from/to Don Det

transportation motorbike

Don Det from/to Cambodia Pakse Vientiane & Vang Vieng Don Khone island Other provenances / destinations

Don Det / Cambodia

Visas are delivered at the border, in both sides, and are payable in dollars.

Don Det > Siem Reap
Several shops in the center of Don Det sell bus tickets to Siem Reap, including the boat. The departures always start at 8am from the island, and the prices turn around 35 USD in 2023. Not all the companies are fair, so you may arrive later than scheduled, and pay extra fees at the border. To avoid deceptions or contrarieties, read travellers's reviews first, or go with the cambodian company AVT (Asia Van Transfer) that seems to be the best choice for now, here.

Siem Reap > Don Det
It's important to know that the very large majority of travelers from Cambodia reach Don Det much later than scheduled, and meet all kind of problems during their trip, especially delays in different cities and scams at the border.
By experience, the company Asia Van Transfer is definitely more reliable than the others. But you can investigate by yourself to get your own feeling, before taking your decision.

Don Det > Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh is not a frequent destination from Don Det, because this city is far and difficult to reach. Bus tickets are sold on the island though, but the trip is long and tiring, that's why travellers generally prefers Siem Reap or Kratie, when they have the choice.
Nevertheless, it's possible, and if you need to go to Phnom Penh in one day, all the daily departures are at 8am from the pier in Don Det center. The tickets include the boat. Expect a long journey since delays are frequent on this line!

Phnom Penh > Don Det
A good Cambodian company to go by bus from Phnom Penh to Don Det is Sorya Transportation. The buses are comfortable and most of the passengers get a good experience, despite the very early morning departure (around 5 am). Choose Pakse as the destination on their website, and get off at the 4000 islands (Nakasang).

Don Det > Lao-Cambodian border The price of the tickets sold here from Nakasang to the Cambodian border (20km) is around 11 USD. The departures usually are at 8 am from the pier in the center of Don Det.
Avoid the scams by handling the immigration forms yourself. Learn more about the scams at the Lao-Cambodian border before travelling.

Lao-Cambodian border > Don Det
There are 20 km between the Cambodian border and Don Det (Nakasang), but only a few rare taxis. Waiting a while until the vans get full is inevitable, and it is better to have a transfer included in your journey's ticket to avoid being lost, especially at the end of the day.

Don Det / Pakse

transportation bus

Inside a local bus to Pakse.

Don Det > Pakse
In private bus, all the departures to Pakse are at 11am from the pier in the center of Don Det, and 11:45am from Nakasang. Tickets are sold here approximately 6 USD, including the boat.
The departures of the public buses start from 7am, and there is one every hour until 9am and sometimes 10am, from the market place in Nakasang, near the banks and ATM (main road, 500 meters from the Mekong). There are no public bus after 10am ! The price is 5 USD, plus 1 USD /person for the boat from the pier in Don Det center.
To cross the river at 8am, just ask the boat driver. If you're more than 2 persons, he may leave immediately for you. To cross the river before 8am, you need a private boat, more expensive, and bookable in advance in any travel agency.

Pakse > Don Det
From the Southern Bus Terminal of Pakse (8km from the center), there are regular departures to Si Phan Don everyday and every hour, from 7am to 3pm. It usually takes 3 ½ hours to get to Nakasang, so try not to leave Pakse later than 2pm in order to arrive before the night! The price is 5 USD /person in 2023. Nakasang is the last stop, nearest village from Don Det in the main land. The buses stop at the market place, near the bank and ATM. There is still 500 meters to walk with your luggage to reach the Mekong.
By chosing this option, be aware that the buses might be full of people and marchandises (sometimes including chickens or porks). But these vehicles are open and windy, with a typical Lao atmosphere, that will introduce yourself inside the local world!
From Pakse city center, a lot of hotels and guesthouses sell tickets to Nakasang (or Don Det, including the boat) by private minivan. The departures usually start at around 8am and the prices are between 6 and 8 USD (note that you save the fee for the tuk-tuk to the Southern Bus Station). The trip is shorter than by public bus (only 2 ½ hours), and usually also more comfortable.
From the Nakasang local Terminal where you're dropped, walk towards the Mekong and you'll find a small office near the river that sells tickets to Don Det (immediate departures). The price of the boat before the night is 1.5 USD /passenger, or 3 USD for a single person. After the night, you can be charged more, until 6 USD.

Coming by plane, the Pakse airport is not far from the center. You can get to the Southern Bus Station by taxi (approx 10 USD /course), or directly to Nakasang for about 100 USD (2 hours).

Don Det / Vientiane & Vang Vieng

Don Det > Vientiane & Vang Vieng
All the departures in private bus to Vientiane or Vang Vieng are at 11am from Don Det. You will change in Pakse, where the stop will approximately last 5 hours, until 8 pm for the direct sleeping bus arriving in Vientiane at 6am the day after, and in Vang Vieng at noon.

It is also possible to go earlier by day, as there are regular departures from the main Bus Stations, but the transport conditions may be difficult, with many stops, a crowd and a lot of marchandises inside. Unless you travel on a budget, it is better to book a place in a sleeping bus leaving at 8 pm.

Vientiane & Vang Vieng > Don Det
From Vang Vieng to Don Det, you may change in Vientiane, with the same ticket, as there is no direct bus to come here.
The main Bus Station in Vientiane is located 9 km from the city center. The course with a tuk-tuk may cost 5 USD /person. To get a place in a good sleeping bus from Vientiane to Pakse, we recommend to arrive 2 hours in advance at the Station, that means before 5:30 pm, to leave after 7:30 pm. Several private companies sell tickets to Pakse, at different times and prices, logically proportional to the comfort of the buses. Still, they are all supposed to be VIP, which means the quality could be worse :-)
If there is no delay, you will arrive at Pakse in the early morning, at about 6 am, before all the shops and restaurants open. The next stage is to get to the Pakse Southern Bus Station (8 km from the center) to reach the regular bus that leads to Nakasang (near Don Det).

Coming by plane, the airports are located near the center, and the course by taxi or tuk-tuk is usually cheap.

Don Det / Don Khone

bridge don det

From Don Det, anyone can get to Don Khone by walk or by bicycle. Open this map to visualize the areas and distances. From the center of Don Det, it may take 45 min to reach the waterfalls by bicycle, and 2 hours hiking.
An old bridge links the twin islands (map).

Other destinations from/to Don Det

Nakasang (main land)
You can go to Nakasang in the morning by boat, from the pier in Don Det. In the afternoon, it's more difficult to find a driver, but never impossible, by asking the travel shops next. The price for one way is 1.5 USD /passenger or 3 USD for a single person.
Many boats leave the island at 8:00 in the morning to go to Cambodia, and at 11:00 to Pakse. It's easy to join the crowd.
From Nakasang to Don Det, the price is the same. But the later it is, the more expensive the ticket is. Don't expect being able to cross the river after 20:30. There's a guesthouse in Nakasang if you arrive too late.

Bangkok & Ubon Ratchathani
To Bangkok and Ubon Ratchathani, the departures usually are at 11 am in Don Det, by private transportation until Pakse. At 2 pm in Pakse, you'll get connected to Ubon Ratchathani, and arrive there at 6:30 pm. The VIP international bus leaves Pakse at 3:30 pm and arrives in Ubon 3 hours later. This VIP bus drops you off at the train station, where you can book a ticket in a sleeping wagon. You'll arrive in Bangkok the day after between 6:00 and 8:00 am. Be aware that delays in the train are frequent.

You can easily get to Ubon (& Bangkok) by your own from Pakse. There are regular minivans that leave the big DaLeuang Market (2 km from the center) to the border. So when you are at the Southern Bus Station in Pakse, just take a tuk-tuk to the DaLeuang Market. The minivans are parked near the bridge (West side). At Vang Tao / Chong Mek (Lao-Thai border), fill in the form, stamp your passport, and then in Thailand walk straight for 1 km to reach the Chong Mek Bus Station. There are regular and direct departures to Ubon in minivan. In Ubon, you'll be dropped at the main Bus Station, so eather you get a bus to Bangkok here, or you go into a tuk-tuk to the train station (10 km).
From Bangkok to Don Det it is a long way, but the connections are convenient. You'll probably arrive at around 7 in the morning by bus or train at Ubon Ratchathani. Then, get to the main Bus Station, near the Big C supermarket, and buy a ticket to Pakse with the VIP international bus, which stops 45 min at the border (called Chong Mek / Vang Tao) to stamp your passport. A Lao visa can be delivered here in 15 min, for approximately 30-40 dollars (depending on your nationality) + 1 identity photo.

Luang Prabang
Between Don Det and Luang Prabang, the way is very long by bus, and it is highly recommended to take the train or the planes by Lao Airlines.

Don Khong (the biggest of the 4000 islands)
There are regular boats in the morning from Don Khong to Don Det, but not in the other way, because of the current of the river. You can go to Don Khong by boat + bus (or motorbike with a driver) from Nakasang. The journey lasts approximately one hour from Don Det.

It's also possible to buy tickets to Vietnam in the center of Don Det, for example at the Green paradise travel office.

Don Som
Don Som is very close to Don Det, and it's quite easy to get there by boat. The fee for one way is 1.5 USD /pers and a bit more with a bicycle or a motorbike. Simply ask the boat drivers at the Don Det pier.
To come back to Don Det from Don Som is less easy, then you need to make an appointment with the boat driver, for the return. It is also possible to ask the locals in the village, since most of them own their personal boat.

Have a nice journey!

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