Why would you ever want to leave your private villa with its own pool on one of the world’s most beautiful beaches?

South of the Vietnamese mainland, it would be hard to find a starker contrast to the noise of Ho Chi Minh City than Vietnam’s idyllic Con Dao Islands (population 6000-ish).

Once considered ‘the devil’s island of Indochina’, the island is now better known as a luxury spa destination thanks to the arrival of Six Senses Con Dao, named by National Geographic Traveler as one of the world’s best ecolodges.

If you’re interested in truly getting away for some well-deserved ‘luxury-you-time’, then talk to Michelle at Bucket List Travel in Red Beach about getting you to this 5-star paradise.

Con Dao archipelago, an area that has been protected for decades as a national and marine park, is the perfect oceanic antidote to the feverish energy and punishing pollution of the nation’s booming cities, famed for their pulsating nightlife and frenetic pace. Visiting Ho Chi Minh City and Con Dao together is a perfect pairing, not least because of their proximity to each other.

The largest of the 16 islands in the Con Dao archipelago, and the one where you’ll be spending most of your time, is Con Son. It’s a mountainous island where life moves slowly, and everything revolves around the sea. It is ringed with lovely beaches, coral reefs, and scenic bays. In addition to hiking, diving and exploring deserted coastal roads there are excellent wildlife-watching opportunities and then luxury spa treatments awaiting you.

And where to stay but the discreet, luxury hideaway that is Six Senses Con Dao. Renowned throughout the world for its first-class service, the Six Senses Con Dao melds its keen attention to detail with warm Vietnamese hospitality.

Nestled within a National Park, Six Senses Con Dao is set on its own private stretch of beach with views of evergreen forests and the other jungle-clad islands dotting in the archipelago. The secluded property prides itself on its unsurpassed sense of privacy, making it a perfect place for a private island retreat.

Its 50 villas are either along a 1.6 kilometre stretch of beach or a short walk inland. Each of the villas has its own private infinity pool and stunning views of the sea. Each ecologically designed wooden villa blends harmoniously with the hotel’s natural surroundings – they range from one-bedroom, single-level villas to lofty duplexes with four bedrooms.

Designed to imitate a traditional Vietnamese fishing village, the resort has its own replica high street, replete with local vendors, an art gallery, activity centre, outdoor cinema, a Vietnamese cooking school, a world-renowned holistic spa and library. Guests can choose to dine at the Hotel’s traditional Vietnamese open kitchen, coffee house, deli, or at the beach-side Chef’s Table and wine cellar.

The luxury spa is the highlight set in the shadows of the Lo Voi Mountains and surrounded by tropical gardens, with a yoga pavilion and outdoor treatment rooms.

Stargazers can enjoy evenings in the observatory; scuba-diving, cookery classes, evening boat rides, cycling, watersports and trips to the marine park’s turtle hatchery can also be arranged.

For decades the main settlement of Con Son was used by the French and Americans as an island prison for anti-regime activists and criminals. Several of these jails are deeply moving, harrowing sights to visit. History aside, Con Dao is blessed with stunning beaches and rich coral reefs that represent the best diving in Vietnam. There are a large number of military personnel on the island and little-to-no nightlife, so don’t expect any wild parties. Con Dao is more a place for history and nature lovers.

Getting there

The islands are connected to the mainland port of Vung Tau by ferries, but as crossings can be very rough, conditions basic and the journey long (12 hours), most people choose to go by air. Vietnam Airlines and Vasco operate three daily 45-minute flights from Ho Chi Minh City and from Can Tho in the Mekong Delta.

Or you could arrive in real style and charter Six Senses Con Dao’s own private jet. The private service offers exclusive check-in, express security clearance and chauffeured access to the 8-seat King Air or its 13-seat Legacy. You can fly from airports around Vietnam to Con Dao archipelago.

Best Time to Go

The best time to visit Con Dao Islands is during the dry season from November to February, but if you’re looking to see turtles nesting, visit between June and September. Diving is possible year-round, but February till July is when visibility is best and during the winter, prevailing winds may limit access to all of the dive sites.

It tends to only rain in July, August, and early September and primarily at night. It is a little cloudy 95% of the time, and always breezy. Maximum temperatures are about 31* in the day and minimums are about 27* at night.

Luxury spa extended stay offer

Stay 3 nights at one of the beautiful villas of your choice and you will receive 25% off. And when you stay just 4 nights or more, you can save even more. Sound good? We’ll hear from you soon.