Don Khon, Si Phan Don (4000 Islands), Laos
12th August 2012 08:06
Oh dear, I ended up in a place basically built for lying in a hammock all day again! I hate when that happens...
Welcome to Laos. And what a welcome. Sleepy Si Phan Don, otherwise known as 4000 islands is in the south of Laos, pretty much straight after the border from Cambodia.
I have no idea if there are actually 4000 islands or not, I'd be willing to bet that even if someone actually went to the trouble of counting them, they ended up at 3987 or something and rounded up, which is cheating really, but I'll let them off. Regardless, there are far fewer than that in rainy season when I arrived, as the majority of them are underwater.
Two exceptions to this are the islands of Don Khon and Don Det, commonly visited by tourists passing through the area. I opted to stay in Don Khon, which is supposed to be the quieter of the two. The islands are linked by a bridge anyway, so you can easily visit the neighbouring island if you so wish. I had intended to do just that, but my laziness and the hammock on the deck outside my room colluded to ensure that didn't actually happen.
Don Khon is serious competition for Otres Beach in Cambodia for the most relaxing place I've been to so far. There are a couple of waterfalls you can visit anytime you want to interrupt your busy 'lying down' schedule - I roused myself long enough to take a walk to one.
The deck of the guesthouse gave a great view over the river to Don Det, and downstream to the connecting bridge. There were hammocks outside each of the rooms so people were often relaxing there enjoying the peace and quiet. I met Ella, Emilia and Kevin also staying in the same guesthouse, and we went out for an eventful dinner the one night we were all there together. It started normally enough, but as we began receiving our meals the wind picked up substantially. Before long the inevitable happened and the heavens opened, prompting the restaurant owners to batten down their (largely ineffective) canvas hatches. The wind was blowing the rain in across the restaurant, and we still got fairly wet and cold despite moving the table further away from the edge of the deck! Definitely a meal I'll remember for a while.
Oh, Ella reckoned I look like Hollywood actor Lee Pace, who I'd not actually heard of before - what do you reckon?
In typical Asian fashion, Ella broke out the camera the following morning and taught some typical poses!
Naturally, being an island you have to arrive and leave by boat. It's quite comical watching people wobbling when getting in and out, the threat of taking a dunk ever present. Luckily I avoided that situation, and made it safely back to dry land to head to Champasak.