There are two ways to get to Con Dao from Vung Tau City: by plane or ship. We chose the second. After a night floating on waves, we landed at Ben Dam of Con Dao when the sun had just risen.
Con Dao appeared in front of our eyes in a green shirt of coconut trees and coastal casuarinas. On the way from the port to the center, I had the opportunity to contemplate the picturesque beauty of Con Dao City. On the right of my hand were spotless white sandy beaches and the deep blue sea. On the left were superb green forests, fresh young grass and red-roofed houses hidden in the early morning mist. The natural picture with refresh colors and pure air of Con Dao quickly helped me to forget the tiredness of a night with seasick.
The roads of Con Dao City were covered with hundreds-of-years tropical almond trees. The first place I visited was an ancient house of French architectural style in Le Duan Street. After 113 years used as a place to live and work of 53 Island Lord, the house became the Con Dao Gallery of historic revolution. We visited Con Dao Prison system after that. The relic was a huge area which consisted of 127 rooms, 42 cells, 504 tiger cages and many other areas. Therefore, we were taken to visit three main prisons which were Phu Hai, Phu Son and Phu Truong. Although 30 years passed, I was still shivered when taking a firsthand look at atrocities of the enemy in prisons. On the way out, we visited Hang Duong Cemetery, the resting place of more than 20 thousand revolutionary soldiers including anonymous ones.
Con Dao also had many beautiful natural landscapes, however. In the next days, we visited Con Dao National Park, which was recognized as one of the most diverse biological reserve in the world. It was truly an enormous land with a wide variety of animal and plant species, many of which I had never seen before. In the afternoon, we took a ship to a minor beach, not far away from Dam Trau Bay. There, after being tired of swimming, we climbed cliffs, visiting wild freshwater lake behind the bay and diving to watch the undersea world of splendid corals and colorful fishes. Then we wandered in primeval forest to watch rare animals which could be found nowhere apart from Con Dao such as Nicoba pigeons, or fire storks.
When the sun was going down, we gathered at the beach to contemplate an interesting natural phenomenon: purple sunset. The purple sunset was so strange and fantastic that it created many different feelings in me. It was also my last image of Con Dao. In spite of having been many destinations in Vietnam and also in the world, it seems that nowhere leaves deep impression in me like Con Dao Island.