Strong gusts of northeast monsoon winds along Con Dao Archipelago in southern Vietnam might be daunting out at sea but bring nature’s fresh breath onto the islands.
The northeast monsoon wind season in Con Dao begins from October and ends around April. At this time of year, visitors would be well-advised to travel by air directly to Con Dao Airport since fishing vessels and speedboats often have to cancel transport services from land to the islands due to strong winds.
It takes roughly 45 minutes to reach the 16-island Con Dao from Ho Chi Minh City, which is around 230 kilometers (143 miles) away.
Despite being a frequent visitor to Con Dao, Vietnamese travel blogger Dy Khoa said his trip in Feb. provided him the best chance to savor the tranquil atmosphere and "romantic ambience, with winds and falling leaves."
An almost deserted beach in Con Dao. Stronger winds and colder seas have made visitors and locals hesitant to take a dip.
In Jan., the New York Times listed Con Dao among the top "52 Places to Love in 2021". The American newspaper described Con Dao in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, a rising star on Vietnam’s tourism map, as a "tropical paradise with a terrible past."
Con Dao was once dubbed ‘Hell on Earth,’ home to a brutal prison where the French and American invaders jailed and tortured many Vietnamese freedom fighters during the 19th and 20th centuries.
Con Dao has witnessed a steady rise in the annual number of foreign visitors but then a significant drop during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The third wave of Covid-19 in Vietnam that began on Jan.28 has forced many restaurants and hotels to tighten their belts. Some days, at many restaurants there are very few customers and some days no one at all.
"We only get reservations for one or two rooms each day and a maximum five rooms," said Hang, owner of Dang Khoa hotel at Con Dao town's center.
Dy Khoa on Tay Bac (Northwest) Road.
Visitors are advised to travel from the town center to Ben Dam Port via the Dong Bac (Northeast) Road and back to the center via Northwest Road. Both these roads are quiet without strong winds, thus suitable for inexperienced motorbike riders.
Pink blossoms on the way from the airport to the town center.
Sunset at Ben Dam Port area is an attraction of Con Dao.