4000 Islands

 I Continue From Here – Exploring Vientiane


Backpacking Laos: Day 004 (09-Feb-2020) & Day 005 (10-Feb-2020)


4000 Islands


We reached Pakse at around 7:30AM. At Pakse, we had to get off at a local tour operators office who would arrange for our van to 4000 Islands. This ticket from Vientiane to 4000 islands involves a bus, a van and a boat ride. The office we were at, had a dorm in the first floor. Its called the Pakse Backpacker dorms and restaurant. They also have bikes for rent. I had a look at their dorm. The entire first floor had about 15 beds next to one another on the floor. The place was neat and the price, economical. A bed cost 35,000 KIP Per night. I decided to stay there on my way back. 

When the van arrived, we drove further south for about an hour or two. Then, we had to ride a boat to cross the river and reach Don Det Island.  The boat was filled with backpackers. This had been an incredible journey. 

Si Phan Don or 4000 islands are several islands located on the Mekong River near the Cambodian border of Laos. The main island being Don Det. 

I had booked a stay at Malina Guesthouse at Don Det island. After a bit of searching, I finally found the place. The care taker was away. His wife and little kid got me checked in to a cottage. I was supposed to share the cottage with one other guest but that night no one had booked the place. So, I had the entire cottage for myself. 


Caretaker Phonepaserd is a kind Laotian man in his mid-twenties. He tells me that the owner of this place is an Indian. Many Indians have bought land in partnership with Laotians and do business here. The Indians have the money to invest and the Laotians are mostly honest and will fulfil the Government requirements for paperwork which prohibits full investment by Foreign nationals.  Phon tells me that the owner visits the place once a year. He is from Tamil Nadu. 


Phon’s daughter is really cute. For lunch, his wife made me an extremely delicious pumpkin burger. I relaxed for a bit and then went out to explore the neighbourhood. The village by the river looked interesting. There are plenty of guesthouses along the route. I was surprised to see Samosas made of Pumpkin. They were delicious. I took a walk along the river observing the day to day activities of the locals. 

The pigs were being fed, the ducks were guided back home. The locals were playing Sepak Takraw (Kick Volleyball). 

After a short walk around the island, I picked a nice riverside cafe to relax. I ordered a cold coffee and sat reading a book. The view of the sunset from there was spectacular. 

Back at the cottage, Phon and his friend were drinking some beer. I joined them and we spoke for a long time. At around 10:30 PM, I called it a day and went back to my room. 


Next morning, I hired a bicycle and decided to explore the Don Khon island. The place reminded me of my hometown. I passed through paddy fields and crossed a few bridges. 

My first stop was at the Dolphin observation center which is located at the southern tip of Don Khon island. Here, I hired a boat to view the Irrawaddy dolphins. We were lucky to spot a few. My boatman was a young boy perhaps in his teens. Since we did not speak a common language, he just chose to remain silent and occasionally smile at me. We spent a lot of time in the river and were lucky to spot a few dolphins. As we came closer to the dolphins, we would stop the engine and stay still. I enjoyed this trip and watching the three Irrawaddy dolphins swim across the river was an interesting experience. . 

On my way back, I met two kids returning back from school. They stopped me and checked my bag for anything to eat. Luckily I had some biscuits for them. 

I then bicycled to Li phi waterfall. A nominal entry fee has to be paid at the entrance. I liked the place but there wasn’t much to do other than watching the river flow by. There were some pools but they did not look appealing. 

I stopped for lunch at a beautiful riverside restaurant run by Sengahloune Resort which is located close to the historic bridge that connects Don Det with Don Khon island. I had some thai curry with rice. The ambience and the food was great. 

Next stop - Khonepasoi waterfall. This waterfall was all dried up. The trail to get there was interesting though. With no-one around the place was peaceful. 

Back in town, I headed to an Indian restaurant called Nisha Restaurant run by a Tamil Indian family. I had a brief chat with the owner and his daughter. It was an occasion to practice my knowledge of Tamil language. I wasn’t bad afterall. While waiting for my food, I continued with my sketch of Patuxai. 

Next morning, I chose to stay back at the guesthouse and sketch. I had booked my boat back to mainland at around 10:30AM. Saying goodbye to my kind owner and his cute little daughter was difficult. His friend too came over to see me off. His wife bid me with a cheerful smile. Phon and his daughter came to the dock to see me off. 

Though my stay here was brief, I felt bonded to these people. They are extremely friendly and treated me like one among them. There is a genuine niceness about the Laotians. 

CONTINUED HERE  -  Pakse (The Bolaven Plateau Loop)