Don Khong is the largest of the Mekong islands at 16 km long and 8 km wide. It’s the place to relax or explore by bicycle. Visitors might be surprised by the smooth asphalt roads, electricity and general standard of amenities that exist on the island but two words explain it all – Khamtay Siphandone – Laos’ former president, who has a residence on the island.
Around the island Don Khong’s ‘capital’ is Muang Khong, a small former French settlement. Pigs and chickens scrabble for food under the houses and just 50 m inland the houses give way to paddy fields. There are two wats in the town. Wat Kan Khong, also known as Wat Phuang Kaew, is visible from the jetty: a large gold Buddha in the mudraof subduing Mara garishly overlooks the Mekong. Much more attractive is Wat Chom Thongat the upstream extremity of the village, which may date from the early 19th century but which was much extended during the colonial period.