Category 2015 Cycling South East Asia

Don Khon (Laos) to Stung Treng (Cambodia) (82 km)

We had a chance to visit several waterfalls on Don Khon and on our way to Cambodia. We did not plan on biking south to Cambodia but after hearing about some routes we made yet another plan B.

This was a tricky day as we had to get a ferry boat to the mainland, go through a customs checkpoint and try to beat the heat.

One mile wide waterfalls

Janis at the falls

Crossing the border

The crossing took long as we didn’t have any more photos and our passports did not have any blank pages. He just laughed when I said to cover the page with a stamp from Chile. Also we had to pay the customary overtime bribe of $1. We hear if you refuse to pay it they will just hold onto your passport for up to one hour. It was worth $1 to save the hour.

We ended up riding until 4 Pm today...

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Don Khong to Don Khon (25 km)

This was a short but amazing ride on small paths with several ferry boat rides and rides through villages and rice fields. We did the ride with our new friend Lysianne from Quebec. 

We have gotten to know the water buffalo on this journey. They are a rather large and gentle animal, always interested our interface. 

Water buffalo

A late afternoon swim

Nice bridge eh.

For about a week we have met fellow Canadians and a Greman backpacker. We shared many stories and we heard about David (beside me in the picture below) living off the grid for 40 years in remote BC. Christina joined him in the remotes for 12 years. 

More new friends.

Below is a video that best shows our trip today. 

          Don Khong to Don Khon 

Bye for now. 

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Champasak to Don Khong (4,000 islands by bus)

This was a long and boring 110 km stretch that we did by bus. When we got to the 4,000 islands we had to grab a ferry boat over to Don Khong. One of the other important island is Don Khon and there is much confusion with the tourists keeping these straight when ordering an excursion.  

Long boat ferry

Kids going to school


Buddha built into a tree

Our hotel had a pool on the Meekong

New Canadian friends along the way


Bye for now. 

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Pakse to Champasak (40 km)

We rode on the south side of the river and it appears that there was a better road on the north side. Either way, an ok ride towards the 4,000 islands. 

Lots of colleges along the way. Small campuses each with a different focus. 

Lots of fruit in season

Many young people know how to use sling shots. Janis stopped and spoke to some local boys near a woods and she saw them pick off several geckos with sling shots. They take them home for food. 

Sling shots

Sun set in Champasak

Rice noodles drying

Did you know tapioca was a root?  We didn’t. It is the cassava root. 

          Casava root wikipedia

Tapioca factory

Champasak is home to a very ancient temple Vat Phou Originally built in the 5th century. Originally it was a Hindu temple but changed to a Bhudist temple...

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Tad Lo back to Pakse (85 km)

We started out early as this was looking to be a long day with lots of ups and downs. It rained during the night, and was sprinkling when we left. We dressed for rain and after about 13km’s of cycling in the hard rain, thunder and lightning started. Our core body temperature was dropping with no end to the storm in sight. Janis mentioned maybe flagging down a bus or van on this quiet stretch of road. Within 5 minutes a local bus came by. We flagged it down and they loaded the bikes on top of the bus and our bags under. It was what travellers call a chicken bus as anything goes on this buses. About 10 minutes into the rice I was almost asleep when I heard a dog growl.  Of course I thought I was dreaming, only to find the lady in front of us had a little yappie dog under her seat...

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Paksong to Tad Lo (68 km)

It was a very enjoyable ride downhill. We have heard of storms all around us but so far, no rain on the plateau. 

Lots of coffee and tea at the top and during our ride down, lots of variety in the crops they grow. 

We rode into Tad Lo and enjoyed the nice village near the falls.  

Sleepy little town

Tad Lo falls


Below is a little video of the day. 

          Tad Lo Video


Bye for now. 

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Sabaidee Valley Resort to Pakxong (25 km)

This was a very pleasant up hill ride, first passing the Dao coffee factoy where they roast, freeze dry and package much of the instant coffee for he regin. The plateau is perfect for growing coffee beans and tea leaves. 

While Pakxong is close to the Ho Chi Ming trail, and was bombed quite heavily, they have rebuilt a lot of this industry. 

It is difficult to say just how far back the fields are cleared of UXO’s (un-exploded ordinances).  

Our first stop was at a small private coffee farm and we had the tour.  

          coffee and tea plantation tour

Coffee beans

Next we stopped at several lovely waterfalls and had a dip at two of them. 

One of the falls

Swimming under the falls

The highest falls

When we pulled into a guesthouse in Pakxong we met a field manager for UXO...

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Pakse to Sabaidee Valley Resort (33 km)

We decided to ride the Bolavan Plateau. This would be more climbing but it appears worth it. 

We decided to break the climb up into two days so we would have enough time to see all the sights. 

We came into a action where there were several roadside blacksmith mini operations. Boy did they work hard. 

          Hand tools made by hand


Sharing the road

Fresh fruit along the way

Bye for now.  

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Nakon Phanom through Uban Ratchathoni to Pakse Laos by bus

After two long days of riding we took an extra day off. We found a Thai lady who actually ran a ester aunt in London England for 25 years. We had a couple of Western meals. 

Below is a link of a celebration we came upon. 



The dogs the last couple of days have been relentless. We had to either rude on the highway or risk getting bit on the narrow village roads. This 700 km stretch which we have done about half of is relatively flat and the scenery is not up to the. Level we have been seeing. 

We decided to take a bus back into the south of Laos to a town called Pakse. 


Bye for now. 

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Ban Pueng to Nakon Phanom (104 km)

It was another relatively flat day, and included one flat tire. It happened during our normal fast morning ride time.  It was a very small piece of metal, and tricky to find. We have had more flats in 6 weeks than all the other 9 months of cycling combined. Could it be the tire quality?  Janis is running on premium Schwalbe Marathon Racer tires and I had no-name tires (don’t ask why).  

One of the key ways they cook in SE Asia is with charcoal.

Every day we pass Tuk tuk’s delivering and selling large bags of charcoal. They make it in these over a on the roadside. 

Oven for the Making of charcoal

 Well the last few days we have been taking riverfront small roads vs highway. For some reason the dogs are extra nasty...

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