A Travellerspoint blog

Laos

Si Pan Don - Don Det

sunny 33 °C

Dear Bloggers,

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.

Posted by greggers 07:00 Archived in Laos Comments (1)

Loas

Made it across the boarder

sunny 35 °C

Set off this morning to complete our quest to get into Loas.

Spent most of the day travelling on various Tuk-Tuk's and buses to Chong Mekin in order to cross the boarder. The nice girls on reception at our hotel sent us in the wrong direction originally so we actually spent about 2 hours doubling back on ourselves (but how we laughed..!) and one of the bus drivers kindly stuck on some Thai Kareoke which made the time just fly by...

Finally got there, exited Thailand then wandered down the road a few minutes and got our Visa's and entry to Loas. All went without a hitch although I did somehow end up paying a twice but I didn't fancy a debate when he was holding my passport to ransom!

Got the Sawngthaew (like a big Tuk-Tuk) down to Pakse, they allow about twice as many people on these things as there are seats so I hung off the outside with the locals (like to think I made a few friends - the banter was limited but good) apart from there was this old guy with a net full of little birds (the feathered variety) which freaked me out abit.

Found ourselves some decent accommodation in Pakse, recon we will stay for about two nights as we only have a 15 day visa and quite abit to see.

Next stop Si Phan Don in deeper southern Loas which is meant to be stunning.

For now a few beers, Loas brews its own beer "Beer Loa" it's going down a treat!

Posted by greggers 20:33 Archived in Laos Comments (1)

Thailand

A quick in and out

sunny 35 °C

As we were both in Bangkok this time last year we decided to get straight on the road towards Loas and see something new. We booked a domestic flight from Bangkok to Ubon Ratchathani which is pretty much as close to the Thai / Loas boarder you can get by air.

We treated ourselves to a new nice hotel in Ubon for our first night, figured there would be plenty of time for slumming it when the money runs out! (it is only 7 quid - we're not talking the Hilton here)

We soon discovered Ubon Ratchathani was a pretty quite place well off the travellers route went we headed out for a few beers and some food, we were the only non-thai people. In fact it took them a good 10 mins and 4 people to find menu we could understand. It all came good in the end.

Had a pretty early night as we were knackered from all the flying, ready to tackle a boarder crossing in the morning.

Posted by greggers 20:30 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

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