Si Pan Don - Don Det
01.06.2006 33 °C
For my last update we had just arrived in Pakse Laos. We only ended up staying there one night, it was very much a stop over place so there wasnt too much to do so we decided to keep it short and sweet. We did end up drinking with a couple that evening who had just come back from an Island called Don Det in Si Pan Don which is where we were planning on heading for the next day so the rucksacks were packed and we hit the road.
It's a 3 hour bus ride down south to Si Pan Don, as I was still getting into my travelling grove I was thinking more along the lines of the 88 then the big Tuk Tuk style vehicle we ended up on. This time I was definately getting a seat! It was again packed full of locals who had all gone to the market apart from this other white guy sat right at the back. Now I don't think I actually know any psycho's but I've seen them in films and he definately had this kind of psychotic look about him - oh and he only had one ear which was abit wierd....
We set off and about 2 hours into the journey the pyscho looking guy suddenly started going all pyscho and shouting at all the Laos people really agressively in english but with a really thick foreign accent. They were all just looking at me and Mark so we tried to find what he was banging on abit but he said he had a story to tell and he was going to finish it. About 5 mins later he shut up again.
Just as we were arriving at Si Pan Don (the bus thing was pretty quite by now) he started talking to me, apparently 2 of his mates had been shot a year ago (no idea where - didn't like to ask) so he was angry about that - hence the outburst. So we got chatting and I said we wanted to get to Don Det but wasnt sure which boat we needed. He actually lived there so he helped us get a boat across the Mekong River and he was actually really helpful but he disappeared as soon as we arrived, I think I hid my relief well.
We sorted ourselves out with a guesthouse and met a girl from the Netherlands who was staying next door so we went out and had some food and beers with her. As Don Det is such a small island it only has electricity until 10pm at night be she said the bar next to our guesthouse plays music till late so we decided to check it out. The bar, restaurant and shop is owned by a Laos family but there are two british guys (Martin & Andy) who help them run it. After 10pm they use a tractor battery to power the lighting and music so people tended to go there for late drinks. Needless to say we bonded over Laos Laos which is a tradtional Laos rice whiskey with them all. Martin actually had a pet monkey called Squeekie who chilled out at the bar cuddling you and then ran off with your beer (it was called the Monkey Bar)
We spent the next few days exploring Don Det on bikes we had hired, the island is set right on the bank of the Mekong River so it was really stunning. They have a rare breed of Dolphin which we didn't manage to see but we did see some pretty impressive waterfalls.
A few night later whilst we were drinking Laos Laos in the Monkey Bar, Andy decided we should go for a BBQ on Don Pom which is a tiny island not in any guide books so there are hardly any travellers going. We had got really friendly with a Canadian guy and a guy from Brighton so it would be a laugh. The next day we all set off in Mr Tong's (the owner of the bar) boat to this other island. Mr Tong and his Laos mates build a BBQ from scratch and cooked all this really nice fish and traditional Laos food whilst we chilled out drinking beers by the waterfalls. We had a really good day.
After 5 days on Don Det we decided we had better move on at risk of getting too settled so we got tickets sorted - next stop Cambodia.