4/6/18: Paradise On 4 Thousand Islands (Laos)

I woke up around 8 am and went down to get breakfast from the hostel (Easy Go Backpackers— highly recommend!). I got a fruit salad and a baguette.

I sat with some others that I met the night before (Kevin and Jonny) and we all ate together. Kevin said he was going to take the bikes around with Malin, a girl I hadn’t met yet, and I asked if I could join.

Slowly the others trickled in, and all 7 of us wanted to do the same thing so we got going around 11 to rent the bikes.

We went next door, paid the 10,000 kip for the bikes, and headed off to the island next to Don Det called Don Khong.

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On Don Det
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Bridge to Don Khong

However, a few meters into the ride, Roos’s chain broke.

Luckily, Roos is Dutch so she knew exactly how to fix the bike: turn it upside down, get the chain back on, rotate the pedal to make sure it’s correct, and then flip it back over.

Then Kevin’s chain broke.

Then Malin’s.

And this continued on several times along the way.

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Laura!
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On Don Khong

We finally got to the waterfall, which (we thought) was just a stream with some rocks in it. We waded around for a bit until some guys came over and told us we had to swim in the swimming area a little ways away.

We then realized that we had to pay to get into the park, so we decided to just ditch that whole thing and keep biking. (The waterfall, called Li Phi, is actually the biggest in Southeast Asia and is inside the park.)

We reached a beach area on the southwestern tip of the island, which was really nice. It was just our group in the whole area. We swam around, sat on the beach, and chatted.

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Beach
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Kevin
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More beach

Jonny, the Finnish guy, with his accent and absurdity, is really freaking hilarious. There was one point where he was freaking out because he saw something in the water.

Me: “What is it?”
Jonny: “It’s like a mini crocodile!”
Me: “Like a gecko?”
Jonny: “No, like a scream!”
Everyone: “A scream??!”
Jonny: “Yes, a skrimp!”
Malin: “Oh, a shrimp??”
Jonny: “Yes!!”

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Jonny
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Arturo and Jonny

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We were hungry by 1 pm so we went to get lunch. There were several restaurants at the entrance to the beach; we chose the cheapest one and sat down.

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Roos, Laura, and some of Kevin

We ordered our food and then waited an hour and a half for it to arrive.

By the time it came, I was past the point of hungry. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to eat anymore.

But I did— and I ate way too much. I was so full after, I felt a bit sick.

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We were going to go ride to a big waterfall on the other side of the island, but then Malin’s tire was flat so we decided it’d be best to just head back to the hostel and return the (spectacularly horrible) bikes.

Surprisingly, there were only a few chain-break incidents the rest of the ride back.

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Kevin fixing his bike for the millionth time

We returned the bikes and then swam in the beach area in our hostel’s backyard.

We split off one by one, taking showers and doing our own things, until we slowly came back together to have beers before dinner.

I decided to go for a run during this time. The island of Don Det is quite small, so I figured one loop around would be a nice, quick run.

This was probably one of the most painful runs of my life. I was still SO full from lunch, and every step felt like death. It was also so hot that I felt like I was in a sauna. I even had to stop and walk when I was just half a mile from completing the loop— I just couldn’t take it anymore.

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Seen on my run
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Water buffalo!

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We left for dinner around 8:30.

There was an Indian restaurant called Datta Banana Leaf that was supposed to be good, so we decided to go there.

I got chana masala and roti, which was pretty good but not amazing. I asked for spicy and it was not spicy at all.

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After dinner a couple of the guys headed back to the hostel but me, Roos, Laura, Malin, and Kevin stayed in town and went to a nearby French bar, Ms. Ning’s. I got a gin and tonic, which was WAY too strong. I tried to water it down, but it was still too strong.

We played a couple card games until the bar shut down around 11. Everyone was going to the beach to hang out around a bonfire and drink more beer, but we were tired so we decided to head back.

As soon as we arrived back at the hostel, it started down pouring so I was really glad we got back before the rain.

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