Located in Champasak Province, Si Phan Don Islands features an awe-inspiring assemblage of partially submerged islands that has recently become a well-reputed tourist destination. There are numerous opportunities for visitors to spend a perfect vacation in Si Phan Don Islands. Without further ado, let’s look at 10 things this wonderful island has to offer.
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10 Things to do in the Si Phan Don Islands | Laos
1. Take a boat tour to watch dolphins
Si Phan Don Islands is particularly noted for being home to the marvelous Irrawaddy dolphins. Unfortunately, this breed of dolphins is on the brink of extinction, and only about 20 of these mammals can be found in Si Phan Don Islands. However if you love observing wildlife, then you can take a boat tour of the Islands to spot these wonderful creatures. You will also be allowed to paddle to the location of the dolphins using a kayak. On your way, you will find magnificent beaches, and even some local barbecue outlets to grab a quick bite.
2. Taste delicious native cuisine
Are you in the mood for some Laotian cuisine? Si Phan Don Islands is reputed for its remarkable restaurants and diners that serve exotic local food. The meals are always fresh as almost all dining outlets source their ingredients from the different farms on the island.
Laotian dishes are full of spices and flavors that you won’t find elsewhere. Finally, try one of the wide arrays of fish caught from the majestic Mekong River. The lemongrass chicken and papaya salad are also equally amazing.
3. Chill out on Xai Kong Nyai Beach
Xai Kong Nyai beach, located in the Don Khon region of Si Phan Don Islands, is perfect for spending a relaxing time with your family. The view here is magnificent, and the water is warm during the summer. However, the water currents may be unfavorable for swimming sometimes. Avoid diving into the translucent waters when the currents are strong. Other than that, this place also boasts amazing restaurants and bars.
4. Be fascinated by the humongous Khone Phapheng waterfall
The Khone Phapheng is one of the Si Phan Don Islands’ largest waterfalls, and its surrounding pool is frequented by fishermen. It’s fascinating to watch fishermen competing to obtain the biggest catch of some of the gigantic and rare species of fish. The force exerted by this waterfall on the Mekong River is immense, hindering boats from traveling to China. Regardless, the Khone Phapheng waterfall offers an unforgettable view. However, access to this waterfall isn’t free. Thankfully, there is a shuttle in the surrounding area, making it easier to reach the waterfall.
5. Check out the spectacular Old French Railroad Locomotive
If you visit the Don Khon region of the island, you are bound to find a corroded locomotive engine from the colonial period. This iconic engine can be traced back to the late 1800s when the railroad was constructed between Cambodia, Laos, and China for transporting tradable goods. The engines were powerful enough to transport boats above the Khone Phapheng falls.
However, after roads were constructed there, this railroad became obsolete in 1940, leaving a fascinating historical tourist spot. If you are a locomotive enthusiast, check out this piece of the island’s history and enjoy the great view of the railroad from the bridge in the middle of Don Det and Don Khon.
6. Dive into the pristine Mekong River
Mekong River is undoubtedly Si Phan Don Islands’ main attraction. This river offers you endless recreational activities to participate in, and it also makes traversing the different islands much easier.
Other than taking boat rides in the river, you will also be able to dive the various beaches next to the Mekong River. Moreover, many of the island’s guesthouses will allow you to swim in the pristine river from their personalized jetties. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of some of the astonishing species of fish in the region.
7. Take a stroll to the famous Ban Hang Khon Viewpoint
Established during the colonial period, Ban Hang Khon’s viewpoint is a great place to go for an afternoon walk. To reach this fantastic place, you will first have to arrive at Bang Hang Village. The viewpoint is close to the village, and you can easily get there by climbing 150 steps. Once you step into the viewpoint, prepare to be wonderstruck at the sight of a well-maintained historic port and spectacular open waters of the Mekong river. Make sure to carry your camera with you!
8. Learn about the region’s past at Don Khong History Museum
Although a small museum, Don Khong History Museum with its stunning French colonial architecture is endlessly aesthetically pleasing. It showcases numerous objects and artifacts from the colonial era like musical instruments, photographs of the Islands, and much more. The museum itself is housed inside a colonial home, but it has now been renovated. This is an amazing place to drop by for those curious about the islands’ history.
9. Try out tubing at Mekong River
It would be a shame to visit Si Phan Don Islands and not hire a tube to relax and re-energize yourself. The tubes will help you stay afloat on the magnificent Mekong River. While you’re at it, you can also read a book or bring along a chilled drink with you from the nearby bars. It doesn’t get better than this!
10. Visit the Ban Hin Siew Tai Palm Sugar Trees
The Ban Hin Siew Tai Palm Sugar Trees are the primary source of sugar in Laos. It is amazing to see the island natives hard at work. If you want to learn first-hand how Laos processes its sugar, then visit this place between November and February. The sugar farmers can climb trees with great dexterity, and watching them is a treat. To see the farmers in action, you will have to arrive early in the morning.
As we have seen, the Si Phan Dong Islands are brimming with spectacular activities and thrilling adventures. The local cuisine is unique and delicious, and there are plenty of bars for a fun night out with your friends. Come on down to Si Phan Dong Islands on your next visit to Laos!