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Con Dao Islands: a mysterious paradise

An untouched beach on Con Dao Island.

Con Dao Islands, situated 97 nautical miles off Vung Tau, attract tourists with their pristine beaches and historical landmarks.

Con Dao was listed by the US-based Travel and Leisure Magazine as one of 20 most mysterious islands in the world in 2011 and recognized as Vietnam’s first sea Ramsar site last year.

The Hang Duong Cemetery houses the last remains of many local heroes who fought for the country’s independence, including Vo Thi Sau, Le Hong Phong, Nguyen An Ninh, and more than 2,000 other war martyrs.

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A white sand beach on Con Dao

The island is also famous for a prison used during the Vietnam War that has been preserved for posterity.

Nui Mot Pagoda is situated at a prime feng shui location, with a mountain in the back and lotus swamp and sea in the front.

Apart from historical relics, tourists can also discover the Ong Dung primitive forest some four kilometers north of the island’s main town and Dam Trau Beach 10 km further north.

Cape Shark is a good place to watch the sun rise and camp.

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A monument for Vietnamese soldiers who died on the islands

Bay Canh is the second largest island in the archipelago after Con Lon, and here tourists can watch sea turtles laying eggs from July to October or dive to coral reefs for VND500,000 (US$22.5).

In Con Lon, Nhat Beach some 6km from the town is almost untouched and only emerges from the sea for a few hours a day.

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Tourists watch sea turtle hatchlings on a beach on Con Dao Island

Love Mount, which can be seen from Nhat Beach, looks like an embracing couple.

Con Dao Market bustles from 4 a.m. to 5 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with fresh and dried seafood and other goods.

Fresh seafood is also sold near the port at around 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. when fishermen return.

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