4,000 Islands

following the yellow highlighter

From Wat Phu, we piled into the minivan and drove to the southern tip of Laos to take a ferry across the Mekong River. Our destination: Don Khong, the largest of the Si Phan Don or “Four Thousand Islands,” where we’d be bunking for two nights.

We’d already taken a ferry to get to the Wat Phu side of the river, and lunched at a riverside restaurant.

the ferries were like Tom Sawyer rafts

lunch with a view

Apparently, the Mekong is muddy and brown in the rainy season, but very clear the rest of the year. So clear, To told me, you can see all the way to the bottom. Hmm. The muddiness makes it harder to bathe in the river, which is what a lot of Lao villagers do, in general. But it doesn’t necessarily stop them.

a man and his boat

By the time we reached the Don Khong ferry much further south it was dark, and we got a little sunset action.

I can’t remember the last time I saw a smog-free sunset

When we arrived at our guesthouse, Villa Muong Khong, we were informed that the owner’s sons had decided to become monks, and the hotel was filled with family gathered together for the weekend to celebrate the boys’ decision. There was still a room reserved for us, but we (and a trio from Australia) would be the only paying guests staying at the compound. The party was already in full swing.

fancy and very luxurious at $30/night

(I should mention that most of the guesthouses we were booked into were of a relatively high standard of comfort. No pit toilets, sometimes A/C and usually hot-water showers. You can really go cheap in Laos – like $1/night cheap – but we decided to take the high road and splurge for the extravagance of the sit-down toilet. Sweet luxuries.)

A Thai-style cover band was singing at full volume when we went to bed, but we were so tired, it didn’t matter at all.

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