Sunset viewed from Don Det, 4,000 Islands
The 4,000 islands at the southern tip of Laos on the Mekong are known for sucking travelers in and holding them far longer than they’d anticipated. The easy lifestyle, good food, and gorgeous sunsets account for this, as well as the beautiful scenery and friendly locals (both Lao and expat). I spent nearly a week here, enjoying some long walks on Don Det and Don Khon as well as fishing and kayaking trips. There are some impressive waterfalls in the area, too.
The biggest attraction, though, is probably the sunsets. Every night I saw colors that are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, even rivaling Iceland’s summer sky. Grabbing a hammock in front of a bungalow on the sunset side of Don Det, lemonade in hand, was the best part of my day.
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Sitting near the Mui Wo waterfalls
After a magnificent three weeks in Turkey I flew to Hong Kong to visit Jane and James, who I had taught with in Colombia last year. I’d never been to eastern Asia before and I tried to keep my mind open and eliminate expectations. I was glad to have some friends to show me the ropes!
What surprised me most about Hong Kong was how green it is. I had images of horrendous traffic, bright lights, and crowded buses in my mind, and that is indeed true in the center of the city. But just a short ferry ride away is Lantau Island, home to long hiking trails and brilliant coastal views. The Olympic Trail is just one of these trails. From the Mui Wo ferry terminal it’s a short, clearly-signposted walk to the beginning of the trail, where you’ll be treated with the Mui Wo waterfalls. Then, you can hike up a fair number of stairs to get a view of the harbor, and then continue along deeper into the island toward Pak Mong. I branched off the Olympic Trail to take a less-developed country trail, where I found myself quite isolated for several kilometers.
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