We can see Laos!!!!

Sakhon Nakhon – That Phanom 78km

After 2 nights in Sakhon Nakhon we were itching to get back on the bikes to get to That Phanom. So yesterday (after one day of rest from the big hot day climbing the mountains) we hit the road early. What a pleasant day riding in overcast conditions and just managed to avoid the rain all the way, often biking on wet roads but never saw a drop of rain. Flat terrain, with stunning scenery and rural Isaan villages.  Arriving That Phanom and so cool that across the MeKong River we can now see Laos.

Had to hunt our friend Leo down on the black market yesterday as Buddha Holiday. Felt like a couple of teenagers walking home with Leo wrapped in newspaper! (Not that we ever did that!!)

Coffee kick start at hotel before leaving Sakhon Nakhon
Lovely scenery all the way to That Phanom
Entire family planting in the rice fields
Tough day at work
Made it to That Phanom and wow that is Laos
dinner last night on the street


Today in That Phanom we find out that it is still a public holiday and it is their biggest day of the year with ‘Candle festival’. That Phanom has a large Wat (Temple) that brings 1000s of people to visit at this time of year – a Budhist Celebration. We heard the festival concludes with a street parade. With nobody speaking English in this town we struggled to find the start time. We eventually heard 1pm so being punctual and with nothing else to do we were sitting in the heat at 12.30 ready for action.  1pm passed and……….. nothing We were then told 2pm that also came and went so time for an ice cream! Waiting, waiting, waiting we were told 3pm. In the distance we heard the banging of drums and a few started to congregrate close by. We were in action and for the next 2.5 hours we think half the population of the Isaan Province passed us by. This parade was massive and a definite true Thai experience. Plenty of laughs for sure from lady boys dancing, school kids parading, old ladies on plastic chairs on the back of utes, pimped up tractors, Miss Candle contestants with huge fake eye lashes and bouffant hairstyles with the guys holding the sun umbrella for them. Entertainment at its best Thai style. We definitely had to find our friend Leo after that and once again soon realised we had to hunt him down on the black market.

All that aside this is the most amazing town. So quaint with a real mix of Thai, Laos, French influenced architecture. Once again the people are so lovely and we are having an amazing time and will stay at least a day or 2 more.

Wat Prah That Phanom


Streets of That Phanom
Houses on the Mekong
French-Indo Chinese  influence coming through


Locals hanging out
Today’s lunch. Kind of like a waffle mixture with pork, sausage and not sure what else.  Tasty though
Very cool bicycle
Another street food seller
The mighty Mekong with Laos in the distance
More teak houses
Young girl getting ready for the parade.  She loved her NZ stickers and badge we gave her.
First minute of long parade
Pimped up Kubota tractor for the parade






5 thoughts on “We can see Laos!!!!”

  1. Great photos and very happy people living in basic conditions.
    So why Leo wrapped up in newspapers.
    Must be so rewarding to mix with other cultures and share their life.
    Good catch with the Mayos yesterday and Gail Rumble will be with us shortly and we will drop at airport later today XX


    1. Hey Ma and Pa. Great to get your reply as always. We’re still loving this adventure and it just keeps getting better. The beer was wrapped in newspaper so as to not alert the authorities as it wasn’t allowed to be sold on the Buddhist holiday. Not many shops were prepared to sell to us but there’s always a few that are keen to make a few dollars….
      Still here in That Phanom until Saturday before we head South to the border town of Mukdahan.
      Take care and we’ll be in touch soon.
      Love A & L. .


  2. Looks amazing!! What awesome experiences you are both having along the way and may they continue!! You are such inspirational couple. Thanks so much for your updates…I love seeing your photos and reading your comments.

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  3. As always fantastic pics guys. That looks like the pace of life that would suit us. Am sure I could also befriend Leo as well.!! Be sure to cross those muddy waters safely biking into Laos. Not sure what would be lurking under there!. Travel safe, continue to enjoy.


  4. So Crusaders cleaned out by the Lions. We were looking unbeatable prior to going into recess for the Welsh tests. Todd here next weekend with Ruby. Seems happy to see Sami/Sophies hockey–first game 8.45am(that’s 6.30 in Aus). Beer with Lindsay tomorrow, with mum, so will be good to get his opinion on the rugby. In case you don’t know-Hurricanes 40 odd to nil against the sharks, Chiefs easy winners in S.A. against stormers. Highlanders through 15-9 against Brumbies. Brumbies still think they scored near the posts in the final minutes.Safe travels XXMum/Dad


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