Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day 53 Thu 19/08 - Rest Day in Luang Prabang

Today weather : 25 -32C  Sunny and Hot in the day
Today Spend : 123000k     Total : 1274000k

This is my 2nd visit here,the 1st being backpacking 2 years ago. Lung Prabang, the world heritage town and the ancient capital of Laos, is still very much remains its ancient status. No modernisation in sight, many rows of shops are all very old, but mostly had been renovated to cater for the flocking tourists. Quiet in the days,but comes alive during the night,decorated lightings and cloth covered dinning tables piling the restaurants and pubs on the walk way of Sisavanvong road. No loud music or live bands like in Khao San street in Bangkok. The tourists  doing the shopping at the night market or just relax with a bottle or two Beerlao, even at the dirty back lane, sitting on wooden shaky tables. There are many temples here with long history and a particular one on top of the Phousi Hill with 20000k entrance ticket. I didn't want to go for the 2nd time.Sorry guys no photos on that with a bird eye view of the Town and the Mekong river.Tomorrow will continue to head south to Phou Khoun on route 13 before turning east to Phonsavan.

Tourist Information in Sisavangvong Rd

Claimed to be the temple of world heritage at the foot hill of Phousi Hill
Wall Painting that caught the eyes of the World Heritage Commitee

Luang Prabang National Museum
Old shops
Quiet in the day

Pier at the Mekong River
Paper Painting
Ceremic and jade antics
Dancing dolls

Day 52 Wed 18/08 - Nad Pang Hut Camp to Luang Prabang

Today Distance : 67.9 km     Total : 3052.3 km
Today Weather : 24 - 30C  Rain morning & afternoon
Time on Bike : 4 hr  11 min
Ave Speed : 16.1 kmh     Max : 56.5 kmh
Ave Climb : 2%               Max : 11%
Trip Altitude : 530m         Max : 378m
Today Spend ; 116000k        Total : 1151000k

The weather in Laos is not really that bad, it did not jeopardise my ride so far so good, but it did cause some interruptions and uncomforts with lots of waitings and also dirty wet bags and bike, and usually need a big wash wherever in the guest house. Came to know about the big floods in Pakistan ( One-fifth of the nation is under water and 20 millions people are affected ). It had been raining here almost everyday too, but it comes fast and go fast repeatedly over the day. No flooding ,but the low lying curve area became muddy with excessive rain water. The road from Oudomxay to Luang Prabang is good. I met 2 Spaniards on opposite direction, We just shout talking at the opposite ends, they are heading to Boten and then to Tibet. Hopefully I can still see them there. I had my damaged cycling shoes repaired at the north -bound bus station 8 km from Luang Prabang. A lady with a big umbrella and a small table with a few pairs of shoes on top. I bought a bottle of cold Orange drink for her after she completed stitching my shoes for 20000k. By 3 pm I arrived in town, a little confuse as to where is the town center, there are just too many small roads kris-crossing each other and roundabouts, no landmarks,no high rise buildings, I g\had to stop several times to ask white men for directions. The few guest houses around the Mekong river were too pricey asking for 60000-100000k.
Finally I found the Soutikorn a good one at 40000k with cabled tv,hot shower. Went to the night market, many tourists here mingled around with the many stalls of Laos handicraft and bbq of fish,pork and chicken
School children cycling to school
They push up when climbing with a single speed bike
Before the school starts
Laos kids playing the guli
Spaniards cyclist waving hands at opposite ends
"Don;t get angry, I am just passing"
Luang Prabang University at the gate
Shoes  repair 20000k
Good job, deserve a cold drinks from me
Approaching Luang Prabang
Soutikone guest house 40000k
Night Market
French connections( one for 10000k)
Laos are good at BBQ
My dinner with sticky rice and a coke cost 30000k

Day 51 Tue 17/08 - Song Cha Wild Camp to Nad Pang Hut Camp

Today Distance : 76.0 km     Total : 2984.4 km
Today Weather : 24-30C  Rain Day and Night
Time on Bike : $ hr  22 min
Ave Speed : 17.4 kmh    Max : 55.0 kmh
Ave Climb : 3%              Max ; 23%
Trip Altitude : 461 m       Max : 972 m
Today Spend : 57000k          Total : 1035000k

If not for the rain, I might be sleeping in a guest house in Luang Prabang, which is another 60 km from here. Today's ride started at 8.30am on a very misty morning up in an altitude of 1000m, on a descent to Pak Mong 450m, the rain soon started to pour and I was stranded for nearly 45 min, while waiting I bought some camp foods anticipating for another camping. The main route 13 is running parallel, alongside the Mekong river all the way to Luang Prabang, but there are hills to roll, by no mean flat! The Mekong river flowing in a valley of mountains, very muddist in colour in this rainny season,did not flood its banks,as the villages and the roads are in higher level. The many villages I passed, mainly have stalls selling daily stuffs like dried foods,toiletries,mineral water etc..but what lacking to me is  a good and appetising food stall, I like to have something hot/boiling/filling. Laos cooking is what I think next to worst, no tastes,no skills!!! Another heavy rain at km 42 interrupted the ride and wasted another 90 min under a house. Sensing the rain won't stop completely, so I ride on with my raincoat on. No way now I can hit Luang Prabang today! So I started to look for possible campsite. At 4 pm, about 1 km after the Nad Pang village, I spotted a nice bamboo hut with a 3 ft raise floor, with a back view of green paddy field. Campsite determined but not enough water, so I cycled back to the village to buy some water and foods before returning to the hut to camp. Happy that I had a roof with my tent under, at least I can sleep well tonight without having to worry whether it rains or not.
Very misty morning start
Still at a very high altitude of 1200m
First time I sighted horses here
Road down

Pregnant Hill ( I named it)
Mud water bridge
Road under repair
Constructing a landslide fencing
The "U" turn of a river stream

Drinks the mountain water
Pak Mong town
Rain shelter under the house
Cold man
Mekong river on the far side
My Hut Camp
With Bamboo raise floor
simple dinner  ( 1 can of sardin only)