Stunning ride today. 113km of awesome riding roads and fantastic scenery.
Breakfast was scrambled eggs at Souphailin’s Restaurant about 8:00am, and then we were on our bikes and heading out of town with just a quick raid on an ATM to make sure we could pay for the next few days.
Just south of Oudom Xai we passed through dusty Houaylin and turned eastwards up into the mountains again, and immediately the road started to twist again as it followed the contours of the hills. Very quickly we were riding into the mist that clung to the top of the mountains, and this provided some eerie sights as we followed Mike along the road.
Yesterday I’d slowed down a lot as we passed through the many villages dissected by the road so that Karen could photograph people and places but even at low speed some of the photos hadn’t been as clear as we’d hoped, so today’s plan was to come to a complete stop. The little children in the villages here in northern Laos are very friendly and often run out to the road verge and wave at us as we pass by, and Karen was keen to get some good photos of these tikes. One village we stopped at had some young ladies dressed in traditional dress and playing catch with a ball – Karen alighted from the bike here and joined Aad to take some close up photos.
The next village along the ridge had a number of little pigs running around which delighted Karen as she took their photos, and a big porker that snuffled up to us to have her back scratched. Aad bought some drinks from a roadside stall here and I could see that the next stall along was selling a squirrel and some small colourful birds, all tied up and hanging from the roof.
In many places the road was being repaired or upgraded and we had to contend with some quite slippery and muddy riding conditions.
(Beer Lao is stifling my writing here so to conclude ….)
Rode into Nong Khiaw across the bridge, stopping briefly to enjoy the river scenery below. Followed Mike down a rocky road to our guesthouse, the Mee Xai Guesthouse, and carried our gear upstairs to our near new and adequate if sparsely furnished room. A late lunch was had at the pizza place at the eastern end of the bridge where I’d enjoyed a nice pizza five years ago – in 2015 it took the restaurant about two hours to make and serve a cheese and ham sandwich for Karen, a burger for Aad, and a pizza each for Mike and myself 🙁
Just after sunset we went for a stroll across the bridge and watched the remnants of a lovely sunset, and then wandered down the main street on the other side of the bridge, soaking up the atmosphere as Nong Khiaw tucked itself to bed for the night. Dinner was had back at our guesthouse – chicken fried rice eaten on the balcony overlooking the black Nam Ou river.