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Con Son Island, Vietnam Cruise Port

Con Son Island is part of the Con Dao Islands off the coast of southern Vietnam. Here visitors find themselves surrounded by white beaches and lush tropical forest, where the turquoise waters teem with coral reefs, turtles and gigantic manta rays. Inland however, visitors will find a darker human history to the island, where no less than 11 jails once held political prisoners opposed to Vietnam's French occupation and, later in history, those who spoke out against the country's communist regime.

Sightseeing on Con Son Island

Con Son currently has little footfall amongst tourists, and is still trying to shake off an old reputation as ‘The Devil's Island' for its dark political past. However, with striking beaches to rival those in the Caribbean and a remarkable sense of seclusion, views about Con Son are quickly changing. Elegant teak villas with modern infinity pools are springing up all along the pristine coast, and there are already some sights attracting tourists to the island:

Revolutionary Museum and Phu Hai Prison

Standing in stark contrast to Con Son's natural beauty and serenity is its undeniably ugly past – now marked by the sites of Phu Hai Prison and the Revolutionary Museum. Take a tour of the museum and you'll have the chance to find out more about the political and very personal strife that surrounded the Republic of Vietnam – or wander the grim surroundings of the island's largest prison, built in the mid-19th century and now serving as a museum too. Nor are these sites for the faint of heart – expect to see mannequins of malnourished prisoners in Phu Hai, and accounts of the torture and mass detainment that once went on here.

Diving and Con Son beaches

The perfect antidote after such a tragic history lesson, visitors to Con Son and the surrounding Con Dao Islands may well get the opportunity to dive into the warm, clear waters and experience the sheer variety of life in these tropical seas. Daily dives and snorkelling adventures may be available at the local dive centre if you're spending some time on the island, and you may even have the chance to see one of the very rare native dugong during you time diving beneath the waves.

Shopping on Con Son Island

Con Son Town is still a developing tourist destination and while visitors will find a small choice of souvenirs like seashell ornaments, the wealth of the island's markets still lie in its fresh seafood and produce. However, visitors will be able to see collections of jewellery, clothing and other crafts produced by the prisoners who once inhabited the island, ranging from landscapes painted on bits of wood to hair combs made from aircraft components.

Eating out on Con Son Island

Expect to find delicious Vietnamese fare during your time in town, where the main cuisine involves fresh salads using ingredients like lotus flower stems, as well as fresh fish and fried rice in some first-class, resort-style restaurants.

Cruise Lines

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