In the jungle Bryn had had a bit of a platypus incident and his passport had got wet - unfortunately the entry stamp for Cambodia had washed off so we were a bit nervous as we approached the border with Laos to make our exit. We were glad to make it across the border into Laos - paying the same bribes as everyone else
We were heading to Si Phan Don or 4000 Islands which is an archipelago of islands in the middle of the Mekong where we were looking forward to some much needed relax time after the jungle. 4000 Islands is one of two destinations in Laos that the Thailand party crowd visit and we approached with some trepidation.
The groups of 18 yr olds grinning inanely and waving peace signs at us didn’t help matters as our boat took us over to Don Khon – the quieter of the two islands which we hoped was more our scene. However disaster struck as it turned out that everywhere on the island was full aside from a coffin room which wasn’t Fi’s ideal scenario to see in her 30th birthday. So we headed over to Don Det, paying the extortionate boat fee on our way – they unfortunately know you are trapped on the island and take advantage of that.
We arrived onto Don Det and were pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t all party central – and due to the late hour we headed to a basic bamboo shack to look for accommodation the next day. 90% of the accommodation on Don Det doesn’t have electricity or running water so we (and Fi in particular) were ecstatic to find the poshest place on the island had a room free for us. Little Eden was a lovely little hotel with only five rooms and was the perfect place for Fi’s birthday We spent most our time there relaxing in hammocks and taking dips in the Mekong. There was a lovely terrace overlooking the river which was perfect to sip a Laos Mohito and watch the sun dip down.
On Fi’s birthday we took a walk across the island and over the bridge to Don Khon along the old French railway line. What the French were doing building a railway across two islands barely 10km long was beyond us. Unsurprisingly it has fallen into disrepair and we had fun exploring the rusting locomotives scattered around.
We also visited Li Phi Falls where the Mekong churns through a few narrow gorges – it’s quite a spectacular sight.
Then unfortunately we had to head off….. and despite only 3 days in Laos we were heading to Thailand. We’d have liked to spend longer in Laos but our overstays had cost us and after 2 months in SE Asia it’s perhaps time to explore somewhere different.
However…not before a touch of Western luxury in Bangkok. After a rather unpleasant 24 hour bus ride from Si Phan Don to Bangkok we were glad to arrive and find a hotel pretty quickly. Even better it was no where near the Kho Sanh road and we were in the middle of mall-land. We got stuck straight in and after a stop at McDonalds Bryn was in his element heading round the electronics shops and comparing prices and Fi was off spending the entire daily budget at Boots. On the electronics front, the original scope that had been agreed with all stakeholders was that we buy a DVD player as Bryn reckoned we could get one for $50. However, things changed quickly and before Fi knew it we had bought a little Lenovo laptop. We spent the rest of our time in Bangkok watching movies that we probably should have had to buy cinema tickets for and searching out wifi spots
Oh and we did see some of the sights that Bangkok has to offer! A cruise down the Chao Praya and then a baking couple of hours round the Grand Palace trying to avoid the sun’s rays reflecting off all the bling.
And we got sucked into the Kho Sanh road to try and swap some books….but we departed swiftly before any young ladies touting ping pong balls got us.
And we also did a fantastic cookery course – a wedding present from Sarah and Matt – many thanks it was fantastic!!! We went to the market to buy our ingredients
And then set about cooking fried rice, red coconut curry, fried bananas, spring rolls and green papaya salad. The best bit was eating our dishes and we’re determined when we get home to track the ingredients down!
Then it was time to move on again and off to the excitement of the airport and our flight to Manila!