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Tropical winter in Southeast Asia

Tuesday, January 21, 2014 | Manuel Marabese | Asia

DAY 11, DAY 12: Remote north to the Thai/Lao border mountains

The villages gets smaller, the temperature falls, the mountains rise. This is the far north of Laos, where just a few travellers push themselves. We meet just a few other adventurers on our route trough Luang Namtha, but plenty of smiling locals wave us every time we cross some inhabited areas. The plateau of Luang Namtha opens up after a bumpy ride on the mountain pass, followed by some of the best curves we have ridden on this motorcycle tour.

On the way to the Lao/Thai border we have the chance to get closer to rural life, visiting one of the cultural heritage village. No running water, but they do have electricity (and satellite TV!).

The sight is immense: down there we have China on the horizon...

Taking a nap while the border formalities are being processed... on the other side of the bridge we will meet Thailand again!

DAY 8, DAY 9, DAY 10: Going up north into Laos

Leaving Vientiane we head north, next stop Vang Vieng, a famous town for backpackers and eco tourism, although the tubing and all the wild parties are now over. Nevertheless, the face of this place amidst stunning limestone mountains is changing... A different clientele and more variegated activities will surely bring more and more tourists in the years to come.

On the mountain road to Luang Prabang we met a couple of motorcyclists from China, doing a 40 days tour across SE Asia on their fully loaded 125cc bike, tent included! What a journey! Take care guys, pleased to meet you!

Someone is getting hungry?

On the rest day in Luang Prabang (perhaps the most scenic and picturesque town of Laos, listed under UNESCO for its french colonial buildings) we have time to go for a short good ride to Kuang Si waterfalls and to the bear preservation centre.

Isn't that a great visual definition for idyllic place?

Some bikini aussie girls playing "Jane" and showing no fear for the freezing cold water, yet inspiring...

DAY 5, DAY 6, DAY 7: Southern Laos up to Vientiane

After leaving Don Khong (one of the 4000 Islands) we head north, towards Savannakhet (right across the river we can see Thailand) and after that the sight of mountains makes us very happy! The curvy roads are approaching... but before that, ferry time!

Visiting Wat Phou, built even before Angkor Wat. An old road was connecting the two temple sites.

The ferry has got a new captain! Christoph please don't sink it!

Grilled snacks are available at every corner... in case someone gets hungry during the coffee break.

The limestone forest is waiting...

Preparing ourselves for caving! Konglor is 7.5 km long and we will get trough with some small long tails, quite an experience!

On the other side a few bamboo shacks and a village are welcoming us, with some beers.. since no one need to ride anymore, the day is done!

Quite a bit of creativity for this lanterns carved from soda cans.

Riverside balcony, wooden huts, explorer feeling... What can we ask more? Oh yes, they do come with hot shower!

Daily morning briefing... everyone is eager to check the map. Vientiane, capital of Laos, is our destination today!

The first rice harvest of the year... in some part of the country they can harvest only once, in some region with a wetter climate they manage twice.

DAY 2, DAY 3, DAY 4: Cambodia

This time the border crossing into Cambodia at Poipet went as fast as the lightening. Unbelievable, we went trough in less than 2 hours! This means... plenty of time for Angkor Wat, awesome!

On the way to Siem Ream we stopped by for lunch near a big wedding, and a couple of bridesmaids decide to check if any bachelor is available...


The next day brings us to some rural areas. Just a quick turn from the main road to Phnom Penh and we are in the middle of a very curious village. Colourful wooden huts and plenty of cheerful children.

Crossing the Mekong on a small ferry, on the way to Kratie.

Sunset view anyone?

If you order ice coffee you get exactly ice + coffee... actually, lots of ice!

Going local at the market of Stung Treng.

A good soup and some green drink, maybe ice cold green tea, maybe something else. We'll never know.

One more border: Laos is just over there but...

... we need to wait until the officers finish their beloved bocce game. They take it very seriously, to the point that (presumably) became the national sport for border officers.

Mekong waterfalls in all their splendor.

DAY 1: Bangkok and surroundings

2014 has just started and another Edelweiss tour across the lush of Thailand, Cambodia and Laos is about to start. Brazil, Canada, US, Germany and Italy have gathered in Bang Saen (a small coastal town south of Bangkok) and are ready to begin the motorcycle adventure!

Today we ride to Aranyaprathet, on the border with Cambodia.

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