4000 Islands is the area in the south of Laos right at the border to Cambodia, where the Mekong river is about 14km wide and you can stay on one of the many islands on the river. The perfect place to do nothing but lie in a hammock, swim, chill and enjoy the silence. Unagitated and beautiful. Plus there are even dolphins!
Getting to 4000 islands took me a while. The place is all the way in the south of the country and it was a 23hour-journey from Vang Vieng to the island Don Det by van (pretty shaky), nightbus (tiny and cozy), normal bus (super old), 1k walking (quiet hot) and finally a boat ride (quiet nice) to the tiny idyllic Backpackers’ paradise within the Mekong River.
As the island is so small, nearly every bungalow or guesthouse is right at the water – you just have to choose if you like sunset or sunrise side. There are no scooters or cars allowed on the island – so it’s amazingly quiet!! Enjoy that – that’s pretty rare in Southeast Asia!
During the day there are tube-rentals, so you can get one of those rubbery floats and just slowly drift around the island on the river or you go for a swim – nearly every bungalow has their own access to the river.
There are also several bike rentals so it’s a nice thing to just get a bike for a day and go for example to the big Liphi waterfalls at the neighbor island that is connected by a bridge. Not far away from there you can even ask fishermen if they take you a bit further with their boats where you can spot some freshwater dolphins during sunset – just stunning!
Like in Vang Vieng you also have a ‘Friends-bar’ on Don Det – chilling, eating, binge watching Friends… nothing better to calm down from stress of traveling. Afterwards meet with other travelers for a bonfire at the little beach on Don Det where the boats arrive – everyone brings a bit of wood and drinks and then you sit together and exchange travel and life stories while friendships for the night or even for life develop.
Make sure you have enough cash with you – there is absolutely no ATM on the island. And as Lao people are pretty clever with business, the prices there and especially for the transport to leave the island again (which you have have to do eventually) are quiet expensive in comparison to normal Lao prices. Also nearly no wifi or western style toilets – just saying.
But when you finally managed to leave that very pristine and beautiful place, you can officially say: “Been there, Don Det”
You want to have more information about LAOS? Read my other experiences here: