Posts Tagged ‘Thang Beng’


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


The crowds were flocking to Wat Phou in the heat– in busses, on motorbikes, in the back of shared vans. I went there too, but also to Wat Phou Ngoi – a real temple, being used, perched high above the Mekong. The still expanse of water and islands lay presented below me. Beside the monks, I was the only one there.

Wat Phou Ngoi

Wat Phou Ngoi

Wat Phou Ngoi

Wat Phou Ngoi

Wat Phou Ngoi

Wat Phou Ngoi

Wat Phou also sits above the plains with a steep staircase running to the top. At the base they were busy slicing rocks and hammering as loudly as possible.

Wat Phou

Wat Phou

The towns around Champasak along the Mekong were lovely, with beautiful views over sandy beaches on the opposite shore. My destination lay on the other side, and a bit closer to tomorrow’s destination of the 4000 islands.

Crossing the Mekong

Crossing the Mekong

Returning to Route 13

Returning to Route 13