Pakse to Don Det

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Overview Compare Bus + Ferry Bus via Nakasong To Stay

Pakse is the provincial capital of Champasak province and the third largest city in Laos. It is located next to Mekong and Xe Don rivers and serves as a gateway to other parts of Laos such as Bolaven Plateau and 4,000 islands. However, it is way more than just a jumping-off point. Pakse is also worth a day or two. It is an excellent spot to relax and savor peaceful Lao culture.

Don Det is an island in Si Phan Don (4,000 islands) in Laos. It is a haven for travellers in Southeast Asia known for its hip atmosphere and cool backpacker culture. If you want to party while enjoying striking scenery, you will love Don Det. Here you can also watch dolphins, see waterfalls, go tubing, and swim in the Mekong River.

How to get from Pakse to Don Det

Transport modeDurationCostsAvailability
Combined Bus + Ferry3.5 hours$11Check Bus Tickets
Bus via Nakasong3-3.5 hours$7Read article for more info

The easiest option to travel the 130 km distance from Pakse to Don Det is by buying a combined bus and ferry ticket. This will cost you $11 and travel time takes about 3.5 hours. The one tiny disadvantage of this option is that there is only one trip available per day.

If the schedule of the combined bus and ferry does not work for you, you can also book them separately. Prices start from $7 if you take the local bus.

Itinerary from Pakse to Don Det

Pakse to Don Det travelroute on map

Pakse to Don Det by Combined Bus + Ferry

Duration: 3.5 hours
Cost: $11
Duration: 3.5 hours
Cost: $11

The easiest way to travel from Pakse to Don Det is by booking a combined bus and ferry ticket. The total journey takes about 3.5 hours and tickets cost about $11.

Only Green Paradise Trave offers one trip daily to Don Det, which is at 09:00.

Departure and arrival station

The bus departs from the Green Paradise Travel office in the city centre, about 5 minutes away from Chipatsong Bus Station.

You will be dropped off at Nakasong Ferry Boat Station, where you will take the ferry to Don Det Ferry Station.

Combined Bus + Ferry schedule from Pakse to Don Det

Bus companyScheduleCosts
Green Paradise Travel09:00-12:30$11
Check Bus Tickets

Green Paradise Travel gets mixed reviews for the Pakse to Don Det route. Some travellers are satisfied with their service, while others think it could improve.

Pakse to Don Det via Nakasong by Bus

Duration: 3-3.5 hours
Cost: $7
Duration: 3-3.5 hours
Cost: $7

Most of the bus tickets from Pakse to Don Det leaving already include a ferry ride. However, if the departure time doesn’t work for you, then you can first take a bus to Nakasang Bus station and book your ferry ticket at the terminal.

Step 1: Pakse to Nakasong by Bus

Duration: 3-3.5 hours
Cost: $5
Duration: 3-3.5 hours
Cost: $5

Green Paradise Travel also offers bus trips just to Nakasong Ferry Boat Station, departing at 08:00. This ride doesn’t include the ferry trip to Don Det.

Aside from this company, you can also catch a local bus from Pakse’s Southern Bus Terminal or otherwise known as the 8KM Bus Terminal. This bus terminal is 8 km east of the city centre, hence, the name.

These buses have open windows and are usually crowded with locals travelling with goods, a typical Lao transport.

Bus schedule from Pakse to Nakasong

Bus companyScheduleDurationCosts
Green Paradise Travel1x departure a day from
3 hours$13
Check Bus Tickets
Local busHourly departures from
07:00 to 15:00
3.5 hours$5

Online booking is available only for Green Paradise Travel buses. For the local buses, you can buy your tickets at the station.

Step 2: Nakasong to Don Det by Ferry

Duration: 10-15 minutes
Cost: $2
Duration: 10-15 minutes
Cost: $2

The Green Paradise bus will drop you off at the ferry terminal, while the local bus heads only to the bus station, about 500 m from the ferry station.

Head straight to the ferry terminal to buy your boat ticket. The ticket price is fixed at $2 per person for the 10 to 15-minute ride to Don Det.

It’s important to note that most of the boats are busy from morning until noon. Boat activities start to dwindle by mid-afternoon. Also, boats require a minimum of 2 passengers to depart. Otherwise, you may have to pay a higher price of $4.


Our favourite places to stay in Don Det

Souksan Sunset Bungalows

These waterfront bungalows offer privacy and unbeatable views! Enjoy exploring the town during the day and head back to the Bungalows to relax and watch the sunset from the large shared terrace. There is a bar and restaurant on-site so you can enjoy a drink and dinner while soaking in the sights. These bungalows have comfortable beds, air conditioning, and private bathrooms. 

  • Beachfront
  • Private bungalow
  • Bar and restaurant
  • Terrace to watch the sunset

Private rooms start at $17 per night 

Read more

Mama Leurth Sunset Guesthouse

Centrally located on Don Det island, this Guesthouse is a great choice. The rooms are large, clean and spacious. The guesthouse is within walking distance to plenty of restaurants, shops, and other amenities, you can also rent bicycles nearby to further explore the island. Set in a quiet area, you are guaranteed a peaceful sleep here. 

  • Great location
  • Large rooms
  • Walking distance to shops and restaurants
  • Quiet and peaceful 

Private rooms start at $20 per night

Read more

Moon By Night

Excellent location with beautiful river views in central Don Det.  This hotel offers a restaurant, bar and garden area on-site for the guests’ enjoyment. All chalets have private bathrooms, air conditioning, and very comfortable beds. The owner is extremely friendly, often going out of his way to assist guests with their requests. Beautiful garden setting in a quiet area. 

  • Quiet and peaceful area
  • Great location
  • Stunning river views
  • Friendly owner

Private rooms start at $35 per night 

Read more


More routes to Don Det

Siem Reap to Don Det

More routes from Pakse

Pakse Airport

Pakse to Hoi-An

Pakse to Luang Prabang

Pakse to Vang Vieng

Pakse to Vientiane

Pakse Airport

Luang Prabang Airport

Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng

Luang Prabang to Vientiane

Vientiane Airport

Vientiane to Luang Prabang

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About the author(s)

Based in Bali, Maarten’s passion for travel is undeniable. In 2016, he decided to quit his job as a stock analyst and started doing what he always dreamed of: travelling through South East Asia and helping other people plan their trips. When he is not working on Gecko Routes, you’ll find him surfing in the ocean or exploring the best gems of Indonesia.