Don Khon sights
A walk, a waterfall and dolphins
What we say:
The Liphee waterfall is a sight so see -- a roaring collection of powerful falls spilling down at odd angles along a branch of the characteristically coffee-coloured Mekong river. To get here, take the first right after the French Bridge and follow the signs -- it's bikable and walkable. If you haven't paid the 9,000 kip admission fee at the gate, you'll have to pay it here, but your ticket will be good for the whole day.
To the right of the road that leads off the bridge, an old steam engine is on display with a sample bit of the small gauge track that was used to transport mostly teak wood down to the French port at the southern tip.
There's a road now that transects the island where the railroad used to be -- the tracks are long gone but it's still paved in golf-ball sized gravel. It's a long walk, and not a comfortable ride on a bike, but there's a path along the western side of the island that's much more pleasant -- both roads terminate at the southern tip of the island, near the old French Port.
There you can hire a boat for US$5 that can carry up to three passengers out to a rock in the middle of the Mekong river. From there, you'll be looking across into Cambodia side, which is where the rare Irrawady dolphins make there appearance with surprising frequency. It would be nice to get a littler closer, but then you'd be crossing illegally into Cambodia. It's a shame the dolphins don't favour the Laos side of the river. Don't expect too much if you show up here -- the dolphins are small and they seldom come very high out of the water to take a breath, but the odds are good you will actually see one.
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