In the most southern reaches of Laos, this often forgotten country or at least under explored is the Mekong archipelago which borders Cambodia. Known locally as Si Phan Don, to foreigners the Four Thousand Islands. Life goes by at a slower pace here for both the locals and travelers. It’s a very easy place to stay and a hard place to leave while time flickers by and the magnificent sunsets everlasting in your mind.
Between Don Det and neighbouring Don Khon it is not hard to keep busy during the days. While myself, I simply enjoyed walking the islands along the paths in between villages. Wandering around aimlessly going where my feet took me and seeing whatever came in front of me. There are nearly no motor vehicles on the island so renting a bicycle is also a good option. The natural beauty of the area is tremendous, along with the lush rice paddies and the many Wats (temples) that dot the islands.
Home to a couple of waterfalls, one of them being Southeast Asia’s largest is another way to spend the day, but comparatively to the others that can be seen elsewhere in the country, they are not that impressive. A boat trip can be taken to spot the Irrawaddy fresh water dolphins, although rare the chances may be slim (I had no such luck).
Tubing down the Mekong was my favorite way to spend the hot afternoons. Nothing like the tubing of Vang Vieng, which is fun in its own right, this is laidback and peaceful like a lazy river. Passing a small bottle of Lao Lao, the local rice whiskey, it’s like relaxing poolside with a couple cocktails with ever changing scenery.
Where to Stay: Don Det is more budget priced accommodation with a bit more active and lively backpacker feel to it. Don Khon is more mid-ranged pricing, quieter and a more laidback. Depends on what you are looking for.
How to get there: By bus and ferry – Coming from Pakse minibuses and cheaper more interesting local transport can be arranged from the Southern Bus station in Pakse. These will bring you to the ferry in Nakasang where you can cross to Don Det or Don Khon. Buses crossing over the border from Cambodia will also drop you here.