Si Phan Don (meaning 4000 islands) is a riverine archipelago located in the Mekong River, Champasak Province in southern Laos. Si Phan Don is characterised by hundreds of islands, half of which are submerged when the Mekong River is in flood. The principle islands of Si Phan Don are Don Khong (the largest), and Don Det and Don Khon.
Key features of the Si Phan Don archipelago include:
The remains of the first railway in Laos, the Don Det – Don Khon narrow gauge railway, built by the French to bypass the Khone Phapheng Falls and enable vessels, freight and passengers to travel along the Mekong River.
Freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins (Pakha) that can be viewed by boat off Don Khon island. They are considered highly endangered.
The Khone Phapheng Falls, the largest waterfall in Southeast Asia,a succession of impassable raging rapids that gave rise to the construction of the railway.
Timber was historically logged on the islands but it is now regulated; illegal logging incurs stiff penalties. While the local economies are predominantly based on agriculture, the Si Phan Don archipelago has seen an increasing number of visitors wishing for a 'picture-perfect' experience of Laos. Tourist numbers are concentrated on Don Khong, and Don Det and Don Khon, and many of the smaller islands remain rarely visited.
You can fly to the International Airport in Pakse and then take a bus, it takes around 2,5 hours and the cost is about USD 11.
Coming from Siem Reap, Cambodia, you can take a bus in the morning, the cost isabout USD 29 and the journey takes around 11 to 12 hours.
There is a bus from Phnom Penh that leaves in the morning to Don Det. It takes around 8 hours to get there with minimal stops on the VIP bus (once in Kratie and once to stop for lunch).
Both from Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, the bus guide will ask for passports and the fee for the Laos.
A standard menu of Laotian food - banana pancakes, garlic bread, pad thai - are on top at most places.Eat the Lao food. It is delicious and everything is handmade. The food is very spicy, so if you do not like hot foods, you may try to ask to use less peppers. Most meals are for USD 5.
Guesthouses are very cheap,most of bungalows situated by the river. But there arenice stylish boutique hotels, too.
Discover 4000 islands with us! This place is so serene…