Been there Don Det

We woke up and set off early at 8am for Don Det. Our trip was to be much easier and faster than our previous journey from Thailand to Laos and we were quite excited to have a few nights chilling out on the island. After a 3 hour bus ride we arrived to the dock where we had a quick 5 minute boat ride to Don Det. When we arrived I left Charlie with a beer at a restaurant whilst I went on the hunt for a room for us. I found a guesthouse which was clean, quite new and had the option for air conditioning. We ate a quick lunch at the restaurant before checking in, showering and having a little rest. We headed to a place called sunset bungalows for a beer and to watch the sunset over the mekong river. The place was really cool as it had a ledge that you could run off and jump into the water from.17310909_10154239043936176_5735965403108370038_oWe met another group of travellers before heading to dinner. Don Det is a really chilled out, relaxing place and so the restaurant we ate in was playing friends in order on repeat. We ended up having dinner and a couple of drinks there whilst watching TV before heading to bed.

We woke up for our first full day on the island and decided to hire push bikes to ride over to Don Khone, which is a larger island next to Don Det. We set out in the mid day heat, crossed the bridge and headed to a waterfall which was on our map.17039425_10154221701131176_812669537251749391_oThe waterfall was quite disappointing but another group of travellers pointed us in the direction of a beach. We rode to the beach and enjoyed a nice cool drink in one of the restaurants there.17192656_10155234074604994_5761475535091677532_oThe restaurant owners son was very interested in Charlie’s camera so Charlie spent some time with him, letting him take some photos with it. There was a couple on the table next to us who also had some nice camera equipment so the young boy would swap between their table and ours. The beach was really nice but we didn’t wear our bathers so we just had a walk around and admired the views on offer.17097753_10155234072759994_8991147462391634533_oWe then set out to find the waterfall park at the top of the island. After a 10 minute ride we came across the entrance and parked our bikes. The waterfall was more like a huge set of rapids but it was really beautiful.17159097_10154230498941176_8785160065743550740_oWe ran into the other couple from the beach restaurant and the guy, Mike, was flying a drone. Charlie couldn’t resist and ran over to ask him loads of questions and see how it works. Mike is actually a professional photographer back home so he and Charlie had quite a lot to talk about. After an hour meeting Mike and Becki we headed off back to Don Det to get showered and head to our favourite sunset spot.17218482_10154239051306176_6204983716199484640_oAfter another sunset beer and swim in the Mekong we headed to dinner and on the way ran into Mike and Becki. We decided to eat with them at a place they recommended. The food was nice and it was nice to get to know them more. We made plans with them to meet the next day for breakfast.

We woke up wanting to go on a kayaking tour but after realising we needed to book the night before we decided to have a chilled out day on the island. We met Mike and Becki for breakfast at the restaurant that plays friends on repeat. We caught up with them, watched friends and used the wifi to plan our next few weeks in Laos. That evening we all headed to Sunset Bungalows for a drink and a swim where we met a cute little girl called May. She took a real liking to Charlie so the two of them waved and laughed at boats going past, whilst dancing to Katy Perry.17239635_10155252173549994_8188252633632789874_oMike and Becki came to meet us so afterwards we headed out again to grab some dinner together. After dinner we booked onto the kayaking tour for the next day and book our onward travel for the day after.

The kayaking tour started at Green Paradise for breakfast which was included in the tour. We filled up on Pad Thai style noodles and scrambled eggs before climbing down to the Mekong and getting into our Kayaks. We kayaked down stream for about 45 minutes before stopping at another island to go visit another waterfall.The walk there was really nice as we passed through a village where kids kept running out to say hi to us. The waterfall was really nice and much safer than the rapids (although still very powerful) so our guide got some people to go along the rocks and under the fall. Charlie went alone as I am too much of a scaredy cat sometimes but it looked like a lot of fun.17310023_10155252175544994_6300121359914295376_oWe then walked through the island to a beach area where our guide cooked us some bbq skewers and rice for lunch. We then jumped back in our kayaks and continued downstream through some grade 2 rapids which was really fun. The next part of the tour was to see the rare irrawady dolphins. We originally were told at the office there were only 7 left, however our guide believes there are only 3. We were lucky enough to see 2 of them though, albeit from a distance. We then kayaked to another island to visit another waterfall/rapids.17212048_10154239044626176_3302446458893385432_o17240691_10154239040936176_6818827410689191148_oHere we got to watch Mike fly the drone again and have drink at a restaurant before setting off one last time to Kayak back (much to my disappointment – kayaking is hard work!).

We had a fairly chilled evening after Kayaking. We headed to sunset bar with Mike and Becki, as well as another couple from Kayaking, Dan and Beth. We all enjoyed a drink and a swim before heading for an early dinner and then back to the room to packed our bags. We really enjoyed out time in Don Det, it was the perfect combination of relaxing and exploring.

Phi Phi island

It was nice to be somewhere a bit quieter (and visually appealing) than Phuket so we were pretty happy to step off the ferry onto Phi Phi. Oh and it’s Charlie’s favourite island!imageJoe and Sophie took us to there favourite place to eat called papaya which had a great massaman curry, probably one of the best I’ve had (equal best with a place called Krau in Bophut, Koh Samui). It also did a great tom yum soup!imageWe visited sunflower bar a few times which is a nice bar for sunset. Inside it has old long tail boats made into tables and booths each named after someone who died in the tsunami with photos. It’s sad to go around looking at them but it is a nice tribute as the sun sets on this side of the beach and the bar is really nice.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0532.We went kayaking one day to monkey beach which was really fun for 15 minutes until the weather turned and the tide started coming in pretty quickly with massive waves starting to crash on the beach. Getting back into the kayak didn’t go well as a massive wave crashed over me and dunked me and the kayak. A little scary but as it happened I just covered my head with my arms so the kayak rolled over me and didn’t hit my face. We finally got on our way and managed to get back. Tom and Jo and Sophie and Joe both had their kayaks capsized. We all returned the kayaks and went out for a drink while the weather blew over. Playing heads up and trivial pursuit.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0529.Another day (after a night out I may add – why?) we hiked up to the viewpoint. The view was amazing and the weather was great. Whilst up there I needed a ‘Thailand poo’ as we like to call them and there was only a squat toilet. How fun! At least I know what to expect in India now!imageOh and here Charlie and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary! We went to a place that was recommended to is called Anna’s which had really great food and we treated ourselves to some red wine. After a nice dinner together we met up with the others for a night out. Charlie decided to make friends with the Thai man that collects the 10thb fee for the toilet and spent at least an hour chatting to him. I’m almost certain the mans very limited English meant that 95% of the time he had no idea what Charlie was saying but Charlie didn’t seem to bothered and was under the impression they were having a great chat!imageIt’s been great here although the past few days the weather has started to turn and there’s been a fair bit of rain the past 24 hours. We are off to Ao Nang for our next adventure and the arrival of Caroline and Matt.