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"The goddess of Con Dao "

lanhnguyen
Submitted by: lanhnguyen Length of trip: The weekend
Trip taken: January 2008 No. of people on trip: 1 person

Locations visited:

Far East and Asia: Vietnam

Trip Features:
Culture: History
Beach and Nature: Beach

lanhnguyen took this trip with her Girlfriends and also recommends this trip for those traveling with their:
> Guy Friends
> Significant other/Spouse
> Immediate Family
> Group of friends

The cost category of this trip was: budget

TRIP DESCRIPTION

Following a 40-minute fight, VASCO’s ATR72 landed at Co Ong Airport on Con Dao Island, bring some 70 visitors to an island was once dubbed “Hell on Earth”. Today, Con Dao is an emerging tourist destination, with intriguing historic sites and fantastic beaches.

Descending over the bright blue sea in an ATR reminded me of landing in San Francisco. Perhaps this was nude to the runway rolling along the water’s adage. And yet this was my homeland and the sea was warmer and more beautiful than the cold ocean of San Francisco.

In the lobby of the Sic Senses Con Dao I was met by the hotel’s General Director, Mrs. Susan Noonan. “We facing difficulties in Bringing visitors here,” she said. “When conferences are held here, it is hard to bring stuff out here and Vietnam Airlines’ cooperation would be great help.”

I promised to send the message to the manager of VASCO to study the possibilities for future cooperation. Susan then asked why I had not brought him along. I felt a moment of reluctance but this feeling passed because I understood that this is…

“A heavenly island…”

My companion uttered these words after plunging into the jade green water of Con Dao. The water was so clear that the bottoms could still be seen at great depth. White sand beaches lie pristine and undisturbed. The morning was so fresh and pure, the air full of the sounds of the birds and cicadas hiding in the coastal woods.

Con Dao is small and isolated enough to offer visitors a sense of complete tranquility, there are only 5, 000 inhabitants and, as such, the roads are always green, lean and peaceful. Only a couple of motorbikes could be found near the local market. A tour guide told me that motorbikes could be left unlocked without any fear of theft.

And yet this heavenly island has a painful history. In 1862, the French colonialists established a prison here to hold Vietnamese freedom – fighters. Brutal torture was commonplace, gaining the island the nickname of “Hell on Earth”. Under the Ngo Ding Diem administration of South Viet Nam, the prison turned into a United Stated style prison and become even more horrible. Some 20, 000 political prisoners died on this island, their bodies haphazardly buried in Hang Duong Cemetery. In the windy season, white bones lie expose in the sun when sand is blown away the wind.

The goddess of Con Dao

Soon after I Arrived on Con Dao, my tour guide asked if I wished to visit Hang Duong Cemetery at midnight. I was startled. The guide explained that many visitors ask to visit the graveyard at midnight in the hopes of meeting Miss Sau.

At midnight, the gloomy cemetery was busy, as dozens of tour groups offered flowers and incense at the tomb of Vo Thi Sau, a national heroine executed by the French in 1952 at the age of 19. The locals take Vo Thi Sau as told me that over two years, dozens or even hundreds if visitors come to the graveyard each night to pay tribute to this national heroine.

Con Dao locals also feel respect for Madame Phi Yen, believed to be the wife of Lord Nguyen Anh. The stele at her temple in An Hai Village records that in 1783m Lord Nguyen Anh travelled to Con Dao to escape attacks by the Tay Sin forces. With him came Prince Hoi An, his son with Madame Phi Yen, whom Lord Nguyen Anh intended to take to French assistance. When Madame Phi Yen tried to dissuade Lord Nguyen Anh from this course of action he had her imprisoned in rock cave.

Price Hoi An screamed and begged for his mother’s release, but was thrown into the ocean. Later, Madame Phi Yen was rescued by locals and settled on the island. Two years later, the villagers held a mass and the room, intending to harm her dignity, Madame Phi Yen committed suicide. Villagers built a temple in the lady’s honor. Each year, they commemorate her death anniversary on the 18th day of the 10th lunar month.

Where nature is a way of life

Today, Con Dao offers a range of comfortable hotels and gust houses. In October 2010, the high-end Six Senses Con Dao Resort opened for business, part of the international Six Senses Resort and Spas chain; this beautiful resort offers 50 villas ranging from 150 to 670 square meters.

My butler reported that a famous Japanese singer was totally charmed by the place. “She came here alone and loved the feeling of the undisturbed. Every day, she went to the library ate and rested until late,” said the butler.

A sandy path snakes through the spas and villas built along a one km-long beach surrounded by high hills. From afar, no one would think that a luxurious resort is nestled here, the resort created to give guests a sense of market. Thanks to the perfectly preserved nature and the resort’s isolation, guests can shed the stresses of urban life and experience ‘slow living.’

I left the Six Senses on the day of the Royal Wedding in United Kingdom. The restaurant had invited us to a party to watch a live broadcast of the wedding and enjoy a feast identical to that served at the royal wedding, but I had to return to real life.

I felt that I was leaving something special, in this pearl on the ocean. I told myself that I return so as to regain this wonderful feeling.

This article written by Lanh Nguyen from Vietnam Heritage Travel

For original article, please visit:

http://vacationstovietnam.com/lastest-travel-news/the-goddess-of-con-dao.html

http://vacations-vietnam.com

http://vietnampackagetour.com


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