Si Phan Don (Four Thousand Islands) in Laos
Landlocked Laos is one of the Asia’s most enchanting destinations. Stunning natural beauty – think mist-shrouded mountain peaks flanked by jungle-clad valleys teeming with wildlife – combine with a fascinating Buddhist culture to make Laos a superb destination for backpackers and independent tourists, while luxury tourists are now also well-catered for. If you are preparing for a Laos trip, you should not miss chance to visit Si Phan Don, one of the most attractive destinations in Laos. Indochina tours Laos
A beautiful and often overlooked area, Si Phan Don, or the 4,000 Islands Area is where the mighty Mekong shatters into a 14 kilometer wide web of rivulets creating a labyrinth of islets, rocks and sandbars. These have acted as a natural barrier, preserving southern Laos culture from outside influences including the French colonialists and later the American War. During the rainy season the Mekong around Si Phan Don fills out to a breadth of 14 kilometers, the river’s widest reach along its 4350 kilometers journey from the Tibetan Plateau to the South China Sea. During the dry months the river recedes and leaves behind hundreds (or thousands if you count every sand bar) of islands and islets.
Tourists hone in on three of those islands: Khong, Det and Khon. Don Khong, by far the largest island in Si Phan Don, is sleepiest and sees the fewest tourists. There is much more to do on Don Khon and Don Det, which have become de rigeur stops on the Southeast Asia backpacking circuit. Activities include cycling, swimming, tubing, boat cruises, kayaking, and dolphin spotting, although many tourists forsake these and pass the days getting catatonic in a hammock. Tours in Laos
The archipelago is also home to rare wetland flora and fauna, including an endangered species of freshwater dolphin, which it is sometimes possible to glimpse during the dry season. Southeast Asia’s largest – and what many consider to be most spectacular – waterfalls are also located here. The area’s biggest sightseeing attractions, the Khon Phapheng and Somphamit waterfalls, dashed nineteenth-century French hopes of using the Mekong as a trade artery into China. The remnants of a French-built railroad, constructed to carry passengers and cargo past these roaring obstacles, can still be seen on the islands of Don Khon and Don Det, along with a rusting locomotive and other ghosts of the French presence. The most developed place to base is the popular island of Don Khong, with its collection of quaint villages and ancient temples, but there is also plenty of accommodation on Don Khon and Don Det.
With stunning natural beauty and many interesting activities, Si Phan Don will make wonderful and memorable experiences for your Laos trip.
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