Sleeping and eating in Don Det & Don Khon
Seemingly every farmer on Don Det has jumped aboard the bungalow bandwagon and there are now dozens of guesthouses around the edge of the island. The greatest concentration is in Ban Hua Det at the northern tip of Don Det, which has become the place to be if you want to socialize into the night. From here a quiet footpath blown as Sunset Strip leads along the northwestern edge of the island to places which are relatively quiet and, not surprisingly, have good sunset views. The rest of the accommodation is spread along the pleasant eastern shore, known as Sunrise Boulevard. If you’d prefer to be further from the crowds, head for the quieter places on the southern shore of the island.
Note that things are changing especially fast on Don Det, so if the place you’re looking at isn’t listed here, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s no good; it might be newer and better.
Don Khon is home to some more up- market places, pleasant eateries on the water and a less-youthful atmosphere than Don Det; staying here is definitely a more ‘Lao’ experience.
Virtually all guesthouses here also serve food and drinks all day.
Coming from Ban Nakasang boatmen will usually drop you at your guest-house of choice if you ask.
Seng Chan’s Bungalows
Surise Blvd – Bungalows US$1-2
These thatched-roofed and detached bungalow hive two beds and two windows each and it right on the river. Good choice.
Mr Noi’s Bungalows
Sunrise Blvd – Bungalows US$1,50-2
These oldish bungalows have softer than usual mattresses. You can get excellent pumpkin buigers here.
Tel: 030-534-6233 – Bungalow US$1
Beside the north end of the bridge, Santiphab was one of the first guesthouses on Don Det and is still a good option if view and chilled atmosphere is more important than partying. The restaurant (meals US$1 to US$2.50) is a cooler place for sundowners.
Sunset Bar & Guesthouse
Sunset strip – Bungalows US$ 1.50
There’s a fun atmosphere here and it’s the bar over the river that drives it. The lao-lao mojitos (US$0.50) are pretty good.
Tel: 020-527 4785 – Southern shore – bungalow US$1.50
This three-bungalow place on the southern shore calls itself Don Det’s friendliest guesthouse. That’s hard to judge, but it were nice enough and it’s good value.
All of Don Khon’s sleeping and eating options are spread along the river either side of the bridge.
Room: US$2 – Bungalows US$3
The cheapest place on Don Khon isn’t bad, with small rooms overhanging the river, and bungalows with bathroom and fan. There’s a family feel and the restaurant and Lao ball game court are a bonus.
Beside the river, these six rooms with cold-water bathrooms are a low-budget option on the more gentrified Don Khon strip.
Pan’s Guesthouse & Restaurent
Tel: 020-5631434 – Bungalow: US$8
Pan’s new wooden bungalows are spacious and a cut above the bamboo places. They have soft mattresses, fans, clean bathrooms, and there are plans for solar hot water. Over the track the restaurant isn’t bad and information is free-flowing. Internet access costs US$6 per hour.
Auberge Sala Don Rhone
Tel: 020-563 3718
Romantics take note: this converted French-era hospital contains Don Khon’s three most charming rooms (though only the middle room has a double bed) surrounded by an attractive garden. The remaining sturdy wooden rooms with terracotta tile roofs, verandas and attached cold-water bathrooms are also quite nice. Negotiation is possible and from May to September prices drop by US$3. A generator runs from 6pm to 10pm, longer if you pay for it.
Tel: 030-525 6390 – Room include breakfast US$30
If you fancy sleeping on the river, literally, these bamboo rafts floating on the Mekong are for you. Each supports two comfortable if slightly overpriced rooms, with bio-safe toilet in the hot-water bathroom and a small balcony.
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