The immigration officer in Laos told me I have to pay an extra $10 because I arrived later than closing time. I was not sure it was real law or his law. I didn’t have enough dollar that I tried to mix with left Vietnamese money and American dollar. Then at the end, he didn’t take extra money. I asked them there was any place to pitch my tent around. One of them walked with me to show the restaurant near. Truck drivers also slept there. I wanted to sleep comfortably that I put my tent over there.
When my portable hard drive was broken, I lost my 2 years video I took. But I thought I didn’t lose any picture. Unfortunately, only pictures from Laos didn’t have back up. I would use the picture from Instagram and Facebook which I uploaded in the past.
The day after I crossed the border, I arrived at the town called Vieng Xai. Local people told me there were caves to visit. When I visited there, a guide followed me and explained so many things which I really didn’t know before. When the U.S invaded Vietnam officially, they dropped lots of bomb into this Laos area secretly. It is said the reason they bomb was they didn’t want Laos communism supporting Vietnam communism. At that time, lots of local people lost their home.
As a result, they had to live in the cave to avoid the bombs from the sky. In the night, they went out to find the food. At the day time, they came back to hide from bombs. The guide showed me the leader and other politicians room, meeting room, hospital, kitchen and so on in the cave.
American government used over 200,000-ton bomb in 9 years to Laos which was more than the amount used during the whole of World War Two. Laos is the most heavily bombed country in history. But none of the countries know the American government’s attack into Laos before. In 1990, finally, people around the world started to know about this tragedy. To be honest, I didn’t know it until I visited there. Sometimes I had learned the history which I didn’t learn at the school while traveling. Most of them were very tragic sadly.
Laos scenery was more like a village than a big city. I could see local people’s lifestyle while passing them. I had many heavy showers while pedaling.
Hiding from very heavy rains under the roof, I saw kids were having lots of fun on the street. Laos was really hot and humid. So showers helped to cool down the hot day.
It was difficult to find the restaurant while cycling in Laos. Actually, Lao foods were more expensive than other South East Asian countries. I guessed because their economy was slow that not many people eat at the outside. So the price is quite higher than other neighbors and it was not easy to find. But once I went to a bit big town, I could see different restaurants. This was my favorite foods; BBQ pork with spicy sauce, Sticky rice, noodles with herbs, and beer. I’ve learned that local people used the hand when they eat sticky rice.
Laos’s mountain road was very steep. So to go downhill with heavy rain made my brake worn out badly. Although it was in a small city, I couldn’t find any bicycle shop. I didn’t want to hitchhike nor take the bus. I contacted the people in the capital of Laos. Someone sent the new brake pads by plane shipping. Thank to their help, I could cycle again.
I felt safer to cycle with my new brakes on steep Laos hills.
I got permission from monks for a night to sleep here. There was the rain in the night that I was happy to sleep under the roof. I thought it was my first experience to sleep on the temple.
Sometimes Lao hills were too crazy steep and some of them didn’t have a good pavement. So I pushed my bicycle many times on some of the uphills. In my memory, Lao hill was more difficult than Central Asian high mountain hill. Maybe because of too hot humid weather, I felt more difficult.
I had so much sweat when I cycled
Laos restaurant was expensive for me that I usually only ordered the noodle. Other foods were around $7, but noodle was only $2. But it was so light food for cycling that I always ordered sticky rice. Sticky rice was my fuel to cycle in Laos.
I saw local people covering their scooter with the leaf to protect from the sun.
If it is too hot, then I couldn’t cycle for more than one hour. I had to have the rest often. When I had the break with snacks I just bought at the grocery store, the owner went out and put the carbo box over my bicycle kindly. Sometimes when it was too hot, I worried about my electronic gears and battery. I knew there was nothing happens, but still, I believed it was better to leave under shade. But I didn’t see any shade at that time and local people just made for me.
When I asked for setting my tent, local people told me there were dangerous insects. They said I should set up a tent in front of their house.
Many times scary cloud chased me.
There were so many beautiful bugs in Laso. Many times I took the picture of them whenever they walked on my handlebar or sat on my bicycle.
When I stopped at the restaurant for breakfast in a very small village, I saw two European talking to local people. I was curious that I glanced at them. Surprisingly, they were buying bugs from local people. When I am so curious, I must talk to them. So I greeted “Good Morning” and then started to have thousands of questions. They were staying at that restaurant to collect bugs for a few days. That’s a very interesting hobby!
My day was simple; Watching beautiful bugs, enjoying the mountain view, pushing my bicycle on the hard uphill, and taking the rest every hour.
Later, I had arrived in Phonsavanh. Suddenly I saw many tourists on the street. It was because the town had the historic site which was called the Plain of Jars. Austroasian used it as storing food 1,500~2,000 years ago. These giant jars were a lot around this area.
I also visited the village making spoon made of left bomb.
I rented to scooter with the guy I met at the town together. He drove all the way. But I was curious about driving cause I’ve never driven it before. He taught me a little bit. It was actually quite easy that I would rent it and drive by myself at the next time.
I could see the temple in every village as many Laos are Buddhist.
I could set up my tent at the local people’s house for a night. The local lady was making some kind of clothes with a big wood machine, which you can see in the picture. It looked very interesting that I asked her. I couldn’t understand how it worked. I just watched her beautiful working.
I was invited to their dinner at the inside of the house. I was always curious about how local people house would look like inside. They cooked at the inside. There was TV as well. When I had the soup, I was curious about what it was. They told me it was a lizard.
Passing a small village, a kid held the weird looking animal. It was a bamboo rat. Teeth had orangcoloror.
I stopped at small grocery stores many times to buy some snacks. Sometimes they can cook instant noodle for me. This time I got the noodle with the egg. I really enjoyed sitting next to local people. I couldn’t understand them, but I liked just to stay around them.
I had the rest for a few days after arriving in the capital of Laos. Unfortunately, I was sexually harassed the day before leaving. I was just cycling along the river slowly, then one local man grabbed my butt, showed a dirty disgusting smile, and passed. I’ve been sexually harassed by different races. But they always showed that dirty smile after harassing me. I just shouted at him loudly and showed anger. Then I tried to catch him. He realized it was not funny but serious. He started to run away. I fell off when he turned to a small road. I was so angry that I just left my bicycle behind and ran to catch him. But I couldn’t catch him as he running too fast.
I was too upset and angry. Sexual harassment could make me really depressed at the moment. Usually, when I had a problem, I liked to go through it. As an example, when my brakes had worn out, I found someone to ship from the capital. But this time I felt too bad to keep going. I decided to cross the border and moved to the next country.
I didn’t have any bad feeling about Laos country because I knew this happened by unluck. I remembered Laos was a beautiful country with mountains, bugs, people, and food. I would visit next time again definitely.
Days in Laos= 34 Days
Distance of cycling in Laos= 864 km (540 mi)
Expenditure in Laos= $686