I didn’t know what to expect of the 4000 islands really. I mean first off there isn’t 4000 actual islands, there are a fair few but you can only stay on about 3 of them and they are all in a part of the Mekong river.
As we arrived on the boat we could see a lot of huts and bungalows on stilts sitting over the edge of the river, there is literally one small muddy road where all the accommodation, restaurants, shops ect are so we left our bags with 2 of the girls and headed off to find accommodation. We didn’t want a bungalow as we had heard they were very basic so got 2 bedrooms in a guesthouse for all 5 of us to share instead and in really good condition.
We went for a late lunch and got speaking to a Lao guy who told us to call him Anfield because he loved Liverpool Football Club (I find this kind of thing totally normal now which is also very strange) and he turned out to be a guide for a kayaking tour so after him selling it to us (which he did a good job of) we booked it.
WELL his selling was definitely better than his tour guiding skills..
The next day we met him early in the morning and headed out onto the river. He basically assumed we all knew how to kayak and headed off while shouting at us to ‘go’ ‘hurry’ ‘no lazy’ and these comments carried on all day.
It started off ok although my body is just not built for sitting in that position so my back and legs were aching. Two of the people I was with somehow happened to capsize straight away from going into a tree in the water and then again which was quite amusing! We stopped and walked to a waterfall which was ok but nothing too impressive then headed back to kayak where the guy told us we would definitely all capsize now.. And we did!!
I’m not a huge fan of water and going under and it all happened in such slow motion, we were heading for a tree which we couldn’t turn away from, we started tipping and before I knew it I was being tipped out and going under and panicking about getting back up but because I was on a rapid I was scared of just going down so I was clinging to a branch for dear life until everyone else went past me and I realized I wasn’t going to get any help and I then let go and floated down to the others (thank god for life jackets). We got back on which is hard work in itself then a few minutes later 4 of the other kayaks capsized down a rapid but we managed to avoid that one!! The guide was also one of them to capsize which I’m sure wasn’t nice as he was in denim jeans and jacket!! And he told us our lunch was ruined as he was carrying it (luckily it wasn’t!).
We carried on for what felt like an eternity and I was moaning a lot, then we reached a vast area of open space and found out that we were now at the part of the Mekong river where one side was Cambodia and the other Laos, which is pretty cool! This was also the space to see the river dolphins, there definitely weren’t many of them around but most people managed to see one or at least a fin except me!!
Then at last it was a short kayak to where we had lunch before getting back on to go further down the river. At this point I was totally over it until we stopped on a bank and there was a truck waiting to take the kayaks (Yay!!) we drove for a bit to a waterfall which is the biggest waterfall in south east Asia in volume and was so powerful!! It wasn’t overly wide or long but the amount of water going down was crazy.
We then got taken to a side bit of the waterfall where we could swim and go under it, there were a lot of rocks to manoeuvre and the current was still so strong, I got in but there was no way I was going under the waterfall!
I asked the guide if we had finished kayaking and although I wanted him to say yes so much I knew that actually we were on the mainland we needed to get back to our island so after another drive we got taken to the pier where we had got the boat the day before.
As we got to the pier we could see a huge black cloud coming over the river towards us, the wind started picking up and thunder started cracking!! Even locals were looking at us like we were crazy!
We tried to explain to the guide that we literally couldn’t do this, we were tired, we hated kayaking and there was a storm coming but obviously he didn’t care and just told us to ‘go move quick’ and to be fair we did have to get back to the island.
This was the most horrific yet hilarious part of the day. It started raining just as we headed out on the river, we could see our destination but it still seemed so far away and the wind was coming at us which made us go even slower and at one point it rained so hard I literally couldn’t open my eyes and all I could do was laugh and say how I wish I had a boring life where on a Wednesday I just got up, went to work and that’s it!!
We finally made it back at 5.00pm and were shot gunning the shower to find out the electricity and water were out. This happened a few times the day before but only for a few minutes so we waited about 30 minutes but realised it wasn’t coming back on so got changed while still smelling of river water and went to find somewhere that could cook food and then headed to bed still very smelly and to a very hot room without a fan!
The next morning it was still off but there was some water so we had a quick shower to help us feel better. One if the girls actually went to the shop to buy 8 litres of bottled water so she could wash her hair (very inventive!) and just after that.. The power came back on at 11.00m.
The day we didn’t do much. We were tired after a bad sleep and there really wasn’t much to do on the island that wasn’t a trip costing money so we booked a ticket to Cambodia for the next day and chilled in a bar watching movies and friends.