The Ferry from Soc Trang to Con Dao

First published March 2018 | Words and photos by Vietnam Coracle


I’ve always thought it inexplicable why so few travellers visit the Con Dao Islands. For many Vietnamese, I would imagine it has something to do with Con Son Island’s dark past as a penal colony. But, for foreign travellers, maybe the relatively high airfare from Saigon, or the cheap but long and arduous boat ride from Vung Tau (the only alternative to flying), has kept them away for so long. Now, however, there’s a third way to get to the Con Dao Islands: a daily passenger ferry from the Mekong Delta. The new Superdong ferry, which is fast and comfortable, connects Tran De port in Soc Trang Province with Con Son Island, meaning that travellers can now add the Con Dao Islands (which is, without doubt, one of the most remarkable destinations in Vietnam) onto their Mekong Delta itineraries. It also makes a Con Dao loop a viable option: by combining the ferry to/from the Mekong Delta with a one-way flight to/from Saigon and Con Son. Motorbikes and bicycles can travel on the Superdong ferry, but not cars. Below is my full guide to taking the ferry from Soc Trang to Con Dao.

Soc Trang to Con Dao Superdong ferry, VietnamThe new Superdong ferry connects the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang with the Con Dao Islands

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The first thing to note is that the Superdong ferry doesn’t leave from Soc Trang city; it departs from Tran De port, at the mouth of the Hau Giang River (a branch of the Mekong), about 40km southeast of Soc Trang. There are bus connections to Soc Trang city from all major towns across the Mekong Delta, and from Saigon’s Mien Tay bus station (roughly 6 hours). From Soc Trang city, there’s a Superdong shuttle bus to Tran De port. On Con Son Island, the ferry arrives at the beautifully situated Ben Dam port. The crossing takes between 2-3 hours depending on weather conditions. Below I’ve written a full guide to taking the ferry from Soc Trang to Con Dao, including tickets prices, schedules, contact details, places to stay at Tran De port, a description of the boat and the voyage, and a map of the route. *Please note: you can support this website by booking your boat tickets directly from this page: see below.

Click an option below to read more about it:


Ferry Route: Tran De port to Ben Dam port (Con Son Island)

View in a LARGER MAP

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*Please support Vietnam Coracle: you can search boat times, prices, and make bookings directly from this page by using the search boxes & links throughout this guide. If you make a booking, I receive a small commission. All my earnings go straight back into this website. Thank you.

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Ferry Operators & Contacts:

There is only one company operating ferries between Tran De and Con Son: Superdong. The Superdong website is pretty good, including ferry times and prices for all Superdong routes (not just the Con Dao one). However, despite an icon suggesting English language, the site is in Vietnamese only. But it’s still easy enough to figure out what’s what. Alternatively, check current prices, sailing times, and book directly through (available in several languages).

Superdong have offices in Tran De (at the boat pier [map]; (0299) 3843 888), Soc Trang (193 Le Hong Phong Street [map]; (0299) 3616 111), and Con Son (Tran Phu Street [map]; (0254) 3630 138), as well as in all the other places from which they operate, and an office in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). They can be contacted in person at any of these offices (staff are generally very helpful, and there’s usually at least someone who speaks decent English), or by phone on any of the numbers above (again, some English is usually spoken), or by email: [email protected] For full contact details for all Superdong offices see this page.

Soc Trang to Con Dao Superdong ferry, VietnamSuperdong is the only company currently operating ferries between the Mekong Delta & Con Dao Islands

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Schedules & Sailing Times:

There’s at least one sailing in each direction everyday. On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, there are two sailings in each direction, but an extra sailing will also be provided on other days if demand is high enough. Sailing time is between 2 hours to 2.5 hours depending on weather conditions. However, all sailings are subject to change or cancellation due to bad sea conditions (if you have an appointment to make on the mainland, don’t count on the ferry to get you there on time). This is most likely to happen during seasons with strong winds (generally November to March, but also June-August). Superdong staff will attempt to inform you in advance if there is a chance of cancellation or delay. The schedule is also liable to change without notice: for example, you can’t necessarily trust the sailing times published on the Superdong website. For up-to-date schedules, prices, and bookings check At the time of research (March 2018) the schedule is as follows:

  • TRAN DE→CON DAO: 8.00am (daily) | 1.00pm (Fri, Sat, Sun, or days when demand is high)
  • CON DAO→TRAN DE1.00pm (daily) | 8.00am (Fri, Sat, Sun, or days when demand is high) 

The Superdong fast boat from Soc Trang to Con Dao Islands, VietnamThere’s at least one sailing in each direction every day, but these are all subject to change due to weather

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Ticket Prices & Booking:

Tickets can be booked in person at any of the Superdong offices (even those located in other towns and places, such as Phu Quoc, Ha Tien, Rach Gia, and Saigon), or over the phone, or by email, but not online through the Superdong website. (See the Contact section for office addresses, phone numbers, and email). However, you can book online through the website. Tickets for motorbikes and bicycles can be reserved with passenger tickets, but payment for motorbikes and bicycles is made at the boat itself. On weekdays, it’s usually not necessary to book in advance, however, it’s still advisable to do so, especially if you’re on a tight schedule or if you’re travelling with your own wheels, because the number of bikes is limited. From Friday to Sunday, and all public holidays, advance booking is essential. Passengers should arrive at the docks at least 30 minutes before departure, particularly if you have a motorbike. Ticket prices are as follows:

  • Adult: 310,000vnd (one way)
  • Adult over 62 years | Passenger with disabilities: 260,000vnd | 230,000vnd (one way)
  • Child 6-11 years old (under 6 years go free): 220,000vnd (one way)
  • Motorbike: 180,000vnd

The Superdong ferry from Soc Trang to Con Dao Islands, VietnamTickets can be purchased at any Superdong office, by phone, or email: book in advance if possible

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Departure & Arrival Ports:

Boats come and go from Tran De Port on the mainland, in Soc Trang Province, and Ben Dam Port on Con Son Island, the biggest island in the Con Dao Archipelago:

TRAN DE PORT: A small town at the mouth of the Mekong River, Tran De is way off the beaten path. Some 40km southeast of Soc Trang city, and a good six hours’ drive south of Saigon, Tran De is a fishing town that no one would have thought of visiting until the Superdong ferry put it on the map for travellers. The ferry pier is currently located at the end of the canal as it meets the river, but is due to be relocated a couple hundred metres south of here to a dedicated Superdong terminal in the near future. As boats leave at 8.00am, it’s a good idea to overnight in Tran De. There are several decent guest houses, all offering clean, simple rooms for around 200,000vnd. Ngoc Quy, Tan Hung Thinh, and Quan Ngoc (view map) are all fine for a night. There’s enough street food to fill you up in the evenings and mornings around the canal bridge on road QL91C as it passes through town. Note that it can get very busy on the narrow road leading to the ferry pier (and the ticket office can get swamped) leading up to departure times, but hopefully this will change when the new pier opens.

Tran De Port, Soc Trang Province, Mekong Delta, VietnamTran De Port (5-6 hours from Saigon) is a little Mekong fishing town, way off the beaten path

BEN DAM PORT: Ben Dam Port is in the southwest of Con Son Island. Beautifully situated in a lagoon between Con Son and Hon Ba islands, with rocky, forested hills rising all around, Ben Dam is as scenic a port as you could hope to find. Things can get a bit chaotic on the pier during arrival and departure, but everything seems to work out in the end. There are a few scruffy shops and rice eateries down the pier near the road. Ben Dam Port is 11km via a spectacular coast road to Con Son town, the main settlement on the island. Taxis meet the ferries, or if you have pre-booked accommodation on the island, they should be able to arrange a pick up for you. (For much more information about the Con Dao Islands see my complete guide.)

Ben Dam Port, Con Son Island, Con Dao, VietnamBen Dam Port on Con Son Island is a spectacular entrance to the Con Dao Archipelago

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The Boats:

As always with Superdong ferries, the boats are long, narrow vessels with two levels of indoor, air-conditioned, coach-style seating, and a fair amount of deck space at the stern. On board, the ferries appear to be modern, clean, and well-equipped, with space for over 300 hundred passengers. Seats are soft, reclinable, and comfortable; there are toilets (which are kept reasonably clean), USB sockets to charge your phone, and even on-board WiFi (although it was very weak and not really usable). Entertainment comes in the form of TVs suspended from the ceiling, showing soap operas, martial arts movies, and game shows, but the volume is bearable. The back deck (which is closed for the first and last 20 minutes) is quite spacious and great fun to be out on as the boat ploughs toward Con Son Island. There’s even a little bar on deck, serving cans of beer (great for your sea legs, no doubt), soft drinks, coffee, and light snacks. Life vests seem to be plentiful and staff are generally friendly and helpful.

The Superdong ferry from Soc Trang to Con Dao Islands, VietnamThe Superdong boats are fast, clean & comfortable with coach-style seating in an air-conditioned cabin

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The Voyage:

The ferry is very popular with Vietnamese travellers: some of whom are the older generation, coming to pay their respects to those who died or were incarcerated on Con Son when it was a colonial prison; but many are the younger generation, coming to enjoy the island’s beaches and take selfies at all the scenic spots. The latter are dressed up in all their trendy beachwear, and there’s a pleasant sense of anticipation as everyone gathers on the pier before departure. (As yet, there are very few foreign passengers on this ferry route.)

The Superdong ferry from Soc Trang to Con Dao Islands, VietnamThe majority of passengers are Vietnamese: either pilgrims to the former prisons or holiday makers

On board, it’s pretty relaxed, quiet and calm. Passengers are mostly content to sit in their seats watching TV, snoozing, or snacking. Sadly, the doors to the outside decks are locked for the first and last 15 minutes of the journey. I suppose this is a safety precaution, which, considering Vietnam’s terrible maritime safety record, is a good thing. But it does mean that you miss seeing the departure and arrival, which I think are the most exciting times to be on deck (the windows are large, but it’s not the same as being outside). However, when the doors do open, it’s great to be out in the sun and spray. The mouth of the Mekong is vast: there’s very little to see, but for a line of coconut palms on the distant banks. Soon, the ferry reaches open water. Gradually, the colour of the sea – stained brown by the emptying of the Mekong – turns a deep blue.

As the journey progresses, passengers begin to gather on the deck: smoking, drinking, selfie-taking and, in some cases, looking rather seasick. But the voyage can be fairly rocky at times, and the railings are low and the floor is wet and slippery, so be extremely careful when walking around outside.

The Superdong ferry from Soc Trang to Con Dao Islands, VietnamThere’s a good deck space out back, where people gather to chat, drink, smoke (and feel seasick)

If conditions are good, the crossing may only take 2 hours. When the boat slides into the straits created by the islands of Con Son and Hon Ba, there’s a palpable sense of excitement on board. It’s a spectacular arrival: Ben Dam pier is situated in the middle of a blue lagoon with forested peaks rising sharply all around. Everyone is itching to get ashore, but disembarkation can be a bit of a shambles. When I arrived, it was low tide, so the level of the boat’s decks was 2-3 metres below the level of the pier. All baggage had to be relayed up to the pier, including the motorbikes, in a precarious rope lift/pulley arrangement. But regardless of how chaotic the arrival is, when you look around you at the bay, nothing else matters.

*Please support Vietnam Coracle: you can search train times, prices, and make bookings directly from this page by using the search boxes & links throughout this guide. If you make a booking, I receive a small commission. All my earnings go straight back into this website. Thank you.

The Superdong ferry from Soc Trang to Con Dao Islands, VietnamDisembarkation at Ben Dam Port can be a bit chaotic, but who cares when you’re on such a scenic island?

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Disclosure: I never receive payment for anything I write: all my content is free and all my reviews are independent. I’ve written this guide because I want to: I enjoy this ferry journey and I want my readers to know about it. For more details, see my Disclosure & Disclaimer statements here


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Selected Resources for Travellers & Expats:  What's this?

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31 Responses to The Ferry from Soc Trang to Con Dao

  1. kiki vuong says:


    I just called the tran de office to book my motorcycle on the boat to con dao and the office told me that if I am not the registered owner (which i am not) i will need to go the bien phong office (border customs) near their office in tran de the day before boarding to ask a permit for my motorbike, if the permit is declined then i can park the motorbike in a long term parking and board the boat without it.

    Also they said that they now pack the motorbike in a wooden crate ….

    I am now thinking about flying there and renting a bike on the island …

    • Hi Kiki,

      Thanks for letting me know that.

      I think I recall another traveller being told something similar last year when they tried to call ahead to book their bike on the boat. But in reality, when they just turned up at the pier, there was no such problem at all.

      However, I understand your concern, and perhaps if you have limited time, it might suit you better to fly. But even if you did end up having to leave your bike in Tran De for a few days and rent a bike on the island instead, it would still be a fun road trip through the Mekong to Tran De and on the boat across to Con Dao. If you’ve got time: go for the boat; if not, fly. That would be my advice. Either way, please let me know how it all works out for you.

      Good luck,


  2. kiki says:

    Hi Tom,

    An avid user of your motorcycle trip guides, after having been several times east and north of Sai Gon as well as on the coast roads, I am planning to go by boat to Con Dao, I was wondering if you had a “scenic” itinerary you would recommend to go to Tran De from Sai Gon?

    • Hi Kiki,

      Yes, good question: I’m actually writing a guide to a route to take between Saigon and Tran De at the moment. But it’s not finished.

      I would take QL50 via Go Cong to My Tho, then over the bridge to Ben Tre, then QL60 via Tra Vinh to Soc Trang Province, then QL91C down to Tran De.

      This route is much nicer than going via QL1. There are lots of back-routes too, but it’s a much more circuitous route. Tra Vinh is a great night stop if you need it. It’s a long ride from Saigon to Tran De: a full day.

      I hope this helps,


  3. Lemmy says:

    We’re actually at Con Dao. Tripping by motorbike from Saïgon with night stop at Tra Vinh. From here, it takes about 2 hours to reach Tram De harbour (2 ferry to get). No problem to carry the motorbike, Superdong employee wants only know registration number of the motorbike. Like said Martin, pay directly morbike fee at the pier. Price depend of kind of motorbike (automatic 180kd,non automatic 170kd matter of weight !) Motorbike are no wrapped and subject to sea spray, so you have to clean motorbike at a shop (rua xe 30kd) at Con Son city to dirt off from sea salt which can be very corrosive for engine !

  4. Hermance says:

    Hello, your website is really beautifull with so many and interessant informations to prepare the trip in Vietnam, thanks a lot !! We are thinking to visit Con dao in January but I am afraid that the boat trip is not so easy because I know that it’s not the good season on the sea… Do you think it’s better to take the plane in january even if it’s really more expensive ? Thanks for your help ! Hermance

    • Hi Hermance,

      I think, if you have limited time, then it’s probably better to go to the Con Dao Islands by plane at that time of year, because the winds are often strong in January.


      • Hermance says:

        Hello Tom,
        Thanks, we are not really limited in time, we stay 3 months in Vietnam but we are in the south in January and I am afraid that the sea will be bad (and I am sea sick …)… I will think about that ….Thanks for all the informations in your site !! Hermance

  5. Hoseung Joun says:

    Tom, had a VN friend call about tickets for a motorbike and was told the bike had to be registered under one’s name on the blue card or else it cannot go on the Soc Trang to Con Dao ferry. An email reply also stated that rental bikes were not allowed. Mine belongs to my friend but the blue card has someone else’s name on it (apparently common in VN). This restriction only applies to the this ferry and not to the Phu Quoc ferry. Hope this helps.

    • Hi Joun,

      Thanks for letting me know that information. However, I have not had these problems when transporting mine and other people’s motorbike on the Soc Trang-Con Dao ferry. My bike isn’t registered in my name either and nor were my travelling companions’ bikes, but we didn’t have any problems, nor did anyone ask about it.

      If you want to take your motorbike on this ferry I would go to the ferry pier directly. Of course, I can’t guarantee it will work, but so far I haven’t met any other travellers who have been turned down.

      I hope it works out for you,


      • Hoseung Joun says:

        Update: it was the Saigon office that said the bike has to be registered in your own name. I went to the Tran De office and motorbike was no problem. It’s now 190k for motorbike and you pay at the boat when you board but your passenger ticket must have the motorbike endorsement stamp. Boat is nice. I am actually on board right now and the boat is maybe only 30% full on a Monday morning. Seems they are currently running 3 boats each way, 7am (not 8am like it says on their website), 10:30am and the 1pm. Thanks for your help and your guide. Could not have done this without your help!.

        • Hi Joun,

          Really glad to hear that worked out for you. Thanks for the updates. I hope you enjoy the Con Dao Islands. If you’re interested, I’ve almost finished updating all the information in my full Con Dao guide (not the images yet though).


    • Martin says:

      Hi Joun,

      just arrived with my rental bike in con dao, no one wanted to see papers.
      The motorbike fee(170K oneway but it varies for some reason), i paid it directly at the pier, the ticket office sent me there.
      Btw, they lift the bike onto the ferry only by hand, no plank, i wonder if they ever dropped one into the water?

      Good luck, and Con Dao is beautiful!

      • Hi Martin,

        Good to hear that.

        Yes, my bike was almost dropped – at least it felt that way to me 🙂 But I trust the guys know what they’re doing. They were immensely strong.

        Enjoy the islands,


  6. Ally says:


    I am looking to travel to the Con Dao islands at the start of May. I’ve read in the post that it’s good to stay in Tran De if we’re getting the 8am boat but I wasn’t sure if it’s usually okay to just show up and hope one of the guesthouses has a place to stay? I haven’t been able to find any listed online and because we are traveling on a fairly strict time limit, it would be good to know if there’s any you can book ahead of time otherwise we might stay in Soc Trang and have a longer journey early in the morning. Any help greatly appreciated!



    • Hi Ally,

      If you are travelling on a weekday then you shouldn’t have trouble turning up in Tran De and getting a room. But if you are travelling on a weekend or public holiday (there’s a public holiday at the beginning of May) then the hotels (and the ferry) might be fully booked.

      I hope this helps,


      • Marc says:

        Could you give us website or phone number to call the guesthouse in tran De close to the port ?

        We are travelling with my family and we would like to be sure that we will be able to sleep somewhere close to the ferry 🙂

  7. Gojo says:

    Such helpful info – thank you for publishing this!

    Do you have any additional details about the shuttle bus from Soc Trang city to Tran De port? I’m trying to plan my travel, and can’t find anything about it on the superdong website (or anywhere else, for that matter).

    Again, thank you!

    • Hi Gojo,

      I think the bus leaves from the Superdong office in Soc Trang. If you call Superdong they should be able to give you more information about the bus or go to the Superdong office in Soc Trang when you get there. The bus will probably leave at least 1 hour before the departure of the boat – something like 6.30am. Also your hotel in Soc Trang should know more about the bus too.

      I hope this helps,


  8. Richard says:

    Slightly off topic, we took Superdong from Rach Gia to Phu Quoc a couple days ago, after spending several days in Can Tho and the day before departure in Rach Gia. Trip was very smooth and nobody appeared sick in the lower deck. Was able to call Superdong and reserve tickets with cell phone number and name as it appears on passport. All and all, a short hop to Phu Quoc via ATR72 from Can Tho would have been cheaper and saved a day, when you consider we travelled by car from Can Tho to Rach Gia, the cost of the hotel and fast ferry. It was an interesting trip to do one time. Bai Kem beach on Phu Quoc is amazing beautiful this year with very little plastic washing up on the beach.


  9. Peter says:

    Hi Tom,
    Thanks for the update. Wish i had all that last year when i did the ferry crossing just after it opened. Ticketing back then was a bit problematic.
    On that day, the crossing was very rough indeed, with most onboard (very) seasick. The staff were very good at supporting all. That ferry certainly took a pounding, but it was worth it when you get across.

    • Hi Peter,

      I had a rough crossing today too, but rather surprisingly no one seemed to get seasick. The boat must be pretty tough to take a beating like that.

      But regards ticketing, staff and general organization, it was all pretty smooth, apart from some chaos at the clogged piers during departure and arrival. However, during the windy months from November to March there are a lot of cancellations due to rough seas.


  10. Ngoc says:

    Really great information, thank you! Looking forward to your posts about the islands themselves

  11. belinda says:

    Thanks so much Beth!

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