Safe and sound in Bangkok

 

We arrived at our hotel at 4 am.  Smooth trip.

 

Janis decided to stay up and I had a two hour sleep. Our hotel is near the train station so we popped by and saw our friends Teresa and Al off to Chiang Rai.

 

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Go Bus to Go Train to UP Express

We took a cab to Tnt University and got the Go Bus to Oshawa, the Go Train to Union and UP Express to Pearson.

We saved lots of money, but without some help from security at Union, it would have been quite a task to get three boxes and and 45 pound duffle bag from the go train to UP train.  The rest of the trip was worth it.

Settling in for a 14.5 hour flight and a 5.5 flight through Shainghi China.

Bye for now

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We are finalizing packing for our trip

Boxes are packed, checklists are done

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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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