2015 - North-Eastern Thailand and Laos - Day 12

North-Eastern (I-San) Thailand and Laos, 16 Nov - 10 Dec 2015 (25days)
The main road of Don Det Island is fringed with swaying coconut palms and inhabited by easy-going, sarong-clad villagers.

Day 12 (27 Nov) Si Phan Don - long walk to Don Khon Somphamit Waterfall Park

On day 12 we walked south around eastern Don Det Island onto Don Khon Island. These 2 islands are connect by a bridge. We then walked to Somphamit (Li Phi) waterfall and Hat Xai Kong Nyai Beach (Tha Sanam). Si Phan Don is the southernmost part of Laos.

The bridge that connects Don Det island to its southern neighbor Don Khon island, originally constructed as part of an elaborate railway line as a means of circumventing the massive complex of falls at this point in the Mekong River. Sleeping at Lebijou Guesthouse, Don Det Island

Nice view of Mekong River in front of our guesthouse.

We all had American breakfast in a cafe before the long walk to waterfall.

One of the gigantic old tree in the island.

View of many islands and a guesthouse on the Mekong river.

One of the many guesthouses along the Mekong River.

Backpacker-friendly guesthouses and restaurants along the river.

A big fat lazy black pig in one of the houses.

A typical stilt house of the Don Det islanders.

Another restaurant cum guesthouse by the Mekong River.

Another typical local wooden house on stilt in Don Det.

This structure once used for hoisting cargo from the train onto awaiting boats; it’s all that remains of the railroad’s northern terminus at Don Det Village.

A small primary school at Don Det Village.

Local truck bus and three-wheel taxi seen at Don Det Village.

A cute little brown pig seen at Don Det Village.

A fisherman's hut by the Mekong River at Don Det Island.
Chalets for rent without air-con at Don Det Island.

The many islands in Si Phan Don, true to its name.

Ching Neng Bin walked by the water edge exploring the Mekong River.

A long trail to Don Khon island.

Private boat that goes directly to their guesthouse.

Don Det children swimming in the Mekong river.

Children after enjoying a swim was given chocolate bar each by Chew Leng Soon.

Opposite is Don Khon Island.

Beautiful flowers growing wild along the road.

One of the main activities of the island is rice cultivation. The rice is usually planted from June to July, and cut between October and November.

Rice milling just by the rice field.

King Kong restaurant and guesthouse that managed by Minnie, a Brit from Liverpool, whom we met in the vehicle from Pakse to Si Phan Don.

A group photo with Minnie in his King Kong restaurant, Don Det.

King Kong doesn't try to compete with local fare, it offers nostalgic comfort food for visitors far from home. We had great time relaxing here with more beer to drink.

A boat pulling kayaks for the adventurous.

Floating guest houses on Don Khon island.

Directly south of Don Det island, a concrete arch old railway bridge across the Mekong River connects to Don Khon island. 
The old railroad bridge between Don Det and Don Khon island.

Landscape view of Don Det island from the bridge.

Landscape view of Don Det Island from the bridge.

Landscape view from the bridge of Don Khon Island on the right.

Restaurant and guesthouses on Don Khon island as viewed from the right side of the bridge.

Restaurants and guesthouses on Don Khon island as viewed from the left side of the bridge.

A short distance from the bridge lies the rusting locomotive that once hauled French goods and passengers between piers on Don Khon and Don Det, bypassing the falls and rapids that block this stretch of the river. Ching at the steam train brought in by the French but abandoned by the Japanese after WW2.

A rusted locomotive on display on Don Khon Island. 

Bamboo trees on the way to Somphamit waterfall.

After following the path from the main road for 1.1km, we arrived at Somphamit Falls, a series of high rapids that crashes through a jagged gorge.

The excellent view of the Somphamit waterfalls.

The road that borders the falls is very dangerous, it's a path of stones, weeds closeness to the waterfall and the entire route is wet and slippery. As protections the wooden railing does great security.

More than a waterfall, Li Phi can be described as a succession of rapids in the Mekong river.

Fishermen can sometimes be seen carefully negotiating the bamboo catwalks suspended above the violently churning waters.



Almost as spectacular as the waterfall itself is the nature trail that traversed a path through bamboo forest towards the beach area.

A chalet-like dining place at Hat Xai Kong Nyai beach on Don Khon.

A restaurant at Hat Xai Kong Nyai beach on Don Khon.

Hat Xai Kong Nyai beach on Don Khon.

Beside the waterfall there is also a very charming beach of Hat Xai Kong Nyai on Don Khon where people can swim in a natural pool and explore other rocky islands close by.

On the way out of the fall, we saw this beautiful turkey birds mating.

Slices of fish meat being sun dried.

Children using palm leaves to play.

Wat Khon Tai on Don Khon Island.

The village monastery, Wat Khon Tai was once a Khmer temple dedicated to the god Shiva. As with several Buddhist temples in southern Laos, this one was built upon the ruins of an ancient Hindu holy site, suggesting that the otherwise humble Ban Khon is around 1000 years old. On a pedestal nearby stands a Shivalinga, which was probably enshrined in the original Khmer temple.

Monks using a boat to cross the river.

It was dinner time at King Kong Restaurant - Mekong fish and chips.

We met new friends from Spain.

Click below to view:
Day 01 (16.11.15) AirAsia AK 856 KUL. 12.45pm to Chiang Mai, (1738km)
Day 02 (17 Nov) Chiang Mai to Loei to Phu Kradueng to Khon Kaen (691km)
Day 03 (18 Nov) Khon Kaen City walk around
Day 04 (19 Nov) Khon Kaen City to Kalasin (80km)
Day 05 (20 Nov) Kalasin to Sakon Nakhon (129km)

Day 06 (21 Nov) Sakon Nakhon to Nakhon Phanom (92km)
Day 07 (22 Nov) Nakhon Phanom - day trip to Thakhek, Laos (62km)
Day 08 (23 Nov) Nakhon Phanom to Mukdahan (125km)
Day 09 (24 Nov) Mukdahan - trip to Phu Pha Thoet National Park (108km)
Day 10 (25 Nov) Mukdahan to Ubon Ratchathani by bus (194km)

Day 11 (26 Nov) Ubon Ratchathani to Pakse to Si Phan Don, Laos (291km)
Day 12 (27 Nov) Si Phan Don - a long walk to Somphamit Waterfall
Day 13 (28 Nov) Si Phan Don to Ubon Ratchathani by bus (291km)
Day 14 (29 Nov) Ubon Ratchathani to Si Sa Ket by van (67km)
Day 15 (30 Nov) Si Sa Ket to Buri Ram by train (148km)

Day 16 (01 Dec) Buri Ram - day visit to 3 places (219km)
Day 17 (02 Dec) Buri Ram to Nakhon Ratchasima by train (129km)
Day 18 (03 Dec) Nakhon Ratchasima - day trip to Phimai (120km)
Day 19 (04 Dec) Nakhon Ratchasima to Bangkok by train (264km)
Day 20 (05 Dec) Bangkok - Chao Phraya River boat ride to Khaosan Road

Day 21 (06 Dec) Bangkok - rest day and dinner at Royal Bangkok Sports Club
Day 22 (07 Dec) Bangkok to Prachuap Khiri Khan by train (320km)
Day 23 (08 Dec) Prachuap Khiri Khan
Day 24 (09 Dec) Prachuap Khiri Khan to Hatyai by night train (660km)
Day 25 (10 Dec) Hatyai to Butterworth by train and to KL by bus (555km)