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Si Phan Don – The 4.000 Islands

Don Det, 4.000 Islands, South Laos

Don Det, 4.000 Islands, South Laos

Of the so called 4.000 islands on the southernmost part of the Mekong in Laos, only three are tourist destinations: Don Khong, Don Det & Don Khon. We guess all readers now know that “Don” means “Island” in Lao.

“Relaxed” & “quiet” said our tour guide and people who had been there. We were rather skeptical: a REALLY quiet place is a luxury nowadays and difficult to find. But yes, it is true, even though we made the biggest island, Don Khong, our first destination and stayed in the center of the main “town”, Muang Khong. Still it was quiet, except for the TV at full blast at Pong’s Restaurant downstairs.

Most people on the backpacker circuit through Laos go straight to Don Det & Don Khon, which are supposedly more scenic. This is why we chose Don Khong, because it is “real”. Its very center, Muang Khong is actually the only place where you find tourists and the infrastructure that comes along with them. The visitor can choose among ten different hosts, from basic guesthouses to very fine hotels, usually with a restaurant attached. Apparently quite a few local families purchased computers and are now in the Internet cafe business, with surprisingly good connections.

Probably we were among the 20 to 30 tourists presently populating this island: this is the low season in June. Our only activity was to circle the island on a motorbike on our second day. This trip took us along rice paddies and through small villages. In one place we came across a local who spoke very good German because he had studied in Rostock in the 1970s.

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