Despite Don Det once being a more off the beaten track part of Laos, it has gained popularity from the range of water activities offered and has become a young backpacker’s haven. It still lacks facilities such as an ATM and 4G signal but for a basic and enjoyable backpacker’s experience, Don Det is the way to go!
Population: Little over 400... Yes, just 400!
Vibe: Don Det is a perfect mix of beauty and adventure. It has an array of activities on offer, as well as very impressive scenery. It is young, fun, friendly and has a cool party vibe.
Known for: Its trendy island atmosphere and cool backpacker culture that caters to travellers, fun lovers and adventure seekers. It is known for tubing, kayaking and generally making the most out of the Mekong River. So, make sure that you do too!
Must Do: Tubing! You can rent a tube and float down the Mekong, or for a small extra charge hire a boat to pull you along! Take some beer, a snack, and enjoy the ride.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO
Home to the rare Irrawaddy Dolphin, in this part of the Mekong you can take a boat trip to spot the few that are left in this part of the river - one of the last pods in the world is here!
Khon Phapeng Waterfall
These massive waterfalls are a popular activity whilst in Don Det. Characterised by the ‘4000 Islands’ with countless waterways, these bad boys are the biggest in Southeast Asia.
Rentable from many places nearby the riverbank, it’s easy to take a trip down the Mekong. Exercise those arms, or simply float away and enjoy the beautiful views.
If the river isn’t your thing, you can pay a small admission fee for Long Island Guesthouse and take a swim in the lovely outdoor pool. Enjoy loungers and towels (inclusive), and soak in a bit of western style whilst in Laos. You can also do the same for Little Eden Swimming Pool.
Take a hop, skip, and a jump... and a bridge crossing over to Don Khon, where there will be countless opportunities for trekking and cycling around some breath-taking scenery. For history buffs, these islands also feature a number of old French colonial sites from the shipping and timber industry. Once an important supply route for the French, the 4000 Islands saw Vietnamese workers brought in to build a railway that took dismantled ships from one part of the Mekong to another. These ships were later built again to transport timber and other goods further downstream. Now, the ruins of this industry can be seen on Don Khong.
Electricity has just arrived in the last few years, so hop in your hammock and get ready to see some stars.
Hire a bike
Rent a bike and spend the day exploring Don Det and its neighbour Don Khong.
EATING AND DRINKING
You will be spoiled for choice when it comes to places to eat in Don Det. There are many restaurants that tickle all fancies. There are traditional and simple Laos dishes, as well as western and Indian cuisines. More or less everywhere offers delicious and refreshing fruit shakes, and you might even stumble upon fresh, fair trade coffees from the Bolaven Plateau.
Although bars tend to close pretty early in Don Det, you won’t fail to find someone cool to kick back and enjoy a BeerLao or a nice cocktail with. You can always take a beer down to the small beach and enjoy the night waves.
A few of the bars and restaurants offer great views of the river, but if that isn’t enough, and you’re not prone to motion sickness, you can always try a floating restaurant!
WHERE STRAY STAYS
Freestyle Tours (Double, Twin and Triple share)
Ban Don Det
Muang Khong District,
Tel: +856 20 5570 5173
Lebijou Guesthouse provides a warm, kind & friendly home away from home. It offers great facilities including a lovely garden to relax and at the same time an excellent location for exploring the area.
Facilities: Bicycle rental, restaurant, luggage storage, tour desk & ticket service, currency exchange, laundry service.
CHECK OUT OUR TRAVEL BLOG:
- Get some tips from Rick, one of our guest bloggers, in his Notes from the Road in Don Det and Southern Laos