Gay Islands of Laos: Si Phan Don
The Gay Islands of Laos are amazing!
Si Phan Don, also known as the “Four Thousand Islands”, is an archipelago on the Mekong river where to enjoy a heavenly and relaxing holidays! Are they Gay Islands? Well, if for Gay we mean Happy, Queery, Laid Back, then yes, these are definitely Gay Islands
There are different ways to get to Si Phan Don: the archipelago is just an hour bus or car ride from the border with Cambodia. I organized my trip from Siem Reap, in Cambodia, after the visit to the astonishing Angkor Wat. I left Siem Reap on board of one of the many minibuses organizing the crossing border.
Crossing the Border Cambodia – Laos
In 5 or 6 hours car ride you arrive into Laos. The border crossing is a a folkloric experience. We had to get off the bus, walk to the custom border, form an orderly queue, pay the fees (legally and illegally due) for the visa to the agents, and then wait. And wait. And wait.
Wait for? Oh what a question! Wait for the time needed to get a visa and a stamp on passport of all the people (no more than 30 of us) eager to enter beautiful Laos. It was a very hot (and long!) afternoon. The whole process (that could potentially take no more than 15 minutes in total, for all of us) took more than 4 hours: as I already knew, the discretionary military power is very strong… But hey we managed it in the end!
It took another 1 hour ride from the border on board of the bus (waiting for us on the other side) to get to Ban Nakasang. We arrived there around 7pm, when the sun was already down. Although late, the very small town of Ban Nakasang was prepared to greet use and to drive us to our destination, the beautiful Gay Islands. One tip: most of the time the ATM machines do not work, so better if you arrive there prepared with local money, the Kip.
From that point, it is an easy boat ride across the Mekong to arrive to the beautiful Laos Islands! The name of the location, Four Thousand Islands, although suggestive gives a wrong idea. There are not really so many islands to visit. Most of the so called islands are rocks and sandbars which most of the year fall hidden under the water of the Mekong river.
Discovering 1.000 islands
Si Phan Don is a peaceful aggregation of small gay islands: the locals enjoy a rural and primitive lifestyle. Life in these islands is virtually untouched from the world surrounding them. Their inhabitants are ready to welcome the tourists with a friendly and welcoming smile on their faces. I have met some guys who have spent on one of the islands several weeks, doing nothing more than just looking at the world pass by!
Most of the visitors find accommodation on one of the most developed pieces of land, Don Det. The main pastime on the island? Hanging on an hammock! The island is very tiny, as you can walk around in less than one hour. Every day, when the sun was not yet very strong, running around the islands was the perfect start to my morning!
The easiest way to get around through the gay islands is renting a bike. Every guesthouse offers them at a cheap price! The main islands of the archipelago, Don Det, Don Khong and Don Khon are all connected by easy bridges! In one full day it is easy to discover all the beautiful natural sights the area has to offer! You can find amazing waterfalls, and, if you visit in the right period (April or May) with a bit of luck you can spot a few dolphins playing in the fresh waters of the Mekong.
The Islands on the Mekong have recently become a Paradise for backpackers willing to enjoy a break during their trips. This of course means a whole new life brought to the area. Don Det for features nice bars, especially in the northern part where nightly events of music and parties are held.
However, these amazing Laos Islands are able to preserve their natural and original natural atmosphere. Willing to try first hand? Just drop me a line! I will help you arrange a relaxing trip to the area!
Date of last visit: November 2015