The big Indochina trip: to Phonsavan 

I’ve been doing a lot of riding the last few days and I didn’t really want to spend yet another day on the bike but I had to reach my next goal, Phonsavan. The road was better than the one from the border but still not up to Vietnamese standards; it shows that Laos is a much less developed country.

Well, I’m kind of getting tired of riding and, strangely enough, bored with the scenery, even if it is very beautiful. I guess I just want a bit more variation. Because of this, and the incessant drizzle, I didn’t take any landscape photos like I normally would have. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to sit on a bus on these roads, I would probably just get motion sick from all the curves. I guess the most comfortable way to travel here is by air but then you miss all the things in between the tourist towns. I think it’s interesting to see how the local people live their lives when there are no tourists around and this is part of the reason I ride a motorbike. One thing I really like is that all the kids in the little villages wave at me as I pass by. I guess they think it’s fun to see a foreigner on a bike.

Petrol station in a small mountain village

Some of the small shops in the village 

I know I’ve only been here for two days but I’m already noticing some differences between Vietnam and Laos.

  • The Vietnamese wear rain jackets when they ride motorbikes in the rain, the Laotians just carry umbrellas
  • Laotian girls sit side saddle when in the back of a motorbike, I’ve never seen this in Vietnam
  • I’m rural Vietnam the houses are usually made from concrete. They are long and narrow with the smaller, often decorated side facing the street and no windows on the side. Laotian rural homes are made from planks of wood. They tend to be more square, they look the same on all sides and many of them stand on stilts.
  • In Vietnam people know tourists have money so they try their best to get you into their shop or restaurant. In Laos this pushy behaviour doesn’t seem to exist, at least I haven’t seen it yet.

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