Categories
locations

vientiane

one of the first things you see towards downtown vientiane is the pha that luang, the golden stupa, symbol of laos …

the patuxay follows on the main road leading towards the presidential palace and has a rather funny background story. the laos goverment used some cement sponsored by the americans for it although it was supposed to be used for a new airfield. because of this story it is also called the “vertical runway”.

vientiane has some quite corners to read a book or to enjoy all kinds of food,

some say it has too many of them and describe it as the laziest capital of the world.

i liked it there and found my favourite places. by chance i met raphael again whom i first met on the trip through tibet. we had dinner and watched the world cup before our ways parted.

within the week of my stay i also applied for the thai visa and got myself a visa extension. that leaves me enough time to explore the south of laos.

Categories
postcards

many rivers to cross

some kilometers before reaching the capital the road ended at the bank of a river with a ferry being the only way to get to the other side. even if it takes just three minutes to cross a river by boat, it adds this adventurous note to travelling.

i don’t know what it is exactly, maybe crossing natural boundaries makes you feel and realize distance in a more profound way.

Categories
people

cycle-mekka

i heard many good things about laos from other cyclists and it became one of the most popular cycling destinations in southeast asia. the first one i met was joel from denmark on his roundtrip through thailand and laos. his blog.

on my last stop before vientiane in phonhong i met gaelle and…

ben from france. they were backpacking in new zealand when they decided to switch to the bicycle. no regrets so far as you can read on their blog (french).

as we where chatting in front of their guesthouse we saw alan passing by. he joined us for dinner and entertained us with his ukulele before our ways parted.

i decided against the guesthouse and opted for camping as it was only one day further to vientiane. i just made it a couple of meters until i ended up in a bar with a guy who spent seven years in germany and who invited me for a beer. after a lot of beerlao and some songs on the guitar i was invited to stay the night at a friends place. what a communicative day it was. tomorrow: vientiane and kick-off in south africa.

Categories
locations

kuang si waterfalls

30km away from luang prabang is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in laos.

the water collects in turquoise pools downstream and invites to take a swim after exploring the surroundings.

you can climb up to the top of the waterfall and then hike to the spring water and its nearby cave.

close to the spring water…

about a hundred butterflies can be seen.

when you come to close most of them take off and fill the air with all sorts of colours.

on my way back i stopped at a refuge for asian black bears. kind of cute but caged animals leave a sad impression on me.

i stayed the night near the waterfalls. after sunset not a single soul stays there. so i thought about taking a swim during the night. but such ideas grow faster and stronger within a group. as i was looking for motivation on my music player i found out that i don’t even have the song “nightswimming” on it. can somebody please send it to me? so i won’t skip it the next time.

Categories
locations

luang prabang

i arrived in luang prabang after two weeks of camping and checked myself into a nice guesthouse for a treat. with warm shower, tv, my own fridge and emperor size bed, clean with no mosquitos to fight off. in laos you don’t have to spend a fortune on this. for a hungry cyclist the prices for food are less attractive but you can dwell on the riverfront with a fruit shake without straining your budget.

luang prabang is a good place to see the daily life of monks and to take a look at one of the wats without any rush.

afterwards climb up the phu si hill…

and enjoy the view over luang prabang.

the riverside along the mekong is filled with restaurants but still preserved its charme…

and thus earned its place in the worldtourguide.

the next day i made a small detour to see the kuang si waterfalls.

Categories
locations people

laos

the crossing from china to laos is quite easy. you get your visa on arrival without any delay. except that i had a group visa which i had to leave with the chinese and no exit stamp in my passport when i arrived at the lao side and soi had to make an extra run back to the chinese officials.

after 1o km into laos the picture from lofty concrete buildings, which seem to grow over from the chinese side, changes to simple wooden huts.

the first thing you learn in laos is to say hello. especially the children make sure that after countless repetition the phrase “sabai dee” sticks.

the north of laos is quite mountainous, the mornings are misty and even at midday the temperatures are bearable. just the food gets monotonous after a while especially with the fresh memories of the chinese food in mind. life is simple, tourism almost absent and the people welcoming and open-hearted, which makes it easy to get by despite language barrier.

i also had my first volleyball match after some guys invited me as i passed by. just next to the court another group was playing sepak takraw, a sport native to southeast asia and maybe best described as similar to footvolley.

Categories
locations

sub tropic expedition

i planned to be at the border one day before my visa expired. but when i came across this sub tropic park, i used this buffer and went for a hike.

a small trail is leading from the main path which was filled with all sorts of electric vehicles carrying the less well-conditioned. the trail was the former path for the visitors which is not maintained anymore and sometimes you have to squeeze yourself through roots which seems to rain from the surrounding trees and block the path.

some trees are just too big to get it on a photo in one piece. the top is mostly out of sight, leaving the actual height up to your imagination.

it was wonderful to get out of the saddle and to take the time to explore this gem of nature.

Categories
locations travel

yunnan

yunnan is the last province on the way to laos and has some amazing scenery. i bought myself a better, more detailed map that made it easier to leave the main road and start exploring. soon i found myself riding on small roads through the hills of southern china on a par with the clouds,

and surrounded by the tea gardens of yunnan.

i camped most of the time and it was fairly easy to find a place for the night. the street is roughly following a river…

and with its endless turns seems like a river itself.

it is among my favourite cycling routes.

Categories
equipment fashion music people

wanderlust

another blog, this time in german. the guys from erfinder.at have their own ways to get over or fuel their wanderlust. usually inventions and all sorts of clever ideas are presented on their blog, but excited about being present at the worldcup in south africa, the travel bug won over and so as a small exception you can find a post about this blog here.

my album will hopefully soon be available in their shop of inventions:

erfinderladen in berlin.

so if you have any clever ideas yourself, like let’s say a football which isn’t round or socks for chair legs… pay a visit to their shop first to make sure it is not already for sale there.

i wish you a wonderful trip and a joyful experience in south africa!