during November 2022 I had chance to explore Laos and I completed the South-East Asia area 🙂
The Country itself is very extended so if you want to travel to both North and South I strongly recommend you to plan twenty days at least, with such a buffer of time you can have an overview of all Laos.
The 4000 islands are located in the far south of the Country next to the border with Cambodia. Such a denomination comes from the fact that there is a swollen part of the Mekong river in which there thousands of micro-islets and few small populated islands in-between (the number 4000 is approximated). In the past they were more popular because there were dolphins, however now unfortunately they died or they were killed by hunters despite being forbidden.
What are the main islands? And what are good for?
- Don Khong -> Enjoy quiet life, interact with the local residents and accomodate yourself at a guest house (comfort zone)
- Don Som -> Enjoy the rural life, you can sleep with locals, here you find only one homestay!
- Don Det -> Ideal for the backpackers travelers who want to enjoy a digital nomad and hippie life and socialize with others
- Don Khon -> Rural life, it’s known for its waterfalls
Why 4000 islands?
Here you can enjoy outdoor activities such as Kayaking, Rafting and motorbiking across the 4 islands!
You can just have one full-day bike tour or spend some days on each island to enjoy all the aspects offered by them.
To be fair, I did not have enough time to spend there and I started my motorbike tour from Champasak all the way down till Don Det, I rode over 100km on dusty and gravel roads, I crossed Don Khong and Don Som, and between each island I got into a small wooden boat with the bike! See the photos below:
Here below you can watch a video captured when I was riding in Don Som:
Although my intention was to stay in one of the three island just one night, once I arrived in Don Det, I felt it was worthy to spend two nights instead to enjoy a full-day characterized by kayaking on the river and visit two different waterfalls: first one in Don Khon island and then Khone Phapheng falls which are the widest waterfalls in the world.
Here below you have the maps:
Khone Phapheng falls: (this place is indexed in the buil-in maps, so you can zoom in and out)
The difference between these two waterfalls is that in the first falls you can trekking to get by the waterfalls whereas in the Khone Phapheng is not allowed to trek due to the dangerousness.
We had two kayaking sessions in-between the visit to the falls, here below I have embedded one more video to show you what the kayaking experience is in the 4000 islands:
In conclusion, 4000 islands is a place in which you can enjoy a bike tour around or just live there for some time, especially in Don Det if you like the hippie social vibes then you are at the right place! I will surely come back soon and explore more in depth the other islands because I will surely discover new Unbeaten spots (we can’t find everything in Google map).
Every remark is warmly welcomed!