Polaroid Photo

Glimpse of Vietnam Country & People

Vietnam Travel Reviews

start your day with a new destination…

Jul '07

Along the river of Mekong

Along the river of Mekong through Champasak, Kratie, Kompomcham & Siem Reap
June 29 – July 03, 2007

My trip this time had a lot of things to do with the Mekong, taking ferries across and along the river, watching the fishermen catching the fish, meeting the dolphins, seeing the water fall, and staying every night at a hotel on the river. The route started from the triangle border of Vietnam-Laos-Cambodia to Attapeu, Champasak in Laos, going down to Kratie, Kompocham and continued to Siemreap in Cambodia.

Catching up with the team from Kon Tum at 9 AM, driving 100 km to Bo Y border via Ngoc Hoi (intersection with Hochiminh Trails), the fierce former battle field during American war. Meeting up with Laos friends then went through immigration at 12.

Road from Bo y border to Champasak

Road from Bo y border to Champasak

Short light lunch with noodle soup at a small restaurant by the border gate, then drove 350 to Don Duang via Attapeu and Se Kong. To reach Don Duang, turn left about 20 km before the city of Pakse, the central economic and political city in the South of Laos. On our way, we were supposed to visit the Tad Pane water fall but could not do it due to the heavy rain. Road condition for the whole distance is very good. We saw mostly thick forests on the way with a few houses of the tribal Laos people, many trucks carrying huge timber logs towards Vietnam. We arrived at the ferry pier on the eastern side of Mekong River at 7 PM when it was already dark.

La Folie Lodge in Don Duang

La Folie Lodge in Don Duang

Don Duang is an island about 2 km from the eastern side of Mekong river, the name meaning Red Island. We had to leave our bus and take a ferry to reach the place where we would stay for overnight. We were the first clients to stay at the brand new resort named La Folie Lodge (the Resort of Madness). Greeted by the GM together with the staff (all dressed in red uniform), helping us with the luggage and getting on the ferry which was alittle bit scary because of having no life jackets or buoys aboard. After 20 minutes of cruise in the dark, we arrived at the resort by putting off our shoes and walking through the water and on the soft sand of the Mekong (dotted with cow shit :-)). It was a funny and nice experience anyway. The hotel is all constructed in wood and run with a generator since the electricity network was not yet available, room quite clean and cosy even though there is no hot water available at this time. We were hosted with a western dinner together with Laos beer. The hotel was brand new but the service seemed quite good and the staff were very friendly.


Continental breakfast at the hotel. We set out by wading again through the water on to the small ferry to reach the other side of Mekong river. Champasak means in Laos language the Mountain of Cham. The Cham came here in the 5th century and started building the temple on the side of a hill overlooking the large flat land on the mountain. By 7th century, they had to leave the place due to the advent of the Khmer who later continued the construction of the temple complex during 7th and 11th centuries. By 12th century, due to an unknown reason (presumption was that there was a volcano and earthquake), the Khmer left this land and moved to the current Angkor Wat area, but still for some times they returned to the temple for appreciating the success of the complex.

Old temple in Champasak

Old temple in Champasak

On the ferry back from Champasak ancient temple, we had chance to taste the Laos’ popular noodle called Koppun, of which the soup is made from fish or pork, spiced with chilly, lemon grass, garlic, very spicy and hot

Lunch at King Fisher’s Lodge, a small but nice restaurant with 8 sleeping rooms over looking the grass fields which sometimes can be visible with the elephants of the nearby villages

Continued 2 hours drive to visit the water fall (so called Niagra of S.E Asia) on the Mekong. This part of the river stretches horizontally 14 km, covering about 4000 small islands.

Here again, the electric network is still not yet available and we are supposed to have the electricity by generator until 10 pm only. However the room is quite big and clean at the hotel called Auberg Sala Done Khon whose owner is very nice and friendly.

Fish from the Mekong river


We took the ferry back to the pier again and continued to drive to Cambodia border, passing some bad roads through the forests. Immigration on both sides were done but we faced a problem since our bus could not come to the border to pick us up because the bus was not possible to get on the ferry which is 50 km away, in Stung Treng city. We finally rented a local van and a pick-up truck at the border and drove to the ferry.

Our bus picked us up at the other side of the ferry. After lunch in Strung Treng we continued to Kratie and got on small boats to see the dolphins. Due to the high water season, the dolphins have scattered around instead of going in blocks in the middle of the river as in dry season. However we met them, in couples and triples going near the front of our boats. These animals are now under protection by WWF.

We arrived in Kompomcham at 8h30 PM, a little bit tired. The hotel Mekong is nice, clean and overlooking a big bridge on the Mekong.

After driving for 4 hours from Kompocham, we arrived in Siemreap. After lunch at a local restaurant near the Old market in the center of Siem Reap (where I got some nice dry fish of Mekong), we set out to see Angkor Wat and Tahprom temples. Then the group dropped me at the Siemreap airport for flight to Hanoi at 19h45.

More photos of Laos and Cambodia are located at:
http://gallery.travel84.com/main.php?g2_itemId=40 and http://gallery.travel84.com/main.php?g2_itemId=43&g2_page=2

Outside the La Folie in Don Duang

Old relics in Champasak

This relic is believed to be 1300 years old

Hotel Auberg Sala Done Khon

Don Khon waterfall

Life on the Mekong

Border checkpoint between Laos and Cambodia

Tasty crikets sold in Kompomcham

Share this:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • MySpace
  • Haohao

Start discussion »

Leave a Reply