Monthly Archives February 2015

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. 

          Celebration

 

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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Ahong Temple to Ban Pueng (111 km)

Well we did our first century ride today. It was rolling hills with off and on headwinds. We did mostly highway Km’s as we knew it would be a long day. We arrived around 3 pm and we’re glad to be out of the saddle. 

The last bit we road on the minor roads. The more isolated the road is, the more nasty dogs there are. We were chased a few times today. 

Gramma looking after Junior


Another gramma


Ahong temple


Water buffalo

 Well, women are not allowed to come in contact with monks. Janis captured this monk paying for gas. He leaves the money on the ground and she leaves his change on the ground. 

          Monk paying for gas

You never know what you will see when riding down the road. 

          Nice encounter

Bye for now

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Rattani Wapi to Ahong Temple (65 km)

Again mostly flat. We spent a lot of time cycling through the small villages by getting off the main highway. 

          Rolling down the dirt road

The highlight of the day was cycling on narrow trails through the rubber tree plantations. At one point there was a man tapping the trees and his wife, child, dog and two kittens were in the forest with him for the day. Bring your kid to work day. The setting was magical. 

Below is a video of tapping the rubber trees. 

          Rubber tree tapping

Where we ended up last night was a great little bungalow. It was difficult to find a dinner. Janis bought a bag of salad, and we will let the video answer how it was. As you will also see in this video, we get 100’s of hellos and waves...

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Nong Khai to Rattana Wapi (80 km)

Before we left we got a photo of two new friends. Valorie is on a cycle tour and Ray lives in SE Asia. 

Friends

 

It was a fairly flat day and we did both highway riding on Hwy 212 and we got off the highway and rode through countrysides. Below is a video of the day. 

          Video of the ride today

 

Bye for now. 

 

 

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Vientiane to Nong Khai (22 km)

It was a quick trip to the Thailand border and we already had our visa so things went relatively quickly at the crossing. We met another cyclist, Valerie and spent the next few days hanging out at a lovely guesthouse in Nong Khai. 

We were back in the land of pad Thai, spicy food and 7/11’s.   

Ancient Chinese Medicine

Little birds on a spit

Janis can relate to the elephant – chased by dogs

Sculpture park

Our guesthouse was very relaxing and gentle and a little oasis in the Mekong, a garden setting. We met 6 cyclists and spent time together. Some were hard core and some were like Janis and I, only on a 3 month trip.  I booked a gig playing guitar at the local bar. The pay was amazing, I got 1 free water. The crowd was sparse, the guitar did not stay in tune but I had fun. 

Sunset

B...

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A few days in Vientiane

We spent a few days exploring the sights of Vientiane. A lovely city with lots to see. Also I replaced both my front and back tire.  

Night Market


Sunset at Vientiane


A VW diner

We also spent several hours at the COPE Centre. This is an organization dedicated to helping Laos people missing arms and legs. Most of the clients are recent cluster bomb victims. This subject just does not go away. And it shouldn’t.  This country is affected daily by unexploded bomblets.  Below is only a light sampling of what we have researched. By no means is it complete or can grasp this in a few days of research.

In 2012 when we toured the killing fields we were proud to see Canada leading the way on global legislation about the use of land mines...

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Tha Ngon to Vientiane (32 km)

Highway 10 was torn up between Tha Ngon to Vientiane so we took a new road 12 km across to highway 13. We traded the red dirt for busy highway. 

The next 20 km into town were very busy and quite interesting. Vientiane has had a lot of Feench influence over the y ears and the architect shows this influence. 

Below is a set of rules in one of our guesthouse. Note rule 5 and 6. 

Rules of the guesthouse

Bye for now. 

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