Siem Reap located in Northern Cambodia is a major tourist destination in Southeast Asia. With so many attractions and activities, over a million tourists a year visit this place. The Angkor Archeological Park is Siem Reap’s main draw. It stretches over 400 square kilometers and contains the remains of the Khmer Empire. Outside of the temples, you will also find ancient villages and impressive museums.
Don Det is an island located in the middle of Mekong River. It is also part of the 4000 islands group in Laos. Although not as developed and lively as Vang Vieng, many backpackers still flock to Don Det for its serene surroundings and trendy atmosphere. Here many activities cater to adventure seekers like kayaking, cycling, and tubing.
Bus or Flight?
There are 2 options to travel the 350km journey from Siem Reap to Don Det: by taking a bus ($27) for 8 hours and 15 minutes, or by taking a 1-hour flight from Siem Reap to Pakse ($101) and then travelling to Don Det by bus ($15) for 3.5 hours.
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.
How it works: First, they come to pick you up at your accommodation and bring you to their office for a briefing. In the briefing, they will explain to you where the bus will make stops, how the border crossing works and will shortly tell you about the visa you need to get. It almost feels like you are going to be part of an illegal border crossing, but it couldn’t be further from the truth than that.
The border crossing is actually a pretty cool experience as 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 as 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: 4h 30min Cost: $101 + $15
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, as 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 as 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 as 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.
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.
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.
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.