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Ernst's Velotouren

Bicycle tour 2008 - 2013
First stage Switzerland - Thailand
Part 12: Laos & Thailand, Dezember 2008
The economic and cultural contrast between China and Laos could not be any bigger. The rural people of Laos mostly live in bamboo huts without electricity and make their living with the few plants growing on their little fields or what they find in the jungle. These people have a very plain way of life and always time for jokes and friendly chitchat.
Picture: Riding through the rain towards "Luang Namtha"
Picture: On a very good road - and this is very rare in Laos - towards the border of Thailand
Picture: The little buddhist temple on the hill over Viangphoukha, a tiny village where I stood over night on my way to Thailand. Besides the temple there are some bamboo huts where the abbot and his six novices live. Every morning they all go down to the village where they receive alms to make their living.
Picture: A novice of the small monastery of Viangphoukha
Picture: On a good road through untouched jungle
Picture: Picturesque villages close to the border of Thailand
After a 3 days ride through Laos I reached the Mekong River and therefore also the Thai border. It was quite emotional for me to reach the border my destination country after this 8 months trip on the bicycle.

The Mekong River is one of the ten longest rivers of the world (nearly 5000 km long) and its source is like many other important rivers of Asia on the Tibetan Plateau. At this moment the chinese goverment is constructing several large dams in the upper course of the river. The countries on the lower course fear severe consequences for the whole drainage area like the stay away of the seasonal floodings.
Picture: Arrival at the Mekong which marks here the border between Laos and Thailand. The opposite river bank belongs to Thailand.
Picture: Crossing the river on a longtail boat
Picture: Rest on a beautiful place at the Mae Kok river close to Chiang Rai
Now my 8 months long bicycle trip was definitely coming close to its end. Only the last 70 km were missing to Chiang Mai. Due to the fact that always the journey is the reward, the arrival confused me a little bit. But who knows - Maybe I'll continue my trip towards Australia after staying some months in the buddhist monastery Wat Umong in Chiang Mai. Let's see ...
Picture: Beautiful campsite under palm trees for the last night before arriving at Chiang Mai
Picture: Arrival in Chiang Mai: The finish of the tour. I can hardly believe it myself that this long tour now had come to its end. Actually a pity. But a good rest will certainly not harm, and then ... Singapore? ... Australia? ... Japan? ... I am already daydreaming again ...
Picture: Provisional end of the tour at 16'834 km.