Going back in time

Trip Start Mar 24, 2009
Trip End Jun 01, 2009

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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Saturday, April 18, 2009

3000 islands is an area in southern Laos where the Mekong river widens and creates thousands of small islands. We decided to stay on an island called Don Khone which is very close to the Cambodian border. Reading beforehand I expected to find a few basic bungalows and a couple of more upscale options. Up until this point in the trip I had taken internet access for granted, as there had been an internet café in every town we visited. When we arrived it became clear that the area was very different than what the guidebook had suggested. Everything was extremely basic, no hot water anywhere, and only a couple of places with electricity for a couple of hours in the evenings. We did see one shop that had a sign out front that said internet, but when I asked about it the woman just laughed at me.

After finding a clean bungalow overlooking the river we decided to explore the island. We walked around for a few hours and happened upon a large waterfall. It was pretty amazing. We headed back to our guesthouse for dinner and to watch the sunset. Even though the new year was officially over the owners of our guesthouse and their family were still celebrating, and by dinnertime they were all really drunk and singing karaoke. I don't really understand the appeal, but it seems like everyone over here is obsessed with karaoke. Anyways, they went on singing until the power went out that night.

The next day we rented bikes so that we could better explore the islands. We rented a couple of bikes from our guesthouse for a couple of dollars and set out around 10am or so. It was already really hot and sunny. After riding for less than five minutes both of the chains on our bikes had fallen off. Luckily two Lao women saw us struggling to fix the bikes and showed us how to fix them. We thanked them and went on our way again... for the next two minutes until Katherine's chain broke again.  After spending about 20 minutes trying to ride the bikes, but having them continuously break we decided to return them to the guesthouse and try renting bikes from somewhere else.  After asking around we found one place with nice new sturdy bikes for rent. 

The new bikes worked really well and we spent the rest of the day riding around Don Det and Don Khone.  Don Det was much more developed than Don Khone, with more guesthouses and places to eat, but still without power for much of the day.  After the bike ride we returned to our bungalow to lay in the hammocks on our porch, read and nap.

Although the islands were much different than I had expected we had a really good and relaxing time.  There is not much to do except hang out and look at the river.  It has much more of a village feel than anywhere else we have been so far.  The pace of life is a lot slower on the islands.  People usually wake up at around sunrise and go to sleep not long after the sun goes down.  The scenery was beautiful, especially by the river at  sunset.  The people depend on the river.  Days are spent fishing, swimming, washing clothes and bathing in the river.  I wish we could have spent a few more days, but with no banks or atms on the islands we were on a tight budget.  After booking our bus to Cambodia and paying for the hotel we made it to the Cambodian border with just around $2.50 in kip left.
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ellebee88 on

this place reminds me of how i felt when i got to togo. I really really liked the setting in togo and had said at one point 'geez, if only i could do a semester HERE..." then i realized the no internet thing would be hard to live with---and my mind jumped back to this entry that yall wrote. But, sometimes it is nice to wake up at sunrise and go to sleep when it gets dark. and who cares about hot water, right? (just kidding-i wish i had a hot shower right now)

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