The former colonial era Governor's Residence in the middle of town is now the museum that documents the sorry history of the French and US backed regimes' political prison.
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Like most Vietnamese museums, Con Dao's is neither slick nor particularly enlightening - especially for English speakers. It does however provide some important background to the island's barbaric past.
Especially striking is the list of prison alumni who went on to lead Vietnam's communists in war, first against France and then the US backed South Vietnamese regime. They include Le Duan, perhaps the second most influential figure in 20th century Vietnamese politics, Pham Van Dong, prime minister of North Vietnam and then united Vietnam for more than 30 years, Le Duc Tho, Kissinger's wily adversary in the Paris peace negotiations and many others.
There is also a small exhibit on the island's pre colonial history and its natural history.
Opposite the museum is pier 914. The name is derived from the number of prisoners said to have perished during its construction.