What if you gave someone a gift, and they neglected to thank you for it - would you be likely to give them another? Life is the same way. In order to attract more of the blessings that life has to offer, you must truly appreciate what you already have.
– Ralph Marston
Preparing for another very long travel day that is estimated to be more than 20-hours, the journey from Vang Vieng to Si Phan Don (also known as Four Thousand Islands) is an arduous and exhausting haul. There are numerous companies that offer transportation services and the average price I found to Don Det was 250,000₭N ($31.15). While I am not on a time crunch and could have taken the local bus to Vientiane, I had heard from numerous backpackers that this is not a destination to spend much time in. Plus I would have added even more hours to my travel time, which I have learned that even though you may be saving money in one aspect, that money saved will typically be spent on other necessities (food, toilet fees, water, etc). Later, after talking with several other backpackers that went on it their own way using local transportation, many were nightmares because at each stopping point they had to organize their transportation (language barriers, and paying extra for tuk tuks or taxis at an inflated price as well as even having to pay for additional accommodations if you arrived after the last bus departed because the time frame can be so skewed). There were also instances where the bus terminal you arrived at in one town was not the same bus terminal you were departing from to the next and was often on the other side of the town. I have heard of people purchasing tickets that were either void (fakes) or only took them part of the way even though the seller would guarantee that it would cover all transportation services to the desired destination. Over my time and experience of extended travel, I’ve come to view this as a game. I do my best to talk with other travelers as well as inquire at a variety of local shops and transportation operators to determine what the best overall bargain price I can be receiving. But, I have also come to terms that you will pay more, as a foreigner, and this is just a reality.