The next day we arrived at the border after taking a bus (that was an hour late) but it was rather quick. After paying for the Laos Visa, the man stamping the passports was demanding a "$2 Stamping Fee" from everyone. All those who were waiting for the bus to continue on to the 4,000 Islands paid it, and at first I did not, because I knew it was corruption and this was not an official charge. There was one guy from Croatia, Boris who did not pay it. He explained that he already had been to Laos and had never paid a $2 stamping fee and eventually said he would have to call his embassy to explain why he could not get his passport, even when the door was shut on him. The man returned his passport without him paying. I wanted to do the same thing, but was afraid that the bus to 4,000 islands was going to leave, and was also not feeling great about the fact that these guys were holding onto my passport. Boris was right though. You cannot stand for these corrupt things, because in the past this fee was $1, and if people continue paying it, it will surely rise to $3 or $4. These officials must be shown that they cannot get away with taking people's money (even if it is only $2). Once again, it is the concept of it, as you have often seen me writing in my blog. The concept of being treated unfairly, scammed, or tricked is prevalent in this side of the world due to less money, so it is the truly honest people that I come across in this side of the world whom I really respect.
After passing through the border, it was a short ride to the Si Phan Don, more commonly known as the 4,000 Islands! We all went to the island called Don Det. This place is fantastically relaxing, with a little bit of drinking and atmosphere as well! At night after the bars close everyone goes to the beach. There is a lot of construction going on, as this place is seeing more and more tourism each year. My advice: catch the amazing sunsets and breezy days in the hammock now before you have to pay more than $4.50 a night for it!! I was going to head to Vientiane today, but because I am feeling a bit under the weather, I will wait a couple more days until I feel 100% to make the long overnight journey!
PS - for some reason it is super entertaining for me to hear Asian people on this side of the world talking to each other in English...don't ask me why....hahahaha