onsdag 26 februari 2014

Thailand preview

After a month in Laos it was time to get back on the bike and back to what I consider “normal” life again. Unfortunately I had gotten a really bad cold the last day in Laos and wasn’t super exited to start cycling. But when the last day on my visa came I had no other choice and had to get out and into Thailand. I’m going to miss the time in Laos and all the friends I made there. Especially Chris, Rob and Amanda who I spend a lot of time with in Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng and Vientiane. But they were also moving on to their next destination in South East Asia, so in some way it felt like the right time to move on.
So with a bad cough, runny nose and very low on energy I got on the bike and headed for the border. Likely it just about 30 km from Vientiane so that was no problem even in my state. But I didn’t get much further than that and found myself a hotel in the Nong Khai, the first city in Thailand just across the border.
After two days in bed I was feeling better but still not good. But I took it easy and continued down south to the next city that was Udon Thani. I hadn’t been super excited about this part of Thailand and it felt mostly like transport down to Cambodia. And that was pretty much what it turned out to be. I went slow and had some resting days since I hadn’t gotten rid of my cold. There wasn’t much to see along the way, but maybe if I was feeling better and had the energy to explore more I would have seen another side of this part of Thailand.
The last big city was Nakhon Ratchasima where I stopped for two nights. On Sunday evening when I went for a bike ride around town before going back to the hotel to watch the final of the Olympic ice hockey between Sweden and Canada I noticed a strange sound from the back on the bike. Strange sounds are never good news and it turned out the screw holding the back rack had snapped and the broken off screw was stuck in the hole. I tried my best to get it out without luck before heading out in the city looking for a bike shop late on a Sunday evening. I found one that looked closed, but I knocked and a woman answered. She didn’t speak much English but understood the problem, the mechanic wasn’t there but I got to use some tools to try to get the screw out. I was really stuck in there and my tries was useless. So after that I ended up in a little worn down shop where I noticed two men working on some bikes. He ended up having to drill to get rid of the old screw and put a new one in. I was happy to get it fixed that night so I could continue the next morning. I missed the first part of the final, but let’s not mention the result in that game..
After Nakhon Ratchasima I was finally on some nicer roads with a lot more green around when I was cycling through a National Park area. There were some hills on the way and even though they weren’t huge it was still hard in the heat under the burning sun. But after a uphill there’s always a downhill and that evening I was gliding down the other side.

The next day I reached the border town of Aranyaprathet where I’m now staying in a bungalow getting ready to head into Cambodia tomorrow morning. And after the little bit boring first part of Thailand I’m really looking forward to going to Cambodia and especially Siem Reap, which I hope will be a highlight.

måndag 10 februari 2014

On vacation in Laos

After arriving in Vientiane I wasn’t really sure where to go next, I wanted to see the north part but didn’t feel like riding up there and back again the same way. But I like Laos and wanted to stay here for a while, so I decided to for the first time leave my bicycle and get on a bus. So with almost no time frame I got on a bus and headed up north. I stayed a couple of days in Vang Vieng then up to Luang Prabang where I got stuck for 11 days just because I met so many nice people and such a good time that I didn’t want to leave. It’s also a beautiful place with an amazing waterfall and a great location along the Mekong River. After those 11 days passed by fast the people I had been hanging out with went down to Vang Vieng and since I didn’t have any rush to leave Laos I also stopped by there again, this time for 4 more awesome days. These twee weeks was exactly what I needed, a break from cycling and just relax and have fun with other backpackers. Here’s some photos from the trip..
Luang Prabang:

Vang Vieng:

I’m back in Vientiane and back with my bike again. The plan for the next weeks is to head into Thailand and ride towards Cambodia.