Don Khon

Trip Start Nov 26, 2006
Trip End Feb 12, 2007

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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Thursday, December 14, 2006

Kristina found this place ages ago and we'd decided that we just had to stay here - despite the shockingly high room rate (US$30 for a night!!!). It's a 6 room hotel with restaurant built on 4 rafts on the Mekong. We left our backpacks at the Kham Phong Restaurant and wandered down to Don Khon.

Interesting walk across the middle of Don Det island. Oh yeah. Don Det - Don means island. Don Det & Don Khon are two of the 4000 islands known locally as Si Phan Don (4,000 Islands oddly enough), down here at the far south end of Laos on the Mekong river. The largest island Don Kong has power 24 hours a day, but not so the rest of them. Place we stayed last night didn't have power at all (although they did give us a candle to use :) and there was a hammock on the balcony).

Anyway, Don Det - our first close up taste of the nature here in Laos. We were suprised how dry everything was. Especially down south in Cambodia, everything was really green - rice fields looking just about ready to harvest and everything. Up here it's really brown and dry. Strange - especially considering that we're on an island in the middle of a river.

At Don Khon they charge 9000kip (around US$1) to visit the island & waterfall - money goes to support the village & schools, and you get a ticket and everything.

Found our 'raftel' (Sala Phae) easily enough and checked in for two nights of R&R. They took us back up to Don Det to pick up our backpacks and then it was back to the relaxation. And relaxing it was. Something special about sitting on your own balcony, on your own raft, looking out over the sun going down over the Mekong. Mmmmmm....

Day after we took a stroll around the island, it's about 5km long and down on the south end you can see Cambodia & even hire a boat to go out and see the Irrawaddy dolphins. We skipped that since we'd seen them in Kratie already.

Headed back up to the local waterfall for lunch. Pretty amazing really. I mean the Mekong is a big river, but here, on an island in the middle of it there was a waterfall with huge amounts of water flowing down - 100m away the river was just flowing sedately past. Very cool though.

It's really obvious that the river here is essential to the local way of life. While the sun is up, there are always huge numbers of people fishing, bathing, washing the dishes or doing  the laundry in the river. The Water Buffaloes come down and bathe every day, every morning & evening it is bath time and all the locals come down and wash themselves (with clothes on and all). It's really cool just to be able to sit and take in the everyday life that goes on all around.

But after a couple of really relaxing days, it was time to move on again, with Pakse being our next stop. The hotel fixed our boat trip over (US$6 for the boat) and then it was a local bus (40000kip each), and 4 hours and a flat tire later we were in Pakse...
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