Day 131, Monday 14 May, 2012 – 4000 Islands.
I had another good sleep, Don Det is quieter and cooler than most places I have been to, the bed is not the most comfortable but I am sleeping so well for some reason, long may it last.
Mike was going over to Ban Kasang on the mainland to pick up some supplies so David, Debbie and I went with him to hopefully get some cash from the single ATM in the area. If I could get cash then I would do a day boat tour with Mike up the river to visit the real 4000 islands area, if not then I was going to be spending the day trying to find money so I could pay Mike for the accommodation and food I have had over the past few days.
Fortunately I was able to get cash (YES !) but for some reason David and Debbie couldn’t, at least they had some Euros they could change – I had used all my meagre USD supplies in Luang Prabang. We were the first people into the bank for David to change money, they got it out of the safe in A4 paper box lids…
Dan Kasang waterfront.
So, I was on for the river tour and one more night on Don Det. Mike bought a great looking fish for lunch and we were back on the island for an hour while Mike and his wife prepared food for the trip.
We left at 10.30 and headed up river. Mike has told us that the real 4000 islands do not start until further up stream, that there is really between 8000 and 10000 islands at the moment and that it will be all totally different after rainy season – when most of the islands will be under water.
About fifteen minutes up river, and past Don Det, lies the gateway to the 4000 islands, a fairly shallow section of river that changes almost daily, we motored slowly though this section hitting the bottom once and getting stuck up a channel and having to back track another time. Once through there we were in fairly clear water and motored up through the islands. The area is about 60 kms long and at its widest point is over 15kms wide, that is one big river and though you cannot see its vastness from a boat it is still an impressive sight.
Mike was taking us to his favourite island for a bbq lunch and swim, however when we arrived it was populated by a few guys who were living there for a few days while fishing.
Mike was a bit ticked by this as it was a perfect spot, nice beach with a shade tree – and there are not too many of those combinations around, as we found out while searching. In the end we just pulled up at a beach. Mike made a fire and BBQ’d the fish.
While his daughter, Joy made a quick sun shelter.
We spent a couple of hours lounging, swimming, drinking beer and eating that lovely fresh fish – and then the weather starting to come down.
We could see a large storm front moving down the Mekong, so decided to run slightly ahead of it – enjoy the clouds and the pouring rain in the distance but aim to stay dry and safe at the same time. It was a good ride back to the guest house, it was a shame it was only 3:30 PM rather than after sunset, but it was not going to be safe in what is basically a big canoe on the river and there was going to be no sunset anyway.
After a chill on the hammock in front of the bungalows I joined David and Debbie and the Czech people for a quite dinner and a drink.
Early to bed. Exhausted – after doing not much all day !