Don Kone/Don Det, LAOS

Area Code 030 US$1=10,000k 1B=250k, July 18, 2005

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The islands of Don Khon (S from Don Khong) and Don Det are located almost S end of Laos, near the border with Cambodia. This area is famous as "4000 islands in Mekong river" and the islands are good base to explore the area such as the famous water falls and dolphins.
The two islands, connected with a bridge, are very small and the facilities are limited. No electricity except Sala Donkone 18:00-21:00 The GHs provide candles at night.

Entrance fee to Mekong Island National Park(Somphamit Water Falls). 9000k.

The center area on Don Kone is stretching from the bridge to NE direction. The center of Don Det is also stretching from NW to SE. For the sake of explaining the location, we twist the axis so that the Don Kone's is stretching from W to E and Don Det's is from N to S.

The Way to Come these islands
1) Take a bus from Pakse or Hat Xai Khun to Nakasan, then walk 5 mins to the river side. Then take a boat to Don Kone/ Don Det(first to Don Det then Don Kone). 15-20min nice boat trip. The boats are small, can take up to 4 people. $4/boat If you do not have 4 people, just wait at the river side.
2) Charter a boat from Mung Kong. Many GHs and restaurants are offering. If you charter a boat from Souk Sun GH, $1/boat 1hr, it will arrive at Don Det where Don Det Souk Sun GH is located. To Don Kon from there take a smaller boat 2,500-5000/p.

$ Exchange: No official exchange: Only at GHs The rate is very bad. $1=10000k, 1B=200k
H Hospital: Don Kone Main Rd. E from the bridge.

Hotels
on Donkone
Following GHs are listed from the bridge to E
h1 Ouphai GH: Walk W 10m on the Main Rd from the bridge, sb s/d10,000 mos-net C3 Local house which accommodate travelers. Mattress on a floor.
h2 Khampheng GH: 20m E from the bridge,left side. sb s/d15,000 mos-net C4 Towel/blanket, clean comfortable rooms. Nice family Highly Rec
h3 Xaymountny Residencial: Walk E from the bridge, E from the Hospital. right side. f sb s/d40,000k, ab s/d50,000kip
h4 Mr Bounphan: Further E from Ban Khome, right side. sb riverside s/d20,000k, road side s/d30-40,000k C3
h5 Sompamit GH: f sb s/d15,000k, ab s/d30,000kip
h6 Auberge Sala Donkone: Further E from Mr. Boun. ab s180,000 d230,000 HW R bf C4 Beautiful Thai style bungalows. Only place which has the electricity from 18:00-21:00 Rec
h7 Sala Phae: cottage on river, f ab s/d$25 C4 Rooms are big and it has electricity salaphae.salalao.com

on Don Det
The following GHs are listed from the Pier in the N of the island to S on the Don Det River Rd.The boats arrive at the N part of Don Det. The GHs in NW part of Don Det are recommended because of the beautiful sun set view.
NW part of Don Det
Beautiful sunset can be seen from this area. Listing N to S
h17 Mr B Sunset Bungalows: f sb s/d$2, ab s/d$4 C3 You can see beautiful sunset from this GH.
h18 Sunset Bungalows: f sb s/d$1.5-2.5 C3 You can see beautiful sunset from here. Highly Rec
h19 Thon Don Family GH: f sb s/d$2 C3 You can see sunset from here. Rec
h20 Bungalows Sand Tena's: f sb s/d$1.5 C3 Rec
h21 Mr Sisavath Bungalows: f sb s/d$1.5 R C3
N part of Don Det
These are lining along N edge of Don Det.
h11 Souk Sun Hotel: Walk 20m N from the pier, right side, T5355154. sb s/d$4, f s/d$5, ab s/d$6 R C4 clean and large cottage style bungalows. It has nice garden but the rates are bit too expensive.
h12 Vixay GH:
h13 Kham Phong GH: sb s/d$1 mos-net C2 Simple bamboo bungalows.
h14 Keoinpheng GH: f sb s/d$1.5 mos-net C3
h15 Mouphit GH: sb s/d$2 mos-net C2 Cottage style bungalows.
h16 Mama Rasta GH: f sb s/d$2 R C3 The restaurant on the river is very popular.
S part of Don Det
near the bridge.
h22 Mr Vong's GH: 50m N from the bridge. sb s/d20,000k R(6-21 Moderate) C2 Small but nice bungalows
h23 Santiphab GH: 10m S from the bridge. sb s/d10,000k R(6-21 Moderate) C3 Nice bungalows with the great view of the river and the bridge. Rec. It is far from the pier of Don Det but free boat is waiting at the pier.

Restaurants
Many local restaurants serving simple decent food. The prices are moderate. The most of the restaurants have car batteries to keep their light on until around 21:00.

Don Kone
Walk from the bridge to E
r1 Touktare Restaurant: Just next to the bridge. 7-22:00 cheap. Lao/seafood. Papaya salad is excellent. For seafood/river food, order 1 day before. Delicious. Highly Rec
r2 Chan Thoumma's Restaurant: 20m E from the hospital. Right side. 7-21:00 Moderate. Lao Cheap bf.
h4 Mr Bounphan Restaurant: Further E from Ban Khome, right side. 7-22:00 Moderate Good fried rice.8,000kip, information note
r4 Restaurant Sala Don Kone: 6:30-21:00 Moderate. Lao/Thai. Nice and cozy restaurant. Good menu.

Don Det
Walk from the pier to S
r11 Souk San GH & R: 7-21:00 Moderate.
r12 Mr.Lamphong's Restaurant: 7-22:00 Moderate, River view. Small but stylish.
r13 Mr Vong's Restaurant: 6-21:00 Moderate River view, Great place for bf. Cozy. It has Japanese menu.
r14 Santiphab Restaurant: Next to the bridge. 8-22:00 Moderate. Riverview Good menu. Large quantity. Fried rice 6-7,000k, ice coffee 3-4,00kip Rec
h16 Mama Rasta Cafe Restaurant: Curry 15,000k, fried rice 7,000kip Rec

TRANSPORT
 
Boat to Nakasan:
Take a commuter boat to Ban Nakasan 6:00-18:00, from Don Kone(the pier near the bridge)
$4/boat, from Don Det(the pier near the Souk Sun GH) $4/boat.
Boat to Muang Kkong:
You have to hire a whole boat. $10-12/boat upto 6 p. It is possible to find a boat from Muang Khong and negotiate with the driver. Try to find at the pier on Don Det.
Boat to Cambodia Stung Treng: $10 The boats probably leave from S from the waterfalls. We assume the fares include all transport from the island to the boat pier. You can book this at your GH.
Bus from Ban Nakasan:
to Pakse:
30,000k, dep6-10:00 every hour.
to Veunkham(the border to Cambodia) : tuk-tuk is the most common. If you want to take a bus, walk 3-4km from the bus station to route 13 and wait at the junction.

LOCAL TRANSPORT
 
Don Kone is small enough to go around on foot. But If you are staying on Don Det, you have to walk at least 4km from GH to the bridge and have to walk another 2km to the water falls.
Rental bicycle: You may rent a bicycle at GH. 8,000- 8,500k/24hrs. Quality is low the road condition is very bad..
Local boats: Don Det - Don Kone $1/boat
motor bike taxi:
From Don Det N to S $2

Border crossings to Cambodia
 
The border: Veunkhom, officially opened for foreigners.
From Nakasan take a tuk-tuk to the border. Or if you go to route 13, 3-4km from Nakasan bus station, then wait for the bus to Veunkhom.
From the border to Stung Treng:
Boat is the most common but you will be asked a lot of money. The fare from Stung Treng to the border is
$5-7/p for 5 people on the boat. Bus is also running $6.
Boat to Cambodia Stung Treng from Don Det/Don Kone:
$10 There is a tourist boat leave from Dondet/Donkone, S from Don Khong. The boats probably leave from S from the waterfalls. We assume the fares include all transport from the island to the boat pier. You can book this at your GH in those islands.

SIGHTS
S1 The bridge: 150m bridge connecting Don Kone and Don Det. Trains were probably running on it.
Don Det
S2 Rails: It continue from Don Kone to Don Det(N side) for 4km. Great to walk over the remain of the rail. Amazing scenery in the middle of Don Det, rice field, water buffalo and nature.
S3 Dolphins: Hire a boat 60,000/boat upto 3 persons 7-12:00. Walk S on the Main Rd., before the wat, turn left and follow the pass to the pier.
Don Kone
At the foot of the bridge on Don Kone side, there is a booth selling the tickets to enter National park, 9,000kip. You can walk around the village and the guest house area on the both island, you do not need to pay but to see sights below, you will be asked to pay.
S4 Train(Locomotive): Just W from the bridge, go to a small path, left and walk 50m, you can see the locomotive. Most of the rails have already removed, but you can trace the path where it was.
S5 Christian Cemetery: Old Cemetery grown over by vegetation. You still can see the remain of the graves of a whole French family murdered by their servant. From the locomotive, turn left and follow the pass into the bush.
S6 the Somphamit Water Falls: about 30min walk from the bridge. Walk W to the wat. Behind the wat the pass starts to the waterfalls. Follow the sign. Rec
OUTSIDE from the islands
S7 Khon Phapheng falls: about 10 km from Ban Nakasan. Supposedly the biggest waterfalls in SE Asia .entrance fee 8,000kip It is very hard to get there by public transport.
Access: It is very hard to go by bus. Rent a bicycle and take a boat with it, Need extra 1000k and cycle down to the falls. Drinks are available a village just before the fall, Rec
Mr Vong's GH offers a boat near to this fall 60,000k(for 4-6 people.)

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