The Đầm Tre Bay Hike
Hike Length – Roughly 11km round trip,
Hike Time – 5.5 hours including 1.5 hrs rest at the bay
Entry Fee – Free, but permission ticket required from National Park Office
Provisions – Take water and lunch/snack
Con Dao Hiking – The Đầm Tre Walk
Easily one of the most beautiful and secluded Con Dao Hiking options, it’s worth going up to the north side of the island for this walk, which will have you stomping along beaches, hiking through dense jungle with giant black squirrels and crab eating macaques, then finally rewarding you with a serene coral filled bay all to yourselves.
Get an Entry Ticket at the National Park Office
You need to get a permission ticket in order to enter the hike to Đầm Tre. This is still the case at the time of writing in 2017. We went on this hike without one as we were incorrectly instructed by our guesthouse host that we did not need one, but upon arriving the ‘Ranger station’ at Đầm Tre, we were checked for the tickets. Fortunately, they took pity on us and let us go through, but we don’t recommend that you try your luck.
Grab the tickets for free at the office on Vo Thi Sau road just north of the main town. Search for ‘National Park Department’ on Google Maps.
Check the Tide
The timing of your walk will be dictated by the high tide. This is due to the airport’s runway, which struts out into the sea on Bãi biến Dong, the beach that you will be walking across before starting the hike into the jungle. At high tide this section of beach will need to be swum or waded across – not recommended especially in rough seas. Check this website for the tide times on Con Dao.
Aim to start an hour or so after the tide starts going out.
Where to Start The Dam Tre Hike
You can park your motorbike close to Poulo Condor Resort. If you are coming from town there is a right turn close to where the beach begins, it’s a dirt track that leads down to a rocky path to the beach on your right. We parked our bike at the top of this rocky path. It was safe here. See our map for reference:-
Bãi biến Dong Beach – 2.5km
Walk down the rocky path onto the start of your journey to Đầm Tre. You will have to cross a stream on your left to get onto the main beach. Walk along the beach for around 2.5km and take in the sea air, watch locals searching for shellfish, and you may even see a plane landing or taking off.
When you eventually get to the far north side of the beach, the entrance to the hike is on the top left side – look for the park singage.
The Jungle – 3km, roughly 2 hours
Now begins the steep upward climb up the hill and into the jungle. This route is paved all the way – watch your step on some of the stones, as it can be slippy. There’s only one path so it’s impossible to get lost.
Keep an eye out for giant black squirrels and lizards. There are also occasional jumping stinging insects on the walk. They bite through clothes – and hurt just as much as a mild wasp sting – so watch out.
Towards the end of this section of the walk, we came across a few shy crab eating macaques, but they weren’t disturbed by our presence.
Arriving at Đầm Tre
You eventually begin your descent, and when you see buildings, chickens and people you have arrived at the ‘ranger station’, though it looks a great deal like someone’s family home. Here you will have to present your tickets – they will ask for them. You can use the toilet facilities here, and the people are friendly.
Walk through the ranger’s area and turn left before you get out into the field. If you start walking towards the cliff and into fisherman’s shacks you have gone too far!
Swim and Snorkel to Your Heart’s Content
Setup on the rocky beach and go for a swim out in the corals. The water here is quite shallow at the low tide, make sure you bring some footwear as there is plenty of sharp coral and oyster shells to cut your feet. Get out towards the mouth of the bay to find the coral that is alive and teeming with fish!
We spent about 1hr 30 in the bay – though we were chased out by a storm so you may find yourselves there for longer.
Back – 2 hours again
Have your lunch, say goodbye to the rangers and chickens, and head back into the forest. If you have timed it right, you should arrive back in time to walk past the runway section of the beach. If not, then it’s time to get a little wet!
All done. Why not celebrate your adventure with a nice beer or some food at one of the restaurants on Bãi Đầm Trầu, which is the beach on the other side of the runway.