Long way away

Trip Start Sep 30, 2012
Trip End Oct 03, 2013

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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  , Champasak,
Thursday, April 11, 2013

I took my first night bus in Asia to go south to 4000 Islands in Laos. It was a sad day in Vientiane because our group had to split up. It was really nice to travel with a big group except when having to sort out the bill at restaurants. I stayed on with two of the guys (Sam and Hugo) and the others divided into various groups. Our night bus was really interesting. We had small beds on the lower level (upper would have been way better). We thought Hugo got the worse end of the stick because he was stuck with a local while Sam and I shared a mattress. However, Hugo's bunkmate left part way through the night and he had the whole thing to himself. Meanwhile, Sam and I are both tall and couldn’t stretch out and only one person could be on their back at a time and the other had to be on their side. Needless to say, we didn’t really sleep and arrived at Pakse really tired. We had a bit of a wait in Pakse before a minibus drove us to another little town where we took a boat across to the island of Don Det. We found ourselves a bungalow on the island (think beds in a shack) and prepared to relax.

The first day we just wondered around the island and met some other travelers. The island is really tiny. The town is mainly bungalows and restaurants and tour companies to book bus tickets back to Pakse. The little local beach was occupied by a water buffalo, so we only took a picture. Otherwise, we didn’t do too much. We tried to watch the sunset, but it was too cloudy. In the end, we played some cards and had an early night.

The next day, we started late as is normal on the island. We rented bicycles to explore the next island over. The islands are connected by a bridge that has a small cost to cross. The main goal was to see the waterfall. Unfortunately, the road signs are not marked unless you happened to be traveling in the opposite direction. That meant we ended up at the far side of the island with a view of Cambodia. We had to stop for a drink to cool down. The temperature was 40 degrees, but with the humidity felt like 48 degrees. Needless to say, we consumed a lot of water and sweated it all out!

When we turned around, we were able to find the waterfall without difficulty. It was really nice, but would have been interesting to see in the rainy season. We walked down to the beach too cool off. Before biking back, we stopped for another drink, and the poor woman laughed at the number of pops, waters, and shakes the three of us consumed. We definitely paid her salary for the week!

The rest of the day was spent doing a lot of nothing. It was too hot to move much until the sun set. Then we just played cards and hung out with other travelers who had been around for much longer.

The next morning we set off to Pakse again. We were unsure as to whether we would stay or continue on to Hanoi. It turned out that due to the bus times, we had to go first to Hue on a bus the next day and then on to Hanoi by train. The night in Pakse was fairly quiet. We walked to the river to find some food. They are obviously not used to foreigners as none of the menus were in English. I ordered by randomly pointing to a number on the menu and ended up with a great beef and mushroom dish. It was a nice night out with the locals.
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