After a great couple of days in the Laos capital Vientiane we ventured off to a gorgeous location called 4000 islands on the Mekong river in southern Laos. A flight, car and boat ride later we made it to Don Khone Island. Don Khone is known as the ‘flash packers island’ compared to its party neighbour across the river, Don Det. Our first impressions were jaw dropping with grazing water buffalo, unique water accommodation and many tourists lazing in hammocks. I knew that I could get comfortable with the peacefulness here.
Our floating accommodation at Sala Done Khone Hotel was unique with access via wooden gangplanks plus a balcony on the Mekong where you could dip the toes into the river. The room was quite spacious, and very charming. The beds are comfortable, the bathroom pleasant and the wifi was a bit slow but worked. There are two options of floating accommodation and also bungalow style rooms. We were amongst the life on the river.
The next morning we were up early, mounted a tuk tuk to view the ever-decreasing population of freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins. The long tail boat ride just on sunrise and the early morning didn’t disappoint, yes we did see dolphins engaged in their morning frolics with Cambodia coming to life in the background as the sun rose higher
Khone Phapheng waterfalls was our next stop where the Mekong smashes into a wide rock plateau splitting it into fingers and shards of water. This produces hundreds of spectacular waterfalls and rapids with numerous viewing options. There is also a nice bar and an area with hammocks and bungalows where you can hangout. This amazing area gives you some great views of the water falls. It was explained to us that the waterfalls are more spectacular during the dry as the drop is higher because of lower water levels.
Day Three at 4000 islands was our National Day and we celebrated Australia Day with a bike trip over to Don Det. We toured the island calling into numerous restaurants and enjoying a fresh spring roll taste test along the way to keep up our energy and beer Lao to keep us hydrated. Don Det is a party island where backpackers party the night away and sleep in hammocks on bungalow balconies during the day. A great way to spend a gap year !
Where we stayed
3 nights at Sala Done Khone Hotel approx $80 US per night (floating accommodation high season)
Where we ate
The restaurants on this island all have similar menus we were keen for sunsets and cold drinks and this is what we loved about the island. Yes the service is slow but that is the general pace of things on the island take a book chat to the staff or simply enjoy the peace of island life.
Fasi restaurant – They are committed to learning English by getting you to write your order and reading it back. We enjoyed some great red wine depleting their stocks so the owner sped off on his motorbike source more from some secret location. So much effort, I would love to see this restaurant rewarded.
Lao Long – centre of town (not on the river) great food (try the exotic fish and the banana leaf chicken)
Nok Noi – great riverfront location awesome sunset good local food.
Where we played
Bike ride over the bridge to Don Det
Khone Phapheng Falls, Khone Falls, Khonepapeng
The islands were plentiful and so beautiful. The sunsets were definitely my highlight.
I can’t guarantee that there are 4000 islands but it was worth the trip down south to see this unique setting and both Don Det and Don Khone.