23 Travel Report: Laos 29.12.2008 - 26.01.2009
24 Travel Report: Cambodia 26.01.2009 - 14.02.2009

Travelreport 23,  Laos  29.12.2008 - 26.1.2009

Luang Namtha - Luang Prabang - Vang Vieng - Pakse - Don Det

In Luang Namtha we meet Pius's nephew from Vals, and together we cross Laos from north to south. The joyful sabaidee calls from the children accompanied us through all the country.

In the north we find steep ascensions, great views and beautiful minority villages. Because the Hmong (hilltribe) celebrate New Year at that time beeing, we see many beautifully dressed girls in traditional clothing.

Luang Prabang - the oldest still intact tempel-city in Southeast Asia - lays picturesquely at the Mekong. This is the fourth longest river of Asia (4425km), and we follow it more or less down to Phnom Penh in Cambodia.

On the way, we relax our strained muscles in a hot water spring. And then we experience a dreamlike drive, with unforgettable views on the limestone mountains and beautiful landscape, going downhill to Vang Vieng. Afterwards the landscape gets flat and cycling easy, but temperatures rise daily. On the with coconut trees lined idyllic Island of Don Det - one of the so called 4000 Islands in the Mekong - we chill out, enjoy the quietness and swim in the not so clean river and gaze at the impressive waterfalls.

Travelreport 24,  Cambodia  26.1. - 14.2.2009

Stung Treng - Kratie - Kompong Cham - Phnom Penh - Kep - Sihanoukville

This during the Pol Pot regime tortured country in which between 1975 and 1979 about 2 Mio people were murdered, has today a population of about 14 Mio, of which 40% is younger than 15 years. Still one third of the Cambodians live under the poverty line, with less than 50 cents to spend per day. The income is generally low, a teacher earns e.g. about 40 US per month.

The people are very friendly, laugh and shout Hello to the Falangs (Longnose). When we put up the tent, within seconds all the kids from the village show up and observe us and what we do. Later the men from the village might show up for a talk, and more seldom also the women. For us it really gets interresting if someone speaks english and translates questions and answers.

In Phnom Penh is a Valser meeting taking place with Regula und Patrick. And far too fast it is time to say good bye to Andreas, which means, we cycle alone towards the south.

When we visited Kep on our bike trip 8 years ago, this was a depressing village with burned and ruined villas. Now, many houses have been rebuilt and the rich Cambodians come here for holidays again.

Sihanoukville is extraordinarily developed and main income seems to be tourism. Further south we found a beautiful, nearly untouched beach with white sand and trees for shade. And there we put up our tent for some days.

The continuation of our journey through the Cardamom Mountain with beautiful jungle was enchanting. When we finally reached Koh Chang in Thailand, we had done 7000 km in the last 4 1/2 months on our roundtrip through Southeast Asia.

In the past 22 month we have cycled totally over 29'000 kilometres and Pius had to repair 16 flat tires.