Travel Côn Đảo Islands, Pt. 1: Tormented Beauty Off the Coast of Vietnam (Vietnamese subs)


I had the opportunity to travel to Côn Đảo Islands in April of 2016, to Côn Sơn Island (the largest in the Con Dao Islands Archipelago of Vietnam) with Saigon-based travel writer Dave Fox (

*Now subtitled in Vietnamese!*

The result of our initial travel to Côn Đảo is Part One of this mini-documentary. We learned that Côn Đảo is much more than a tropical island destination; it is a place of both great horror and unique beauty. Since leaving Con Dao, we have spoken with several people intimately involved with this story. We will be telling their stories soon as well.

As Dave Fox writes,

“We didn’t understand the full scope of the story we were seeking until we arrived.

On our last day on Côn Sơn, Jeff and I walked to the end of a short pier known as Pier 914, so named because 914 political prisoners died there, worked to death while constructing it. Jeff did a short interview with me about our time there and has produced this short video about what we experienced.

This video does not tell the whole story of Côn Đảo. We will return later this year to dig deeper into this serene place in the South China Sea (or the East Sea, as Vietnam calls it), which on one level reeks of humanity at its worst, but which also shows how society can bounce back from its horrors and once again find beauty.”

Visit Dave’s website to read the three-part series on this fascinating island:

Shot with:
Sony a7Sii
Sony Zeiss 55mm f1.8
Sony 18-200mm f3.5
Pentax Super-Takumar 55mm f2
Rokinon 14mm

LE Stills under the credits:
Canon 60D

Underwater footage:
GoPro Hero 4
Ikelite 2601 tray with Phantom LED torches

…and I think there’s one shot from my iPhone 5s.

Special thanks to:
Truong Ai Van, Con Dao Travel
Larry Bernier, Dive! Dive! Dive! Con Dao

“Lady Saigon” by Darren Leigh Purkiss
© Audio Network PLC, Used with permission

“Lightless Dawn” and “Eastern Thought”
licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (

“Coasting” by Numsi
Provided by, Used with permission

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  1. Mr Diatom says

    If you want to design your tour in CON DAO, you can refer here:

  2. BLACK DRAGON 007 says

    Yes, it has sad past. Happened before I was born in Saigon, may their souls Rest in Peace. I will come to Con Dao soon.

  3. DoodahGurl says

    Really great work by all involved. I was moved by the story, images, and music. What a tragic history Vietnam has suffered underneath all the sunshine and pristine beaches.

  4. longzsta says

    i like ur video

  5. Gabriel Thai says

    Amazing job, just amazing, great at what you do!

  6. Brian Langdon says

    Brilliant piece. It is a fascinating place.

  7. Fred Hof says

    Great piece, guys!

  8. Brett MacRury says

    What an incredible story and a fantastic video. Looking forward to seeing more as things continue to unfold.

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