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Ernst's Velotouren

Bicycle Tour 2008 - 2013
Stay in Thailand
Part 0: Preparatory tour Mekong
prt. 2, Oct. 2010
Download tracks and waypoints GOOGLE EARTH / GARMIN MAP SOURCE
Overview, for details see Google Earth or Garmin file.
Picture: Altitude profile Mekong Tour prt. 2/ 1928 km, 19 days
The Lao People's Democratic Republic ("Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao") is the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia and has about 6 million inhabitants. With a GDP per capita of 656 U.S. $ Laos is one of the poorest countries of our world.

Although the country in the Vietnam War remained neutral, it was bombarded by the U.S. Army for nine years day and night (a total of 530,000 bomber attacks, on average one attack every 9 minutes), as the Ho Chi Minh Trail led through Laotian territory. Overall as much as 2.5 tons of explosives per person were dropped, which made Laos one of the most severely bombed countries ever worldwide. Even still today about 50% of the country are contaminated with unexploded bombs and mines (about 20% of the dropped explosives) which means a big problem for an agricultural country like Laos.
After the Vietnam War, the communist-oriented "Pathet Lao" took over the power by a revolution and installed the "Lao People's Revolutionary Party" as the single ruling party which is in power until today. Since about two decades the country has opened itself economicly and politically.
Picture: In the very south of Laos the Mekong River falls down a 4 to 5 meters high cataract.
Abendstimmung in Khong
Picture: Evening in Khong city.
Picture: To access the south Laotian "city" of Khong (background) which consists of a few houses on a Mekong island it's necessary to use a "taxi" as shown in the picture.
Regenstimmung in Mukdahan
Picture: Rain in Mukdahan. In the background is the Friendship Bridge between Thailand and Laos.
20000 km
Picture: Exactly 20,000 km (since Switzerland) just after That Phanom at the Mekong in Thailand.
Wat Ahong Sila
Picture: In front of the ceremony hall of Wat Ahong Sila.
Auf nach Luang Prabang
Picture: Heading towards Luang Prabang. The road signs in Laos are sponsored by "Tiger Beer".
Vang Vieng
Picture: Vang Vieng is surrounded by karst mountains and paddy fields. There are many caves in this region.
Sunset Vang Vieng
Picture: On te way home in the sunset..
Kinder Laos
Picture: Two little sisters playing outside their home on the roadside.
Tham Phu Kham
Picture: In the vast entrance hall of Phu Kham Cave. Under the canopy is a man-sized reclining Buddha statue.
Picture: After Vang Vieng the road goes further into the mountains, up in rain clouds and fog.
Picture: Rain break in a bamboo hut.
Picture: Farm on a mountain ridge in the fog.
Kinder unterwegs zur Schule
Picture: Children in the mountains around Luang Prabang on the way to school.
Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang is located in the mountainous north of Laos. From 1354 on it was the royal capital of several empires. After the takeover by the communist Lao Phatet in 1975 the last Lao king Sisavang Vatthana and his family were deported to a "reeducation camp", where the whole family probably in 1984 died under mysterious circumstances. With the introduction of communism Lao sealed the borders and Luang Prabang became something like a "sleeping beauty".
After the economic liberalization in the early nineties and the opening of the country for tourism, the cultural and historical significance of Luang Prabang has been re-detected and promoted. In 1995 the place was declared to a UNESCO World Heritage Site and since then the authorities protect the unique character of the city
Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang
Pictures: Luang Prabang
Pak Ou Höhle
Picture: Located about 25 km upstream of Luang Prabang are the famous Pak Ou Caves, in a riverside cliff of the Mekong. The caves are an important Buddhist pilgrimage site of Laos. According to tradition the caves are used as temples since the 16th century. They are only accessible by boat and during the Indochina War people hid their private Buddha statues inside. At these times over 5000 statues stood in those two caves. Several hundreds are still there, others were brought as offerings by pilgrims into the caves.
Mit einem Boot zurück nach Thailand
Picture: From Luang Prabang I traveled for once not on the bike but by boat. Safety-related equipment such as lifejackets were not to find. Nevertheless, in order not to completely give up security, at thorny passages the captain's wife threw a handful of rice grains into the rushing current to appease the river ghosts. In addition, the ship was blessed with all sorts of holy trinkets and a small altar with blinking lights ...
Ban Pak Beng
Picture: On the two-day boat trip we stayed over night in the picturesque village of Pak Beng and continued the next day in another ten-hour trip to the Thai border in Huaixay.
Mekong in Nordthailand
Picture: After I followed the Mekong for more than 2000 km upstream through Cambodia, Thailand and Laos I've left the mighty stream on a rainy day in the far north of Thailand (in the Golden Triangle) and ride back to Chiang Mai in three days. The left bank in the picture belongs to Thailand, the right one to Laos.
Next side : Thailand