Jan 22 – Jan 25
Next morning I leave early to have enough time for the way back to Vang Vieng. Its again cloudy in the morning and I am freezing while moving south on the new road (another one than the one I came on). Soon the sun comes out and I stop at a crossroad to get a little petrol. Two guys from Thailand come rolling down the mountain road I have to take on bicycles. I give them big respect for taking that road on the heavy loaded bikes but they say they have just been rolling down for more than 15km. Sounds interesting and as it is the new road to Vang Vieng they are coming from I head up the mountain. A truck comes rolling down the other directions with all breaks are smoking heavily. Soon it becomes freezing cold again and some time before I reach the pass the GPS shows an altitude of more than 1600 above sea level. I go further up to reach the pass at a freezing cold 1839m.
Going down the other side carefully I find a signboard advertising a cave – I am curious and find, surprise surprise, nobody to collect admittance fee. Too far away from either Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng so it obviously doesn’t pay to sit in the shadow and collect money for doing nothing from stupid tourists. The cave is amazing and when I come back to the bike I have to hurry a little to make it to Vang Vieng before sunset.
The next day is the last day I got the bike so I explore the closer surroundings of Vang Vieng finding a few more nice places. Tomorrow I want to do the famous tubing/kayaking tour. With a group of Korean guys we go tubing on a river in a cave – amazing but I expect more fun from the kayaking! And it is. Not as I thought because the river stretch is rather unspectacular for kayaking but still too hard for the Koreans. After half an hour I ask them what they took the Kayak for if the go swimming all the time… At the best rapid the guide points out a way around it and I am stupid enough to trust him. After the rapid I ask him why he didn’t let me go down the steeper right side of the river. He says no way and I reply I could walk up there – with the kayak. Again he says no way now sounding like he believes what he is saying.
Everybody who knows me knows what came next – even though my right leg is in bad condition at the hip joint I take the kayak and walk up the rapid to take the steeper edge again – no problem, its all about motivation and nothing gives me more than somebody telling me what I can not do.
That was my last day in Laos as I have booked a bus ticket to Hanoi for the next day. The bus is supposed to leave at 1:30 but when it finally leaves around 3:30 (pm) I am transferred to a faster Minibus to catch the sleeper bus to Hanoi in Vang Vieng. No way to do that in 2,5 hours (150km) so in the evening I am in Vientiane (again) and the guys tell me I have to stay one day to get the next bus next morning. I am a little pissed but not so much as I meet another couple of old friends I know from paradise beach in Gokarn at the bus station. I don’t want to change money anymore and spend the night with a finnish couple (travelling overland by train back to Europe passing Bejing) in a dorm – nice!