Across the border to Laos - Don Det
Trip Start Apr 12, 2011
86Trip End Apr 01, 2012
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Where I stayed
We quickly realise the Laos island life is very laidback, probably the most laid back place we have been. So much so, that if you want a beer you go and help yourself from the fridge, if you want to order you have to go and coax some family member at perhaps taking your order. Saying that it’s a good place to be, once you know the system! We have drinks on the sunset side of the island, on cushions again, they don’t really do chairs here either. Then choose a French Laos restaurant for dinner. Afterwards, we walk back along a very dark path to try and find our guesthouse, there is only recently main grid electricity here so they don’t waste it on lighting when there is a tv to power.
Next day we get another lesson on Laos culture, don’t try and order breakfast the day after the family has been to a wedding. 45 minutes after we had ordered, Mr Phao’s wife comes over to tell us that she didn’t have bread so could we have pancakes instead. We eventually get our breakfast and then Mr Phao rocks up with the shopping (he went by boat), we’ll forgive them as think they probably had a big night last night and are running a bit behind!
We rent some bikes for the day and cycle around Don Det and the adjoining Don Khong – we have to pay $2.50 each to cross a 20 metre bridge which seems excessive but think Laos are cottoning on to squeezing pennies from tourists. Both islands are nice to see, sleepy little settlements, farms, random livestock strolling about, school children on scooter and children shouting ‘Sabaidee’ (Laos greeting), all keep us occupied
Evening time we have sunset drinks again and go to an Indian for dinner where a 12 year old girl manages to keep on top of serving the whole restaurant while her family cook in the kitchen – I like to hope she goes to school during the day but I’m not so sure.
On our second day, we’re even lazier than our first (we must be adjusting to Laos time). We spend the morning in the river at the beach (which comes complete with its own water buffalo) as it’s the coolest place to be, literally the only place you can feel comfortable in the sun. Followed by a lazy afternoon in cafes and then a trip on the river at sunset. Our guide takes us around some of the islands and we pass many villages. At this time of the day everyone is having their daily bath in the river which seems to be a big custom here. There are plenty of kids splashing around and waving to us on the boat. We stop at an island in the river, which during wet season must be at the bottom of the river, where a family is farming. Our guides show us the watermelon, peanuts, and cucumber they are growing and how they keep their fish fresh. The fish that are caught are kept in nets still in the river and so only when our guide buys one for his family is it killed. We go for a watermelon instead which is tasty, apparently because it doesn’t have ‘medicines’ – we think he meant pesticides. We have found that a lot of things in Laos are organic as they wouldn’t think of using chemicals on their crops