Thursday, 2 January 2014

Nakhon Prahon to Mukdahan

Thurs 02/01/14, 105km

When I woke up this morning I wasn't sure which way I was going to head: further along the Thai side of the river or across to Laos. In the end the thought of the sheer hassle of getting the bike on a bus made me decide to keep to Thailand.

It was another uncomplicated days cycling. I had planned to stop and have a proper look round That Phanon which has a quite impressive stupa however when I stopped for lunch just before the stupa I had a lot of people looking over the bike (one even touching it, the horror) and I just didn't feel comfortable leaving it unguarded with all my bags on.  I'm sure it would've been OK however sometimes you just have to go with your instincts.

The first part of the morning had been down Highway 212, however after That Phanon another minor road branched off following the river whilst the highway snaked inland. It made for pleasant cycling although a series of signs that promised a set of rapids failed to deliver despite an excursion off the road and into some riverside villages (much to the delight of the local mutts). Oh well, probably too dry for it anyway.

Cycled briefly with, and chatted to, a Canadian of Indian origin (well I assume the latter) who was cycle touring as well. He went by the name of Crazy Jag. He's doing development work of some sort in Thailand and has only been cycle touring for the past year, taking the opportunity to do so when he can (trips around Isan, Laos). Tell you what though, he can pedal!

He peeled off a short way before Mukdahan and I proceeded into town. Ended up staying at the Sub Mukda Grand Hotel which is OK. 400 baht, clean, fair sized room with a TV that has a BBC news channel on it to boot. 3G connection on my phone died soon after I arrived so I figured I'd ran out of data allowance and went out and bought more. At which point my SIM refused to connect to the internet aside from via GPRS. Queue over an hour of the phone shop trying to get it to work and calling various help lines. Eventually they sorted it for me (after 30 minutes I'd reached the point of going "look, just sell me another SIM!") by which point all I wanted was food and bed. Queue a pot noodle in the hotel...

Stupa at That Phanom
Second Thai Laos Friendship Bridge. SStill no bikes allowed


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