Hammocking at 4,000 Islands

Our arrival to Laos begun with a scam on border with Cambodia. Unfortunately even though we knew we were being scammed we couldn’t do anything about it. We didn’t pay, we didn’t get the visa. Simple. In the end everyone pays, just for the sake of peace of mind.

From the border we went straight to Don Det at 4,000 Islands. When we arrived at 2 o’clock in the afternoon Don Det was practically shut down. It was 35 degrees and everyone seemed to be hammocking in shade, smoking joints and enjoying the breeze of Mekong. And Don Det was good just for that. Hammocking and smoking. There wasn’t much else to do. We couldn’t even say that it was culturally enriching, because it was a village that existed purely for foreigners and locals seemed so fed up with the constant waves of people that they didn’t even try to be nice. Not something we expected, but on the other hand understandable. Don Det was a one street village with nothing else but restaurants, guesthouses and bars. Our first impression was not too good. We wanted to see Laos and it was not it. I was afraid that we came all this way for a Laotian version of Ibiza in the middle of chocolate-coloured Mekong.

Fortunately there was more to 4,000 Islands than that. One day we hired bicycles and went to a neighboring island Don Kong and there we found what we were hoping for from the beginning. Green nature, a thundering waterfall and a village which was a cute fusion of locals and travelers. The islands were connected by a bridge with beautiful views. At sun set it was absolutely magic. Tall palm trees, tiny little islands, stick-houses and the amazing Laotian sky painted with colours. It was a truly poetic view.

Don Det itself had a sunrise and sunset side. Our bungalow was on the sunrise side, but we spent our evenings marveling at the views on the sunset side. And there was much to marvel about because sunsets over 4,000 islands were one of the most beautiful I’ve seen. The only pity was that exploring more islands was not possible neither by kayak nor by boat. Trips organised by so called Tourist Agencies only went around an island and that’s it. When we persisted in asking whether it would be possible to go around all the 4,000 islands we were told that they’d have to organise a private tour for us, which of course would be exclusively expensive.

Having done bike ride across the islands and not being able to kayak anywhere interesting, there wasn’t much left to do and after 2 days we packed again and hit the road. Our next stop was Tad Lo on Bolaven Plateu.

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