Con Dao, Vietnam
"I spent the better half of a week on Con Dao, one of the more memorable trips I’ve taken in Vietnam"
Published on Nov 8, 2011
I spent the better half of a week on Con Dao, one of the more memorable trips I’ve taken in Vietnam. The island—once notorious for its brutal and imposing prisons—is now a lesser known beach paradise. It’s like nowhere else I’ve ever been, and one of the country’s best-kept secrets. This shot was taken early one morning at a private villa at the Six Senses Resort, with the sun breaking through, burning off the storm clouds. For me, the photograph strikes that perfect chord—waking up in the morning in your own little island paradise and stepping outside to this view, and having the pathway to lead you right out to the water. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so happy to wake up to go to work. Con Dao is a world away from the rest of Vietnam. The island appears out of nowhere as you fly out over the sea and for most of the descent it looks as if you’ll be making an ocean landing. Then the runway appears. The island is so small that the landing strip actually cuts through to the water on the other side as well. I get a lot of assignments in the middle of nowhere, and a lot of times I end up sleeping on hard beds in small guesthouses in small towns. I love that kind of travel and the adventure that goes along with it. But I also really love this kind of trip: mattresses like clouds, landscaped gardens, ocean breezes, warm water and the gentle lull and hush of the waves providing a perfect soundtrack to the whole thing. You’d have to be crazy to find fault with that.
Photographer Aaron Joel Santos • Interviewed by Christopher Kucway