an indoor-outdoor restaurant and a good beach bar. Service can sometimes be a little too laid-back, but once you’re on the patio of your bungalow you forget about the resort’s shortcomings. Although I’ve had mostly positive experiences here, Seatravel gets a lot of bad reports on Tripadvisor. However, they seem to be addressing these issues and have also lowered their rates, making these the best value rooms in the mid-range category.

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  1. Saigon Con Dao Resort – $70-$120; Add: Ton Duc Thang St.

There are two wings to this resort, located on the seafront promenade in Con Son town: the old wing is made up of single storey, not-so-lovingly converted, French villas; the new wing is a four storey building – rather insensitive considering its low-rise neighbours. The rooms in either wing are good but quite plain, as is the resort as a whole. The pool, however, is lovely. Get a sea/pool view room and enjoy the wonderful vistas. The resort was built practically on top of Phu Hai Prison, a rather strange and uncomfortable location – do they advertise ‘prison view’ rooms? The resort’s main strength is its location on the charming, utterly beautiful seafront promenade.

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  1. ATC Resort – $60-$200; Add: Ton Duc Thang St.

With a string of converted 1930s French villas along the seafront promenade, some of ATC’s rooms offer genuine ‘colonial’ ambience. Some, however, are more reminiscent of cheaply made suburban bungalows. There’s quite a variety of rooms: from stark, one-room lodgings, to large villas with kitchen, dining room and plunge pool. Some rooms are minimally and coldly furnished; some have modern flourishes, such as sleek deck chairs on the patio. Stylistically, it’s all a bit incoherent, but there are great views of the seafront promenade and a big new pool. Their larger villas would be great for a group of friends or a big family, thus spreading the cost.

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  1. Thien Tan Star Hotel – $35-$65; Add: Nguyen Duc Thuan St.

This is the newest beachfront option, between Con Dao Camping Resort and Con Dao Seatravel Resort. Rooms and prices vary but in general rooms are clean (if a little soulless) and good value considering its oceanfront location. Next door, the almost identically named Thien Tan Hotel offers cheaper, mustier rooms for $15-30 – very good value if sharing a room between 2 people and trying to stay on a budget.

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BUDGET:

As with the mid-range places, expect to pay a few more dollars than you’re used to for ‘budget’ accommodation on Con Son. Many of these places have rooms that sleep up to 6 people: this is great value if you’re travelling on a budget with a group of friends.

  1. Phi Yen Hotel – $25-$40;Add: 34 Ton Duc Thang;

This used to be my go-to place for a cheap trip to the island. However, Phi Yen Hotel has recently come under new management and the prices have gone up slightly, but, thankfully, so has the quality. This hotel is now under the same management as Con Dao Camping, which is good news for budget travellers because the latter offers the only reasonably priced beach front accommodation on the island. And they’ve done a similarly good job with the previously run-down Phi Yen Hotel. Once a good if shabby cheapie on the seafront promenade, Phi Yen Hotel is now a bright, clean budget option with a new restaurant, that caters to the overflow from Con Dao Camping. You should be able to get a room here about 600,000VNĐ ($30) – great value for double occupancy. They also hire motorbikes for a competitive 100,000VNĐ ($5) a day. Its newly repainted façade fronts right onto the seafront promenade; a stone’s throw from Con Son Coffee, An Hai beach and the prisons.

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  1. Con Dao Camping – $30-$40; Add: 2 Nguyen Duc Thuan Street;

The name for this place refers to the style of the rooms here: pyramidal, A-frame bungalows. This is the only cheap accommodation right on the beach. It’s great value, especially for double occupancy. Rooms are cosy if a bit cramped, but you can’t beat the location. Note: it looks a bit messy around Con Dao Camping at the moment due to the reconstruction of Con Son harbour and the seafront park. However, this should be completed sometime in 2016.

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  1. Hai Nga Mini Hotel – 300-700,000VNĐ ($15-35);Add: 7 Tran Phu Street;

This is as close as Con Son gets to dorm accommodation. Rooms here are basic but clean. The larger rooms sleep up to 7 people, so they are good value for a group of budget travellers. Staff are very friendly, and the owner speaks four languages, thanks to time spent in Eastern Europe. Prices work like this: 300-350,000VNĐ for single/double occupancy, and 80,000VNĐ extra for each extra bed or person after that.

  1. Anh Dao Hotel – $20-30;Add: 22 Tran Phu

Next door to Hai Nga Mini Hotel, this place is a very clean, very well-run guesthouse with the kind of spotless rooms you get in these types of places all over Vietnam (albeit for $10, not $30!). Its location is back from the ocean in the quiet, shady streets, not far from Con Dao Market. This is a good option if Con Dao Camping is fully booked – otherwise why would you spend $30 to stay here when you could be staying right on the beach for the same price!

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  1. CAMPING: National Park Headquarters;

If you have a tent you should be allowed to pitch it in the gardens here for a small fee. Camping is also now available on Dam Trau Beach, in the north of the island, near the airport. Làng Đầm Trầu is just to the right as you enter the beach from the dirt road. This new set up is a budget backpacker paradise, with great seafood, comfy sofas and hammocks, and good two-man tents for around 350,000vnd ($6) a night, or pitch your own tent on the sand for around 100,000vnđ ($4).

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  1. Nhà Nghỉ Sở Rẩy (So Ray Guesthouse) – 350,000VNĐ ($17);Add: Huynh Thuc Khang Street;

It’s way out of Con Son town, so you’ll need your own wheels, but the rural location of this guesthouse – in amongst fruit trees and hills – makes it a very different option for a night or two. The guesthouse is in the shadow of the So Ray fruit plantation that was started by the French. The construction of the Ma Thien Lanh Bridge through the jungle to the plantation caused hundreds of prisoners to die. It’s possible to trek up to the plantation from the guesthouse. Rooms are decent but a little musty. The guesthouse is on Huynh Thuc Khang Street – it’s on the right hand side about a kilometre after the intersection of Nguyen Van Linh and Hoang Phi Yen streets. This is thoroughly off the beaten path, and no English is spoken.

  1. Khanh Linh Mini Hotel – 500-700,000VNĐ ($25-35);Add: Pham Van Dong Street;

This new mini hotel is just opposite the park where the night market is. Rooms are very clean, new and comfortable with lots of wooden furniture. However, rooms rates are way too high – the more expensive ones are at the front with balconies, but they are the same price as the beachfront bungalows at Con Dao Camping.

New guesthouses and mini hotels are opening up all the time, especially around the night market area and on the backstreets, as well as a cluster near the seafront, at the intersection of Nguyen Hue and Ton Duc Thang streets. The general standard of all these places is good: clean, new rooms and friendly owners. They are all a bit overpriced but that’s just how it is on Con Dao Island. Here’s the information for a few of the best new places:

  1. Red Hotel – $20-$30;17 Nguyen An Ninh Street; The pick of these mini hotels, Red has spacious, clean, and colourful rooms. They also rent motorbikes.
  2. Trung Hau Hotel – $25;Khu 7 Nguyen Van Linh; Excellent new mini hotel in the quiet, shady backstreets. Very calm, clean and relaxed. They rent motorbikes too.
  3. Hong Ngoc Guesthouse andHoang Ngoc Guesthouse – $25; Nguyen An Ninh Street; These guesthouses are next to each other and run by the same family. Good, clean, plain rooms. Close to the night market and the seafront promenade.
  4. Hai An Hotel – $20Ho Thanh Tong; Bright rooms at this small, friendly guesthouse on the backstreets.
  5. Con Son Island Hotel – $20-$30Ton Duc Thang. A great location at the beginning of the seafront promenade, rooms are clean and plain. There are two or three other similar guesthouses either side of this one.

For more information and recommendations of budget accommodation on Con Dao Island, please email to us: leha@condaoresorts.com.

Source: Collection

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