The road closer to Vang Vieng starts to get decidedly more exacting meandering through lush fields and over small rivers WOW now I am just beginning to understand the beauty of this country. I arrive in Vien Viang and ask a couple of backpackers if they could recommend a good guesthouse, they point me in the directions of Maylyn, and here I truly find a tiny piece of paradise. If only I could stay here a week I would not leave my tiny bungalow and balcony. This is the life this is truly the life. I do not have words to describe the tranquillity, the lush tropical garden, the biggest butterflies I have seen in my life and total feeling of calm. My little bungalow is on the end of the property overlooking a small river and with a view of these big limestone (I believe they are limestone) mountains popping out of the ground with a majestic air of power and beauty. I sit here in awe just staring at this vision before me. I am so sad that the atmosphere is slightly hazy and no matter how many pictures I take I just cannot capture this beauty.
I sadly can only stay in Vang Vieng for one night, due to being stuck in Bangkok a week longer than expected. I am absolutely sure I will return to Laos and spend more time exploring this wonderful land. For now however I try and make the most of what little time I have, and once again as a solo traveller I am fortunate enough to meet another wonderful person, Steve. Steve owns Uncle Toms Trails a motorbike tours company and it’s just up the road from Maylyn. Well we just hit it off from the get go and after working on my bike and finding an ingenious way to fix the falling apart number plate using a chopping board we went to dinner and just chatted like long lost friends. After opening up about how much I hate my corporate job and need an exit plan or it’ll be the death of me (I work in IT in a large Swiss bank) Steve turns and says “you need to get into bikes you love your bikes and should work with bikes’” I agree and he then perfectly seriously and honestly offers me a partnership in his start-up business. WOW if only I could, well I could but honestly although I think Laos is wonderful and could so live here I honestly could never live in this climate. It is now October and the start of autumn and even crossing the road causes one to break out in pools of sweat. I am a cold weather person I love my snow and my winter sports. I feel the cold worse than most people but love it. So sadly I must to Steve’s amazing once in a lifetime offer down…maybe I’m an idiot, but here is certainly something to think about.
I wake up to another stunning and hot day in Laos say goodbye to my lovely little bungalow and hit the road. The road from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang is one of the most beautiful roads in the world and renound amongst bikers as it meanders twisting and turning though the hills of Laos. One of the only dangers are the drivers who have no clue what side of the road the drive on and cut the corners mercilessly. The other obstacles are less dangerous but one needs to be vigilant and those are children, pigs and chickens. Why did the chicken cross the road…because it heard my bike coming and decided to commit suicide? Fortunately for the owner I managed to swerve in time and just hit his tail feathers…stupid bird. One of the problems I am finding with the hot and humid weather is the amount of water I need to drink. I am consuming up to 4 litres a day this unfortunately means I need to pee…a lot. Now in Kazakhstan, Mongolia etc I had no problem just pulling over trying to find a bump in the landscape (there are no trees) and squatting, I am sure many truck drivers were unintentionally mooned by me. Well in SE Asia there is an abundance of drivers, so very little time to squat between trucks passing, but also an abundance of trees. So you would think a pee paradise, hmmm sadly not. I am incredibly arachnophobia, never mind the snakes and other creepy crawlies one can find in the jungles of Laos. The other problem is that the road from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang is a very twisty mountain road with a curb the size of a shoe. Well to cut a long story short I have now perfected finding the odd wide curbs away from the tiny villages dotting the hills, ripping off my sweat sodden riding trousers and knickers and peeing right next to my bike (I usually close my eyes in a if I can’t see them they can’t see me childlike fashion, or possibly just to reduce my embarrassment if anyone does see me) I have no idea why the wide open spaces with no cover in Kazakhstan did not have this effect on me.
One of the nicest surprises on the road was bumping into Neil (one of the guys from the China group) en route. It’s amazing how excited one gets when you see another adventure biker on the road but to see one you know was just great.
Well after seeing a friend on the road, narrowly missing chickens and children, peeing at moc speed and been bowled over by the beautiful scenery I arrive in Laung Prabang. This is a very touristy town but really pretty, the buildings are mostly heritage buildings so strictly regulated with regards upkeep and refurbishment. The town had a plethora of guesthouses, restaurant and temples all beautiful and worth visiting. I decide to stay here for two nights so that I can t least do some sightseeing and it was well worth it.