Trip Start Jun 12, 2011
124Trip End Oct 22, 2012
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Where I stayed
An island in the Mekong River in the far south of Laos near the Cambodia border and part of what is know as the 4000 Islands, Don Det is a welcome change of pace. Sleepy riverside villages with sarong clad ladies and children playing in the mud or cying bikes that are twice their size. The villagers plough the fields with water buffalo and busily collect up the rice in the paddy fields. In the villages the ladies grow spring onions on platforms and dry chillies in the sun while water buffalo munch on grass with bells clinking around their necks and chickens roam freely with the odd sound of a cockrell calling. Its really peaceful with nothing but the sounds of the river and a distant waterfall or the odd tinkle of a passing bicycle bell chiming.
Needless to say we did a lot of relaxing in Don Det
As its rainy season there are no beaches as the water levels rise at this time of year but many of the guesthouses have platforms over the river so you can sit on low cushions over the water sipping beer laos and watching the sunset. We ate a lot and drank a lot in Don Det, and had a good excuse as we were trying to use all our kip before leaving Laos but thats harder to do than you think in the islands as they are so cheap! The most active we were was hiring bikes to cycle around the island and the neighbouring Don Kon accessed over an old railway bridge built by the French. We did try to charter a boat to see the rare fresh water Irrawaddy dolphins but didn't like the idea of crossing the border to Cambodia so resolved to see them in Cambodia instead.
After dragging ourselves away from Don Det on the last day of our visa we headed into Cambodia and found ourselves in Kratie. Described as a town with old indo-china colonial charm we found that it was far from it. Very run down and dirty with what was obviously once a nice river front , now is a rubbish dump. We stayed 2 nights which was long enough to take a trip out to see the dolphins and then hopped on an early bus to Phnom Penh the next day.