Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

45kms
“Down and out”

Supposed to be a rest day, but turned out to be anything but. The plan was to tackle the 30km descent into Lai Cai in late afternoon in time to meet the train. I spent the morning with Mirco in a mechanic’s shop trying to straighten his derailleur (reasonably successful) and eating. [...]

 0kms
“The Great Escape”

Arrived in Hanoi at 5am and navigated the 10kms to my old hotel in the dark and with an extremely poor map. Two Danish women were sitting on the steps of the Classic Hotel where my bike box was being stored. Unfortunately we had to wait there for an hour until the staff [...]

20kms
“Up and out”

Woke up this morning in time to get myself organised before the flight. Caught up last night with an Australian guy who works as a train driver in the Queensland cane fields. He’d also done a fair bit of bike touring in Australia, so had a good chat over Mexican food.
Got the bike [...]

80kms
“Day trip”

Decided to ride out to the Pak Ou caves on the Mekong River today, located about 40kms north of Luang Prabang. The middle 30kms in particular were spectacular with dirt roads following the river. Arrived in a small village and arranged a boat to take me across the river to the caves (pictured right). [...]

20kms
“A night at the fair”

Woke up at 10am and decided to stay put for another day. Checked out the museum and three local temples. Spent a lot of time dodging young kids with water pistols. Lao New Year is on the weekend and it’s dubbed the water festival. I kept having to dodge the pistols [...]

85kms
“The rollercoaster”
Woke up at 6.15am to the sound of torrential rain which finally stopped nearly two hours later. I checked out, rode to my favoured breakfast spot for banana pancakes and pedalled off in the rain. The day was a full mountain experience. The first climb was 17kms and steep (pictured), but with spectacular scenery [...]

160kms
“Enduro”
A terrible night’s sleep due to a fierce thunderstorm combining with a tin roof. It only let up at 7am, at which time I climbed out of bed, ordered a boiled egg (and got an oily omelette) and was on the road by 7.30am. I was about 15 minutes behind the couple I’d met the [...]

 25kms
“Mud and a long bath”

Massive storm this morning which was good and bad: good that I didn’t have to travel today and bad that I wanted to get out and explore. Killed the first few hours of the day reading Hunter S Thompson’s Rum Diary on the balcony while the rain tumbled down.
When the rain [...]

125kms
“Almost flat”
Penultimate day of the trip and got off to a late start after sleeping well. After muesli breakfast in town I was on the road by 9am. Felt extremely sluggish for the first 60kms where I stopped for lunch (laap soup at a truck stop) for the bargain price of 70 cents. The scenery [...]

100km
“The finale”

A day that went exactly to plan. Woke at 6.15am, had breakfast and was on the road by 6.45am. Difficult uphill start and though I felt tired, I convinced myself to enjoy the last day of cycling no matter what cropped up. A less scenic ride than I had been used to, but some [...]