Laos is the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia. However, there is an archipelago including 4,000 islands with different sizes in this country. This archipelago is named Si Phan Don, which the Mekong river flows through. After that, this article will describe the picturesque landscape of Si Phan Don.
Geographical features of Si Phan Don
Si Phan Don in the Lao language means 4000 islands. It belongs to the southernmost part of Laos and is located in the Champasak province. The Mekong River goes through this place to create the immense water with 4,000 large and small islands, forming a magnificent archipelago. Seeing from a distance, Si Phan Don looks like an ink wash painting.
The Mekong River flows to Si Phan Don, forming a large river bed. In the rainy season, the river bed can be up to 14 kilometers and is blocked by Khone Falls, which is the largest waterfall in Southeast Asia. This blocked area creates an extremely imposing sight with many rapids and falls that cannot be reachable by waterway.
Si Phan Don over different periods
In the 19th century, when Laos was under the domination of French, the French attempted to subdue the Khone Falls but failed. They found no way for the boats and ships cross the fall. Finally, the French built a railway to connect Don Det and Don Khuong (the two largest islands of Si Phan Don). Their effort was aimed at transporting timber and minerals out of the Si Phan Don archipelago.
Over time, the attempts to subdue Khone are now remnants. Nowadays, Si Phan Don is attractive to a lot of visitors. In the past, no electricity, restaurants and little travel facilities. But there are now several services for tourists on the two largest islands of Si Phan Don, namely, Don Det and Don Khuong.
The scenery on these islands is breathtaking and the atmosphere is extremely fresh. Besides, the residents on the island are quite friendly. Renting a bike to explore these islands is a good choice.
Use of transportation for the trip to Si Phan Don
You can take the bus from Paske to Si Phan Don with the price of 55,000 LAK. Every day there is a trip from Paske to Si Phan Don. The 4-hour journey will take you to this beautiful island.
To discover Si Phan Don, you have to take a boat. The travel boat will thread its way through the islands with an unbelievable speed. With the fierceness of the Mekong river, it is really a hazardous journey. However, you should believe in the professional skills of the boatmen here.
Activities to get involved in Si Phan Don
The most interesting activity in the Si Phan Don archipelago is watching the freshwater dolphin named Irrawaddy, which live in the Irrawaddy River, Myanmar, the Ganges in India and the Mekong River. This species of dolphin is in danger of becoming extinct; therefore, it is listed in the Red Book, which is highly endangered. The service of watching Irrawaddy dolphin usually costs $30 per trip. However, this travel service is related to a matter of luck because dolphins may not appear. A tip to lure these dolphins is feeding them.
Near the Khone Falls, a tourist site has been built and attracted quite a few visitors. The restaurants in this area often serve the tourists with the dishes whose raw materials are the fish caught on the Mekong river. For the people living around the Mekong river, their main source of income comes from the fish caught on this river.
It can be said that Si Phan Don is one of the must-go places in the trip to Laos. With the stunning landscape and friendly people, it is certain that Si Phan Don will bring you memorable experiences.