Welcome to Laos

Jungle in northern Laos
Jungle in northern Laos

Just arrived yesterday after a 120km ride here in Luang Prabang, the most visited city in Laos. And it is very visited: Lots and lots of tourists here who fly in directly by plane. First I was looking forward to get some backpacker luxuries like pancakes and good coffee but after a day I just think of leaving the town as soon as possible again... It is a nice and relaxed town but just to touristy.


The first day in Laos I crossed the border and camped in some bamboohut in a rubberplanting for two nights because it was raining one day. The next day camping in a bamboohut over some old cornfields with a beautiful view for the sunset and the fullmoonset! Alone in the midst of the jungle. Laos is so little populated that camping is again no problem but you always have to have some extra food with you for picknick, lunch or dinner. There are just not as many restaurants as there were in southern China.


So soon I will head further south and hope to cross all of Laos within 30 days and get to Cambodia to visit there the mother of all temples: Angkor wat!


with love from Laos

Kommentare: 2
  • #2

    martin st (Montag, 28 November 2011 02:52)

    Hei Philipp war es nich gefährlich nördlich der Grenze zu Myanmar? Habe im CCTV Berichte gesehen, dass brutale Schmugglerbanden dort über 24 Morde verübt hätten. Aber bist ja safe and soound in Laos angekommen! Sieht man noch Schäden in Laos und Kambodja von den Ueberschwemmungen? Im Oktober
    hat es in Thailand immer Spendenaufrufe für Kambodja gehabt, da grösste Teile unter Waser waren, allerdings später auch halb Thailand! Ich habe eine riesige Freude an Deinen Beschreibungen von Südchina, den horsewomen und dem kraxelnden Bären. Bist zu beneiden, dass Du eine derart gute körperliche Verfassung hast und das alles so gut durchstehst. Ich drücke Dir weiterhin die Daumen und freue mich auf jeden neuen Bericht!Liebe Grüsse und Gassho mst

  • #1

    Ursula (Mittwoch, 16 November 2011 06:33)

    I finished my journey and come back to my hometown.
    You still in the road,and I suppose.
    All the best in Laos!


Coming home 2

Coming home 10 months after I have left
Coming home 10 months after I have left

Going for a big journey is one thing, but coming home is another. Just today I've got a qoutation from Albert Camus from a cycling buddy:


"What gives value to travel is fear. It breaks down a kind of inner structure we have... Far from our own language, stripped of all our props... we are completely on the surface of ourselves. But also, soul-sick, we restore to every being and every object its miraculous value."


I think this is very true and gets the very point of the adventure of going for a big journey. And now coming home is another adventure. And it breaks down another inner structure again. After so many months on the road with no home but the tent or a hotelroom, the routine of getting on the bike every morning, looking at the sky and the weather, the impression of so many so different people, animals, landscapes, sounds, smells coming home is like another big adventure. An adventure at least as big as the going away. Coming home with all these impressions, life will never be the same again.


After two months of asylum at my parents house in the north east of Switzerland I found a place to stay in Zurich in April. So it was time to go for the last bit of my journey: riding the 80km back home to Zurich. I took some small roads through the hills of the Hinterthurgau, crossed the Lake of Zurich on a ferry and reached Zurich Wollishofen almost exactly 10 months after I have left the town by bike (see photo).


This is the end of my journey.

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From +30 to -20 degrees Celsius

Snowcovered hills back home
Snowcovered hills back home

Taking a plane with a bicycle always makes me a little bit nervous since there seem not to exist any definitive regulations and it always depends partly on the goodwill of the clerk at the check-in desk. After organizing a carboard-box for the bike and a taxiride to Bangkok International Airport I was checking in as early as possible with 38kg instead of the allowed 30kg. The woman at the counter did some phonecalls but in the end gave me boardingpass and ticket and I didn't have to pay any overweight!! Yeeeesss! It could have been 40$/kg overweight!


After one night in Colombo my plane to Switzerland took off at noon on February, 3 and by sunset we landed in Zurich. The temperature outside: minus 11 degrees Celsius and still dropping! And it dropped as far as minus 22 degrees the following night. The next day - exactly eight months after my departure - I cycled the last few km back home through a beautiful snowcovered landscape.


Total time: 8 months

Total km: 8'864 km

Total countries: 7 (Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kirgistan, China, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand)

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The dewdrop has reached the ocean

After more or less eight months and 8800km of cycling I have reached the crystal clear waters of the Gulf of Thailand.


After two weeks in Chiang Rai I missed my bicycle. So I took a bus down to Bangkok again just to take my bicycle on the train and head for the Cambodian border at Aranya Prathet where I crossed the border three weeks before. I decided to make a little detour through Cambodia before heading south to the sea. I passed through the colonial City of Battambang and continued from there south to the borderprovince of Pailin, known for gemstones and beeing the last "Khmer Rouge Resort". From here I cycled straight down to Trat at the Gulf of Thailand and took a boat to the remote jungle-island of Koh Kut (picture).


The Island is the perfect lonely-beach-paradise and endpoint of my pilgrimage from the Central Asian deserts over the Himalayan Plateau to the jungles of Southeast Asia. So I pass my remaining days here at the white beaches of Koh Kut.


On february, 2 my flight leaves at 7 p.m. from Bangkok International Airport direction Switzerland...

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