A tuk tuk brought me back to the ferry landing in the morning, and I crossed to the other side of the Mekong in a long-tail boat. Long-tail boats are long narrow wooden boats with a sunroof, and an exposed car motor that drives a propeller at the end of a long drive shaft, which is lowered into the water and generates a lot of spray. Took a crowded bus to Hat Xai Khun, which is just a cluster of bamboo houses an hour down the Mekong. Another long-tail boat brought me to Muang Khong, an even tinier and even sleepier village on the island of Don Khong.
Don Khong is a member of Si Phan Don, the Four Thousand Islands in the middle of the river. In the rainy season, the Mekong expands to a width of 14 km here. There are not really 4000 islands here, but there are a few hundred. Don Khong is the largest and one of the few that are inhabited.
Muang Khong consists mostly of a single road along the river; the village extends for a few hundred meters. The riverbank is quite steep, and most of the few guesthouses have restaurant terraces on stilts overlooking the river. There is very little to do here other than read and walk. The island gets very rural very quickly outside the village; all houses there (and most in the village) are on stilts and made from wooden planks and bamboo. There are lots of animals. I tried to rent a bicycle but the only one with working brakes had a loose saddle, which promptly broke off when they tried to tighten it.