Cycling to Nakhon Phanom - 61 km
The first task of the day, check out and hunt for breakfast, at the same time a good opportunity to walk around town.
We wandered towards the fresh market, usually worth a visit, and were not disappointed.
Interesting, I'd never seen a Banana Sound System before, luckily it was too early to start blastin'!
Lots of friendly people at the market, guess they don't often see foreigners here.
More than a few locals wore Vietnamese-style hats.
Ray took this photo of me, a cool mural, but the coffee shop opened way too late for us, 10 AM.
The entrance of Wat Phrathat Phanom Woramahawihan, the town's biggest temple.
The Yellow Building turned out to be an excellent breakfast place.
The owner turned out to be a former Nonthaburian who moved here a few years ago, his restaurant wasn't doing that well, but at least the air here was cleaner and the overall quality of life much better too.
Fully powered up by Joke [Thai-style, rice soup], a few patankos, and very strong black coffee we departed this pleasant town and cycled along the Mekong right away.
We noticed a couple of these motorcycle winches, very creative!
The buffaloes happily ignored us and continued grazing.
The bicycle trail alongside the mighty Mekong which had started so promising often petered out.
A great 'muddy' shot by Ray!
This should give you a better idea.
Occasionally we had to take detours on dirt tracks but most were acceptable due to no rain despite the threatening clouds.
But usually, we didn't have much choice and ended up returning to Highway 212...
Get your kicks on Highway 212...
Not really! [Photo by Ray]
A very strange house of conflicting ideologies...[*]
Later we encountered a serious downpour and had to take shelter under someone's roof.
This friendly father offered us chairs to sit out the heavy rains and happily ignored us afterwards.
Once the rain had stopped, we continued cycling and reached the boulevard leading to Nakhon Phanom, just a few km away.
A little later cruising through town we found a classic old-school hotel, checked in, dumped our stuff, and went for a walk to check out the neighborhood.
The boulevard has lots of statues for Instagram photos, it seemed quite popular with the locals.
On one of the old riverside houses, some local artist had made this nice mural of the old King.
Fantastic views of Laos on the other side, also quite a few boats cruisin' by.
Nakhon Phanom's clock tower and distinctive signboards.
We walked around a bit before hitting a Vietnamese restaurant for dinner and beers.
Fully satisfied afterwards we returned to our 'Grand' hotel...
Tomorrow we'd take a day off from cycling in order to explore this town a bit more!
To be continued...
For the second stretch, we tried to avoid highway 212 as much as possible and occasionally succeeded.
Whenever we had to return to 212, we kept cycling on the wrong side of the road as the shoulder was wide enough.
Just before Nakhon Phanom, we hit the cycling boulevard to town, nice!
[*] In the 1970s I became good friends with Belgian comic artist Mark who was just beginning his career. Both of us became avid Fantasy & Science Fiction fans and were fascinated by the artwork used for these genres. One of the artists we admired was Jim Fitzpatrick who worked in the Celtic artistic tradition...
Over the years Marvano became a respected comic book artist and after proofreading this blog post he pointed out something about the origin of that famous Che Guevarra portrait which was completely new to me...