Taking a motorcycle into the tukutuk.
Before Christineās flight to Bangkok she recommended us to make a stop at Si Phan Don in southern Laos, the region of the āFour Thousand Islandsā. In this area the Mekong river fans out and forms a fascinating network of channels, rocks, sandbars and islets. This was the place we were now heading to.
Our bus arrived in Pakse, the biggest city of the region, in the morning. It was only 8am, but already relatively hotā¦not mentioning the humidity. Honestly, I missed the cooler and more comfortable climate of Luang Prabang a bit.
We needed to get to another bus station located more centrally if we wanted to get the connection to Si Phan Don, which was still a ācoupleā of kilometers far away. Pakse isnāt very big so we decided to walk a bit to strech our bones. The city didnāt look āexitingā at all, but we didnāt mind as we wouldnāt stay here for long anyway. Our Pakse highlights before catching a big tuktuk direction south was a huge dusty market and a cup of Lao tea we ordered in a little pub. As I mentionedā¦not very exiting.
Getting the maximum into a tuktuk.
The vehicle supposed to bring us to Si Phan Don was a larger tukutuk with a relatively unfriendly driver. To make the best deal he wanted to get his tuktuk full so we made several longer stops on the way. Sometimes we were standing for some 15-20 minutes at one little crossing waiting if maybe some local who need to get somewhere will appear. Pretty annoying and not only for us foreigners. The Lao passengers started to complain as well, nobody wanted to arrive in the night.
The driver reacted angry but suddenly gave up. During the following kilometers we made stops only if there were people waiting directly on the road. Once we passed by a couple that got a flat tyre on their motorcycle and guess what. We took them on board holding the motorcycle between us. I guess the driver was pretty happy that he could charge them for that extra. Maybe that was as well the reason why we stopped making unnecessary stops.
A small dusty village.
About 2 hours later we arrived in a small dusty village next to the Mekong river. It was afternoon and damn hot here, uffff. The place looked quite shabby and poor and the heat made everything look even a bit worse. Mit leaded us to the river and organized a boat that would bring us to one of the islands called Don Det. Couple of minutes later we were heading to our final destination.
Don Det is not the main touristic spot in Si Phan Don, itās the bigger Don Khong island in the north where the major part of the tourists ends up.
A good reason for us NOT to go there but to stay on Don Det. This island together with Don Khon (connected through a bridge) have managed to retain some of their previous beauty and charm and though the backpackers scene is growing itās still relatively calm.
From here we took a boat to the Don Det island.
Organizing an accommodation seemed pretty easy here, just 20 minutes after our arrival we had one. For 1 USD per person per night we got two simple rooms in a big bamboo cottage. The common toilet and shower werenāt the places you wanted to spend more time then necessary, but the cottage had a charm on its own. And an amazing view on the river Mekong and the other islands. Priceless.
We were in a mood to see what the island has to offer, thatās why after a little rest we rent some bicycles and started our exploring tour.
Everything around us looked like in the old times as if this part of Laos fell asleep missing the technology developments all around. We cycled crisscross both connected islands until we reached a stream in which waters we found the refreshment we were looking for, hmmmm.
Just bin? What else?
In the evening back in our accomodation we met one of our neighbors, one French woman named Veronique. This about 40 years woman was touring alone around the world visiting the places she always dreamed of, we found that quite impressive.
We spent the evening trying to buy a Lao brandy called Lao-Lao as a last souvenir from this country we would leave soon.
We asked in a couple of bars, restaurants and in 2 stores, but all we got were 5 louzy little bottles. For all of us. Were all the island habitants alcoholics or what? A little remark on the end. After my friends back home finished my last bottle of this brandy, the only thing I can say is that Iāve never seen them doing things like they did that night. My friend Michael tried even break dance on the floor for the first time in his lifeā¦tried. I wonder that he didnāt break any of his bones, hahaha.
On the boat with Mit, Sergej and Pavel.