4000 Islands

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The 4000 Islands (Si Phan Don) are in Southern Laos in the Mekong on the border with Cambodia.  Several of the islands are populated with sleepy little riverside villages where local fisherman and their families stick to the traditional way of life.  A few of the larger islands (Don Det and Don Khan) now even have electricity and a several bungalows on the riverside that are open to travelers.  The Beer Lao and Lao Lao (local whiskey) flow like water, the riverside bungalows (with hammocks) cost about $7 and everyone is generally super friendly.

When we arrived, there was no dock, so we just kind of ran ashore on a beach and and saw some other foreigners with kayaks. Our friends from the bus, Or and Danielle were meeting a few more of their friends there so we walked around with our big bags asking about the guest house where their friends were, but no one knew. Finally we found them and met Rotem (Or’s girlfriend), Eden and Noa.  All were from Israel and were connected through their ties in the Air Force and they became our great friends and travel companions for the next few segments of the trip.

There was not an extra room at their place, so Adam and I found a bungalow a short walk from them. Amanda was so happy to finally have a hammock on our patio! We accidentally broke the bathroom door knob as we tried to shut the door to keep out the mosquitoes, as there was no screen in the bathroom windows. Instead of fixing the lock, the owner came in with a machete and hacked it to pieces. Oookay.  We ended up not needing a mosquito net though because I brought some of the incense-like coils with me from the Philippines.

The next morning we took a few motorbikes with side cars out to the neighboring island, Don Khon. We chartered a boat to see the Irrawaddy dolphins, freshwater dolphins that are nearly extinct. I think there are like 80 left in the world.  We waited in on a rock in the middle of the water on the Cambodia border, but could not see them. They were just over the line on the other side of the border and we couldn’t follow them.  We were a bit disappointed to miss these rare bump-nosed dolphins but it was still fun.

Then we went back in and took the bikes to see Tat Somphamit waterfalls, also known as Li Phi Falls. Two travelers died here, so fences kept us back from peeking over too far. We had our lunch from the viewpoint (we passed on the BBQ squirrel at the roadside stand). Then took a short hike down to a private beach on the Mekong.  On the boat ride back, we ran out of gas, so we got some petrol in a half full soda bottle from a lady on the side of the river.

That night, after watching a beautiful sunset over the Mekong from another boat (which also ran out of gas), we had a grilled catfish that was just pulled out of the river for dinner. That night we told the Israelis about the Treetop Explorer Zip Line Experience (which that had not heard of)  and after a bit of discussion they agreed to come along with us!  So now we had a big enough group to make the trip affordable, and we were all really excited!  Or and Danielle brought out some fresh Israeli snacks that they had brought with them (Halvah and Bamba…so good!)  Then we enjoyed some BeerLao and headed back to our bungalow.

After another relaxing morning and great riverside breakfast, all 7 of us and our bags piled onto a small boat. Nearly thought we would sink and I was bailing water out the whole time with a plastic jug, but we puttered along and made it back to Ban Nakasang.  We waited for an aircon minibus and were all piled in for the 2 1/2 hour ride back to Paske.  Fortunately we were dropped off in town and only a few blocks walk from Green Discovery. We went to office and found out two others were interested in TreeTop Explorer and we  all decided to book the 2-night, 3-day trip.   The seven of us went to a local market to buy some supplies (A box of wine and several packs of assorted cookies) and then went back to our Pakse hotel to get a good nights sleep before heading out to the jungle.  Unfortunately, the “good nights sleep”  turned out to be not-so-good.  Amanda had come down with some sort of violent stomach sickness and was up the entire night.  My mind was racing, trying to figure out how to take care of her and also not lose our deposit on the trek

  • Headed back to Shore on out low Boat
  • Mandy Chillin in the Hammock
  • Family Taking in the Days Catch
  • Adam Chillin in the Hammock
  • Family Bathing in the River
  • Man Rowing up to Laotian Temple on the Mekong
  • Mother and Child on the Mekong Riverside
  • Karate Battle on the Mekong
  • Round 1…Fight!
  • Family on the Mekong Riverside
  • Water Bungalows in 4K Islands
  • Girl Washing in the Mekong
  • Water Bungalows in 4K Islands
  • The Baby Drank Too Much Coke?
  • Private Beach on the Mekong
  • Adam is Hungry
  • Charlie's Angels?
  • School Children in Don Det
  • Family Headed Home on the Mekong
  • Mekong Fisherman Headed Back Home
  • Huts on the Mekong
  • On the way to Don Det

Posted: June 24, 2012

Author: Adam and Amanda

Category: Asia, Blog, Continents, Laos


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