Day 1 Arrival
Tropical heat is awaiting the group in Bangkok and everybody is excited about tomorrow, when we will leave North to the Cambodian border.
Day 2 Chonburri - Aranyaprathet
Our first riding day was hot! It took a while to get used to the heat and the humidity, but we enjoyed the ride to Aranyaprathet, a little town at the border to Cambodia. Through little villages, seeing smiling people and many temples along the way.
First briefing before start
Group picture at the happy buddah
Lunch at a local restaurant
Locals at the gas station
Day 3 Aranyaprathet - Seam Reap
Our second riding day was hot too! The first adventure today was the border crossing, the paperwork was incredibble, but it was not boaring at all. A lot of crazy things to see. The ride to Seam Reap was easy and we spent the afternoon to visit the world famous Ankor What, the biggest religious building in the world. In the jungle temple we felt like Indiana Jones and the 5 star hotel at night was just perfect.
At the boarder
Group picture at Angkor Wat
Ulli compares with Khmer faces
Sabine stabilizing the ruins
New record - 6 up!!!
Rich and John celebrating with the dancing girls.
Day 4 Seam Reap - Kratie
This was our first long and challenging riding day, 350 km, with long streches of road construction, that means gravel and dust. The highlights today were a visit in a small Cambodian village and the ride along the Mekong in the afternoon on a scenic dirt road. We got dirty and had to swollow some dust, buit it was a great day!
Meeting the kids in the village
Dirtroad through the rural area
Loading the ferry over the Mekong
Road along the Mekong, through charming little villages
Ingrid with new make up
Day 5 Kratie - Don Khong
Good bye Cambodia, unfortuately our time in Cambodia is already over. Today we were heading to Laos. A long stretch of road construction caused some tough riding. But we reached the Lao border without any misshaps and enjoyed the stunning Mekong Falls. Border crossing was easy today and the boot beer at our Hotel Terrasse at the Mekong was just perfect. Some of the group did a sunset boat trip on the Mekong and enjoyed the beautiful 4000 islands.
Along the Mekong river
Boarder crossing to Laos
Icecream at the Mekong falls
Klaus in his element at the sunset boat ride
Day 6 Don Khong - Savanakhet
Today was our longest riding day, over 400 km. The roads were in good condition, we got the first mountains to see and we had one really adventurous ferry crossing over the Mekong. Getting on and off the Ferry through deep sand was quite challenging, but the ferry ride itself was fun. On a nice dirt road we reached Wat Phou, a Khmer temple complex, which is listed as a world heritage site.
The monks collecting rice in front of the hotel at sunrise
Going on the "adventure ferry"
Crossing the Mekong
Gravel road to Wat Phou
Day 7 Savanakhet - Kong Lor
The first twisty road of the trip we had on our way to the Kong Lor Caves, wonderful scenery and a spectacular boat ride through the cave.
Scenic view near Kong Lor cave
Kurt and David
John, Gordon and Richard exploring the cave
Boot beer time!
Dinner at the basic but wonderful eco resort
Day 8 Kong Lor - Vientiane
A part of the group left the lodge earlier this morning for a little off road excursion, which was not as tough as expected, because they built a new gravel highway. The last part of the day we road along the Mekong on a beautiful but dusty gravel road to Vientiane, the capitol of Laos. Some needed a massage afterwards.
Offroad loop in the morning
Along the way
Locals working in the rice fields
Waterbuffalos enjoying the mud
Day 9 Vientiane - Vang Vieng
The city traffic in Vientiane was quite interresting, at every red light we had a moped race going on. The destination for today Vang Vieng is a paradise for backpackers and situated beautifuly at a river, surrounded by rugged mountains. The view from the hotel terrace is just breathtaking. Most riders of the group took the chance in the afternoon for an extra off road loop through the rice fields, including two water crossings and a tiny little bamboo bridge.
Crossing an old wooden bridge in the morning
Over a weak bamboo bridge
Decent water crossing
Our off road group in the rice fields
Klaus doing an extra water crossing just for fun
Day 10 Vang Vieng - Luang Prabang
A scenic road through the Luang Prabang mountain range with some challenging sections. The mountains and the pass roads get higher and higher, that means it is gettig cooler. Our hotel in Luang Prabang, the religious capitol of Laos with its old French center is wonderful and we can stay two nights here to get some rest.
Minority people in a mountain village
The big man and the Hobbits (our driver and policeman)
Children in a mountain village
Our hotel, not too shabby!
Day 11 Rest day Luang Prabang
One day to relax! Some did an elephant ride in the morning, some explored the old town of Luang Prabang and went shopping on the night market and some went for an extra off road loop through the jungle. We all had a great day.
Sabine, Rich, Kurt, Ulli, David, Kit and Tom on their mission
Mekong crossing to the off road loop
Water crossing through a creek a little smaller than the Mekong
Time to quit, it is getting too tough
One more river
Day 12 Luang Prabang - Luang Namtha
The toughest day of the trip, 320 km through the mountains, with a stretch of 90 km really bad road. At the end of the day we all were tired but happy. In the morning an elephant was crossing our way, what a surprise. The primitive huts of the mountain tribe people along the road and the village life on the street were very impressive.
Bridge for two wheels only
Local broom production
China around the corner
Sunset over Luang Namtha
Boot beer after a challenging day
Sabine with adventure makeup
Day 13 Luang Namtha - Chiang Khong(Thailand)
Back to Thailand after 8 days in Laos. Today was easy compared to yesterday. We had only 180 km to go and the road was in good condition, a nice ride through the hilly countryside on twisty roads, pure plesure. The highlight of today was a visit in an ethnic mountain tribe village, where we met friendly people and learnd about agriculture.
Day 14 Chiang Khong - Doi Angkhan
The golden triangle was our first stop in the morning, where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet. This Region got famous for opium production, but today it is banned in Thailand. The riding along the Myanmar boarder on old smugler trails was spectacular and challenging. We ended up in Doi Ankhan way up in the mountains where it was getting much cooler.
Day 15 Doi Angkhan - Pai
We continued along the border to Myanmar and in the afternoon we had a fantastic ride on the road of the thousand curves to Pai. With a big smile on our faces we reached our quiet Resort. Most of the group was too tired to do an aditional off road loop and spent the afternoon at the pool. But the haresd ones Glenn, Klaus and Michael joined the tourguides for an off road experience with several water crossings.
Day 16 - Pai - Chiang Mai
Unfortunately our last riding day. It was a short but very intense riding day. First we went back two third of the thousend curves in the early morning and then on tiny little backcountry roads with some gravel parts to Chiang Mai, where we were soaked in by the bussy city traffic. Everybody made it safe to the hotel. Congratulations!!
It was hard to say good by to all our new friends, this is a fantastic group. An adventure of a lifetime has come to an end!
Nice dirt road
Sabine, Michael and Melissa playing soccer