First printed June 2022 | Phrases and footage by means of Patrick Scott
Patrick Scott is a contributing creator for Vietnam Coracle. He’s a trip creator & former New York Instances editor. Prior to venturing to Southeast Asia in 2018, he was once primarily based for 2 years every in New York, London & Cairo. His travel stories have seemed in publications together with The New York Instances, Monetary Instances, Wall Boulevard Magazine, Bloomberg, ESPN & Out of doors Swimmer. In addition to writing, he’s a trainer & a swimmer….read more about Patrick
Rimmed by means of forested hills and dramatic cliffs, Đầm Tre Bay is one in all Vietnam’s maximum pristine, far flung and completely magical swimming holes. The cerulean bay is a part of the nationwide park at the northeast nook of Côn Sơn Island, the center-piece of the Côn Đảo Archipelago, about 100 miles off the southeast fringe of Vietnam. The island has no scarcity of improbable sandy and rocky coves for launching into the ocean for a swim, however Đầm Tre Bay is particular. It has an abundance and variety of coral this is peculiar for Vietnam, and swimming whilst the low and high tides are filling and draining the bay is like hopping on an amusement trip. The bay provides snorkeling and stand-up paddle forums, too. The adventure to the bay – a hike over boulders skirting the shore and up a grassy cape with impressive coastal perspectives – is marvellous.
Mountaineering & Swimming on the Northeast Tip of Côn Sơn Island
The perfect time to seek advice from is April to September. The remainder of the yr can deliver sturdy winds and risky seas and droop ferry carrier for weeks. Đầm Tre Bay is without doubt one of the extra rugged and tough to get entry to portions of Côn Sơn Island. However the rewards for making the hassle to get there are smartly value it. Click on from the contents beneath to learn extra about Đầm Tre Bay:
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Đầm Tre Bay: Côn Sơn Island | Côn Đảo Archipelago
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On the far flung, wind-swept and wave-lashed northern tip of Côn Sơn Island, a slab of rugged land arches east into the ocean, making a secure round lagoon of turquoise water the place coral and fish flourish and guests hardly ever undertaking. Đầm Tre Bay is in all probability the Côn Đảo Archipelago’s best-kept secret. It has remained undeveloped and in its wonderful herbal state exactly as it’s laborious to get to. Travellers can get right here by means of boat, however probably the most rewarding manner is a 90-minute to 2-hour hike around the huge Bãi Biển Đông seaside to a trailhead that takes you on a winding climb thru dense woodland to a spartan ranger station and this aquatic wonderland (see The Hike for main points).
Côn Đảo is one in all my favourite locations in Vietnam, an exceptionally gorgeous and haunting island the place two of the largest points of interest are a cemetery and prisons. The French after which the American citizens ran the island as a penal colony, and now a number of of the prisons are museums, and Hàng Dương Cemetery is a countrywide monument to 1000’s of martyred revolutionaries. Maximum guests come on pilgrimages to the gravesites and temples. However extra are arriving as holidaymakers, attracted to the aquamarine water, lush mountains, French colonial structure and rapidly-multiplying homestays, resorts and seafood eating places. In depth tourism construction is underway, with massive tracts being carved out throughout this once-overlooked island. It’s just a subject of time earlier than a lodge looms over Đầm Tre Bay. All that’s there now, alternatively, is a shabby ranger station and a pair bamboo shacks on a hillside. Profit from the unspoiled panorama and seascape whilst you’ll, as a result of alternate is inevitable.
*Swimming Protection: Even supposing swimming in Đầm Tre Bay is glorious, please watch out. The tide may also be extraordinarily speedy and the present sturdy. If you select to swim, accomplish that with care, diligence and admire for the dangers concerned. Don’t swim right here except you’re a sturdy swimmer. There’s no lifeguard, so that you swim at your individual chance. I’d advise bringing water sneakers and don’t attempt to swim around the bay when the tide is coming in.
My first seek advice from to Đầm Tre Bay was once in January, when it was once sunny however nonetheless windy and the water was once round 20°C. I arrived close to low tide at midday, which had allowed me to stroll for roughly a part hour alongside Bãi Biển Đông seaside to the trailhead to the bay, earlier than the incoming sea lined the sand. All over low tide on the bay, it’s tough to get into the water. There’s no sandy seaside close to the ranger station; the shore round that aspect of the bay is blanketed by means of rocks that vary size-wise from sea cows to watermelons to marbles. So I hiked a few part hour counterclockwise from the station to a spit of sand in a bit of cove and stepped on gravelly sand into the transparent shallow water. That phase of the bay was once just a few ft deep, and the ocean was once pouring again in speedy. As I swam freestyle towards the center of the bay, I used to be slightly skimming over fields of bleached department coral, and indisputably heading into an impressive present. The drive of the ocean was once sweeping me towards the again of the bay. I needed to pull laborious to make it again to the place I installed, through which time I used to be already plotting a high-tide swim. On the other hand, I needed to depart the bay lengthy earlier than excessive tide so as to have sufficient time to hustle throughout the woodland and again to the seaside earlier than it was once inundated.
I returned a couple of days later to spend the night on the ranger station and catch excessive tide within the morning. When the tide is in, you’ll input the water by means of stepping moderately thru a cropping of small boulders subsequent to the derelict, L-shaped concrete pier. Swim out about 70 meters to astonishing large scalloped clams, their lip-like folds pointing as much as the outside. Swimming towards the again of the bay and the mangrove bushes on the water’s edge, you hit a box of improbable desk coral – beige and brown and overlapping like a strewn pile of poker chips. Then the seascape shifts to scattered, massive coral formed like cisterns and tractor tires. Rounding the northeast rim in the back of the bay are tracts of department coral within the shallows, then the ground of the reef vanishes and all you spot is blue.
From the shore, the bay is a spectrum of turquoise and sapphire and cobalt. Probably the most sensible blues are the place the water is private. The deep channel on the again sooner or later provides strategy to a sandy backside. And as you’re making your manner up the other aspect of the bay, you return to a cropping of craggy rocks and boulders, after which to a sandy beach with an Instagram-ready swing within the shallows. On the entrance of the bay, flanked by means of cliffs on every aspect, the reef is roofed with extra large desk coral and speckled with nodules that seem like large brains and grapefruit, with flecks of red and blue. Completing the swim from the mouth of the open sea again to the ranger station after excessive tide, because the water was once being sucked again out of the mostly-filled bay, was once like using a rocking horse – time and again propelled ahead, then pulled again, till nearer to the pier. Swimming within the bay prices 120,000vnđ for admission to the park and 30,000vnđ for a bath. You’ll additionally hire for a pittance snorkeling apparatus, lifejackets or SUPs (stand-up paddle forums).
One of the most coolest on-foot reports at the island is mountain climbing over the rocks across the little coves to the left of the ranger station. On one in all my visits, after a swim off the one sandy beach on that phase of the bay, the incoming tide had submerged the rocky, sandy shore, so I needed to climb up and thru a jagged woodland of rock spires after which were given to hop from boulder to boulder alongside vast stretches of the graceful around rocks. You get right into a groove, targeting the place within the zigzagging direction the following footstep has to fall. For some viewpoint, stroll from the ranger station towards the open sea and take one of the vital filth footpaths snaking manner up the bluff, lined in thick grass and streaked with serrated rows of rocks. The vistas of the bay and the expanse of the East Sea are astounding. With sufficient mild by means of moon or torch, you’ll negotiate the path at evening for some in-nature contemplation and sensational stargazing.
Different footpaths beneath lead down into the damaged cliffside, bamboo rails and strung ropes guiding you down treacherous herbal pathways and asymmetric man-made steps. One ends up in the water, which is sort of a washer from September to February however may also be flat as glass from March to August. Any other takes you to 2 bamboo huts utilized by the rangers within the park’s hen nest undertaking. Swiftlets in a close-by cave construct wax-like nests from their saliva. The nests take 4 months to make and are harvested by means of the rangers in April and September and bought as cuisine with therapeutic homes and used for making soup and tea. The cave yields 40 to 50 nests a yr, and they’re bought at the Nationwide Park’s web site. The park additionally advertises ecotourism excursions and sea turtle observing, relying on availability, time of yr and selection of individuals.
You’ll get to the Côn Đảo Islands by plane year-round or by ferry when the ocean isn’t too tough. As soon as there, I’ve by no means observed it presented, however park rangers say you’ll get a speedboat to Đầm Tre Bay from the boat pier in Côn Sơn the town. On the other hand, the most efficient journey is to trip to the bay independently by means of taking a motorcycle after which mountain climbing to Đầm Tre; nevertheless it’s a bit of difficult. You’ll hire a motorcycle from maximum lodging on the town for roughly 150,000vnđ consistent with day. Head east and north alongside the graceful and undulating coastal street with breathtaking perspectives of the rocky capes and glimmering sea round each and every bend. You’ll discover a lower within the woodland about 1km north of Poulo Condor Lodge and a coarse little street that leads east into sandy apartments dotted with timber and bushes. [View Map] It takes some effort to get around the sand on a motorbike, however simply observe the tire tracks for roughly 10 mins to a trail throughout the brush that ends up in the seaside. The website of this large bay with a seaside that stretches no less than 100 meters to the water right through low tide is marred by means of a mountain of detritus that has washed up onto the dunes. A few of it’s fishing trash, like a rope as thick as a hearth hose and curving like a snake locked within the sand. After a couple of mins, even though, the trash sell off is on your wake and also you’re strolling on a huge street of sand. Poulo Condor is the one lodge in this cove, with its non-public seaside on the south finish, so that you’ll most likely have the stroll all to your self, save for some fishermen scraping strains within the sand with poles to fire up little crabs.
After about 20 mins of brisk strolling, close to the northern finish of the bay at the left you’ll see a gap into the woodland and a large stone trail with an indication concerning the park. [View Map] Stroll the winding trail and climb the intermittent collection of steps thru dense woods studded with large boulders. Twisting, curving branches like serpents interfere at the trail at issues right through the 3km hike to the ranger station. When you arrived to the island by means of air, you’ll already know that planes nearly land at the seaside subsequent to the airport. The runway is bookended by means of Bãi Đầm Trầu, the place the flights are available in for a touchdown, and Bãi Suối Ớt, the place they take off. The latter is on the finish of the seaside stroll to the trailhead for Đầm Tre Bay. That suggests there’s a excellent probability that the non violent soundtrack of rolling surf towards the top of your 30 minutes stroll at the seaside can be punctured by means of the roar of jet engines or the thrill of props as an plane shoots off the runway and climbs into the sky. Take a look at the flight schedules on Baolau.com – it’s most likely the nearest you’ll ever be to a hovering jet.
Drowsing & Consuming:
When you keep in a single day, you’ll be blissfully roughing it on the ranger station. It has a couple of cement structures, one with laborious wood beds for 200,000vnđ consistent with individual an evening. However for those who’re up for dozing beneath the celebs, take your rattan mat onto the flat roof of the dorm and spend the evening, lulled to sleep by means of the waves and the wind. You’ll additionally hire a tent, however tenting is authorized best at the back of the ranger station, for 150,000vnđ consistent with individual. A communal dinner of conventional Vietnamese sea fare – fried squid, bitter fish soup, fried fish with tomato sauce, fried greens, steamed rice and fruit – prices 300,000vnđ consistent with individual. All in all, this can be a memorable evening.
Another way, you’ll keep a pair hours away on the town at a mess of homestays and resorts that vary from $15 to $125 an evening: browse and e-book any of them on this page. I choose the ocean-front bungalows at Tan Son Nhat Con Dao Resort or Hotel de Condor on the north finish of the town. If you wish to splurge, at the seafront nearer to the bay, shell out no less than $700 an evening at Six Senses Con Dao or round $200 and up at Poulo Condor Boutique Resort & Spa. Prior to environment off at the trip and hike to Đầm Tre Bay, it’s a good suggestion to replenish on water and snacks from the department stores in Côn Sơn the town, as a result of there’s now not a lot in the best way of meals if you get started the hike.
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