Indochina Day Sixteen
17.02.2020 - 17.02.2020
Sign in Ban Houa Done Deng
After a good night's sleep I awoke to find the air a little fresher this morning - a very pleasant temperature for breakfast. Unfortunately it seemed that yesterday's generous buffet might have been a weekend special as today, Monday, we had a more simple menu from which to choose. I had some slightly dense pancakes with honey and a slice of bread with plum jam - both fine but unexciting.
Another view of our bungalow at La Folie
Ban Houa Done Deng
We had no planned activities today so were free to enjoy the hotel facilities and the island. We took advantage of the less humid weather to have a walk after breakfast to the nearest of the ten villages on Done Deng, Ban Houa Done Deng. The name means 'village of the head of Done Deng' as it lies at the northern tip.
Opposite the entrance to the hotel we passed its kitchen extensive garden.
Vegetable garden at La Folie, and nearby stupas
Pretty tree in the village
This walk was a great opportunity to see something of island life. Most of the villagers we met were friendly and we exchanged lots of smiling 'Sabadee' greetings. Of those that appear in my photos, some agreed willingly to a request for a photo, while others are discreet (I hope) candid shots.
In Ban Houa Done Deng
We came to the village temple, Wat Ban Huadone, and went in to investigate. There was some beautiful ornamentation on the various buildings (carvings on the roofs, painted walls etc.)
Wat Ban Huadone
Buddha, Wat Ban Huadone
Roof of the sim
Monks' robes drying
Inside, the sim was small and plain apart from the array of eight golden Buddhas of various sizes.
Inside the sim
Details on front and door of the sim
We passed two schools as we walked, both secondary and primary (the latter supported by La Folie's community projects fund). But as education in Laos works on a shift system, with children attending either morning (7.00-11.00) or afternoon (13.00-17.00) there were still children hanging around in the village. They were a little cautious, but curious about us, and one pair of young boys in particular seemed to keep popping up wherever we went, as if trailing us. One of them shyly posed for a photo for me.
A cuddle of cats
~ How many cats can you count? I see at least four!
At the end of the track through the village we reached the northernmost point of the island, with panoramic views of the Mekong and its two banks.
At the northern tip of Done Deng Island
A sign near here told of a legend about the name of the island, Done Deng [aka Don Daeng], which translates as Red Island:
‘Excerpt from the most widespread version of the story of Nang Malong (Princess Malong)
Legend has it a young beauty, daughter of a high dignitary, secretly loved the Prince of Campanak’on named T’au Basak. Being pregnant with the young prince and opposed to the decision of her father to marry her to a prince “kha” (T’au Bakhieng) from the Bolovens plateau, she fled the arranged marriage to join Prince T’au Basak who went hunting wild elephants in the forests of the south. During her journey, the pain of childbirth made her stop on the island of Don Pha Kam where she gave birth to a girl, Nang P’eng. While leaving the island she threw her bloody skirt to the river, which remained attached to the head of an island that has since been named because of this event Don Daeng or Red Island.’
After a short rest on a log on the beach, enjoying the river views, we retraced our steps through the village, taking just a few more photos as we walked.
On the edge of the woods
~ I couldn't work out if this building was a small shrine or just a shelter of some sort
Another lazy afternoon / evening
By the time we got back to the lodge it was starting to get hot again, although with a fresher breeze than yesterday. Time for a relaxing cold drink by the pool! And after lunch in the restaurant we had a totally lazy afternoon, bar some gentle swimming in the pool.
Pool with restaurant beyond
Later we sat out on our balcony to watch the sun set over the Mekong and over Mount Phou Khao.
La Folie sunset
We finished the day with an equally relaxing evening, with pre-dinner drinks overlooking the river and a nice meal in the restaurant.