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Our World Adventure Stevie and Kat's big adventure!

Don Det (4000 Islands)

LAOS | Tuesday, 21 October 2008 | Views [1067] | Comments [2]

Laos, quite possibly the most chilled out country on earth, at least...thats what all the guide books advised....

A country I had known very little about before actually crossing the border, and without an up to date guide book - Laos was an unknown country to us. We had heard from other travellers throughout our journey that it was pretty cool, a friendly country, significantly less spoiled by tourists than other places.

We took a bus from Ban Lung in Cambodia to Stung Treng (another breakdown en route - we almost expect it now!), it was kind of like travelling with a family - the breakdown had ensured that the women had all bonded and were busy chattering in the front, and the men had magically become mechanics and all sat and laughed and joked on the floor around the car - sending various people out on motorbikes to retrieve parts and bottles of strange looking liquid. After a while we finally got started again and drove on where we picked up a women and her two kids. One of the kids had fallen asleep on Stevie's shoulder which was pretty cute....until he woke up and threw up all over his mother!

Upon our arrival in Stung Treng we moved from our bus to a large car which took us over the Laos border, the border consisting of two little huts about 1km from each other, ofcourse each border official claimed that $1 administration fees was required so we loyally paid this.....

After a short drive further over bumpy roads and past little huts with chickens and pigs, we eventually arrived at a little village on the waterfront. Our boat to Don Det was probably one of the rockiest yet, any slight hint of movement and the boat rocked from side to side - I was so glad to get to the Island! On our border crossing we met a Swiss Couple who were also going to the islands so together we searched for somewhere to stay.

Don Det was pretty amazing, and probably even more because we didn't really know what to expect and had only heard that the island had no electricity and no cars! After hopping off our rickety boat into the shallow part of the Mekong River, and rescuing our backpacks from the boat before their possible descent into the Mekong, we walked up and checked out a few places to stay. Most of the accommodation on the Island consisted of little wooden bungalows. Eventually we found one on the so-called 'sunset side' in 'Mister B's' Bungalows - a great little hut with two hammocks out the front...what more could one want? We brought our packs in and joined the Swiss couple (Sasha and Maria) for a well deserved Beer Lao on the Veranda...watching the Sunset :)

We stayed in the little restaurant at Mister B's for most of the night, following the sunset, lightning ensued and flashed accross the water, lighting up clouds and mountains in the distance which was very beautiful to watch. Stevie and I went for a walk up the 'street' (if you could call it that?!) which was lit up mostly by generators which all went off at 10pm. The island at night was like nothing I had ever seen before, everyone lay relaxing in hammocks or sitting at their little shops...chickens walked about at our feet (and cows, and goats, and cats without tails!) and backpackers sat here and there in the small restaurants - chatting and joking....yes this place was superchilled!

The following morning we got up and took a walk around and decided to go on the 'dolphin and big waterfall tour'. Apparently 'Irrawaddy Dolphins' native to the Mekong swim around the Islands so we took a boat and a bus and a boat to a grassy bank where we sat and waited for the Dolphins...we waited and we waited...eventually we seen a dolphin head and a dolphin fin a few times but overall our 'dolphin sighting' was a little disappointing! The big waterfall was a little more spectacular - a raging waterfall plunging down into the white frothy bottom - we climbed down and let the cool air surround us for a while, a temporary escape from the hot asian heat...an interesting little story about this waterfall - the locals believe the falls act as a trap for bad spirits as they wash down the river and so will never swim in the river...

That night we went for dinner in the 'Reggae Bar', a nice little restaurant by the water with kittens, a pet monkey, dogs and kids running around.  We started with 5 people but soon people began joining us and we ended up with nine people - eight different nationalities of people sitting around a table  sharing their travel stories...it was really interesting and great to meet so many different people!  Ofcourse hometime was never really that late as the generators went out at 10 which meant we needed to get get back before that or risk finding our hut in the dark (and my fear of bugs didn't allow us to come back in the dark for the fear of the unknown!!)

On our second day we woke to hear a chanting sound outside, when we looked out around 20 monks were sitting in their orange robes in the owner's house and also blessing the huts, these are the kinds of one of experiences that stick in the mind and belong to the Asia experience...

After this enlightening experience, we had some breakfast and were joined by Bas, the Dutch Guy who invited us to his wife's birthday party in the local bakery at 5pm. To see the island a bit more we hired some bicycles and cycled around the Island.  The Island is incredibly beautiful with rice fields and waterfalls and jungle. and we cycled over an old railway bridge to the second island where we had some lunch.  At around 3pm a dark sky indicated that we should return to our hut before getting caught in a monsoon downpour, we we made our way back and chilled out in our hammocks whilst watching the ferocious rain...

At 5 O'clock, we walked down along the mucky mucky path to the Bakery where we had birthday cake, pumpkin burgers and Beer Lao, all lit by candle light....we had another lovely night with lots of backpackers talking and laughing and sharing their experiences, our walk back to our hut  was a  little less fun sliding and slipping in the muck in the pitch black!

Having extended our trip from two nights to three nights, we reluctantly got up the next morning and organised our bus to our stopover destination of Pakse before going to 'Tad Lo', a very beautiful part of Laos in the Bolaven Plateau...

Tags: 4000 islands, don det, laos, mr bs bungalows

Comments

1

Wat een prachtig verhaal! Jullie hebben daar echt een soort paradijs ontdekt. Des te verder jullie komen, des te meer ik ervan overtuigd ben dat jullie manier van reizen de meeste avonturen oplevert en de meeste indrukken achterlaat. Echt geweldig om via deze blog met jullie mee te reizen. Veel liefs en heel veel plezier, Frits

  Frits Nov 1, 2008 7:11 PM

2

Wat een heerlijke tijd hebben jullie daar ! Meer ! En meer van dit soort belevenissen ! ik geniet ! liefs, Tien

  tineke Nov 4, 2008 2:20 AM

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