We only had three days but it was three days well spent just chilling and exploring around
. We walked around Don Det a few times and we also crossed the bridge over to the neighbouring and equally serene Don Khon. Here we hired a couple of bikes and cycled along the old railway track through jungle, rice paddies and banana groves to the southern tip of the island from where you can see Cambodia. The narrow gauge railway was built by the French to transport supplies between Laos and Saigon and avoid the rapids and waterfalls in the Mekong. We also visited Li Phi Falls, an impressive series of raging rapids thought by locals to be a trap for bad spirits. The rest of our time on the islands was spent relaxing on the veranda of our bungalow, eating good food and drinking cold Beer Laos and Lao Lao Mojitos!
Tomorrow we move on to Cambodia. Laos has been one of our favourite countries without a doubt. Some of the most amazing scenery we have seen anywhere, a largely rural country with laid-back, friendly people. Cambodia has a tough act to follow!
In the far south of Laos, close to the Cambodian border are the Four Thousand Islands, which consists of several large permanently inhabited islands and hundreds of smaller islets in the Mekong river. After a stressful journey from Pakse involving another flat tyre and lots of waiting around, we were pleased when we boarded the boat which took us across the channel to the island of Don Det and saw that it was the blue and green paradise we had been hoping for. Don Det is five kilometres from top to bottom and crisscrossed with sandy paths perfect for walking or cycling. The shore line is lined with tall coconut palms, wooden villagers’ houses and numerous bamboo bungalows for travellers. The middle of the island is devoted to the growing of rice and dotted with cows and water buffaloes and their calves. The island is so tranquil and peaceful that it would be easy to spend a few weeks here doing nothing much.