I have arrived in Laos couple of days ago. It took me 6 days to cross central thailand from Myanmar to Laos’s border near Vientiane (Nong Khai). At this border, you can get a visa on arrival. For Canadian, you get a 30 days visa for 1800 bath.
When I got in Laos, I have been really surprise. I thought when I would cross the border, I would see a major difference with Thailand. In my mind, Laos and Camobia look a like. I have this souvenir of Cambodia in my mind. When you go in Cambodia, as soon as you exit Thailand, it is full of big holes on the road, dirt red roads, no more lamposts. Vientiane (20 km), the capital, is located 20 km away from the border. It is mainly city to get there. Not interresting at all.
As soon as I have arrived in Vientiane, I went to an agency to get some paperworks done for my chineese visa. Each country seems to have different policy when applying for the chinese visa. In Laos, you most book a return flight and a hotel’s room. This is silly. I bike. I’m entering the country on bicycle. Here is how people manage to do it. You must go to an agency. This agency will book a hotel and a return flight, print the confirmation and then, cancel it. Then, you have the confirmation on the paper. Then, you bring to the ambassady, this confirmation of reservation. The agency I have found trhu a cycling friend (Heike) has charged me 5 $ per cancellation. Pretty good ! Here is the adress of the agency I went. This is important because not all of them in Vientiane is doing it or is charging small fee. The agency is named S & M air booking Co., LTD, 108 / 1, xieng Guen village, chanthabourly district, vientiane. It is located behind the Ibis Hotel, right in the center near all the hostels. I paid extra fee to do it in express (1 day) because, I did not want to let them the opportunity to call the airline compagny. This is a maybe paranoia but I know sometime, they call the hostel to double check your reservation. I got my visa the next day for 52 $. There is no possibility do it thru an agency (only the booking and cancel). You have to deal directly with the ambassady, which is very easy and quick process.
I’m spending some times in Laos to rest my legs and wait for Martine. I’m quite bored here alone. There are not much to do here. However, I meet a cyclist yesterday night and we went out for dinner. He was coming from China. He gave me a good map. It was funny, when I see him first, I though I had already see him. It could make sence because, now I’m going opposite direction from where I’m coming from. So, It would make sence to meet people I had meet on the road previously. Late that night, we both got a flash ! We had meet in Turkey. He agreed that when I meet him, I had been rude. When I saw him in twon, he went to talk to me and he was kind of two happy. I thought he was a from Turkey. It was the day right after I had two bad experiences with mans. Along that week, right after two situations, I was avoiding any contacts with man. But, he told me yesterday it was alright…he had figure out it…thought as a solo women, you need to be strong…and don’t let anymore bogging you.
Martine was supposed to meet me today, saterday 10. However, she got delay because her bicycle has never done the transfert in Chicago. I’ll pick her up tomorrow morning at the border with all my gears. She’ll take the night train so, we will start riding the same day. It will be challenging for her but, she can do it. I think Loas is so beautiful and Yunnan’s province in China is CRAZY beautiful. We set the objective to reach on the bike Sabgri-la. This is the beginning of the Tibetain plateau. Unfortunatly, we may have to take a bus somewhere because, the distance to cover is way to big and so many mountains. She flying back home on february 10, I believe.
Today, when I went out for breakfast, I meet a Laos and Chineese ‘s womens. Both writo me a note for hospitality ( Hello..can I put my tent behind your house….). I had heard that in south China, near Laos, they had not so many places for wild camping. This is what I called efficiency lolol. Two at the time (laos and manderin note).