16:21 (GMT +7) - Wednesday 21/08/2019

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Soc Trang - Con Dao Island speedboat service opens

Released at: 15:04, 30/07/2019

Soc Trang - Con Dao Island speedboat service opens

Photo: Kenh14.vn

Largest speedboat in Vietnam cuts travel time between two destinations by nearly half.

by Le Diem

A twin-hull, double-decker speedboat has been launched by the Phu Quoc Express Company from Tran De Port in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang to the famous tourist site of Con Dao Island off the coast of southern Ba Ria Vung Tau province.

With a length of 47 meters and a capacity of up to 600 passengers, the speedboat is the largest of its kind in Vietnam. Its speed of 35 nautical miles per hour (65km per hour) shortens the travel time between Soc Trang and Con Dao to one hour and 45 minutes compared to two and a half hours on other boats.

Designed and built by Company 189 under the Ministry of National Defense, it meets European standards and is equipped with satellite navigation, international hydro-meteorological forecasting systems, and other modern devices.

The VIP area is equipped with luxury seating, wireless headphones, and flat-screen TVs, providing comfort and entertainment during the trip.

The deck can carry up 100 passengers and offers great sea views.

The speedboat departs daily from Tran De Port at 8.30am and returns to Soc Trang from Dam Wharf on Con Dao Island at 12.30pm. Tickets range from VND260,000 ($11.2) to VND500,000 ($21.5), depending on the seating class and whether it’s weekdays or weekends.

To mark the launch, the Phu Quoc Express Company is offering a 20 per cent discount on all tickets from July 26 to August 31.

The new speedboat is part of the development of local transport networks and helps connect Mekong Delta provinces with the island and promotes local tourism in both localities.

Con Dao Island, off the coast of southern Ba Ria Vung Tau province, served as a prison island for political prisoners during the French colonial era, when it was known as Poulo Condore, and in later years the Saigon regime imprisoned its opponents in infamous cells known as “tiger cages”. The old prison buildings are still standing and are open to the public, as is a small museum tracing the island’s history.

Today, what was “hell on earth” for prisoners has turned into “heaven on earth” for tourists. Beautiful beaches, hidden lagoons, coral reefs, and scenic bays are also to be found and the islands remain partially covered by tropical forests, with very few tourists. It was selected on a short list of the top 9 dreamy secret islands to escape to in 2019 by US fashion and lifestyle magazine Vogue.

Soc Trang, meanwhile, is one of the top tourist attractions in the Mekong Delta and about 240 km south of Ho Chi Minh City. There is a cultural interchange between the Kinh, Chinese, and Khmer peoples, with a rich diversity of ancient temples and pagodas with unique architecture as well as floating markets and colorful festivals.

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