The 16 islands that make up the Con Dao archipelago are renowned for their natural beauty, and also its dark past, which is getting brighten by the development of tourism in the recent years. For the majority of Vietnamese visitors, it’s the island’s history that brings them here. The island is home to the Con Dao Prison, which was built in 1861 by the French colonialists to jail political prisoners, and transferred to the South Vietnamese government in 1954 for the same purpose.
Con Dao Prison is most infamously known for the “Tiger Cages,” notorious cramped cells built in 1940 by the French to keep prisoners of war. During the “Vietnam War”, prisoners were caged in the cells like animals, brutally tortured and mutilated. The cages were hidden away from the main prison, unknown until 1970 when a visiting U.S. congressional delegation investigating the war discovered and revealed them to the public.
While you are in Con Dao, enjoy your own time at the wonderful beach resort and the tropical paradise Six Senses Con Dao, then a visit to Con Dao Prison will give you some historical perspective of how the island was a hellish place for thousands of prisoners for more than a century.