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Con Dao beach among top 10 eco-friendly beaches in Southeast Asia
Update: Wednesday, March 28, 2018
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Dat Tham Beach on Con Dao Island has been listed as one of the top ten eco-friendly beaches in Southeast Asia by the UK’s The Independent newspaper.

With the likes of the popular coastal cities of Da Nang, Nha Trang and Mui Ne now packed with tourists, Dat Tham Beach is different, as it’s located in the protected Con Dao National Park, which has allowed it to become one of the few undeveloped stretches of sand left in Viet Nam, The Independent wrote.

As a part of the national park, Dat Tham Beach is often not accessible to tourists due to the high risk of forest fires. Getting there requires some effort, with visitors clocking-in at the park office before beginning a four-mile hike to the beach.

The hike takes you through a dense section of the park and you may catch a glimpse of some of its rare animals, such as giant squirrels and the bow-fingered gecko. Once you reach the shore, you are met with a beautiful (and most likely completely secluded) crescent-shaped bay.

Isolated from the mainland, Con Dao is a group of 16 islands. The largest is known as Con Son.

Con Dao served as a prison island for political prisoners during the French colonial era, when it was known as Poulo Condore, and in later years the Saigon regime imprisoned its opponents in the infamous cells known as the “tiger cages”.

The old prison buildings are still standing and are open to the public, as is a small museum tracing the island’s history.

Today, what was “hell on earth” for prisoners has turned into “heaven on earth” for tourists. Beautiful beaches, hidden lagoons, coral reefs and scenic bays are also to be found and the islands remain partially covered by tropical forests, with very few tourists.

“In addition to hiking, diving and exploring deserted coastal roads there are excellent wildlife-watching opportunities,” Lonely Planet once wrote. Hollywood superstars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt had a memorial vacation here with their kids a few years ago.

Con Dao also made the list of the 20 most mysterious islands on Earth by the US site Travel + Leisure, while CNN named it one of 12 paradise islands in Asia and the US weekly-magazine Time included it on a list of the 13 visit-worthy places around the world where travelers will be surprised by the blueness of the water.

Other beaches on the Independent’s list are Gili Air, on the Gili Islands in Indonesia; Ngapali Beach in Myanmar; Sunset Beach in Thailand; the beaches of Isla de Gigantes in the Philippines; Juara Beach in Malaysia; Bottle Beach in Thailand; the beaches of Kepayang Island in Indonesia; Bacuit Bay in the Philippines; and Lalaji Bay on Long Island in the Andamans.

Source: VN Economic Times