Relax on Don Det Island
Si Phan Don, Laos
Relax on Don Det Island Si Phan Don Reviews
Relaz on Don Det Island Sep 07, 2009
Right where the Mekong pours from Laos into Cambodia it branches out forming a series of small islands collectively known as Si Phan Don (4,000 islands). These islands are known for their relaxed, simple and slow way of life. There are no cars or roads on the island, only footpaths and electricity runs for three hours a day. Don Det island is one of the smaller islands with tourist ammenities to be found only in the northern most tip. The further south you go on the island the further you get from internet services and from the bulk of the tourists.
I stayed in a guesthouse that was a series of bungalows, about a 15 minute walk south from the northern tip of the island on the east coast. (You can walk the length of the whole island in 30 min) My room consisted of a bungolow on the river with no electricity but a comfy hammock on my little balcony. To my left was the best restaurant in all of Laos (a little shack run by the wife of the bungalow owner).
It was here I decided to abandon my plans, remove my watch and just chill for a few days. If you walk (or bike) to the point furthest north on the island you come across an abandoned railway built by the French that is now used as a bridge between Don Det island and the larger, more tourist laden Don Khon island. The railway cuts across Don Khon island and is a very bumpy, slow way to cut through the island. You can see ruins of a few colonial buildings as well as a series of small waterfalls.
Expect to wait an hour and half for dinner, but also expect not to care as you talk with your fellow travelers, drink a beer and watch the thunderstorm light show of sunset. Expect three hours of electricity and a cold shower but enjoy the sound of the Mekong as it slips by and the light of your candle on your balcony.
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