Managed to buy a ticket from our Eco Lodge in Ratanakiri all the way to an island in Laos (one of the 4000 islands)... the journey consisted of 3 buses, 1 bike and a boat and then we were happily dropped off on Don Khon island where we checked in to a river side bungalow. That evening we sampled our first 'Laos beer' and 'Lap Salad'. The salad is minced meat of some kind (we had pork), mint, coriander, lime juice and chilly. Delicious! Oh and of course lots of sticky rice.
The next morning we walked down to a raging set of rapids called Li Phi falls. Don't think i've ever seen a river as wide moving so fast. The rest of the day we spent walking round the island, soaking up the relaxed atmosphere and drinking yummy shakes at riverside restaurants. Oh and we saw an albino buffalo... much to Tom's delight! We had another scrummy Laos supper at a restaurant where we were the only customers all night, the family that ran it all washed in the river through out dinner and were in pyjamas by the time we were leaving.
The next day we got bicycles (called Turbo Fairies!) and cycled round the island, through the villages, over the bridges and round the rice paddies... just lovely. The Laos people are very relaxed and always look like they're having fun or looking for fun to be had. Had a great time in Si Phan Don.