My goal is to go from Vung Tau to Con Dao. Vung Tau is a great weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh city. Not only because it has the nearest beaches, but also because of its slower life pace. That’s why Vung Tau is a very crowded place during the weekends.
I went from Ho Chi Minh to Vung Tau by bus with the Futa bus company. The journey is not long and the tickets are cheap. The bus stops in Ba Ria first and then ends its journey in Vung Tau. But Vung Tau is not my last destination. In fact, I went to Vung Tau only with the purpose to go by ferry to Con Dao.
Con Dao is a very unknown touristic place in Vietnam. Vietnam is not famous for its beaches, but Con Dao is a pure example that it should be. I know no one that has been here, but apparently, this is a refuge for famous people. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt use to come to the island to a very luxurious resort that has a fame for having famous international guests. And I totally get why. Con Dao is so peaceful! And if not for Dawei in Myanmar, I would say this is the less tourist place I have been so far.
If Vung Tau is an easy and cheap getaway from Ho Chi Minh, Con Dao is not the same. I dare to say that many Vietnamese can’t afford to hop on this boat to get to the island. I went from Vung Tau to Con Dao by express ferry. The only available is near the Front beach and is expensive: 660K Dong one way. During the weekend the ticket gets even more expensive: 880K one way.
The Con Dao ferry boat is operated by Phu Quoc Express and operates once daily. There is only one express boat from Vung Tau to Con Dao at 8 am, and another back from Con Dao to Vung Tau at 13.30 pm. There are no other options for the speed boat that takes a bit more than 3 hours to get from Vung Tau to Con Dao.
I know there is another way cheaper option to go to Con Dao from Vung Tau on board a slow boat that takes long hours to reach the island. The problem is that there is not much info on the web about this, and I have no idea where is the harbor to get this boat. Not speaking the local language in a non-touristy place can be challenging and sometimes I can’t help but accept the fact that I can’t do things on my own as I wished to. If you know something about this boat, let us know in the comments.
Unexpectedly, the boat was full. As this is an expensive journey I thought it wouldn’t be. Of course, I was the only western face on board. To buy the ticket I went directly to the pier the previous day. I bought it at Cảng Cau Đá – Phu Quoc Express Port near Lotteria, but you can also buy it online – I placed a link below.
I needed to be at the pier 30 minutes before to board a very busy, loud boat filled with Vietnamese. The boat is comfortable and has some movies playing. It was a very boring boat ride as the seats outside were all taken and they didn’t allow me to sit on the floor.
Already in Con Dao, I needed to find a way to get to my hostel (all the accommodations are far from the pier), the only hostel in Con Dao at the moment! But I get why there isn’t more… During the 3 nights spent on the island, I have only seen a handful of western tourists. They were all backpackers and were staying at the same hostel as me. I wanted to go to the center of the island the cheapest way, and I think I did. The fact that nobody bothered me trying to take me to my hostel made me do my own decision and search for a shared open green bus that is very cheap and departs once the bus is full. So, don’t delay the exit out of the boat unless you want to stay behind.
I thought this was a great transport to get into town. The bus is completely open which allows the passengers to enjoy the view that is very pretty. I was very excited about being there. On the bus, they were very kind as we weren’t finding the hostel so the bus driver made some loops around town until we finally found the spot. Seemed like nobody knew about this hostel…
The hostel has some cool decoration and is very modest. I stayed here for 3 nights without realizing that leaving on a Friday lead me to pay 880K dong for the boat from Con Dao to Vung Tau instead of 660K. To buy the ticket back I went to Con Dao travel, the only place I saw with available info for tourists. The only place with tours and activities around the island. You can also get to Con Dao by plane as the island has 1 airport with domestic flights.