We were really scratching our heads on how to get from Ho Chi Minh to Con Son Island while we stayed in Vietnam. We got lots of different opinions and recommendations. So after tons of research, we finally made this guide for you.
Here’s the four ways from Ho Chi Minh to Con Son Island:
1. Fly directly on to the island. Takes 1 hour, costs up to 150 USD.
2. Bus to Soc Trang, then a speedboat. 8 hours, costs 20 USD
3. Bus to Vung Tau then an overnight ferry. 17 hours, costs 15 USD
4. Bus to Vung Tau then a speedboat. 6 hours, costs 35 USD
There are a few things you need to know about the flights and overnight ferry before you make a decision. We can’t recommend the overnight ferry, and we will go into details on why.
Ho Chi Minh to Con Dao Islands Ferry Options
The overnight boat from Vung Tao to Con Dao Island may sound like a good option on paper. It is cheap, it leaves at around 5 PM so you can sleep on it overnight, and best of all; it has beds.
Why You Should Avoid the Overnight Ferry
However, the reason we chose to stay away from this one is that it is very unreliable. While it is scheduled to leave every other day, it has a tendency to get canceled due to bad weather.
Since Con Dao Island is so far from the mainland, there will often be rough sea on the way out (hold your nose, people will get sick). So the ferry has a tendency to be canceled, thereby causing a the previous passengers to be moved to the next departing ferry.
This can become a huge mess, especially if you are on the island and want to get off. We have also read reports of foreigners being discriminated against, and that locals get prioritized if the ferry gets full.
How to Take the Ferry from Vung Tau
So getting here this way is rather simple, first off take the ferry, minibus or bus down to Vung Tau. This should take about 2-3 hours depending on your mode of transportation. We recommend taking the ferry down to Vung Tau.
From here you can buy an overnight ferry ticket over to the island. But like we mentioned you may be stuck in Vung Tau for a few days depending on the season and weather.
Take the Phu Quoc Express Instead
We hope the information about has deterred you a bit. Recently an express boat became available from Vung Tau to Con Dao Island.
It departs from the express ship harbor in Vung Tau every day at 8 AM. The trip takes about 3 hours and 30 min. The price is rather steep compared to the overnight ferry, at 660,00 VND for a ride.
While we haven’t personally tried taking this speedboat, we can imagine it is a lot like the next option up next.
You can read about our experience on the speedboat from Soc Trang to Con Dao Island.
A Speedboat from Soc Trang is a Great Option
If you chose to go the sea-route to Con Dao Island, we recommend taking the speedboat “SUPERDONG” instead. A ticket for an adult will only cost you 310,000 VND, with discounts for elders and children.
To get to Soc Trang you can take a bus from Ho Chi Minh City. The ride takes about 5 hours (120,000 VND). Here is a good bus option. From there you can make your way down to the harbor.
Since the speedboat to Con Dao leaves so early, you could stay in town for a night, or try to travel to Soc Trang overnight.
The Motion Sickness Express Boat
The speedboat leaves from Soc Trang daily at 08:00 AM and 13:15 AM. The rides only last 2 hours and 30 min according to their website but you should expect 3-4 hours.
The ferry kind of reminded us of a Vietnamese bus. There are comfortable seats, and loud music playing throughout the entire trip. The speedboat also feels like it drives at the speed of a Vietnamese bus! So you will be tossing back and forward, especially in bad weather.
So like you probably can guess, lots of people are going to throw up. If you are not used to being in rough sea, we strongly recommend that you take some motion-sickness pills. Otherwise, you are going to be going through a living hell, with no option to leave for a few hours.
If you do get sick (like so many do) you will get a bag to throw up in, or you can visit the toilet, so don’t panic. Looking out and feeling the motions of the boat also helps with seasickness (take it from someone who spends their whole life by the sea!).
Once you reach the dock on Soc Trang, you can take a local metered taxi to your hotel (100,000-200,000 VND), or jump on one of the shuttle busses (50,000 VND).
Ho Chi Minh to Con Dao Islands Flights
If the information above is deterring you from getting on the boat, we totally understand. Lots of travelers prefer flying from Ho Chi Minh to Con Dao instead.
There are only 5 flights a day leaving for Con Dao Island from Ho Chi Minh City. They are often sold out, as lots of local Vietnamese tourists like to visit the island.
If you want to go, you should reserve your tickets a while in advance to make sure you get tickets. There have been reports of travel agencies reserving large portions of the tickets for themselves.
The prices are rather steep at USD 75-200 each way. And only Vietnam Airlines flies this particular flight.
The flights leave frequently everyday at 13:15, 13:20, 14:50, 16:20, and 17:40.
This is certainly the easiest way to get to Con Dao Island, and the flight only takes a good hour, while the other two options are going to take up your whole day in just travel.
If you decide to fly, you can easily grab a taxi or shuttle bus from the airport to your hotel on Con Dao Island.
Transport on Con Dao Island
The roads on Con Dao Island is very bad. There are lots of holes, sharp turns, and sandy roads.
You can easily rent a motorbike on the island. While the traffic is nearly non-existent on the island, I would not recommend riding a motorbike here if you have never driven in Vietnam before.
Since the roads are so bad, it is easy to fall and hurt yourself. But if you are an experienced driver, and you know how the Vietnamese traffic works you will have no problem driving on the island.
If you decide to rent a bike, you can usually rent them for about 150,000-200,000 VND each day.
There are also metered taxis available around the island. The rates are about the same as what you can expect around Vietnam. You can also find motorbike taxis and some buses as well.
Con Dao to Ho Chi Minh City
You can use the same methods listed above to get back to Ho Chi Minh City. Lots of people we talked to decided to fly back to the mainland after spending a few hours on the boat throwing up though so keep that in mind.
To buy tickets for the speedboats, you can do that down at the harbor, or online.
Here you can check out our guide on how to get to Monkey Island from Ho Chi Minh City.
If this guide was helpful to you, please consider repinning it so it can help others too! 🙂