River Monsters! (Si Phan Don)

Getting to Si Phan Don from Sen Monorom/Mondulkiri was an adventure. In order to cross the border form Cambodia into Laos, you must go to the Cambodian border town of Stung Treng.

Distance: 322 KM Time: 4 hours 26 min

Actual time: 10 hours to Stung Treng. Unplanned overnight stay due to getting there too late to cross border. Arrived by next afternoon, 30 hours later. These things happen. At some point you just have to revel in the absurdity of it all. Laughing > Crying.

Bags of rice underneath our feet. Various stops were made to pick up and drop off things like this. 
Sometimes you have to wait because motorbikes are being tied to the back of the van.
Our Van Tribe. Hours in a tiny enclose space = quality bonding time!
Van capacity: 25. We fit 42. No jokesing.

Most of the people we journeyed with got off the final boat in Don Det, a small island in the middle of the Mekong river without much do to. We got off in Don Khone, a larger island right next to it with even less to do.



Things to do in Si Phan Don:

Rent a bicycle for $1. Roll yourself around. This was my fave thing to do. You will share the road with random cows, bulls, chickens, dogs, and kitties.
Take rickety bridges to waterfalls.
Sit riverside, eat & chill. After that, take a nap! 

You can also float (slowly) on an inner tube down the Mekong or go kayaking to see Irawaddy dolphins. We opted to be Lazy McLazersons and not do any of that.


  • We booked our tickets to Vientiane with Mr. Pan of Mr. Pan’s guesthouse/restaurant,etc.
  • If you’re going to bike around, bring a map. These things are useful! We assumed there was a road that went all the way around the island. This was not the case. We then had to bike back over rough trails through the jungle..in the dark..using our phones to see. Because we are dumdums.
  • Load some books onto your kindles and movies onto your laptops before coming here.

Ok humans. That’s it.

Next stop: The Capital, Vientiane.


2 thoughts on “River Monsters! (Si Phan Don)

  1. I can relate to this post very well. This aptly describes most of our honeymoon in Indochina and it was hilariously awesome. It’s amazing what craziness of time exists out there, you learn alot of patience and to have a light sense of humor about it all. The biking tip at the end made me LOL because Jordan made me bike around Don Dhet in the mud and I was about to throw him in a rice paddy field. Such good memories.

    Enjoy Vientiane. Make sure you try Laoatian banh mi, eat at one of those outdoor seafood joints by the Mekong and take in the sunset and go to a night market. I hope you’re headed to Luang Prabang too, because that’s MY FAVOURITE PLACE in Laos. Love you both.

    Daphne & Jordan


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