4000 Islands

  • Location: Si Phan Don, Champasak Province, Laos.
  • Entrance Ticket: free
  • Opening Hours: all-day

Four Thousand Islands

Four Thousand Islands, also known as Si Phan Don by the local people, is a riverine archipelago in the Mekong River, Champasak Province in Laos. It lies on the southern border of Laos with Cambodia, and is under the jurisdiction of the Lao People's Democratic Republic.

It is the widest section of the Mekong River in Laos. Four Thousand Islands has nothing to do with the sea. The Mekong River, which flows through Laos from the north to the south, has a relatively wide river channel about 50 kilometers near the border between Laos and Cambodia. When the rainy season comes, the widest place can reach 14 kilometers, which is the widest section of the Mekong River in Laos. During the dry season, the river recedes, and thousands of large and small islands are exposed to the river. If shoals and islets are counted, the number could exceed up to one thousand. So the local people will slightly exaggeratedly call this area "Four Thousand Islands". But in fact, there are only three islands where people actually live and play, namely, Don Khong, Don Khon and Don Det.


Don Khon

Don Khon Island is one of the three islands in the archipelago that are most suitable for tourism. It is recommended to rent a bicycle to cycle around the island and see the landscape. On Don Khon, you can get to watch the spectacular Somphamit Waterfall (also known as Li Phi Waterfall). The opening hours of the waterfall are from 8 am to 5 pm.


Don Det

Among the three most tourist-friendly islands, Dong Det is the most popular island for tourists. Don Khon is just across a bridge. There are many small hotels on the island, especially the kind of separate stilted wooden houses. The price is about USD15 per room per night. There are many foreign tourists that choose to stay overnight on this island. The water of the Mekong River is clear here, and you can go swimming or boating.


Don Khong

In the south of Don Khong, there is the largest and most magnificent waterfall along the Mekong River - Khone Phapheng Waterfall. This waterfall is popular with Thai tourists because they believe that this waterfall can catch their souls. There are two large villages on Don Khong: Muang Khong Village on the east bank and Muang Saen Village on the west bank. They are connected by an 8km dirt road in the middle. Most hotels are concentrated in Muang Khong Village, and the price for accommodation is generally 20,000Kip or higher for per room per night.

If you have enough time, don't miss touring all these three tropical islands together. It is suggested to stay one or two nights on one of the islands. Don Det has the best accommodation, but Don Khong (the largest island) is the most attractive for backpackers, while Don Khon is somewhere in between.


What to Do in Four Thousand Islands

There are many interesting and romantic things to do in Four Thousand Islands.

Four Thousand Islands

See Irrawaddy Dolphins by Going on a Kayaking Trip

Four Thousand Islands have been rated by scientists as one of the last habitats of the Irrawaddy Dolphins. If you want to watch the Irrawaddy Dolphins in nature, you are right here. It is suggested to book a kayaking trip to see the Irrawaddy Dolphins through some travel agents on Don Det. They usually offer a half-day tour or full-day tour. On a full-day trip, you cannot only be taken to see the Irrawaddy Dolphins but also have a chance to explore the hidden waterways of the Mekong River.

Rent a Bike and Do Cycling around Don Det and Don Khon

Don Det and Don Khon are connected by a bridge, so it is easy to travel between each other. Renting a bike to explore these laid back islands is the most popular way for most of the tourists. Bicycle can be rent from almost anywhere on the island, and the rental is about 10,000Kip per bike per day.

While cycling down riverside pathways and palm tree-lined lanes, you would be attracted by the beautiful scenery along the way. If you are tired, you could stop at a café and have a drink to cool down. There are many cafés and small shops on the way.

Four Thousand Islands

Visit the Beautiful Waterfalls

There are some beautiful waterfalls on these islands. The most visited two ones are Somphamit Waterfall (also known as Li Phi Waterfall) and Khone Phapheng Falls. Somphamit Waterfall is located on Don Khon. Khone Phapheng Falls, the largest in South East Asia, is located in Don Khong. These two waterfalls look marvelous.

Watch the Sunset

Watching the sunset is a must-do activity for all the island tours. Don Det is home to some of the best sunsets in South East Asia. You can ask the local people or shop owners about the best site to watch the sunset. This is a romantic activity, especially when you are traveling as couples or lovers.


Best Time to Visit Four Thousand Islands

The best time to visit the Four Thousand Islands is from December to January, when the weather is dry and cool. February is ok too. But it would turn to be hot from March and April.

Four Thousand Islands


How to Get to Four Thousand Islands

There is no airport to reach the Four Thousand Islands directly. The nearest airport is Pakse International Airport (PKZ). To get to the Four Thousand Islands, tourists will usually fly to take the bus to arrive in Pakse, and then transfer to Four Thousand Islands.

After arriving in Pakse, there are two buses every day that that travel to Muang Khong Village on Don Khong. Tickets can be booked at the front desk of the hotels in Pakse, or you can go to the Pakse South Bus Station to buy it. The price is around 170,000Kip per person for a single way. And the duration on the way is about 3 hours.

There are some buses from that travel from Pakse to the Ban Nakasang on Don Det. It takes 3 to 4 hours on the way. Since Don Khon is connected to Don Det by a bridge, it would be easy to travel from Don Det to Don Khon by bike.

Or you can go directly from Vientiane. But it will be a long trip if a direct bus is available. It would take about 15 hours and cost about US$25 per person.

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