Source: Original Story By TheCommonWanderer
HOW TO GET TO DON DET – 4000 ISLANDS, LAOSDon Det is really hard to get to – it’s the definition of ‘off the beaten track’. And for us coming from Luang Prabang, it was even worse. If you’re travelling around south-east Asia, plan to do the trip on your way to Cambodia. Otherwise, head south from Vientiane to Pakse, then onwards to Don Det and the 4000 Islands.If you’re visiting Vientiane, read our comprehensive guide to the city here. HOW TO GET FROM VIENTIANE TO PAKSEWe caught the VIP overnight sleeper bus from Vientiane to Pakse (170,000 KIP pp) which left from Vientiane’s Southern Bus Terminal at 8:30 pm. You can grab a tuk-tuk from anywhere in town to take you to the station. Tickets can be purchased from any travel agents in town, or with your accommodation provider (in our case, hostel). Ask at the time of booking whether a ticket can be purchased directly to the 4000 Islands as this will cut out any hassles in Pakse. VIP bus is a loose term – the bus was barely roadworthy but certainly in better condition than a lot we saw at the bus station. On the bus, you’ll have your own bed with blanket and pillow, however, you should do everything you can to avoid the rear of the bus, as you’ll feel every. singe. bump., and where you may have to share with up to three other people (fortunately for us, we were sharing with a lovely Dutch couple and made the journey enjoyable). Grab snacks and water before the bus leaves (these can be purchased at the bus station if you don’t have the opportunity to organise prior, however, as always, we recommend you avoid plastic (bottles, wrappers) as much as possible.The bus from Vientiane to Pakse takes around 10 hours, stopping at various towns throughout the evening before arriving around 7 – 8 am. Flights from Vientiane to Pakse with Lao airlines exist and operate daily. Check times online as they do differ each day, however, there are generally morning and afternoon flights. HOW TO GET FROM PAKSE TO DON DETThe bus from Vientiane to Pakse will arrive at the Southern Bus Station (Chitpasong bus station – this may vary), and from there you’ll need to arrange a transfer to Nakasang, a market town that’s the gateway to Don Det and the 4000 Islands. The transfers usually depart around 8 am and can be arranged through any of the travel agents, guesthouses or hotels in Pakse – the cost is typically 50,000 – 80,000 KIP. Once you arrive into Nakasang it’s a short walk to the long boat pier which takes you across the Mekong to Don Det and the 4000 Islands. Purchase your ticket at the pier (15,000 KIP). When boarding, just be careful of your valuables as it can be quite unstable. We definitely recommend travelling to Don Det via a transfer as the vehicle is more comfortable and the travel time quicker (2.5 hours). If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, local buses depart from Pakse to Kakasang every hour from 7am – 3pm, and the price is 40,000 KIP. Be aware though – these are local buses so aren’t as comfortable, and take around 3.5 hours.