Down on Route 13

Shipping through the Kong Lo Cave
Shipping through the Kong Lo Cave

Laos is great! Especially the people here are very laid back and very heartily. When I cycle through a village from the houses on the left and on the right what you hear is children shouting "falaaang!" and "sabaidee!" which means "foreigner!" and "helloooo!". I would describe it like this: In the Stans people would always invite you for tea, in Tibet people were nice but dogs were barking and chasing you from the left and the right, in China people were looking at me as if I was an alien and here people greet you whereever you go. Great!

 

I am currently riding with Wolfgang a German cyclist and we had an excellent ride around the famous Kong Lo Cave. This is a cave made by a river that just flows through a mountain range. 7.5km long and dark as in a cow's belly we put our bicycles on the boats that took as on a 40minutes ride through the cavernlike cave to the other side, where there is nothing but a little village with houses on stilts and thick jungle. The next day we cycled 50km on narrow single trails through this rainforest. There were no direction signs and we were riding on intuition and geographical direction untill the road just disappeard in a lake... Luckily the next day some fishermen shiped us some kilometers across the lake where the road reappeared. Beautifull landscape! After an other 20km on washed out dirtroads through the forest we found some decent aspahlt roads and joined the route 13 again by sunset.

 

Furthermore there is some good coffee, french baguette and crepes here in Laos since it once was an French colony. And the Beer Lao is delicous too. The only thing I don't like that much are the ants crawling wherever you put your tent and the mosquitos just waiting to eat you up...

 

I am at the very southern part of Laos now and will enter Cambodia about next week.

 

All the best and relaxing pre-christmas-time!

philipp

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Kommentare: 1
  • #1

    fred/wendy (Donnerstag, 01 Dezember 2011 14:01)

    Hey Buddy

    We are back in Oz (UGH!!!) and looking for work. Cycling in Tajikistan was more fun.
    Enjoy Cambodia, we'll be watching

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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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