The riding in Laos, certainly on the minor roads crossing the mountains, is gentle and calming. I see a canopy of trees wherever I look as Laos is one of the only few countries in Southeast Asia with pristine ecology. Two-thirds of the country is covered by thick forest. Cycling across the Xieng Khouang province with a maximum elevation of 2,820 metres it is classed as mountainous and this is reflected in the topography of the road. I'm riding close to 100 mile days even in this type of terrain so the plan to cross Australia at 200kms per day could be achievable. But, what happens if things go wrong?
Far Away and Feeling Very Foreign
Whilst the northern part of the region is dominated by hills, the Mekong River is the main geographical feature in the west forming a natural border with neighbouring countries, but up here in the north the tropical rain forests are usually comprised of trees like bamboos, teak, and Asian Rosewood that shed leaves during the dry season. Bamboos, lianas, palms and rattan are found wherever the trees leave a space.
The bike is performing well. I know it needs a service, my brakes are shot - nothing from the rear and the front is starting to fade. This is starting to influence the direction I take but once I reach the flatter areas in south Thailand then maybe I'll hug the Malaysian coast to Singapore. I can have the bike dealt with by Yamaha in Perth.
In Phonsavan, my hotel lady was reluctant to let me have my bike inside my room but relented - they always do - she put on her Chinese grumpy face but I got my way:) I'm pacing myself. Goodnight:)
Map of the Day