The Si Phan Don (Lao: ສີພັນດອນ; meaning The 4000 islands) is a riverinearchipelago located in the Mekong River, Champasak Province in southern Laos. Si Phan Don is characterised by numerous islands, half of which are submerged when the Mekong River is in flood. The principle islands of Si Phan Don are Don Khong (the largest), and Don Det and Don Khon.
Key features of the Si Phan Don archipelago include:
Timber was historically logged on the islands but it is now regulated; illegal logging incurs stiff penalties. While the local economies are predominantly based on agriculture, the Si Phan Don archipelago has seen an increasing number of visitors wishing for a 'picture-perfect' experience of Laos. However, tourists numbers are concentrated on Don Khong, and Don Det and Don Khon, and many of the smaller islands remain rarely visited.
The island is 18 kilometres (11 mi) long (north-south), and 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) at its widest point. It has a population of approximately 55,000, mainly concentrated in the two villages Muang Saen (west) and Muang Khong (east); the latter is the de facto capital of the island as well as the regional seat of government. The former President of Laos, Khamtai Siphandon has a residence on the island, which is a possible explanation for the high-quality of infrastructure, such as asphalted roads and electricity, on Khong Island. Locals tend to travel on longtail boats.
Khong Island is noted for its natural beauty and is a growing tourist destination. Many tourists combine their visit to the island with a visit to nearby Don Det and Don Khon islands, where it is possible to view the Khone Phapheng Falls.