Luang Prabang. A great few days riding. 

25th of June – 30 miles.

 Had arranged to meet Phillip and Justine along the way today. It was up and down all day I took it steady and met them both about 5 miles from the village we had agreed to meet up at, rode the last bit with them very very slowly had some fun, took some pictures, booked into a different guest house (80kip) great views from here.  We ate together that night along with a Spanish girl (Miaya)??? We had met who had been travelling for three years all over, good conversation.  No Internet again and so to bed early ready for a hard 40 odd miles to Luang Prabang tomorrow. 

26th June – 44 miles

Great ride today 40miles with some big hills. The first down hill was 10 miles!  I went quite hard today felt good and met Philip and Justine en route after about 15 miles. I only stopped for a quick chat as I wanted to push on a bit today. The route started much higher than I would finished so more descending than climbing but still tough. I’m heading back this route too so that will be a harder day. I stopped for coffee overlooking a bridge and small river at the bottom of one of the last descents about 10miles from Luang Prabang. A place called Xiang Ngeun. 
There was one more climb in that last 10miles although smaller, before descending towards the river Mekong and the town of Luang Prabang.

Beer Laos by the Mekong River. 

Whilst cruising around town looking at guesthouses, Dave (from Dave n Jack I met 100 miles back in Phonsavanh), came up behind me on the Motobike. He shouted out ‘Hi mate’. I turned around and he said ‘I knew that had to be you, only bloody mad white man riding a fully loaded bicycle round here’. 

Stayed near D + J in a guesthouse called Wat that guesthouse. 60,000 Kip a night. £6. No air con but I’m trying to get used to the heat although I just don’t think you do? Or it takes years? It is much warmer here and up to 80% humidity compared with where I started higher up in the mountains. Going to hang around here a bit. A few things to do. 


The Plain of Jars. Phonsavan.

20th of June – Plain of Jars. 

Today was the day I was meant to start cycling again but…  my friend Graham text me the night before saying “I really must go and see the Plain of Jars”! I decided to book today and go. It was actually a very good day and I got some brilliant pictures these massive stone jars were chiselled out thousands of years ago.  The old Laos people say it was for the king to put his whiskey in. Then you would have a party on the top of the hill for seven days and seven nights where everybody would drink from the stone jars. Since then they have discovered that they were burial chambers which makes sense. Disappointing but makes sense :-((. 

No surprise a lot of them were destroyed by bombs during the war, others when they built roads and some have been washed away and struck by lightning. Well worth a visit. If you do site 1 and 2 that’s enough. I did 3 but if I ever go again I’d just do 1-2.

The only jar with its lid still intact!

A tree grew out from the inside of this jar.


21st June. 

Walked into Phonsavanh and bumped into Graham and Rory. The guys I had met about 100miles back when I struggled to get money from ATM. 

Had a beer with them but just a few :-). Need to get on bike tomorrow!  

22nd June. 30 miles. 

It’s a 90 mile stretch to Phou khoun and quite a lot of climbing so I decided to get to one of only 3 guesthouses I saw on this stretch in Nong Tang (Muang Souy). Near the lake about 30 miles in. Good tip. 

This would leave a good 60 miles and still some good climbs for the following day. 

It rains almost every night now so I guess the wet season has begun.

23rd June. 40 miles. 

Set off at 8:30 in the morning but after only 2K stopped for something to eat ended up riding at 9:30. Great countryside again. Climbs weren’t too bad lots of up-and-down. Made Phuo khoun in good time. Nothing much here no ATM no WiFi not many shops. Apparently now is where the climbs start!!  According to locals that have seen me on my bike it will be tough!

24th June. 

Tried to walk to the point today about 1.5K away out of town after 1.5k stopped where it should’ve been but there was just a garage there. I asked a couple of locals, they said it was a further 8K down the road so I just walked back. I’ll see it on the way back through. 

At dinner that night French couple came in on to the restaurant on recumbent cycles. Philip and Justine. They had been travelling for year and had some great stories and and advice. I’m not sure about doing it on a recumbent!  That’s tough! 

Two days and I should be in Vang Prabang. 

Laos and bombs.

18th of June 35 miles. 
A great climb to start with today went on for about 1hr 30min then levelled a bit although into a headwind so still had to pedal hard. 

I like the shorter legs where you can push harder. Felt good and seem to be getting fit. 

The hills here are constant. Makes for great scenery but tough riding. 

Arrived in Phonsavanh and checked into the big hotel. Got a deal. 10000 Kip a night. £10. 

Laos seems a little more expensive than the other countries so far. 

Met Matt and Jack as planned and as mentioned at the end of last blog.  They introduced me to Dave (English) and Jack (New Zealand) a couple of real characters. Drank lots of beer and rice wine and listened to many stories. The following day I sharpened all 6 of their knifes and we bonded  ;-). 

Below. L-R. Jack n Dave. 

19th June. 

During the Vietnam war the US dropped 70% of all the bombs used in that war into Laos. Apparently trying to stop the Vietnamese getting supplies through Laos by using the Ho Chi Minh trail. There are so many bombs that people use the shells for fire pits. Flower beds. Fences. Even pillars to raise their houses off the ground. That’s what I noticed as soon as I crossed the border from Vietnam into Laos. 

The trouble is there are millions of  tonnes of Un-Exploded Ordinance (UXO) left in the ground live!  The kids actively hunt for them for the value of the scrap metal. I have seen many young and old people in the villages with prosthetic legs and arms, some very basic ones to. Just a bamboo pole for the lower part of a leg. 

There was almost a tonne of bombs dropped for every person living in Laos at the time!   

Every day I cycle past hundreds of people working the fields. Scary business.

If you are interested in a few statistics on the bombing this only takes a few seconds reading before you clearly realise the scale of the bombings. 

Click below:    

Scale of bombing in Laos during Vietnam war. 

Jack and I having a fire in the shell of a bomb. 
Will try to get back on bike soon. ! 

Hotel California. Checked in but was worried I’d never leave.

14, 15, 16 of June. Laos. 
After booking into Xaisomphone guesthouse about 20k from the Vietnam border and into Laos, (as I mention in last blog), Wet and aching, I cleaned up and came down for dinner and a few beers. After dinner I went to the ATM to get some cash out but it refused my card. I had one dollar on me, the border had cost me almost $40 to cross. Not a panic as sometimes this happens and then next day it’s generally fine – that’s also kind of what the owner told me at the hotel. Next morning and still nothing from the ATM! Ate had a few beers and dinner and tried again still nothing not looking good. The next day I went down to breakfast and she asked me if I sorted my money issues out yet? :-(. I told her that machine still weren’t working so she sent her son with me to Western Union bank. Not much happened at the bank to help the problem, they just laughed at me a bit.  I went back to the hotel and met Graham and Rory. These guys were doing some surveying in the area. Graham was originally from New Zealand and Rory Australia. Rory could speak perfect Laoation and explain my situation to the owner of the guesthouse which helped things a lot, she said she wasn’t worried but it was difficult with the language barrier. Graham explained to me that I could transfer money to myself through Western Union bank. (It’s a great/essential app to have whilst traveling), then within five minutes walk into the bank and just pick up the cash. that’s what I ended up doing. saved my bacon. So three days in a hotel eating sleeping and drinking with no money whatsoever interesting time. 

Ended up having a few beers with Graham that night interesting character planned to meet him again once I get down south of Bangkok back to Pattaya. He organises bike hashes. A bunch of mates plan a route from village to village through the jungle and drink loads of beer whilst doing it. 

Plan to get one of them done with him hopefully. 

17th of June 40 miles and leaving the guest house. 

Came down in the morning and just thought I would try to move my seat post, I didn’t need to use is but I have noticed the sweat from my body dripping on the bike has corroded some parts, the hunch turned out to be correct – seized solid. I decided to leave it in case I damage to my saddle trying to twist it. A job for me once I’m home, going to have to cut it out probably. 

The 40 miles went well and Laos didn’t disappoint it’s an amazing country. There were stretches very similar in Vietnam, quite big stretches but now is complete and utterly mountains and jungles all the way. As far as you can see. 

Managed to get a few pictures taken today as well as pushing hard now and again the knee felt good it was mostly downhill today and much happier. I was worried Laos wouldn’t deliver but by the end of the day I was I was still smiling. 

Checked into a guest house in a village called Muang Kham. A stop here breaks the journey perfectly. Just so you know. 

Met two guys on motorcycles going same way. Matt and Jack. 

Had a beer and laugh that night and arranged to meet them in Phonsavanh the next night. It was going to take me a little longer than them to get there. :-).
Below. First sign I was in Laos. About 10k over the border from Vietnam. 

Crossing the border into Laos and the biggest climb so far. 

For your info my brake arrived. Fitted it and bike is all back ready to ride. Had a great fair well get together and watched the Euro football champs on a big screen in the hotel. Got a visit from a bat. Bed 4am????. 

12 June. 29 miles. 

The day before my Vietnamese visa runs out. Left Hoa Binh after over two Weeks. Didn’t feel great today. Too much time off bike, too much drinking, too late to bed. Maybe all of the above. Who knows. Legs were tight and ached quite bad which doesn’t usually happen. Luckily I had planned an easier day to get back into it. About 5 miles from the hotel in Muong both knees were hurting. It’s an old problem and stretching usually sorts it. I was pleased to get to hotel. 

Drank plenty and tried to sleep. Only managed about 4-5 hours. No idea why.

13th June. 22miles. 
Almost 5000 feet of climbing in 22 miles. The climb started immediately after a beef noodle breakfast and a coffee at 9am. I could not believe there was no respite (well a couple of 500 meter descents not including the last one to hotel) as you can see from the profile below. 

Had to nurse knees. Drank well, although I was still struggling to hydrate. It was 40 degrees at the bottom of the climb and I was not creating enough wind riding at 6-7 mph. I stretched every half hour. 

Crossed the border into Laos at 1pm on the same day as my Vietnamese visa ran out. More luck than judgment. After this it still bloody climbed! I reached for my emergency pack of Orio biscuits which looked like someone had blown them up with a bicycle pump due to my altitude. I didn’t know how high I was but seeing this I knew I was 3000ft plus. Then I got a little cramp. Very rare for me and to top the day it poured with rain on the last decent which only dropped a few hundred feet. The road was super slippery as I discovered when the front wheel slid straight on when I turned the bars. At 25mph + a crash would have been the icing on the cake. I slowed right down after that and rolled into town. Both knees were hurting now although manageable I hope.

Checked into hotel in Nonghet for two nights. I need to look after them knees. Been loading up on ibuprofen. 

It’s much cooler up here. I keep forgetting I’m a 1000 feet higher than Ben Nevis (5000 feet). It also seems to rain in afternoon but only for an hour. I’ll have to remember this and eat lunch later whilst it rains if that’s possible. The places to eat or buy water are much fewer and further apart in Laos it would seem. I’ll need to remember that and plan ahead. 

Another country another currency another language. 

In Thailand they use Thai Baht. 50 to 1 pound. 

Cambodia use Riel. 5800 to 1 pound. 

Vietnam use Dong. 32000 to 1 pound. 

Laos use Loatian Kip 11500 to 1 pound. 

I’m well lost having just crossed the border. Here in Laos they also take dollar and Baht. 

Latest stats. 

Cycled 2100 miles. Burnt 530,000 calories. I think I have burnt more but the Garmin doesn’t take into account my bike weighs 75+ kilos 

That’s 2650 pints of beer I have banked for my return to the Rebellion Brewery back home based on each pint being about 200 calories. 

After today that statistic cheered me right up. 

Talk soon. 

To Hoa Binh. Where I will end up for a while longer than intended. 

May 23. 37 miles.  

Left Con Cường and had a steady ride to Hoa Binh. Had a rear tyre change along the way. I had stuck a screw or something through my tire a month or so ago, you may remember in a previous blog. I patched the tire from the inside when it happened, it was quite a large hole and 1500 miles later the grit finally wore through and put a small hole in my rear tube. The picture below shows the difference between the old tire and the brand-new tire I thought that was good going for a rear tyre after nearly 2500 miles with almost 150kg of weight bearing down upon it, good quality WTB tyres!  I kept the old one as a spare. There is a few hundred miles in it if I get into some serious trouble with one of the other two tyres. 

I reached Hoa Binh about 3:30 – 4 o’clock and checked into a hotel it looked quite nice. I wanted the cheapest room they had (250000 VMD. £8) which was right on the top floor and actually quite standard but it did have a fridge and air-conditioning. 

That evening a swarm of killer bees was trying to get in through my broken window a few of them did get in as the window would not shut properly about 10 made it through it made a change from killing mosquitoes. It was a bit odd killing honeybees but they were going crazy stinging everything including themselves, obviously when bees sting they die so they were dead bees piling up outside the window. Then the Wi-Fi went down and the TV stopped working I got discount on the room the next morning so now I only paying 200,000 Vietnamese dong about £6. 

The plan was to stay here for two days and recover well and get back to it however I met a teacher, Mr T pronounced Tay Who asked me to attend his English class he said the kids would love it, just tonight for two hours so…… four days later and I’m still here teaching the local children English. I have a trip planned to Vinh City tonight (Saturday 28 May) getting back Tuesday, to teach a much bigger school in the city the school in the city wants to pay me including expenses I have agreed to do this and with the money I earn I can pay my hotel bill here in Hoa Binh and teach the kids here in the much poorer mountain village for free until I leave for Laos on Friday 3 June. They’re trying to keep me here a month but I must finish my trip. Well At least get to Nepal and Everest. 

May 29th. Vinh City. 

Left for Vinh on a small bus along bumpy roads at 10pm. It’s a 4 hour trip so arrived at 2am. Grabbed 4 hours sleep then spoke to children in about 9 different classes until 9pm. The principal (Chung Kieu) looked after me well. She took me round Vinh City and to some great food spots. It was a busy few days but it went well. 

I gave out some awards for achieving a high standard in English and headed back on the bus to Hoa Binh. I was due to leave Friday the 3rd June but discovered my bike had fallen in the night and smashed my front brake lever. I ordered a new one on line as nowhere in Vietnam had anything. I’m still waiting for it to arrive. Hopefully 3 more days. My visa runs out on the 13th so it’s cutting it close!  

The kids at school made me lots of presents and letters to say good bye. Good luck and thank you. 

Mainly been chilling and drinking whilst waiting. Keen to get back on the bike again. That’s it for now. All up to date. It will be a few days until next post. 

Whilst having a drink one night this chap walked in unseen and started climbing up the leg of the guy sat next to me. If you have read my previous blogs you will know a bite from these boys will be a problem. Pain for days!  Zoom in. You can see the fat jaws full of venom. Bit of excitement anyway. 

Check out my videos on

3 days just riding. What more can I say. 

20th May. 80 miles. 

Sorry. It’s a boring one….

A few hills to start then a fairly flat road along the valley ride went fast and felt good after the last two days of riding. I had few stops, no photos taken at all. Reached hotel by 4 PM 

The 80 miles today flew by after the 12,000 feet of climbing the last few days. I felt strong. Arrived in town but there’s not much here it was even hard to find something to eat. 
21st of May. 32 miles. 

Left late, tired after a big day yesterday. Rode 32 miles to Phu Chau. Fairly flat nothing really to mention slightly overcast which made it cooler. 
22nd May. 67 miles. 

Woke to rain, stopped at a cafe for breakfast which here is normally noodles with beef or chicken with chilli ????. Rain stopped just as I set off. 

Coffee stop. 

Again the 67 miles went well, following the valley floor to Con Cuong. Saw a pig being slaughtered on somebody’s driveway which was worth a mention. 

Booked into hotel in Con Cường stayed for three nights. I met some locals here in the town and we had a good couple nigth out. They also took me out for breakfast in the morning before I left. 

Next one might be better :-). 

From Forest to Phong Nha.

17th of May. 65 miles. 5500ft of climbing. walked down to the stream and had a wash and a swim in the morning. Packed hammock and left the jungle. 

Today was another very hard day with lots of climbing and hot. I was tired after yesterday and camping in the jungle. 

I ran out of water and had to fill my bottle from the stream running off the mountain the water looked extremely clear and I could’ve probably drank it without adding a purifying tablets but I still added the tablet. It was the first time on the trip I’ve ever run out of water it just shows how isolated you are along this section. 

The water purification tablets are out !

I was heading for a town called Phong, famous for its caves. It was a long hard ride on top of yesterday’s big day and a late night camp in the jungle added to this. I almost walked some of the last climb I was so tired. Almost shit myself on the last decent too. (Not that I was scared just the dodgy belly is back 🙂 ). I was in all sorts of trouble. Dehydrated on top of all this too. I booked into quite a nice hotel as a reward for 250Km and 12500ft of climbing over the last two days. They really were a couple of tough days. I loved it. I needed a bit of a challenge. The physical side of the trip has been ok for me so far. It was good to get a little kick up the arse. 
I stayed a few days in Phong the hotel was very nice a very very beautiful place, great Pool, a few good restaurants, tourists – but not too many. I didn’t bother going to the caves and set out two days later. 

Storm brewing. 

The Ho Chi Minh trail and a night in the jungle.

May 16th. 80 miles. 7000 feet of climbing. 

Left KHE Sanh and started climbing immediately into the forest on the Ho Chi Minh Road. Again the views and the jungle were spectacular, the sun was out and it was hot. 
What I didn’t realise is that I was about to embark on the toughest two days of my trip so far! The Ho Chi Minh Road from KHE Sanh runs for 250 to 270km with only the odd few small villages, traffic is minimal you are totally alone when riding a bicycle through this section. I found it hard going. Lots of climbing but also great to really be alone way out in the jungle. 

I had planned to camp tonight as I was left with little other option, there really is very little of anything on this stretch. I couldn’t find a campsite and ended up riding an hour and a half in the dark looking for something suitable. I was very tired and a little concerned where I may end up sleeping. I haven’t had any problems with dogs so far but that night I had three or four incidents where I was chased and they seemed fairly commited. Maybe it was due to it being dark, cooler or they had not seen bikes much up here, who knows. I found that looking back at them and shouting whilst waving your arm in the air deterred them just about enough. I really could have done without it tonight.  Eventually I found a site to camp and put my hammock up in the jungle in pitch black. Luckily the bugs were not too bad, I have no idea why. Maybe I smelt that bad!  I was extremely thankful anyway as I had a bit of chilling time sat by fire instead of a panic dinner and a rush to bed to escape the biting blood suckers. I got the fire going, cooked some noodles, had a baby wipe shower 😉 and got into my hammock. It’s very noisy in the jungle at night due to the amount of bugs, Cicadas are extremely noisy, they make a screaming sound. 

This is a Cicada:

I was awoken in the middle of the night by sound of something sniffing me?! I looked out of my hammock into the darkness and saw a giant great water buffalo staring right at me. It was a bit worrying but he was more scared of me then I was of him. The problem was if he decided to run my way I would’ve gone with him because he’s such a massive animal. Luckily he decided to run the opposite direction when I reached for my phone to take a picture, crashing off through the jungle.  
I woke in the morning and saw in the light what a beautiful spot I had picked for camp. 

Link to video of camp site in the morning: 

Later all X. 

Heading inland and up hill to the Ho Chi Minh road.

May 12. 47 miles. 

Started to head more inland to get to the Ho Chi Minh Road witch meant lots more hills. Climbed all day in 39°. I wanted to ride twice as far as I actually managed but photos, stopping to drink and a swim in the river with locals slowed the progress. 

I stopped on the bank of a fast flowing river and just jumped in wearing all my cycling clothing including shoes with a couple of locals who insisted they showed me where to swim. 

Towards the end of the last climb that day it began to rain, it was quite pleasant after cycling in the heat for most of the day it cooled to about 22°C. Eventually hit the Ho Chi Minh Road. A few kilometres along this road I found a hotel and that was me for the night. 

May 13th. 66 miles. 

Woke to torrential rain it rained all day and was cooler and clearer so I decided to push harder was happy with 18mph average for the first hour! 

All the streams and waterfalls filled and we’re now pouring off the mountain. The scenery was breathtaking some of the best so far. ( little did I know the next few days would get even better )! 

Giant Centipede. He was dead. These guys bite you and you are in a world of pain that can last days!  

A great decision to head away from the coast and into the hills. There were not many villages and if there were any there were very small. Didn’t see hardly any traffic all day. Had a good day and enjoy the rain. Felt strong but the last climb up to KHE Sanh was hard after a big day. Booked into a hotel for 150,000 VMD, about £5. Went for food and met two Australians and American plus a local guy called Hai. We arrange to go to Hamburger hill. ( I guess you must of heard about it. A Hill of no real strategic benefits where about 70 Americans and about 300 Vietnamese died. It caused some serious questions as to why). It turned out it wasn’t actually ‘the’ hill. It was a graveyard in remembrance. The actual Hamburger Hill was south of us. I had ridden passed it on the way here ????. We also took a look round KHE Sanh airfield also use in the war. 

KHE Sanh was involved in most of the biggest battles of the American war. It is situated very close to the border of North Vietnam so lots of heavy fighting. 

The next day of riding for me is a 250km stretch to the next village through the national forest. looks quite amazing also looks like I may be camping in the forest as there is nowhere I can find to stay so I’m just off to buy some supplies.