Six Senses Con Dao – Vietnam
Once a penal colony known as the Devil’s Island of French Indochina, this 16-island archipelago off the Mekong Delta has turned to more peaceful pursuits in modern times.
Reachable by flight from Ho Chi Minh City or ferry from Vung Tau, Con Dao offers coral reefs, palm-shaded beaches, rainforest trails and chic beach hotels like the Six Senses Con Dao.
History buffs will revel in the island’s role in the age of ocean exploration — Marco Polo allegedly stepped ashore at Con Dao on his long return journey to Venice.
To learn more about the island’s war-plagued past, travelers can explore the Revolutionary Museum — located in the former French commander’s residence — or tour the old prisons on the main island.
The best way to get around Con Dao is via motorbike, easy to hire from most hotels or a local rental outfit.
Con Dao is a haven for outdoorsy types too, with plentiful scuba, snorkeling and fishing opportunities.
Between May and October, visitors can watch sea turtles lay their eggs, while the infants hatch and scramble into the sea.