Want to know how to get from Siem Reap to Don Det? In this post, we’ll share a summary of the two ways to get there and compare each option on duration, costs and level of comfort. For each option, we go into more detail to help you decide which transport provider to book with and where to buy your tickets.
What to expect when visiting Don Det
Don Det is one of the 4,000 islands in Laos’ Si Phan Don archipelago. Sitting on the Mekong River, it’s a backpacker’s paradise with its hip atmosphere, cheap prices and laidback vibe. Nipa huts line its shores. And with prices starting from $3, these are among the cheapest accommodations you’ll find in Southeast Asia!
The so-called “Mecca of backpackers” is so small, you can explore the island by renting a bike for $1 a day. Or you can walk — it takes just about 2 hours to explore Don Det on foot. Glide along the Mekong River on a boat, kayak, or just a tube and enjoy the raw scenery and occasional sightings of Irrawaddy dolphins and water buffaloes.
2 ways to get from Siem Reap to Don Det
There are two ways to travel the distance of 350 km (217 miles) from Siem Reap to Don Det: by bus (8h15m) and flight (4.5 hours). The journey takes between 4h30m - 8h15m and the quickest way is by flight. The lowest priced tickets start from €22.50 ($27) for the bus.
Don Det is a popular destination for those who want to relax after having been on the road for several weeks.
Without any doubt, we recommend booking with Asia Van Travel. This company brings you door-to-door and explains very clearly how to do the border crossing from Siem Reap to Don Det. In my opinion, they provide the best service of all bus companies I traveled with.
The border crossing is actually a pretty cool experience because the bus will drop you in front of a gate. From this gate, you literally have to walk across the border. But don’t worry, Asia Van Travel will have you covered and explain to you how it works in detail.
We recommend planning this trip a few days in advance because they only run one trip a day.
Another option is to cross the Strung Treng Border independently, but you’ll need to switch buses at least twice to get to the border. From there you can take a van to Don Det. No reason to make it yourself so complicated.
Tickets with Asia Van Travel cost $27 and include the pick-up service. See there bus schedule below:
Departs from Asia Van Transfer Office along Hap Guan Street, next to Garden of Desire (Kandal Village)
Arrives at North Beach, Don Det
Tip: For those who require a visa to enter Laos, it’s best to obtain one before making the trip. Travelers are usually overcharged for visas at the border.
Siem Reap to Don Det by Flight
Duration: 4.5 hours
Starts from: €97.00 ($116)
Duration: 4.5 hours
Cost: €97.00 ($116)
The nearest airport to Don Det is Pakse International Airport. This means you’ll need to book a flight from Siem Reap to Pakse if you want to fly this route.
We think it doesn’t make much sense to fly this route because it won’t save you much time. With the bus of Asia Van Transfer, you will start your journey at 8:00 and arrive at 16:30 in Don Det. When you take the flight you can sleep in a few hours more because the plane leaves at 14:40 from Siem Reap. However, you will arrive at 15:40 in Pakse which means that you will likely be too late to catch the ferry to Don Det.
In other words, if you want to cross the largest distance from Siem Reap to Don Det by flight, you’ll have to plan in an extra night in Pakse.
If you still want to fly, we recommend booking in advance. Tickets get more expensive closer to the travel date. Flights are operated by Lao Airlines and fares for this 1-hour flight start from $101.
From Pakse International Airport, you’ll need to pre-arrange transport to Don Det. Find out how in our article on travelling from Pakse to Don Det.
It’s hard to believe that for only $10 you can enjoy a waterfront bungalow with your own private terrace and hammock! The rooms themselves are simple, but you’ll probably want to spend most of your time outside anyway, it’s that beautiful!
The host is incredibly friendly and cooks delicious food for the onsite restaurant. The grass area right on the river is the perfect spot for yoga and meditation.
Centrally located on Don Det island, this Mama Luerth Sunset 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.
Moon By Night offers an excellent location with beautiful river views in central Don Det. This hotel boasts a restaurant, bar and garden area on-site for the guest’s 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.
Frequently Asked Questions about Siem Reap to Don Det
What is the distance from Siem Reap to Don Det?
The distance from Siem Reap to Don Det is 350 km (217 miles).
What is the fastest way to get from Siem Reap to Don Det?
The fastest way to get from Siem Reap to Don Det is by flight and takes 4.5 hours.
What is the cheapest way to get from Siem Reap to Don Det?
The cheapest way to get from Siem Reap to Don Det is by bus with ticket costs starting from €22.50 ($27).
Rounding it up
We hope this guide was helpful in planning how to get from Siem Reap to Don Det. If there's anything else you're wondering about, drop us a comment and we'll do our best to answer you within a few days.
PS: If you've recently travelled this route, share your experience with fellow travellers and help us improve this post. Thanks for helping out our travel community!
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.