In the lovely, serene province of Champasak, Laos, resides a sleepy, secluded island of fishermen, farmers, and their families called Don Deng (also spelled Dong Deng, Don Daeng). Travelers are drawn to Champasak, once the capital of the Lao kingdom, to visit UNESCO World Heritage Site, Vat Phou Champasak. The island is a natural stop-over on the north-bound overland route from Cambodia.
Don Deng is accessible only by boat. Talk about truly getting away from it all! Once we boarded the make-shift catamaran “ferries” (two canoes connected by a wooden platform with benches), we embarked on a short 30-minute journey up the Mekong to our home for the night.
We were greeted by young families who would host us during our stay, keen to use their tractor-buggies to deliver our luggage to their homes.
This little lady was so cute and sassy with her bright yellow Mary Jane wedges!
We walked to our home-stay village through towering palm trees and farm plots. The landscape was simultaneously tropical island and countryside farming/fishing community. I found this to be such an interesting mix of scenery, creating the ultimate laid-back vibe. Sometimes a (oceanic) tropical setting can feel frivolous, but the addition of the fishing and farming community added a sense of depth and purpose to the place.
There’s Always a Temple
The colorful vats (wats) were striking photographic subjects in this unique tropical, river landscape. The mountains are noteworthy here as well, adding another layer to the flatter island-studed river geography.
As soon as we dropped our luggage at our homes for the night, we set off on a little tour of the island. There was literally no semblance of tourism here; no guest houses or hotels or restaurants; which was absolutely refreshing. The experience was completely authentic. For almost 24 hours, there was no site seeing, just seeing and experiencing our surroundings.
Much like those on Don Khong, families spent time with one another while going about their daily routines.
Their homes and needs were basic, simplified. Life enjoyed a slower, happy pace here.
Families took pride in their homes and gardens. Landscaping was impeccable and simply lovely.
You can’t really go anywhere in Southeast Asia without seeing monks! Here, we caught a glimpse of the daily alms ritual where people give food to the monks.
The children were full of love and life, exuding pure joy. They were curious about us, as visitors to their island, and engaged us with inquisitive enthusiasm.
Kiddos on Don Deng were all smiles and laughter. This is an instant cure to anyone having a bad day!
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Don Deng home stay (too many photos for one post)!
Thanks for stopping by!