Isolated from the mainland, the Con Dao islands are one of Vietnam's star attractions. Long the preserve of political prisoners and undesirables, they now turn heads thanks to their striking natural beauty. Con Son, the largest of this chain of 15 islands and islets, is ringed with lovely beaches, coral reefs and scenic bays, and remains partially covered in tropical forests. In addition to hiking, diving and exploring deserted coastal roads there are excellent wildlife-watching opportunities, such as the black giant squirrel and endemic bow-fingered gecko.
How to get there: Flight to Con Dao airport/ speed boat from Tran De port in Soc Trang.