Category 2012 Cycling South East Asia

Chiang Khong to Thoeng

This was an 84 km trip as we went 7 km past Thoeng. We climbed a total of 444 meters up and went down about the same. Road condition were great and we got the hang of riding on the left side of the road. While we bypassed the really bad smoke there was still Haze.Read More

Touring Luang Namtha and Mung Sing – Part 2

In one of the villages we could hear some drumming and chanting. We went to the home and found a Shaman inside performing a ceramony to chase away the spirits for the village. We also witnessed the slaughering of a baby pig that they were going to sacrifice at the entrance to the village. Amazing stuff, and as Janis says, it helps get us out of our Ethno-centric lives we live in East City.Read More

Touring Luang Namtha & Muang Sing Area

This is a lovely area of Laos, with lots of Tribal Ethnic Villages (this is what the Locals call the area). We had 3 days of touring with a great local guide. His name is Ped (Luang Namtha Discovery Tours). We stayed overnight in Muang Sing at a lovely guesthouse. While we were having dinner a Laos volunteer English teacher asked if we would come to the makeshift class room and let his 4 student practice English. We went in and spent a lovely part of the evening helping these 10 and 12 year old girls practice English.Read More

Na Mor to Luang Namtha

Another hilly but great ride. It was 69 km’s with no major pass, but many ups and downs. Today we did 691 meters of total ascent and 734 meters of total decent. We had perfect road and little traffic until we hit Nateuy. At that point we could head north to China or go south towards Thailand. We went south. This was a good road (not as good as the road we were on this morning. There were more big trucks and buses on this road.Read More

Oudamsay to Na Mor

Another great riding day. It was only 53 km, but included a 16 km pass. Basically, get on your bike at East City IGA and ride up Armour hill for about 16 km. Whoever built this road made it with an acceptable slope (not as steep as Armour Hill).

This pass started at the 17km mark and there was a few km of up and down plateau near the top. This pass rose 550 meters.

Total assent ror the day 798 meters, and total decent of 812 meters.

The road was in excellent shape, with no potholes.

Last night we went for dinner at a small cafe. The owner was alone so when she cooked, she asked Janis to hold her 11 month old daughter.

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Muang Khoua to Oudomsay

This may have been the greatest biking day for us ever. It was 100 km with a total assent of about 1,100 meters and a total descent of about 980 meters.

The scenery was striking. The road was in excellent shape, and very little traffic. It was about 35 degrees C but we had a cloud cover most of the day.

We followed the Nam Phak river the whole way, which ment no major ascent of descent. Many of the villages have abandoned both slash and burn techniques as well as harvesting Opium. They are replacing it with bamboo production as well as broom grass (this is the grass that they band together to make brooms.

Many of the small towns we passed were composed of people who use to travel around planting, harvesting and after a few years, slash and burn the fields and then move on...

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Nong Khiag to Muang Khoua by boat

We took an amazing 5 hour boat ride up the Nam Ou river. They placed our bikes on the boat along with the luggage. There was a slight charge for each bike.

At this time of year,there are many rapids and our 45 foot long by 4 foot wide long-boat took them head on. There were a few hairy moments but the driver appeared to know what he was doing. There were about 6 tourists on the boat and about 12 local people.

Our first stop was one hour up the river at Muang Ngoi. We decided not to stay here, even though it looked like a nice stop. Many years ago, one could live there for $1 per day and all the Opium you could consume. They have upgraded the village and eliminated the Opium dens.

Next we carried on for 4 more hours up river, stopping at various villages...

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Pakmong to Nong Khiaw

This was a lovely little ride up and down the rolling hills. It was 32 Km to the guest house we chose right across from the bus station.

We took a bit of R&R and enjoyed this sleepy little town. Again we were overwhelmed with the nice slow pace the Laos people follow. This town had a great atmosphere, with both Lao food and some western choices.

We went to a set of caves outside of town, where the village and surrounding villages spent several years living during the USA Bombing of Laos. It is too bad, as Laos declared itself neutral in the cold war conflicts. Even so, the VC trained in the hills of Laos and the USA bombed the hell out of it. They say for the first little while, the Laos people were in the caves, unaware of who was bombing them, as they had no enemies.

If you use THE GOOGL...

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Luang Prabang to Pakmong

This was a lovely ride. It was 115 km in total we decided to get a tuk tuk out of Luang Prabang and biked about 85 km into Pakmong. There are lots of hills and a large assent at the 70 km mark. The road is in great shape with a few small broken stretches. Traffic was quite lite. The people are so laid back, polite and kind. We passed small villages along the way.Read More

First Day In Laos -Luang Prabang

When we landed in Luang Prabang we had to finalize our visa application. This was very formal and took on the feeling of a very controlled and locked down state. Canadians have to pay $42 for a 30 day visa, while most others only pay $30. We are not sure why. We got our bike boxes and luggage and took a tuk tuk to our guesthouse. It was a lovely place on the bank of the Nam Khan river, which flows into the Mekong river.Read More