The 4000 Islands mekong river, Si Phan Don. The main islands of Si Phan Don: Don Det and Don Khong. Points of interest in the 4000 islands, how to get to Si Phan Don, beaches, restaurants and accommodation in Si Phan Don (Don Det and Don Khong)

Si Phan Don mekong 4000 islands

In the South of Laos, near the border with Cambodia, Mekong River creates an infinite number of small islands, some inhabited, passing this area called Si Phan Don is popularly known as the 4000 islands of the Mekong. A peaceful and quiet place where life goes on the banks of the Mekong.



Information about 4000 islands in the Mekong


Si Phan Don is a magical and unique place where you can mingle with the Laotian village in a quiet location on the banks of the Mekong river. One of the main attractions of the 4000 islands of the Mekong 's water, both the Mekong River and the falls in the area, beyond the beautiful natural landscapes and history of the period of French Indochina, this region of southern Laos not has more tourist value.

Much of the focus passenger Laos in the north, especially Luang Prabang, however the 4000 is the perfect combination islands in southern Laos to continue the way up The Temples of Angkor in Cambodia.

Si Phan Don there are plenty of small islands, the most important islands of the 4000 islands of the Mekong are: Don Khong, Don Det and Don Khon (without the g at the end). Confusing names and usually with little information about them, best is to use a map to illustrate the area of Phan Don

Map of Si Phan Don


The following 4000 map of the islands of the Mekong have highlighted the Islands and most important towns in red color. Green noted the boats and ferry routes between the islands of Phan Don (normally from the piers in Muang Khong or Nakasang).

4000 Map of the Mekong Islands (Si Phan Don, Laos)
4000 Map of the Mekong Islands (Si Phan Don, Laos)

The Don Khong Island


It is the largest island of the archipelago that compose the 4000 islands of the Mekong and the nearest Island to Pakse. It is appropriate to stress that the Island Don Khong (with g at the end) is the largest island of all and that the island Don Khon (without the g at the end) is the island where you will find the spectacular falls of water.

The 4000 islands of Si Phan Don
4000 islands of Si Phan Don

Although Don Khong is the largest island of Phan Don only measured 18 kilometers long and 8 kilometers wide. When speaking of an area of land so small, there's barely a main road, a couple of hotels for foreign standards and a dozen local restaurants which, in turn, is improvised travel agencies, laundries and Internet cafes, notably that there are no ATMs on the island Don Khong nor in any place Si Phan Don. The reduced dimensions of the largest island in Si Phan Don are a plus to discover the natural place of Don Khong Island bike, that are rented directly on the island and also in Muang Khong.

Boat on an island in Si Phan Don - 4000 islands in the Mekong (Laos)
Boat on an island in Si Phan Don - 4000 islands in the Mekong (Laos)

The highlight of Don Khong island is the Wat Chom Thong Temple, located on the eastern flank of the island, very close to the river. This Vat dates back to the period Anou (years 1805-1828), a beautiful example of architecture and Khmer influence where the highlight of Wat Chom Thong is its plant in cruciform form and windows wood carvings and also the temple Wat Phou Khao Kaew (Crystal Hill monastery), southwest of Don Khong.

Wat Khon Tai - Don Khon Island - Si Phan Don
Wat Khon Tai - Si Phan Don

Muang Khong

The village of Muang Khong is an old French settlement without sights further than a statue of Buddha in gold. However Muang Khong is a must stop Si Phan Don point since it is the place from where you take the ferry to the island Don Khong.

Ferry to Don Det and Don Khon islands - Si Phan Don - Laos
Ferry to Don Det and Don Khon islands - Si Phan Don - Laos

Ban Hua Khong


Northwest of the island Don Khong is the village Ban Hua Khong, birthplace of the President of Laos Khamtay Siphandone in 1924.

Ban and Ban Huay Hang Khong


At the southern end of the island Don Khong have these 2 small villages: Ban Huay and Ban Hang Khong where you can see statues and paintings of religious Buddha being the central theme.

Villages on the banks of the Mekong as it passes through Si Phan Don
Villages on the banks of the Mekong as it passes through Si Phan Don

The Don Det island


The small island of Don Det is almost attached to the island Don Khon (without g, the island of cataracts). In this place of the Mekong 4000 islands begins to note the French influence.

Mekong - Si Phan Don (Laos)
Mekong - Si Phan Don (Laos)

A little story to illustrate the importance of this island. The French needed to transport goods across the mekong indochina using the river as river transport, however the huge Khone Phapheng Falls posed an insurmountable obstacle Natural river navigation, so they started the construction of the railway line between Don Det and Don Khon islands. The idea was that the boats parasen in Don Det and from there carry the load to a second ship beyond Khone Phapheng or directly load the boat on the train for this, continue your tour to Cambodia and Vietnam. We can see first hand the history and decline of the railroad in the outdoor exhibition on the island Don Khon, we 're talking about old French railway locomotive.

The 4000 Islands of the Mekong (Laos)
The 4000 Islands of the Mekong (Laos)

The island Don Det is a place popular with backpackers, since this island Si Phan Don has a wide range of low-cost accommodation, many of these backpackers come from Khao San Road)Bangkok, Thailand) and your next destination is Siem Reap (Cambodia).


The island Don Khon


From our point of view Don Khon Island (without g, island falls) is the island from all the islands comprising Si Phan Don having greater tourist attraction.

Li Phi Falls in Laos
Li Phi Falls in Laos

The highlight of Don Khon Island are undoubtedly the water falls, the most famous are the Khone Phapheng Falls the largest in Southeast Asia and known as the Niagara falls of Laos, and also Somphamit falls (also called Li Phi falls). In addition to these beautiful formations of water to the South of the island of Don Khon can spot the Irrawaddy dolphins, a dolphin that inhabits the waters of the mekong River.

Read more about Don Khon Island.

Wat Si Phan Don (Don Khon Island, Laos)
Wat Si Phan Don (Don Khon Island, Laos)

Muang Saen


At the end of Phan Don, almost on the border with Cambodia is the small village of Muang Saen, without any attractive tourist and far from Don Det and Don Khon to serve as starting point for excursions in the area of 1 day returning to Muang Saen.

What to do in the 4000 islands of the Mekong?


The activity par excellence in Si Phan Don is relaxing sitting quietly contemplating the mekong river water flow.
For the more adventurous you can mount kayaking by the mekong and the surroundings of the 4000 islands. These boats can be rented by 200,000 kip / day (about 15€).

Bicycle rentals Si Phan Don - 4000 islands - Laos
Bicycle rentals Si Phan Don - 4000 islands - Laos

A great alternative to the kayak is to go by bike Si Phan Don Islands, bikes cost 10,000 kip / day (approximately 1€) and you can cross from the island Don Det to the Don Khon Island using the bridge which connects both islands Si Phan Don. Note: also rented motorcycles in Don Khong (the largest island) for 60,000 kip / day (5€).

Navigating the Mekong river in Si Phan Don - 4000 islands in the Mekong (Laos)
Navigating the Mekong river in Si Phan Don - 4000 islands in the Mekong (Laos)


Transport in Si Phan Don How to get to the 4000 islands of the Mekong?


To reach Phan Don so it can only be reached by road and then by boat. Most common to reach Phan Don route is to take a flight to the city of Pakse from Pakse, a mini-bus to a pier to catch the ferry to the 4000 islands. In total it takes 4 hours to reach the 4000 islands from Pakse.

Local Travel Agency Pakse (mini -buses to the 4000 islands)
Local Travel Agency Pakse (mini -buses to the 4000 islands)

Mini-buses Si Phan Don engage directly in Pakse, in any of the local travel agencies that are there. One of the cheapest is Pakse Travel, located after the French Bank in the main street of Pakse. The price of the mini-bus to the 4000 islands is 60,000 one way kip and 110,000 kip roundtrip (open bus, i.e. you can return whenever you want).
As low-cost alternative is the regular line bus that departs from the bus station in Pakse stopping Hat Xai Khun and Nakasong.

Ferry to Don Khong, Don Det and boat to Don Khon


There are 2 points where you can catch the ferry to the 4000 islands: Pier Ban Hatxaykhoun from where the ferry part to Don Khong (village of Muang Khong) and Pier Ban Nakasang (people of Nakasong) to catch the ferry to Don Det and Don Khon.

Boats on the Mekong Islands 4000
Boats on the Mekong Islands 4000

Both piers and boats / ferry to Don Khong, Don Det and Don Khon islands are small wooden boats, for convenience we recommend to use backpacks instead of suitcases. For those who need a larger ferry to transport a car for example, there is a ferry service that departs from Ban Hat.

Pier Si Phan Don - 4000 islands in the Mekong
Pier Si Phan Don - 4000 islands in the Mekong


Accommodation and hotels in Si Phan Don Where to stay in the 4000 islands of the Mekong?


The options of accommodation and hotels of the Islands Si Phan Don is very limited. With the exception of Don Khong, the biggest island that Yes has hotels with foreign standards, the rest of accommodation directly in the 4000 islands of the Mekong are colorful wooden cottages and bungalows.

Accommodation in Si Phan Don Laos Mekong
Accommodation in Si Phan Don Laos Mekong

For those who choose to stay at any of the Islands Si Phan Don is important to book a room with air-conditioning (some have only fan) and above all, take into account that wood cabins are built directly over the River, and for this reason, it is very common that small insects and bugs will slip on the inside of the bungalow.

Hotels in the 4000 islands of the Mekong - Laos
Hotels in the 4000 islands of the Mekong - Laos

Large hotels or better, hotels as known abroad are along the road from Pakse to Si Phan Don, that is, on land.

4000 Bungalow islands (Laos)
4000 Bungalow islands (Laos)


Recommendations and tips for 4000 Islands


Si Phan Don there are no ATMs and credit cards are not a very popular in Laos payment method, it is convenient to carry enough cash (Kip, Thai Baht or US dollars).
The internet connection is slow and expensive, better to wait to come to the Mainland to share photos with family and friends.
For travelers staying at some island Si Phan Don, is important to confirm with the hotel that yes there will be ferry to take you from the Mainland to the island, otherwise you can stay ashore without possibilities of arriving.

4000 Islands of the Mekong (Laos)
4000 Islands of the Mekong (Laos)


Video of the 4000 islands in the Mekong


This is a video of the boat that connects the mainland with the 4000 islands, sailing the Mekong River in Laos with final destination to Si Phan Don.


Video of the 4000 islands in the Mekong


Related to Si Phan Don mekong 4000 islands

  • Don Khon Island the smallest of the 3 main islands of Si Phan Don (Laos)
  • Pakse Pakse City, the starting point for visiting Si Phan Don (4000 Islands) and Vat Phou
  • The Temples of Angkor the largest religious building built by man
  • Savannakhet General tourist information and the colonial city of Savannakhet