4000 Islands Travel Guide: 4 sights, accommodation and transport

by Steven
Reading Time: 7 minutes

The 4000 Islands, or Si Phan Don, are located in the south of Laos in the Mekong River. It consists of a large number of islands and is a great place to explore and relax for a few days. The three most famous islands are Don Det, Don Khong and Don Khone. The rest of the islands are less touristy, are not inhabited or are mainly inhabited by locals. Welcome to these beautiful islands in Laos!

Mini Travel Guide – 4000 Islands, Laos

Accommodation – Where to stay at the 4000 Islands?

Sightseeing – 4 sights at the 4000 Islands

Transportation – How to get to the 4000 Islands?

Don Det, 4000 Islands Laos
Agricultural life on Don Det

Accommodation – Where to stay at the 4000 Islands?

As mentioned, Si Phan Don consists of a number of islands that are nicely situated in the Mekong River. It’s an ideal place to relax for a couple of days and to visit the islands in a quiet way. Depending on the time you have, but at least assume that you can enjoy yourself here for at least 2 to 3 days. But which island is best to visit? Below is a short explanation of the various islands.

Don Det

Don Det Laos
The northern part of Don Det

Don Det is perhaps the most famous island of Si Phan Don. This is generally where most of the budget options are located and is also the quickest to reach by boat. In the north, where the boat docks, you will find most accommodations and restaurants.

Don Khone

Don Khone Laos
The northern part of Don Khone

Don Khone is south of Don Det. The islands are connected to each other and the most interesting sights are on this island. The boat to this island moors in the north and that is where most of the accommodation can be found.

Don Khong

Don Khong is the largest of the 4000 Islands. It is located in the north of this area and is generally less visited by tourists. Please note that for Don Khong you have to be in Hat Xai Khun and not at Ban Nakasang. In addition, Don Khong is connected to Hat Xai Khun by a bridge.

Cows on Don Det
Cows on Don Det

Sights – 4 attractions in the 4000 Islands (Don Det and Don Khon)

The islands of Si Phan Don are nice to stay and explore for a few days. And for those who don’t feel like doing anything you can go for a swim or relax in the many restaurants along the Mekong River. The sights below are specifically about the islands Don Det and Don Khon which are connected by a bridge.

Tips and tricks!
-Hire a bike and explore the islands Don Det and Don Khone!
-At Green Paradise Travel in the north of Don Det it is possible to make a tour by kayak.

1. Li Phi Falls/ Tad Somphamit

Li Phi Falls Tad Somphamit
Especially the power of the water is impressive at the Li Phi Falls.

The most impressive waterfall is the Li Phi Falls/tad Somphamit in the west of Don Khone. It is mainly the width that does it here and not so much the height of the waterfall. This is a good example of how powerful the water can sometimes be. So watch out and don’t deviate too much from the paths.

When you walk towards the waterfall you will come across a place where you can swim. You don’t have to be afraid of a strong current and also locals come here to cool down. To visit this waterfall and to swim you pay a small fee at the ticket desk.

Swimming at Don Khone and Li Phi Falls Tad Somphamit
Swimming and relaxing with locals

2. The dolphins of the Mekong

4000 Islands Irrawaddy dolphins
From the southernmost tip of Don Khone the boat departs to spot the Irrawaddy dolphin

Okay, it’s not 100% sure you’re going to see them, but from the south of the Don Khone you can spot the famous Irrawaddy dolphins. In total about 100 of these dolphins still live in the Mekong River, but due to the construction of dams they are threatened with extinction. Since this is practically the border with Cambodia you might have to pay an extra fee when crossing the border by boat.

Irrawaddy dolphins in Kratie, Cambodia!
Are you planning to travel to Cambodia? Then consider a visit to Kratie where the chance of spotting these dolphins is many times greater. 10 kilometers north of Kratie these dolphins swim and with a motorboat you can see them up close. A more fun option might be a kayak trip to the dolphins! For more information read the article Kratie Travel Guide | 4 sights, accommodation and transport

3. Tad Khone Pa Soi Falls

Tad Khone Pa Soi Falls 4000 Islands Laos
Tad Khone Pa Soi Falls

In the east of Don Khone is the Tad Khone Pa Soi waterfall. It may not be a very special waterfall, but if you do a tour by bike to explore the island, you can also stop by here. The waterfall is free to visit and you get there via a suspension bridge …

Tad Khone Pa Soi waterfall
Over the suspension bridge to the Tad Khone Pa Soi waterfall

4. A French locomotive

A french locomotive

Near the historic bridge connection between Don Det and Don Khon you’ll come across an old rusty locomotive. This locomotive was built in France to transport goods and passengers between the two islands. It was one of the few train connections in Laos.

Transport – How to get to 4000 Islands?

By plane: The nearest airport is Pakse International Airport. This airport, which is located about 150 kilometers north of Si Phan Dhon, is only used for regional flights, such as to other cities in Laos (Vientiane, Luang Prabang) and for flights to Bangkok, Ho chi Minh City and Siem Reap.

The boat to Don Det
The boats to Don Det and Don Khone

Bus/boat: From Pakse there is a daily bus to the 4000 Islands and especially to the bus station Ban Nakasang. From here it’s a short walk to the boat that can take you to the island of Don Det or Don Khone. Before you enter the island don’t forget to withdraw money at the bus station of Ban Nakasang. Both the boat to Don Det and Don Khone dock in the north of the island. This is also the place where most accommodations are located.

On the island there is no taxi or transport possible and most is done by bike. From Don Det you can go via a bridge to Don Khone, where most of the sights, such as several waterfalls, can be admired.

Next Destination?
On to Cambodia or Pakse to do the Pakse Loop?

And what did you think of the 4000 Islands? If you have any more tips and ideas, feel free to leave a message below!

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