Tuesday 13 December 2011

Vang Vieng to Phonsavan

Sunset from last night.

This morning I got up and noticed it was kind of cool, not cold though. I went to get some breakfast and saw the mountains covered in cloud:
Went to the same spot, couldn't see many other places to get a good view of the mountains.
Then it was time to pack up and head to Phonsavan. I'd been told by an Israeli cyclist the day before that the road north wasn't as horrible as what I described from Vientiane, but still had about 10km of rough patches before it smoothed out again. And he was correct. Finally some smooth road again.

Smooth valley road.
There were a lot of little villages where the road got better and a lot of school kids riding bikes or walking up the road, most of them waving at me, so I waved back. One kid started clapping and jumping around after I waved back to him too. Also what I noticed here were guns, it looked like some of the residents carried them around, some of them were just standing around building sites on the side of the road though. Further into the hills there were pairs of soldiers walking the road in various places with their guns too. I think this was because to the south of highway 7 was a military base, or a restricted area or something. It mentions it on a map I have but gives no details, there were also no signs up that I could see.

Once the road got up a bit higher there were some awesome views.

Like this one.

And looking down the valley.
The road kept going up to a town called Phou Khoun where there was a lookout.

The road cut into the side of the hill.

Looking south. From 1500m up.
It was much cooler up here. Finally some cooler air, I've been waiting for this temperature since Malaysia!

A little further along.

I didn't stop for photos after that because it was getting late and I still had a long way to go if it was all winding mountain roads, I don't want to ride in the dark here. It was corners and small mountain villages for about 150km. I was bored of corners by the time I got through it all. My arms hurt from all the cornering and all the waving to kids. Finally the road straightened out about 40km from Phonsavan where I could sit on 100km/h and not think I was going crazy with all the turns.

I made it to Phonsavan an hour before sunset and found Nice guesthouse (100000kip/night...). And just after sunset the temperature dropped even more. I think it's about 10 degrees out there, but I still prefer this now to the heat further south!

Tomorrow (or the day after) it's off to explore the Plain of Jars, while avoiding UXO.

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