For the second biggest city in Laos, Savannakhet is on slow mo sleepy time. We loved exploring the beautiful old buildings and chilling out in this laid back town but knew we had to keep the pedals turning or we would never leave this chilled out place on the MeKong.
29th July farewell to Savannakhet and we are hitting rural Laos making our way East towards the Vietnam border. What set off to be a 30km day turned into 107!!!
Savannahket – Muang Phalanxy 107km
We blew through Seno at the 30km mark when we saw it was just a dusty junction town. What a difference to Savannakhet with the rural village people so friendly. For 6 hours we were waving left/right, Sabaidee, Hello, Goodbye, Good morning and welcomed with friendly faces and smiles we will never forget. The scenery was amazing seeing the rural village lifestyle.
We saw scooters on the top of buses, people on the top of minivans, live chickens on the back of scooters, scooter on the back of a scooter. We dodged goats, cows and buffalos and the odd wandering pig. Oh and I ran over a snake. I saw it but not wanting to swerve into traffic I raised my feet off the pedals, closed my eyes and let out a wee squeal and hoped that when I opened he wasn’t wrapped around my pedals. Phew safe and one less snake in Laos to worry about now. We saw the village people in their everyday lives with all but nothing but so happy. Showering by bucket in the front of their shack, kids doing number two’s in the trough by their house and still managing a wave and smile as we bike by.
The next town we got to was Donghen at 67km and the heavens opened. We checked out a guesthouse and it was dump (but a palace compared to their abodes) but I kind of drew the line at a hole in the ground loo. So we had a feed and made the call to push through to the next town when the rain stopped. As we had got off to a late start (as we were only planning on a 30km day) the sun was starting to fall behind us. Was perfect riding temps and so lovely and peaceful on quiet roads as we approached Muang Phalan at 5pm. Hmmm no guesthouse! We pushed through another 3km and still no guesthouse. At this stage we were thinking of every possible option as to where we could spend the night. Maybe we could sleep at the school and take turns about catching a few zzzs, or just drink beers at a restaurant until closing and then crash on the floor! With a bit of charades we were pointed to keep going so going we did and it was the best sight seeing this road side guesthouse 3km further on. Kind of what I imagine Lee Child to call his ‘no tell motels’. Who cares it was a bed with a fan, cold beer and water sold out the front and a sit down toilet with a bucket and after 107km in the heat and pondering what our alternative options may have been we were so excited. We crashed in no time.
Muang Phalanxy-Muang Phin – 58km
Up early and hit the road this morning. Once again lovely scenery over undulating terrain and overcast pleasant conditions. Arrived Muang Phin which is such a quiet and remote town and found ourselves a guesthouse and can’t believe that it even has wifi! Found a place for lunch and ordered fried rice and omelette. A handful of dining options we know how to order in Laos language which is really similar to Thai language. Chilling out now after two great days riding.