Vang Vieng to Hin Hoeup ( 65 km)

Another day of ups and downs. The roads were in good shape. Not too much traffic. We were not sure where we would stop but when we pulled into Hin Hoeup, we felt it was time. There were lots of fruit stands and some local restaurants. We took a chance that we could find something to eat. 

Along the way we started to see one of the largest lakes in SE Asia. It is man made due to a dam. We saw lots of dried and fresh fish. Some 3 foot catfish at the markets. 

Dried fish


Big catfish


Weaving at the side of the road

Lovely work

Rolling down the road. 

          A ride through town

Both times we were in Northern Laos, we bought some Laos children’s books from an organization called “Big Brother Mouse”. We gave them to poor rural schools along our journey...

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Vang Vieng – A lot of moving parts

After spending time in the very remote parts of Laos, it was a bit of a shocker being in Vang Vieng.  Some many tourists and some strange tourist rituals.  The Laos government clamped down a few years ago on things in Vang Vieng. 

A menu from 2011

Info about changes at Vang Vieng

 

Below is a brief video about our time in Vang Vieng. 

          A lot of moving parts in Vang Vieng

 

Bye for now. 

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Warm Springs to Vang Vieng (77km)

After a great bath in the warm springs we headed down the road. Kasi was 25 km away and we stopped for a Laos Coffee (quite different) and a breakfast pizza. 

Cows on the road in this town. 

A busy town


Going to work

Rolling down the mountain. 

          Rolling down the mountain 

After coming out of the mountains, the landscape changed. 

Lettuce and cabbage patches

We also started to see children allowed to be children. 

          Play time

Below is a stall at a market. Scott I think they offer fermented tree rats on the Tuesday menu. 

Rodents for sale to BBQ

Below is a link to a video from today. 

          A few other videos

We just passed an area that was famous for action by the Hmong rebels.  These rebels were the ground forces for the CIA secret war...

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Kiu Kacham to Warm Springs 25 km south of Phou Khoun (75 km)

This was another climb day, although not as tough as yesterday. We pulled into Phou Khaun around lunch  time and got a standing ovation from a group of Belgium tourists travelling in a van. They passed us on one of the climbs and were a bit surprised by our age. 

This dusty cross roads town had a few guest houses, with shared squat toilets. We decided to add anothe 25km to our day and push through to a warm springs down the road. We hear there is a few bungalow with your own toilet (enough to entice us to do the extra 25 km). 

Mountain view.


R and R.

Selfie

So this warm springs was used extensively by the locals. Because the water flowed so fast it was remarkably clean. We went for our bath just before sun rise, before the local people use it...

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Xiang Ngeun to Kiu Kacham (53 km)

Well this was to be the toughest day so far and it was. We started out at 7:30 and immediately did a 16 km climb. After a lovely downhill we do a 24 km climb. For us 40 km of mountain climbing is a long day. We pulled into town around 3:30. 

Our strataegy at the end was to ride km up and rest 30 seconds. This allowed us to break the climb into bight size parts. The short rests allow our bodies To readjust without getting complacent. 

One of the characteristics of a cycle tourist is they do whatever they have to do to deal with what is in front of them. Bitching about being sore or whining about the road ahead is not acceptable. We are here for the experience (whatever it is). 

The chart at the bottom of this photo shows the route we took today. We like to know what our day will be like. 

O...

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Luang Prabang to Xiang Ngeun. (26 km)

This was a short and relative flat ride. We did this to prepare for the next few days, where there are not so many guest houses. 

 As well internet access will be limited and basic so it will be a bit tricky setting up videos etc. 

Large tree

River weed drying at the roadside

A very basic room for he night

Bye for now

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A few days in Luang Prabang Laos

This is a world heritage location and is quit amazing to visit. The town is bustling with merchants and street vendors and action on the rivers.  We were here in 2012 and have loved it both trips. 

Sunset in Luang Prabang

A swim at the falls.

We spent time at the UXO Center (unexploded ordinance). This is a UN driven organization that removes unexploded bombs from rural Laos. This was a very sobering visit to this Center. 

There were two wars happening in S E Asia in the 60’s. The first one was the Vientam war.  While things started in the 50’s the first ground soldiers landed in 1965 And left defeats in 1975. This is a war that many of us were aware of rolling newspapers and Walter Cronkite.

At the same time there was a secret war going on in Laos...

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Chaing Khong to Luang Prabang by Boat

We spent two days on a long narrow boat from Thailand boarder to Luang Prabang Laos. We were going downstream on the Mekon River. 

 

Loading bikes on the boat


Shore view

 

Village on the riverbank

We met many nice people on the ride and all shared their adventures  

 

Bye for now. 

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Chiang Saen to Chiang Khong (55 km)

It was a foggy day so we did not ride the coastal road. It was still 55 km with two climbs. 

Below are some photos as we left. 

Sunrise from our hotel

In town, there were many Chinese freighters. They were all empty and not moving. No new ones were coming in. That seemed a bit strange. 

Chinese freighters

The article below in the Bangkok Post may explain why the ships were stationary. 

          Article in the Bangkok Post

The Mekong River flows from China through Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam (Mekong delta). We have viewed it in all but China. It is so vital to the 60,000,000 people who live along it. 

Below are two articles about the Mekong. 

     A bit of Mekong history

     A life along the Mekong – National Geographic

Janis picked up a small piece of metal in her...

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Mae Sai to Chiang Saen (45 km)

Today took us past the golden triangle. This is a very historic area. It was one of the largest opium growing regions in the past. Afghanistan is now the leading grower.  India use to be a large grower and England (who colonized India) sold opium to China in trade for. Silk and spices. According to the museum we went through, 1 in 30 Chinese were addicted to Opium. This led to the first Opium war (1839-42) between China and England. The end result was that England was granted Hong Kong and held it for 155 years. The second Opium war (1856-60) was the start of modern China .

Opium was used in a lot of strange ways. They even gave it to elephants to calm them down. Last time we met an ex-CIA person who was now living at the Thai/Laos border...

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