After Vang Vieng I spent a day in Vientiane. The capital of Laos, I had heard it didn’t actually have much to see but I didn’t want to go home having never stopped by.
There truly wasn’t much to do, so we took the public bus out of town (an experience in its own right) to visit Buddha Park. Part serious sculpture, park Walt-Disney-meets-Jack-Kerouac, it was definitely a weird place.
That night I took a sleeper bus down to Don Det. I’d never been on a sleeper bus before (Thailand’s overnight buses are all standard buses that you try to sleep on), but this one was pretty cool. It had a central aisle with beds on both sides, one row on top and one on bottom, with space for one person in each bed on the right and two in each on the left. I was given a bed on the left, next to a middle aged Laos man, which was a little awkward until I moved to an empty bed next to my friends in the back of the bus where it was 4 beds across. There wasn’t enough headspace to sit up but with the drone of the engine and the motion of the bus it wasn’t hard to fall asleep.
The next morning I caught a second bus to a ferry to Don Det. The island, which only got electricity within the past year or two, was a nice place to relax. And despite it being tiny and out of the way, I continued to run into people I’d met earlier on in Laos. The first day I walked the circumference of the island, which took about an hour and a half, and went to bed early. The next day we rented bikes and rode across the abandoned train bridge to Don Khon to visit the waterfall and abandoned eco-resort. On my last day a bunch of us joined a kayak tour to visit two waterfalls, see irrawaddy dolphins, and have lunch in Cambodia.
From Don Det it was a long and irritating journey to Siem Reap, Cambodia, where I am now. But that’s a story I’ll share in the next update.