We can’t believe we’ve got through another country, ok we missed a fair bit in the south, but still eight so far. I was extremely nervous about the hills in Laos, especially after our experience of ”hills” in Thailand. I’m always the pessimistic one and Andy is forever the optimist but Laos was amazing. The scenery was absolutely beautiful, and that was in the hazy/burning fields season. The kids are phenomenal. The FFF (foreign food Fridays) incredible. The beer cold and cheap. We’ve had a great three weeks here.
April 9th to 12th 151km
Oudomxai turned out to be quite a nice little town and we stayed for a couple of nights. Our time in South East Asia has been a bit of a holiday, waiting out the winter so that when we cross Central Asia later in the year it’ll be a lot warmer than if we’d headed there in a straight line. With that in mind, we weren’t in any rush to cross the border into China, where we’ll be restricted by the time on our visas, so will be pushing to get more distance done each day.
April 2nd – 8th 249km
When we arrived in Luang Prabang, we didn’t have a definite idea how long we’d stay. From everything we’d heard, the place is hard to leave, and this turned out to be true for us! I think it became a running joke with the people in our guesthouse when we asked them, yet again, if our room was available for just one more night. Although we didn’t actually do all that much there, we thoroughly enjoyed our time in Luang Prabang. It sits at the meeting point of two rivers (Mekong and Nam Khan), with the water almost completely encircling the old town centre which is full of temples, tree lined alleyways and colonial architecture. I’d love to say we were more cultured and toured around the temples, learning all about the historical significance of the nation’s old capital but, I can’t. We did see a lot of the town though, the night market, the leafy walkways next to the rivers and lots of the restaurants. It was just a very easy place to spend time.
March 23rd – April 1st 400km
Crossing the border into Laos was very easy. On the Thai side, we left our bikes outside the control building and went in to get our exit stamps, on the final day of our 30 day visa free period. Technically, bikes aren’t allowed on the Friendship Bridge across no mans land and over the Mekong, but we’d read of other cycle tourists who’d ridden across. We got back on our bikes and rode quickly off, avoiding the guys selling tickets for the bus, which we were supposed to take over to the Laos side. We had no problems though, I think the guards are used to turning a blind eye as so many cyclists cross here.