Con Dao island, when there were only two hotels.

I visited this amazing place in 2007, as part of the same trip visiting Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. It’s a tiny island, with only just enough room for a short runway, which runs across much of the island. As you fly in to land, the runway starts at the sea, and for a moment I thought we were going to plunge into the spray before the wheels touched down on the tarmac, seconds later. At the time, I think there were only a few hotels on the island (there are many more now) and we had not booked a room, but deciding where to stay didn’t take long. We stayed at the Con Dao Resort – there were only 4/5 other guests at the hotel at the time.

I remember being acutely aware of what an untouched, beautiful place it was, and feeling lucky to have found such a place. We went for a walk on the beach, and it was covered in the most exquisite shells and stones, as well as beautiful white sand. As I quickly realised, it was because the only people visiting this beach were a handful of tourists and the local fishermen, who had probably had their fill of shells. It was quiet and peaceful, with only the sound of the waves lapping at the beach, and wildlife in the trees surrounding it.

I would recommend coming here on your travels if you can – even though it’s busier and more populous now, it’s an amazing place.

The best treat whilst staying here was going for a midnight swim – the water was the temperature of a warm bath still at night, and we got to see the luminescent water plankton – as you move in the water, little light producing plankton in the water move round and produce light – it’s almost like your swimming through soft living glitter.

I wonder how many other places like this there are around the world; the places in between are becoming much fewer and far between, and it’s harder to find your quiet peaceful corner. Normally I would ask you to share your place, but they are so precious, I think it’s often better to keep it secret. Enjoy your special places, don’t make them unprivate.

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