* you can view more pictures of 4,000 islands here. *
4,000 islands is a group of islands formed in the mekong river at the southernmost tip of laos, right near the border with cambodia. from the barren town of pakse, i joined a busload of backpackers heading south to enjoy the lazy pace of life on the islands. there are two islands that made up the primary destinations for our group – one called don det (which has gained a reputation as a “party” island) and another, quieter one called don khon. the two are connected by an abandoned railway bridge and have many narrow, shady paths to wander on foot or by bicycle. in the bus, i met a group of three from switzerland, and we all decided to head to don khon together.
we piled with our bags into a longtail boat heading for don khon. because its the dry season, the river is difficult to navigate as it is much shallower than when the rain causes the water levels to rise. our driver got us stuck on a shallow embankment, requiring a few of us to get out and push til we could freely pass through the water again. on the way to the landing, i leaned over the edge of the boat, watching water buffalo wading in the shallow water, kids playing on shore, and the rows of bungalow huts that fronted the water. when we landed, we were greeted by a woman who runs a guesthouse called pan’s who showed us to two available rooms.