Monday, May 18, 2009

In Don Det in Southern Laos

I finally arrived in Laos to Don Det. All in all I was 9 days over my visa and it was 5 dollars a day so I payed 45 dollars to get out of Cambodia. The border was a bit of a joke. There was one gate with a small shack on the Cambodian side then another 20 meters away on the Laos side and that was it. There was hardly any trafic and we had to wait for an hour for our bus and only one van came to cross the border. The trip was good up to the border. I left Phnom Penh at 7 am almost missing my bus because I stayed up too late. Then I stayed one night in Stung Trung in Cambodia and left the next morning 2 hours late for the border.

The boarder

Don Det is a cool island in the Mekong. Its in an area called the 4000 island group where the Mekong gets really wide and there are several small islands throughout the river. In the dry season (which it is in water levels at least) several of the smaller sand islands are exposed and there is said to be over 4000. I can believe it because you can see 20 just looking out into the river in any particular direction.

When I arrived here I just got a bungalow on the sunset side (but I can't actually see the sunset from there) and then went to the little beach. The beach is where the boat dropped us tourists off and it kinda looks like a fake bit of sand put in the center of the bars and resturants but maybe its real also. Several people just hang out and swim and drink beers. There is also a water buffalow that hangs out and gets into the water at the beach or rests on the sand, he is so relaxed he doesn't care if people grab his horns, or jump on him or anything. There is also a parret that flys around and I've seen locals call him over and it land on their shoulder.

The water buffalo hanging out before and after the sunset

The sunset from the beach

I met some cool people on my first night and had dinner with them. That night I actually got sick from the indian food but I still went to the same place the next night with them because they really like the place. I spent the whole next day with them just relaxing and talking. Today two of them left and I have spent most of the day reading. Now I'm here and just ran into the third person I've been hanging out with and we may go to the Reggae bar to hang out after the internet.

There is only electricity here in the evening from the time the sun goes down until 10:30 or 11. Its like the small Koh Chang in Thailand in that way. I like it in places like this because it attracts a good group of travelers. Here on Don Det it seems like what most people do is hang out in the Reggae Bar until the power goes out and then move down to the beach for a bon fire. The first night there was a bon fire but it was funny because people had a very hard time starting it. Eventually it was lit and it was a nice fire with a lot of people around it, maybe 40-50 total. Last night it rained so there was no fire, we will see what happens tonight.

So far I like Laos. I can feel the difference even in this short distance into the country. I can't put it into words quite yet but its nice in Laos, less hectic then Cambodia. I still don't know how much I'll travel in Southern Laos. I'm here so I feel like I should see the temple near here and a plateau near here but I don't know if I have the energy. Whats the point in seeing something if I'm just seeing it so I can leave and not soaking it up. But I'm down here so I will probably go see a couple things before leaving. Anyway, thats all for now. I'll add pictures later because I don't have my camera now.

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