Getting the “visa on arrival” was a smooth and easy going procedure, with the officials being very relaxed and asking no questions – a nice start in our 9th country on this trip! Laos welcomed us with pretty bad weather but we tried not to worry much about it, as we were just happy that we have had arrived to South East Asia. The landscape had not changed much from what we have seen during the last weeks in Yunnan, but definitely the architecture, the traffic as well as the people were definitely different. Typical Laotian houses are made out of bamboo, wood and straw and seem to fit perfectly in their surrounding. (Unfortunately a lot of them will probably disappear soon. As we were told by a German guy who is married to a Laotian woman, the government insists on replacing the straw roofs of the houses with sheet metal to make the buildings look less poor! This is really a pity and a nonsense and ugly decision.) We enjoyed already the first few kilometres riding in Laos, watching the people in the villages and feeling more than welcome, what was not very difficult, as almost every single person seemed to greet us with a big smile and a friendly “Sabai dee”. Especially the children were amazing, they run after us, smile, wave with their hands and were just happy when we respond. It was a real pleasure to cycle in such circumstances. Besides that and comparing to China, the traffic was fantastic! Almost no cars and non aggressive drivers.

Bamboo huts in Laos

Street sellers in Laos

Drying the sin

Grass for brooms

Cycling for more than 9 months leaves some marks…

Icebreaker merino

Laotian village children

It is quite easy to get in contact with the locals, as many people speak at least some English.

Asking for drinking water

Drying dish

Laos is a country full of animals!

Monkey climbing Thorn Nomad

Bamboo rat

Mouse deer

Big belly

One negative aspect of being in a tropical climate is the huge amount of mosquito’s, which in the worst case can transfer Dengue fever or Malaria. The stinky mosquito repellent is our new daily companion. If it does not work we have to switch to more radical methods…

 

Killing mosquitos

Laos has a lot of rivers and they play a very big part in the peoples lives. The people use them for fishing, for washing or just for having some fun while swimming.

Bathing in the river

Nong Khiaw

River in Nong Khiaw

After our first week in Laos we got a message from our Dutch cycling friends Anna and Wieger, and after a very long time since Kyrgyzstan we finally manage to meet each other and spent some nice days together, chatting, eating and drinking…

Bikepunks - Anna

Bikepunks - Wieger