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Don Det, a 4000 island adventure...

sunny 30 °C

4000 Islands, Don Det and Don Khon
Having braved the border, the bus, the other bus and the boat, it was now time for our reward, the idyllic river islands of Don Det and Don Khon! Of course we had arrived in the dark and having spent not too long choosing a hostel – squat toilet, hammock outside, 30,000kip ($4), called Nouphit, we’d grabbed something unmemorable to eat and slumped into bed.

In the morning Susie woke up at sunrise and soon dragged John out of bed to see our impressive room with a view’s view....

After taking it in for a while we decided to go for an explore and set out to walk around the island. In the early morning light the rice fields and bungalows looked incredible, as did the waterside. All of the Lao were of course already busy at work.....

herding buffalo

(including 3 boys who thought leading a buffalo down a slope and back up again was the best game ever)...

going to school or ferrying supplies on their little boats,

as well as loads of pigs!.

We walked for the best part of an hour down the longer west side of the island where the buildings, though always few, faded to just a trickle. Perfect! At the end of the island we were presented with a rather surreal object to fill this rural land. A French arched railway bridge, complete with ruined tracks! The bridge had been a failed attempt by the French to make the Mekong and the islands into a trading route to China. This railway was, until recently, the only bit of railway ever built in Laos!

After this sight we continued on up the shorter side of the island and saw similar views of beautiful fields and farms and returned to ‘civilization’. We had a slightly overpriced but very necessary baguette (Laos bread is amazing, one thing to thank the French for!) with eggs and tomatoes for breakfast, had a chill and soon it was lunch time. This was another disappointing meal of cucumber....and not alot else.
Time for another walk! The bridge we had seen earlier is the link from Don Det to Don Khon, the more refined of the two islands. We set off down what would have been the railway route down the centre of the island from Don Det village pier..... to Don Khon. Unfortunately crossing the bridge is 20,000Kip each (about $3) and although according to most people we spoke to its easily dodged, we paid it in the hope it goes to someone who needs it. After crossing we headed for the “small” waterfall about 1km away.

When we arrived Susie thought this was it.....

But it actually looked more like this.....


Also we’d heard there was still a rusting locomotive from the old railway next to the tracks, a little way from where we crossed, which John was expectedly excited about. Needless to say he made sure we found it.....

As we walked back the sun was starting to set so we cruised up to Mr Happy’s bar to watch it come down. We were worried the clouds would preclude any postcard images but actually they added to the effect....

Once it was down they turned the lights off so we assumed it was our cue to leave. We headed back to the hostel area for dinner, yet another disappointing meal of Laap chicken, a spicy lime dish with rice. Dubious. Then it was off to bed, Susie had white water rafting on her mind for the morning......

Day two....we didn’t go rafting, you might be pleased to read, but we did go on a quest for lunch at “the veggie patch” a western farm which had just that day started to do food, and veggie lasagne was on the menu. Slightly expensive at 50,000k a portion, we shared one between us and wow was it tasty! Also we found out that the owners hadn’t been living there long and intended to grow all their own food in their rather inviting garden. Good luck to them *Susie hopes John doesn’t get any ideas of running away to Laos islands to be a farmer......*.
Between chilling in our hammocks and learning Japanese, we had samosas from a street seller for afternoon tea, which were also amazing and they became the plan for bus snacks the next day, and managed to get some dinner. Where we finally found some great food cooked by Lao, pumpkin burgers from Mama Tanon’s Rasta Cafe, which went especially well with the ketchup they had on the island. Roza, the best either of us had ever tasted! A bit of star gazing and then bed.. Ha what a lazy day compared to the first, but at least we’d found some food worth eating!

In the morning we’d booked ourselves on a boat to go to our next destination, Pakse and headed to the samosa lady for supplies but.....she wasn’t there! Bad bad times! Oh well. At the pier ready to go we joined the best part of 40 other tourists also heading away from paradise, we were bundled into the boats and headed for the mainland.......

Posted by John_713 04:29 Archived in Laos Tagged don_det 4000_islands si_phon_don nouphit

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Wow! this place looks amazing!

by Sarah

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