T+22: Been There Don Det

T+22: Been There Don Det

After my last post we have gone through the rest of Laos quite fast. This is for two reasons, one) it’s wet season and therefore a number of the activities have been closed. two) half our group is on a tight schedule and we wanted to all stay together for a few more nights.

Koun Kham

After saying goodbye to Aoife and Nick, the rest of our group headed down south to Koun Kham (near Kong Lor Cave). We weren’t quite sure what we were expecting, however the results were spectacular. The Spring River Resort consists of a number of far away secluded lodges next to the river – perfect!

 Kong Lor Cave    Kong Lor CaveKong Lor Cave

* Frustratingly I only took pictures just as we left – when it poured down – apart from that it was perfect sun.

**Anyone wishing to visit – the riverside double room fans are awful – we moved after the first night to garden view (much better!)

 

Kong Lor Cave

As part of the Stray trip we had a free day in Koun Kham, this included a visit to Kong Lor Cave. It turned out to be 7 km deep. Therefore, Duncan and I ended up on a long boat being driven in the pitch black with (tiny pathetic) head torches through the cave. Duncan enjoyed the trip – ‘what an experience’, me on the other hand while glad to have done it probably won’t repeat the experience.

Kong Lor Cave

Photo credit to Honor Stott

During our spare time at the report we took some boats and paddled to a small spring river. This appeared to be a bit of a struggle for some of our group (cough, Chris) who lost their paddle and kept sailing the wrong direction. Plus, when getting further down the river a number of giant spiders fell into the boat making all the girls jump out and Duncan to fend for himself. That time I was safely in the restaurant writing the last blog!

(We don’t have many photos due to our waterproof camera breaking and due to being on the river most of the time didn’t trust using our phones. However a few of our group had Go Pros so we will update with some photos when we can! Enjoy some selfies we took for now…)

 Kong Lor Cave Kong Lor Cave Kong Lor Cave Kong Lor Cave

 

On our way to Don Det we stopped off at a Hindu temple – makes a change from the number of Buddhist temples. The temple was mostly run down – however made for some good photos.

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Don Det

Don Det is one of the main islands under the section of Laos named the ‘4000 islands’. In order to get to Don Det we had to get on a “ferry”. This “ferry” was actually just a number of wooden planks loosely tied to three boats. Somehow all of us and the bus(!) made it to Don Det in one piece and dry.

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Don Det is a quiet Island with a number of hostels and bars. It’s a great place to hop off and relax, especially during dry season. As we finally had access to a pool, the group of us spent the afternoon there only to stop to eat and drink in the evening. Originally there was a plan to cycle to the next island for the sunset however the rain put a stop to that!

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Goodbye Laos

Laos, as I’ve said in my previous blog, is a beautiful country with a lot to offer. However after discussions with Duncan and some other members of our groups I would suggest not putting it as a top priority on your list of to-dos, especially if short of time when travelling. Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng and Vientiane are most definitely worth a visit and can be all done within a week. Kong Lor is worth a visit because the scenery is beautiful, however it’s a little ‘in the middle of nowhere’. We have very much enjoyed our time in Laos and this has been greatly achieved as we are travelling with such wonderful people – but we are happy to be in Cambodia.

 

Additional Stops

During our time travelling in southern Laos we also stopped at the below, there isn’t much to say as they were all ‘stop over’ places. Alongside this we did a few 30 minute stops at temples and a forest to feed wild monkeys. However, most of the time was spent on a bus or having a group movie night.

  • Thakek – only has about four restaurants which all close by 9:30
  • Muang Champhon – interesting night of ‘karaoke’ aka. sitting in a man’s barn with a dodgy karaoke player on his laptop. The best bit of the night was that all the english songs had asian specific videos, very strange
  • Pakse – the second biggest city in Laos, not much to do but less rural than our previous few stops

A few pictures from the above….

Traditional Laos Dress for a Monk Temple Visit
Traditional Laos Dress for a Monk Temple Visit
UNESCO World Heritage site of Wat Phou
UNESCO World Heritage site of Wat Phou
A 'turtle' from Turtle Lake (apparently its actually a Terrapin)
A ‘turtle’ from Turtle Lake (apparently its actually a Terrapin)

Our first time caught in a storm
Our first time caught out in a storm
Duncan feeding wild monkeys in the Monkey Jungle
Duncan feeding wild monkeys in the Monkey Jungle
Claire feeding wild monkeys in the Monkey Jungle
Claire feeding wild monkeys in the Monkey Jungle
The Great Wall of Laos
The Great Wall of Laos

Our french fries flavour crisps which contained an actually ketchup packet!
Our french fries flavour crisps which contained an actually ketchup packet!

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