Southeast Asia revisited: Down the Mekong

After our 4-week biketour in North Vietnam in 2002 and a 2 month biketour in Thailand and Laos in 2006 we have decided to return to this region for a longer period. As we both are full or partial pre-pensioners we can avail ourselves of opportunities like this.  Our earlier experiences in this region are so positive that we cannot wait to return.  It’s the people and the rich  cultue that attract us so much. We think that the Buddhist mind is very important in this respect. People relate to you in an open way and as a traveller you feel welcome, safe and absolutely at ease.

The route, click on the map below: Kaart_fietsreis_zoazi_20089

We have tickets to Kunming, in Yunnan, a southern China province. This province is said to be the most beautiful one in China, which promises a lot. We’ll start our biking in Dali and make an eight-shaped round tour, during which we’ll visit Dali, Lijiang (Unesco world heritage), the Tiger Leaping Gorge and Zondiang, better known as Shangri-La. This will be the most northern and highest point of this tour. Then we intend to proceed southward to Laos. In Laos we’ll revisit Luand Prabang and Vientiane, charming old French colonial towns and proceed southward on the Thai side of the Mekong, which forms the border here, to southern Laos. There we hope to visit some of the thousand islands in the Mekong river and the waterfalls on the Bolaven plateau. Then we’ll enter Cambodia to travel to Angkor Wat and after that to the capital Phnom Penh. From there to the coast in Shihanoukville and then towards Vietnam and Saigon (Ho Chi min City), from where we have the ticket to fly back.

The route is a combination of described routes of the specialist touroperator Asian Way of Life, the small organisation we made our other Asian trips with. There are parts of our planned itinerary that we have to find our route ourselves. As we have plenty of time we are not obliged to follow this itinerary as and it might very well be possible that we change our plans in the process.

This route and period are chosen in such a way that the climate is best for travellers at the moment we are in the region. We have to count with low temperatures in the north of Yunnan, where we’ll reach altitudes of 3800 meters above sea level. It’s a "Tibetan" region and we must have left there before winter comes. The more southern regions we’ll reach after the rainy season and in March next year it’ll be so hot that we might be glad we can go back to Europe again.

As our itinerary follows the course of the mighty Mekong river nearly from it’s source on the Tibetan plateau to it’s mouth in the South Chinese sea a proper name of this trip would indeed be: Down the Mekong.

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