Published: May 5th 2012May 5th 2012
4000 Islands - finally!
We got picked up from our guesthouse in Paske at 8am (again no aircon in the minibus). As it is with Laos transport, everything takes a while and you have to be patient. We stopped after about 20 mins to pick up a friend of the driver (as we found out after asking him). The friend was obviously in no hurry and leisurely arrived after 40 mins. She then strolled to the bus and took her time getting into the bus. She was oblivious to the 35 angry and very hot tourists. Oh don't you love travelling in Laos??!!
The bus driver then tried to convince us that we are booked to go to Don Kong but we told him that we are going to Don Det. When we arrived near the ferry port we managed to get a boat straight away to beat the crowds in the hunt for accommodation. We managed to find a guesthouse called Dalom (pink building on the right hand side on the main road from the beach leading inland) and checked into a three bed aircon room. The aircon was needed as it was so hot. I saw the
lady who rans the place going in with a spraycan of some sort of insect repellant. When we walked into the room we had coughing fits because of the stuff she sprayed. The next morning we woke up to find at least 5 cockroaches on their backs, half dead. I was glad they were half dead but concerned by what kind of poison she had sprayed if it even kills cockroaches. I am sure we will have long lasting effects from that insect spray.
The next day we hired some tubes and took off during the hottest time of the day floating down the sunrise side of the island. It took some time as the currents are not very strong and we got quite sunburned.
The day after we hired bikes and cycled to the waterfall and then to the tip of the island from where you can hire boats to see the irrawaddy fresh water dolphins. The boat is 60000kip and you can get up to 4 people in it. It was really worth it paying the money as we saw quite a few dolphins even near our boat. They are endangered animals and Laos has about
30 left in the Mekong. They can also be spotted in Cambodia where they have about 100. They don't jump up as high as salt water dolphins but they are still a great sight.
For the next few days we took it easy. We sunbathed and swam in the Mekong, met up with people and just chilled out.
One night on our way home we bumped into a guy on a bike who was doing a promotion for his Organic restaurant called the Veggie Patch (it's on the sunset side about 20 mins walk from the beach). He told us that they do this twice a week and you pay 50000kip for pizza, salad and cake and get unlimited cocktails until 9pm. As soon as I heard the word 'vegetarian farm' I already stopped listening thinking he is another tree hugging hippy freak and I have met enough of those during my travels to last me an entire lifetime but it turned out the place was great. We went there the next day and bumped into loads of people we knew. The food was brilliant, the atmosphere was great and the drinks were good. More importantly the salad
had balsamico vinegar and olive oil dressing (I hadn't tasted that for 5 months!). We were told that the couple who ran the place will do their last promotion on the Friday as they will leave the island. As it was my friend's 30st birthday it was the perfect place to party and we knew that most of the island will be there. When we arrived at 6pm they had already ran out of food and drinks so we had to walk the 20min back into 'town' and had a meal in a restaurant instead with a really horrible Laos Laos Caipirinha. It was so bad that I couldn't even drink it. We went to Adams bar and had Bloody Marys (another thing I have been graving).
4000 is a great place to chill out for a few days (or longer) and it's exactly what Laos needs to compete with its neighbours. Laos hasn't got a beach so to be able to go to an island and sunbath and swim is perfect. I even preferred swimming in the Mekong than swimming in the sea. It's a place to chill rather than party. The nature is beautiful and the sunsets
There is loads of accommodation there (and more being build) for all price ranges. There are loads of restaurants and even one or two bars. They have a Rogue place (it's a frenchise where you can get stuff loaded up to your ipod or netbook/laptop, there is one in Sihanoukville). It's in Adam's bar and it's a great place to hang out and watch movies (the only nuisance are the flies).
I stayed a total of 7 days and could have stayed longer but thought it was time to move on.
There are more photos below