Published: May 15th 2007May 15th 2007 Pakse to Don Det (4,000 islands)
Heaps of room left
Good idea to move aside Jason...
Jason & Kirstyn O
Found out that another early start was needed as only one 6 am sangtheaw. With time on our visa getting short we had to do it! Lovely dinner that night (absolutely starving) with some slightly suspect Beer Lao (??sweated - limited electricity) and off to bed early! Dragged ourselves out of bed and carried our gear out to the road for the Sangthaew. Was absolutely chockers with gear and people. At one stage we counted 32 people with a least 3 on the roof (they comfortably seat about 10). We transferred at Ban Na Hin and by the time we reached Voen Kham we had managed to make several more friends on the rest of the journey to Tha Kek. The ladies ooed and aahed over Kirstyn's wedding photos on our IPOD and the local men enjoyed seeing pictures of Jason's parents property.
Arrived at lunchtime in Tha Kek and were rushed onto a bus this time going all the way to Pakse. Not so crowded this time and managed to get some well needed sleep. Found a lovely cheap room in Pakse with air-con (didn't know this at the time!)
Angry Sky - Little Raft - Big River
Worried about the ride home Nicola???
and a TV!
Ate at the lovely Nazim's Indian in Pakse and managed to then eat there for every meal as they were just so nice and helpful and the food was delicious! Hired motorbikes from here and took a trip out to Wat Phu near Champasak..about 40km from Pakse. Had a great day visiting the ancient temple (around 7-900 AD) and riding our bikes through villages. Had several very near misses with chickens, dogs,cows, pigs and a toyota Hilux. Spicy lunch at a local roadside stop with the damage for lunch coming to 12,000 kip (about $1.20) and we were amazed that this was for all three of us not per person! It was a race against time to get back across the Mekong on our very sturdy (??) raft with motorbikes before a huge storm set in.
From Pakse headed down to Nakasan then Don Det which is one of the 4,000 Islands in the south of Laos. Don Det is a beautiful little place which is slightly over-run by tourists (not yet quite Vang Vieng style thankfully), electricity only between 6pm and 10pm and is full of very cheap bungalows on the river. Found ourselves
Phallic Lingas marked the entrance to the temple grounds.
a nice spot for $2 a night run by a lovely family headed by Mr Phoumy. Sampled some great food on this Island and the beers were always nice and Yen Lai (cold) despite the lack of power.
Our peaceful island getaway was interupted for one day with a trip back up to Pakse to get the final rabies shot for asia (last one due in July when we'll be in the UK). Had already teed up the friendly folk at Nazims to help with communicating with the hospital. We had been there previously to see if we could get it earlier or take it with us but they hadn't allowed it. Set off in the morning and arrived in Pakse a little late due to a stop off along the way for a new fuel filter and bleeder pump. The actual trip to hospital lasted only about twenty minutes then back on the road again to get back to 4,000 islands. Arrived back in Nakasan at about 9:30 at night with our hair full of little bugs from the ride, to find that the guesthouse here was not attended and the local boys wanted to charge over three
times the price to take the boat back to the island. The lure of our bed waiting for us on the island prevailed and we paid the higher rate (tried our best to haggle but we were in the worst position to do this). Shook hands with our now much richer boatmen and congratulated them on ripping us off so well. Despite little English they understood and had a laugh with us (or at us...not sure!). Happily collapsed into bed after a long day and glad to be back on our little island paradise.
Spent the next few days exploring and had some great meals at night with many Beer Laos as we would be leaving Laos soon and parting with our travelling friends, Andy and Nicola. Opted to buy an expensive bus ticket ($20 each!!!) with the local tour company to get us across the border into Cambodia. Had checked all the most up to date information we could and all were saying to opt for a ticket and not to try and cross independently. Luckily we did as would have been a long day if we hadn't.............
There are more photos below