The 4000 Islands (26th April - 6th May 2012)
After leaving what we thought was a very boring Vientiane we were happy to be heading off to what we had been told was an amazing place. We had never planned on making it down as far as the 4000 Islands as its right at the bottom of Laos but Zara really wanted to go and there was an overnight sleeper bus which made the journey much easier. The bus was fairly pleasant although we didn't manage to get much sleep as the bed sizes were rather small for 2 people. We felt sorry for the lone travellers who had to share such a small place with a stranger. After switching buses a few times and catching a boat we arrived at Dondet our home for what we thought was a few nights before we headed off to another island. Taking the boat ride across the river to Dondet we realised what a beautiful place this was. It was a fairly small island (you bike from one end to the other in 20 min) but it's the main place to go for the backpackers. We arrived from the boat to a beach were you can watch the sunset from. Our first impression was that the place is lovely. There was a buffalo just chilling in the river with lots of westerners taking photos with him. Our friend who we had met on the slow boat was waiting for us and took us to the guest house she was staying at which was right on the river and you could see the sun set from your hammock. The place was beautiful after a few weeks of travelling we had found paradise we ended up staying for ten nights but if our visas didn't run out it would have been for longer. Our first day involved chilling in the river and watching the sun set with a beer it was amazing. The next day we rented some bikes and went to see a huge waterfall on the other island is pretty epic (see photos). The roads were pretty bumpy which made the bike ride more interesting! That night a massive storm came in which was amazing to watch although we did get pretty wet making our way back to the guest house. Watching the storm move out over the other islands from our hammocks was something I will never forget with every lightning strike it lit up all the islands dotted about in the darkness, I can't put into words how amazing it was. The next day our friend left and we decided that this place is too perfect to move on so we stayed put until we had to move on. We could swim to our own little island which we did every morning. Most days on the island just involved chilling in hammocks, in rivers and eating some good food steak on the BBQ was our favourite. We played lots of card games with other backpackers…s***head and a******* mainly! We did manage to do something one day by going kayaking on a tour. This was fun but hard work, we saw 2 waterfalls one was the biggest in south East Asia and some of the famous Mekong river dolphins which was pretty cool. We met some amazing people and had some great times on this island; I'm sure at some point in our lives we will return to them because we loved them so much.
We headed back on the sleeper bus to Vientiane via Pakse. The small bus to Pakse was very overcrowded to the point where 5 backpackers were sat on rucksacks doubled up in the aisle! The crazy things you see in Asia. In Pakse we met some people from Ireland who were also waiting for the sleeper bus. We had a great laugh with them and met up once for food that evening in Vientiane and ended up at this club which was awful! We didn't stay up very late as we were flying to Hanoi, Vietnam the next day.