The largest island in the Si Phan Don area, Don Khong is nowhere near as popular as the more southern islands of Don Dhet, with its chilled-out atmosphere, and Don Khon which has more activities on tap. The interior of Don Khong is almost entirely given over to rice cultivation and a forested mountainous area, while just about all the accommodation is crammed into and around the sleepy town of Muang Khong, which is situated on the east coast of the island.
The major pastime on Don Khong is cycling around the countryside. Both in the early morning and late afternoon when temperatures are reasonable and the light is golden, this is an excellent way to pass a few hours, though it's best to avoid the middle of the day when the heat is oppressive.
There are a few small villages scattered around the island's edge along with some interesting little temples and pleasant riverside scenery, and those with the time and money could probably get someone to arrange a trek or two, but overall the main attraction here is the gentle pace of life.
Another option is to ride eight kilometres west to Muang Sen, where there's a marketplace and some wonderful riverside views which are fantastic at sunset.
Other options from Don Khong include trips that are easier to stage from Don Dhet but worth it if you're only staying on Don Khong. You can always visit Don Khon on a daytrip and visit the Li Phi Waterfalls as well as seeing the Irrawaddy dolphins and the remains of the old French railroad.
Most independent travellers arrive in Don Khong via the main boat landing, which is near most of the guesthouses and restaurants, on the east side of the island. A boat landing four kilometres south capable of carrying vehicles is due to be replaced by a large bridge in early 2014.
Most guesthouses on the island now offer free WiFi and the odd one has shared computers available for use. 3G internet is available via Unitel.
You can exchange money at the Agricultural Promotion Bank on the main road heading south past the wat with the big Buddha. Open weekdays only.
A BCEL ATM is located on the road to the other side of the island, about 300 metres from the boat landing and close to the wat.
Text and/or map last updated on 30th October, 2013.
Don Khong interactive map
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If you want a truly out of the western world experience that will take you so far from the hustle and bustle of North America, this is that place. You will be transported to a world that has never been touched by first world luxuries, and it will be an amazing experience.
This island is almost barron with only nature surrounding you. There is a very small main village where all the hotels and resturants are. They have patios that over look the water, and are completely isolated and quiet. I never knew a place like this could even exist. Its rare to see North American foreigners on this island.
You can rent a bicycle and ride along the banks of the river around the island. You can sit in peace and enjoy a good book. You can look out and get more than an eyeful of nature. And that's about it. Not glamorous. Just solitude.
This place is not for everyone,but it is a positive experience for sure.
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By Snarf (2)
Written on 5th July, 2011 after a visit to Don Khong in May, 2010
Also reviewed by Snarf: Pakse,
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By Snarf, 05 July 2011