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Laos: Si Phan Don

Magical, amazing, calm, awe inspiring 4000 islands with freshwater dolphins, amazing hospitality in true Laos culture

sunny 35 °C

Si Phan Don

Si Phan Don literally translates to 4000 Islands, and is an unmissable stop in SE Asia. This was a real highlight of my trip!
The islands are scattered around the vast, wide open currents of the Meekong.
The scenery and atmosphere is incredible... almost indescribably.... but I will try :-)
It really is amazing!

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Journey to the Islands

It was a long trip to Si Phan Don...

I took the long bumpy bus from Vang Vieng down to Vientiane and spent the night.
In my limited experience of Vientienne - it is pretty boring. Not much happening, the night market is tiny and it just felt dull.
In the morning I flew down to Pakse (Laos Air is a great, and cheap option for getting around the country).

When I arrived in Pakse I met a guy who offered private taxi to the port for Si Phan Don (approx 3 hour drive) for about US$20.
It was a good option to take!
At the port, he arranged a boat for me to get across to Don Khong

Don Khong

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This island is stunning yet so sleepy, everything seems to move in slow motion.
The people are so amazingly friendly and laid back... if you wanted to write a novel, this would be the place to do it!
The quiet is so calming, with the currents of the Meekong in the background and the occasional boat drifting past.

I stayed at Pon Arena Hotel, one of the more upmarket places, for a bit of a treat!
They gave me a really good rate - 5* service, food and truly spectacular room for a relatively tiny price.
Pon Arena is right on the river, with truly amazing views!
The owner had family in the neighbouring suburb of where I grew up in Melbourne! Small world huh!

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Exploring Si Phan Don

I took a boat tour going to Don Det, one of the busier islands where the majority of backpackers seem to flock, and then on to Don Khon to see the amazing waterfalls.

We then ventured further along the Meekong to some of the smaller islands.
One of which I took a boat ride out to the Cambodian side, for a glimpse of the Irrawaddy dolphins!
A definite trip highlight - we saw a pod of around 6 emerging from the water... really incredible!!!

After some cycling around the rest of the island it was time to venture back to Don Khong.

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As we cruised the hour long journey in the tiny wooden motor boat back, the enormity of the Meekong really became apparent.
Passing the colourful houses and huts, that line the banks, with tourists and locals alike lazing outside in their hammocks, as the sun slowly sets I couldn't help but think... this is heaven on earth!

khàwp ja̖i Laos!

Laos is truly spectacular; stunning, quiet, friendly country to explore, relax, immerse and just take your time.

Peace

Posted by SkinnyFists 00:40 Archived in Laos Tagged irrawaddy_dolphins si_phan_don don_khon don_khong laos_waterfalls meekong_river

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