Even a well-seasoned traveler will find Laos to be a laid back and relaxed country to visit. However, it seems the further south you travel, the more relaxed it becomes! This enviable lifestyle is perhaps at its peak in the Si Phan Don, 4000 Islands, area. There seems to be two speeds: slow and asleep. It is precisely what any person who works in the Western world can take advantage of. Guests come here to experience the personification of “getting away from it all”. The local Lao are very friendly and getting around is easily accomplished on foot or a bicycle.

The islands are set in a lazy, curving section of the Mekong and many are submerged during the wet season, which starts in June and finishes in September. At the height of the wet season the Mekong explodes through a 13 km stretch of rapids which include several cascades. The largest of these, and hands down the most impressive on the 4350 km length of the Mekong, are the thundering falls at Khon Phapheng. Unrestrained liquid fury makes the air tremble and the ground vibrate as untold millions of liters of water pound over the rocks every second.

Near the Khon Phapheng waterfalls is the remains of the first railway built in Laos. It’s a narrow gauge railway so it may look at little strange. It was built by the French to bypass the falls which enabled river traffic to move both freight and passengers to distant points up and down the Mekong.

There are also the freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins which can be seen from Don Khon Island. These adorable mammals are unique to the locale and are considered highly endangered.

Stroll around, eat banana pancakes and pad Thai, have a cold Beerlao, sit, stare and marvel at one of the few remaining spots on earth that is truly unspoiled. It really is nature in its purest form.

The three main islands of Don Det, Don Khon and Don Khong are populated with friendly locals serving delicious food and cold drinks. The islands are small, which makes walking a preferred way to see the sights.