Cycling Along The Mekong
For many years I have had a vague dream to go cycling along the Mekong River, nothing serious, but it was always there in the back of my mind...
In the past, I went on some cycling trips with my old friends Tim and Ray, twice in Cambodia (*), and several times on non-cycling adventures. So when Tim suggested doing something again, I came up with my old Mekong plan!
At first, we thought of cycling along both sides of the river but skipped the Lao part due to the hassles of getting along the Friendship Bridge on bicycles...
Finally, we decided on leaving on our own (Ray from Prasat, Tim from Huay Daeng, & me from Bangkok), meeting in Mukdahan, and start cycling to That Phanom!
My folding bike had a complete check-up + clean-up at the shop, therefore the taxi driver didn't mind having it on the backseat. Also nowadays lots of taxis have a gas tank in the back and my bike won't fit anymore in the luggage compartment!
Sometimes we're asked 'How do you plan such trips? It must be a lot of preparation!' Actually, it isn't.
We talk about possible areas we haven't been to or would like to revisit, e.g. Nakhon Phanom or Bantaey Chmmar, Google a bit, especially on maps, see if there is some form of accommodation available, and that's about it. Hotels/guesthouses are not booked in advance because we like to be as flexible as possible. Also, we consider hotels as reasonably clean places only to be used for dumping luggage, taking showers, and getting some sleep. We don't give a rat's ass about Instagrammable decorations, swimming pools, etc. The most important factor is the flexibility of travel to be adapted en route.
Of course, sometimes we end up in weird places, e.g. Surat Thani's The Shining Hotel (**), but that only makes it more fun.
For someone who has worked for a tour company, it's a very different approach but gives us all the freedom we need!
At Mor Chit Bus Terminal I had some food, almost nobody batted an eye when I parked my bike next to the table!
It fitted nicely in the bus compartment, not far from my seat, much better than stowed away among the other luggage.
On the road again, bus selfie, my seat was reasonably comfortable, but why other passengers don't set their mobiles to notice vibrating instead of ringing, hopeless...
However, getting out of Bangkok wasn't easy as it was pissing with rain and some roads were flooded...
Consequently, the bus arrived much later the next day in Mukdahan...
Tim had already arrived and was waiting for me at Mukdahan's Bus Terminal and told me that Ray got delayed as well...
OK, technically the last 2 photos belong to Day 1, but it seemed nice to give you already some ideas of Mukdahan.
To be continued!