It wasn’t hard to make an early start, as we’d both spent a restless night back in conditions we’d forgotten about. We were awake at dawn anyway.
Just outside of town we were about to go up our first real climb and my chain snapped. When Sam looked at he couldn’t believe how distorted the broken link was. It took over an hour to use spare pieces of chain to fix the chain as the links around it had also been bent out of shape. Not the start to the day we were hoping for, but after that, each moment of the day was like riding through a postcard. The villages, mountains, lakes and rivers were so picturesque – we were stopping all day to take photos.
At one stop a man on a motorcycle stopped to ask us in a kiwi accent if we spoke English and when we responded yes he stopped to chat. He was headed the same way as us, Vang Vieng, and we would see him a couple more times during the day to take photos at the same spot or at a crossroads wondering which way to go.
After an incredible day of cycling we arrived in the town that surprised us both. We didn’t know much about it, and were surprised to find a tourist metropolis in the middle of rural Laos. There were westerners everywhere. It seemed the whole town was either a guesthouse or restaurant. Luckily we found a quiet hotel outside the main centre but could easily walk in for food. We had an incredible Indian feast, and realized that we missed the food from Malaysia. Food in Thailand just hadn’t been as good.
Over dinner we talked about what to do next. We really wanted to see the Plain of Jars, but it was a long way out of our way and we were so short on time in Laos. Eventually we decided to catch a mini-bus to Ponsovan (the town closest to the Plain of Jars) and then ride to Luang Probang. So we booked our bus tickets for the next morning and went back to get a good night sleep (after the ritualistic mosquito massacre).
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Sam and Shanna Evans are from Melbourne, Australia