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Si Phan Don and the 4,000 Islands

If you've made it as far south as Champasak, then a visit to the Si Phan Don area—celebrated for its 4,000 Mekong River islands and freshwater dolphins—is a must. Don means island, and two in this area are especially worth checking out: Don Khon (and its connected counterpart, Don Det) and the similarly named Don Khong. The Khone Phapheng Falls, on the mainland near Don Khon, are a highlight, and visiting them can be combined with seeing the freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins. You'll find many boat operators happy to escort you. Don Det, connected to Don Khon by a bridge, attracts the backpacker crowd. Don Khong has scenic rice fields and more upscale lodging choices and is far more peaceful than Don Khon, but is not as interesting or attractive. Most lodging options on Don Khon, Det, and Khong are fairly standard, but this is changing as progress comes to the islands.

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