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Don Det

Don Det Travel Blog

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Passenger long boat on the Mekong

Had a nice lie in this morning and then had a wasted journey to the bank to change kip to US dollars ready for Cambodia, it being Saturday. I checked out at 12 midday and took my bag to the guest house one up from Pon's for a breakfast of sticky rice cooked with banana in coconut milk. There were boatmen playing board games by the river, waiting for passengers and when I asked them as I passed to the bank they said it would cost 40,000 kip to Don Det. I met two dread-haired guys at breakfast, one of whom I had passed several times on my cycle tour yesterday, and as they were going to Don Det too we hoped to get a good price. When we returned as a group he said 50,000 per person. Apparently the price goes up after midday! To be fair to him however, although we agreed a slightly reduced price, the boat trip along the Mekong actually took about an hour - must better value compared to the 20,000 kip I paid yesterday to travel from one side of the river to the other.

Long boat fishing on the Mekong
.. We meandered through the little deltas, sliding gently down mini rapids that trickled between the islands, all the while the pale blue water reflecting the pale blue sky with the land forming just a thin band of luscious green between the two.

 

We arrived on the beach at Don Det to an audience of 40 bikini-clad westerners who advised we go to the guest houses further down 'Sunset Strip' to save money. I settled at Doram Guest House (or something similar) which was a stilted wooden hut with 2 beds, an outside hammock, and own bathroom for $5. It wasn't especially secure, so when I went to check email (400 kip/minute!) I secured my bags by chains to the window metal grilles. I needn't have worried though.

 

After an hour or so it was time to join the westerners on the beach lapping up the last rays over the Mekong.

The calm before the storm, Don Det
Sadly I timed it badly and the sun was fast disappearing behind a billow of white, fluffy clouds, and thunder kept rolling over the islands. It stayed humid and warm though, so we all stayed sat on the sand; I floated around for a bit, until a sudden wind picked up and suddenly people were grabbing their towels and bags as they caught the wind and swirled around. I grabbed a beer, went to my hammock and looked through the Lonely Planet about Cambodia.

 

After an hour I went to meet Anna and Felicia for dinner, two Swedish girls I had met around town earlier. Felicia was very ill on antibiotics from an allergic reaction, so when she went to bed, Anna and I went to the Reggae Bar to meet the monkey she had met the night previously (he was curled up sleeping in someone's arms, and they wouldn't let us take photos with the flash), where we were mobbed by a bunch of drunken people trying to convince us to dive bomb into the Mekong from the jumping platform in the dark. They then proceeded to tell us in detail about the sewage from the island that they pump into the water, and that the same water is used for all the showers. Nice.

 

The island only has 4 hours of electricity a day (though I assume the internet cafes have their own generators as they are on all day), so at around 11pm all the lights went out and it was our cue to go down to the beach where every night some kind soul lights a fire. Everyone buys a last beer (illegally) from the street vendor and then proceeds to sit up chatting in the firelight. You can imagine the rest.

 

I stayed for a couple of hours, but then turned in before my border crossing tomorrow, so bid my farewells. Walking back to my shack was beautiful though - I walked through the deserted strip which was blue in the moonlight and black in the shadows of the trees, bamboo and huts. The night hummed with the shrill song of the cidadas and I actually just sat down for a while to listen and look at the peaceful night in the jungle....

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Passenger long boat on the Mekong
Passenger long boat on the Mekong
Long boat fishing on the Mekong
Long boat fishing on the Mekong
The calm before the storm, Don Det
The calm before the storm, Don Det
Don Det Hostels review
Dalom Guest House
I was told the further up the strip you went the cheaper it got so I went to the far end of the strip to Dalom (before the road narrows and disappears… read entire review
Don Det
photo by: Stevie_Wes