Best Secret Islands on Earth
Vietnam: Con Dao
Phu Quoc might be hailed as the next Phuket, but those looking to get far off the grid head to this undiscovered archipelago just 110 miles off Vietnam’s southeastern coast. A 45-minute flight from Ho Chi Minh City brings you to Con Son, the largest (and only inhabited) member of the 16-island chain. Here, sheer granite cliffs border deserted beaches and crystal-blue water—imagine a tropical Amalfi Coast without the crowds. Up until now, you’d have been hard-pressed to find a decent place to stay, but the arrival of the Six Senses Con Dao (Dat Doc Beach; 84-64/383-1222; sixsenses.com; villas from $685) has brought a welcome dose of luxury to the island. Standing along a stretch of golden sand are 50 airy villas (some with private pools) that look out onto the South China Sea. Food is a highlight here. In classic Six Senses style, the hotel’s Vietnamese restaurant is set up to resemble a market; there are separate stalls “hawking” noodles and rolls, while made-to-order dishes are cooked outside in charcoal-fueled woks. You may be tempted to never leave the resort, but the 20-square-mile island is well worth exploring. Hire a private guide from the hotel, who will bring you via motorbike to the area’s most remote spots, including a 19th-century hilltop lighthouse and the spectacular Dam Tre Bay lagoon.
T+L Tip: Take a boat trip to Bay Canh Island to view endangered hawksbill turtles during nesting season (May through September), arranged by the hotel. —Jennifer Chen