22/11 We decide to stay in Nan for a day, visit a couple of temples and the National Museum. Nan is a very quiet town during the day. In the evening, however, some locals make a lot of noise with amplifiers: aerobics by the river and youths learning to dance, but to a different tune. Pity, it could be a nice spot.
Wat Phumin, the entrance to hell.
And this is it.
23/11 A very nice ride on a clear sunny day on near perfect roads to the Sirikit Reservoir. In a corner I see a snake, one of many I have seen, and I stop to try to take a picture. A bike comes the other way, heading straight for the snake. The rider now has to decide on which side to pass it. The snake feels threatened and lunges at the motorcyclist as he zips past. By the time my camera is ready to take a photo the snake has slithered into the greenery, as usual. There is a fishing village, mainly made up of floating houses and many restaurants and we have lunch here. The ferry across to the other side is a funny affair. We are barely away from the ramp when another long tail boat pulls up alongside the "tug" and we turn around: the captain was told there is another customer waiting. The highway on the other side isn't nearly as good and after about 18 km Su is almost killed: a tractor driver decides to turn right into a dirt track or field without indicating or looking. I suspect that Su's bright headlight saved her, as the driver immediately stops, then turns his head as Su zips past and looks at me, jaw dropping. There are a few km of somewhat rough dirt road, then it's back to the excellent stuff. We end up in the hills near the Lao border in a bungalow of Phu Soi Dao National Park.
24/11 Before we leave the National Park a quick stop at the waterfall. Then we continue more or less along the border to Chiang Khan. Along the way we stop to check out the border crossing at Nam Hueng (Tha Li). Supposedly, foreigners can't cross here with bikes, but an official tells me it is possible and a visa is available in Laos. In Chiang Khan our first stop is the hospital, as Su has been in pain for a little while and she also needs another vaccination. In the evening we sit by the Mekong River enjoying the sunset.
A border crossing for locals only.
25/11 The guest house is very nice and the place has a relaxed feel to it, so we decide to stay another day and explore the local sights. There aren't that many, an uncompleted Lao-style temple, a bend in the Mekong with some rapids and another temple near the top of a hill. This is a very quiet spot and there aren't even any monks here.
The owners insisted we park our bikes inside.
... as in: walk barefoot on the stones!
The Buddha needed these big feet to cover the vast distances between his home in N India and all the places in Tibet and SE Asia, where he left his footprints, like this one.
26/11 A somewhat uneventful ride to Nong Khai, apart from a bike doing a sudden U-turn in front of me, probably because of a rather large snake that was writhing in the middle of the road. This caused me to run over the snake...
This nice chap was very keen to talk to us, so he invited us for a drink in his internet cafe.