Posts Tagged ‘Don Det’


‘That will be $2.’
‘Can I have a receipt please?’
‘You can have the stamp for $1.’
‘Can I have a receipt please?’
‘OK. You can go.’
Border crossing in Laos.

My first glimpse of Khmer script on this trip

My first glimpse of Khmer script on this trip

I have left my favourite place in Laos – Don Det. It just exudes ‘chill’ and I love it. On my day off I explored the islands of Don Det and Don Khon, ate, and hung out with a group of Belgians, and also with a German and Australian (from my home town Adelaide).

Little path on Don Khon

Little path on Don Khon

Sunset on Don Det

Sunset on Don Det

Kids playing at sunset, Don Det

Kids playing at sunset, Don Det

Today I visited the largest waterfall in Asia (by volume), bribed my way through the Laos/Cambodia border crossing famous for its corruption, and sped along an often dusty road to the Cambodian Mekong town of Stung Treng (passing 23000km on the way).

Phapheng waterfall

Phapheng waterfall

My lovely frangipani

My lovely frangipani

23000km

23000km

The dusty road

The dusty road

Crossing the bridge to Stung Theng

Crossing the bridge to Stung Theng

Tomorrow a change of plan. A detour to a secret homestay on a secret island in the Mekong. The marketing people haven’t done a good job at spreading the word. I’m very excited about it.

For the record: Bribery and crossing from Laos into Cambodia.
– Laos exit stamp. They wanted $2, but on insisting I get a receipt, I got the stamp for free.
– Medical check. I was tested for malaria by having a little machine pointed in the vague direction of my head, and waiting for it to beep. I don’t have malaria, and was able to reduce the bribe amount from $2 down to $1 by smiling and acting stupid (not too hard for me).. ☺
– Cambodia visa. I paid $35 (it should have been $30). No receipt was possible, and no discussion was possible. It costs $2 more if you don’t have a passport photo. No further bribe for the entrance stamp.


This place is chilled. The boat took me and my bike across the wide expanse of still water and green tropical islands to a place where time flows slower – it loses meaning. The reggae beat, the cool breeze of the fan, the hammock, the heat, the river. Don Det island.

Arrival on Don Det island

Arrival on Don Det island

Fate brought me here. It wasn’t my original plan. On this trip I have learned to go with the flow, and the flow brings you to the coolest of places and experiences. This hippy, twenty-something hangout is about going with the flow. Here I can practice not sticking to strict timetables and burning kilometres. My body needs it.

From Vientiane I was going to cycle directly to Bangkok before embarking on my Bangladesh/India/Burma side trip. With unrest in Bangladesh and mandatory noisy police escorts for cyclists, I cancelled that. I rejoined with Mark who was cycling down the length of Laos and then to Siem Reap in Cambodia. Why not join him? So now I find myself in the 4000 islands in the Mekong River on the Laos/Cambodia border. Unfortunately I am now without Mark, who is still recovering from Dengue fever.

I left before sunrise this morning to avoid the heat, and enjoyed the empty road. There were few villages and few people. There was some farming, but more wooded plains. It feels I have left the populated part of Laos, on the road to the border. There is only the backpacker chill hangout left before the Mekong slides over the border into Cambodia.

Cycling in the morning light

Cycling in the morning light

Cycling in the morning light

Cycling in the morning light

The boat to Don Det

The boat to Don Det

The bridge from Don Det to Don Khon

The bridge from Don Det to Don Khon