Being a landlocked country, Laos might seem like an odd destination for a beach vacation, and indeed for a pure beach-focus, you might be better served planning your trip to any of its coastal neighbours. However, if you’re looking for a break on the beach to include in your Laos itinerary, then The Four Thousand Islands is the obvious, and really only, choice.
Rushing rapids can be found all along the Laotian stretch of the Mekong.
While the archipelago does live up to its name, there are three islands that are worth mentioning. First is Don Khong, the largest and least touristic of the three. As the island is huge, there are a number of beaches along its shores, with most being very devoid of other travellers.
Swimming in Don Khong.
Next up is the backpacker haven of Don Det. Following the decline of Vang Vieng’s party scene, it moved here, where it’s been thriving. The jungle of bungalows provides accommodation at a budget price, while also feeling authentic to southern Laotian river life. There’s only one beach suitable for swimming, but you can also swim at most of the guesthouses located on the waterfront.
Accommodation right on the water in Don Det.
Finally there’s Don Khon. Located next to Don Det, it’s a better alternative for older travellers or those who have no interest in all-nighters around a bonfire on the beach. Life is quieter here, and there are two beaches worth noting, one near the enormous waterfalls of the island, the currents from which can make it hard for anyone but the most confident swimmers. There’s also a safer option with calmer waters located not far away for those wishing to just relax.
While Laos isn’t anyone’s first choice for a beach-holiday, it still has some beautiful sandy shores in its Southern reaches which make for a good place to take a break and rest before continuing either north further into Laos, or south to neighbouring Cambodia.