We chose to visit a part of Asia. First, we had a 33-hour trip. We flew from Montevideo in Uruguay to Bangkok in Thailand. Once landed, we decided to take another flight to Chiang Rai in the North of Thailand. There, we met Julien’s parents and a couple of friends who will travel with us during three weeks. We visited around Chiang Rai and rent scooter for a day. In the countryside, there are many temples and huge Buddhas. The White Temple is the most famous in Chiang Rai. Its architecture is amazing!

LAOS

We decided to cross the Laotian border. A tuk tuk brought us to the border in a few hours. No troubles at the border, only the passports, an ID photo and a small visa fee are required. We reached  Luand Namtha by bus after a stop in Huoei Sai.
We discovered the surroundings by scooter. We got lost in the mountains passing by small villages where Laotian people are very generous. In the middle of nowhere, the only possibility to get petrol is in those little villages where locals sell petrol in bottles of beer. Not the best quality, but it does the job!

Then, we went to Luang Prabang by bus. A 7-hour journey on winding roads in more or less good condition. This city is very touristic as it is located alongside the Mekong. Glorious at the sunset time!
We rent scooters and went to Vang Vieng. We used a small path alongside the Mekong. Screes and fords for a few kilometres before the uneven path was going up. Once reached Muang Nan, we were back on the smoot road. Between the mountains, the view was glorious!


Once arrived in Vang Vieng, we took the time to visit the surroundings. The city is famous for the numerous caves. We chose to visit the Lusi cave reachable by hiking over a few kimolemtres. The cave was deep with beautiful rock shapes! We went back to Luang Prabang with our scooters. We visited the Kuang Si waterfalls. The colour of the water and the size of these waterfalls are just breathtaking. After a 4-hour journey we reached Nong Khiaw by bus. We visited the surrounded small villages, a cave and had a swim in a waterfall before to go back to Luang Prabang. We spent a last evening before to say goodbye to Julien’s family and friends and we took a new flight.

VIETNAM

This time, we headed to Vietnam! We had some issues with our visas. Indeed, to stay in Vietnam more than 15 days, you need a visa. A e-visa is possible but sadly we didn’t receive it on time. Some of us opted to get a new visa in emergency at the Vietnam embassy in Luang Prabang, and some others opted to extend the free 15-day visa once arrived in Vietnam (easily possible with a travel agency such as Chapi in Hanoi on 113 Nghi Tàm).

In Hanoï, we met Emilie’s brother and his girlfriend to enjoy together the Vietnam for the two following weeks. We stayed three days in Hanoï to visit the old quarter ; to pass by one of the most dangerous train lines ; to discover the temple of the Jade’s Mountain and its red bridge. We chose the train as a means of transport to reach Tam Coc in two hours and half. This city is famous for being in the terrestrial Halong Bay. We visited the bay by boat and enjoyed the glorious surroundings from the Mua Caves viewpoint. It was incredible to see the boat riders paddling with their foot!
Then, another friend met us and we took all togetger a bus to reach the Cat Ba island in 6 hours. Located in the Halong Bay, we enjoyed the beautiful area by bay, kayaked between the rocks, dived in the transparent water and walked with the monkeys on Monkey Island. We discovered Cat Ba island by scooter and enjoyed the smooth roads.

We decided to head North. After a 10-hour journey in a sleeping bus, we arrived in Sa Pa. We explored the area by hiking in the sunshine. The specificity of this area is the terrace rice field. Green and rolling, the scenery was breathtaking. After a couple of days in the area we went back to Hanoï with a sleeping bus to collect the passports with the extended visas and to take a flight to Da Nang. The country being quite big, flying is the best way to save time to cross the country. We stayed in the city of Hoi An, famous for the thousands of lanterns enlightening the city. Indeed, the city is very touristic but has a unique charm with all the lanterns, flowers and paved streets. It was great to bicycle in the colourful streets.
We rent scooters to go a bit further the following day. A “basket boat” trip in the Coconut Jungle was a great experience (these boats are named “basket” as they are round like a basket).

We took another flight to go in the South of the country, in Ho Chi Minh. Once landed, we reached Ban Tre city after a two-hour bus trip,. Located alongside the Mekong, we had the opportunity to see the backstage: here, the Mekong is very important for the coconut factories. Everyday, tens of boats are dropping thousands of kilograms of coconuts to the factories. Production of cords, floor mats, charcoal, fertilizers, souvenirs, candies… every single part of the coconut is used.
After two days in this area, we went back to Ho Chi Minh by bus to discover this ancient capital. Today, this is one of the biggest cities in Vietnam, rich of history. The War Remnants Museum was for example very interesting to visit about the Vietnamese war and its consequences on the health of the Vietnamese people.

After these 6 weeks spent in Asia, it’s now  time to take a 21-hour flight to Riga in Latvia where we will collect our sidecars.

 

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