• Con Dao: An untarnished archipelago off the coast of Vietnam

    2010-05-27

    Those planning a vacation in Southeast Asia might be turned off by the city life, which can be crowded and noisy. Con Dao, a 16-island archipelago off the southern coast of Vietnam, is anything but. Originally a French penal colony, these largely uninhabited and untarnished islands are oases of natural splendor just waiting to be discovered.

    The Vietnamese government has recognized the beauty of these islands, where less than 10,000 people live and only 20,000 visit each year. Eighty-three percent of the area is protected as a nature reserve, but the government is encouraging development and tourism to the islands, according to the New York Times.

    Con Dao's landscape features white sand beaches, dense forests, majestic hills and cliffs. These islands are eminently beautiful, but oddly undiscovered by the masses.

    "This feels like some sort of secret Tahiti," visitor Fred Burke told the news source.

    The small, scattered villages feature a few hotels and restaurants, but larger resorts are coming. The first of which, dubbed Six Senses, is an eco-friendly property that will be built on a mile-long private beach later this year.
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