Cycling to That Phanom - 53 km
As Ray was still on the way, Tim and I went cruisin' around Mukdahan a bit, first objective: a coffee shop!
As usual, I hardly slept on the night bus and felt not great, but coffee helps...
Cycling through the Indochina Market wasn't very interesting as most shops were still closed, apparently they start late in Mukdahan :-]
Also, the riverfront was closed off for a large part due to construction, rather disappointing to be honest...
Plenty of old houses in Mukdahan, but some are not in great condition, even so, I always like to have a look.
Earlier this year there had been a street art festival with some great murals.
The guy on the left is laughing, and the one on the right says: 'Love who? Who?'
Some unusual statues at Wat Si Mongkol Tai...
We cycled back to the bus terminal to meet Ray, now we could really start [after another coffee!] our trip.
Taking photos along the way is part of the fun and seeing this incredible boat being repainted was worth a stop!
Some ceremonies were performed near the Friendship Bridge to Savannakhet.
All Friendship Bridges are highly unfriendly towards pedestrians, cyclists, and motor riders, only 4 [& more!] wheeled vehicles are allowed to drive over it!
I almost cycled past it, as it just looked like another Naga statue from a distance, but luckily Tim & Ray called me back.
Wangkaewketsara turned out to be a huge collection of Naga statues, some of them pretty strange, all created by the old man in this photo.
In the back was a shrine and a pond surrounded by colorful Nagas!
Tim took a few shots as well.
This was one of the more disturbing ones, something out of a nightmare...
A good 5 hours later we'd arrived in That Phanom, found a bit run-down hotel, and celebrated our first ride of the tour with a 'cleansing ale'. Over the years we have come up with many 'reasons' for such celebrations!
Twilight makes everything look different, the next morning I was much less impressed with this particular building!
The bright stupa in the distance is Wat Phrathat Phanom Woramahawihan.
Tim & Ray checked out the dinner menu on the wall, we had an excellent meal there.
Where possible we tried to avoid main road 212 but the local path alongside the Mekong River was at many parts inaccessible due to being overgrown by vegetation, disrepair, or having disappeared altogether...
This gives a better idea of our route, not much cycling along the riverside, unfortunately.
It was not an easy ride as both Ray & I hardly had any sleep on the night buses, but we had all the time in the world.