So, after another overnighter on the bus, this time actually involving the ability to move my legs, we stepped off into the southern city of Pakse....and went straight looking for a bus out the far side. Why do I punish myself like this sometimes!
But this was for a good reason, we were aiming for Si Phan Don, known to the west as The Four Thousand Islands.
Of course, to get there it did involve sitting on the roof of a local taxi van (there was already about 30 people in it) but that's all part of the fun over here :) And it's also the best airconditioning system in this part of the world ;)
What is this place? Basically, it's a section of the Mekong river (that starts somewhere over in Tibet and runs all the way down through Cambodia) that widens out to form an intricate network of channels, sandbars and islets. Believe it or not, during the monsoon season here, the Mekong is 14km wide! That's almost as wide as Dublin.....
But more importantly from our point of view, it's the closest thing to a beach resort in land-locked Laos. So for the forthcoming three days, myself and Dawid rented out a little hut on the side of the river, put our feet up (in between swims of course), and enjoyed the view.
It's pretty amazing here, and is also blessed with some beautiful sights:
The extremely rare Irrawaddy dolphin (lives in rivers) is found here, and it's also home to the largest (by volume) waterfall in southest Asia. It's pretty impressive!
I've no photos of dolphins as I was too busy swimming around the river trying to find them up close, but they are there. We also accidentally ended up in Cambodia after some problems with our boat. I love how irrelevant borders really are :)
Paddy's day was pretty quiet admittedly but we couldn't really complain, especially as this was our view every evening. Highly recommended. For anyone considering coming to Asia, make sure to get to Laos, it's probably the most beautiful (and most importantly, untouched) of all the countries over here. I'll be back...
Sunset from our hut. Two mates taking the kayaks back to the vendor.
NOTE: this photo was modified with Google's Picasso photo software (free). My first enhanced photo!
For more info on the dolphins, see wikipedia here: