From Laksao just over the border from Vietnam it’s only a couple of hundred kilometres to get over to Thailand with its easy comfortable ways. 711s, Swensens ice cream, MK restaurants, abundant air conditioning, smooth roads when you stay out of the dirt, reasonably careful drivers and good food pretty much everywhere.
The first day was mostly flat with one decent climb and we ended up in a small town Gnomalath which didn’t have much going on but actually had a pretty nice restaurant where we stuffed ourselves with Thai food.
The next day was a 95km ride taking us to the Laos border. Getting across the border itself is a little problematic on a bicycle as cyclists aren’t allowed to cross the Friendship Bridge into Thailand. Bob managed to cajole a Thai guy on his pickup truck to take us across with our bikes in the tray but only after the guy checked with Laos immigration that he wouldn’t get in trouble and then he wanted to see our passports to make sure we’d been stamped out of Laos. Thai immigration on the other side were an odd lot, casually sitting around eating their lunch at the same table that we filled out our entry forms on, with a number of Thai dogs lying around sleeping, perhaps failed sniffer dogs allowed to lead the good life instead.
After getting our visas we also got a bit too relaxed on their nice table so a more senior lady came over and told me that if we didn’t piss off her boss would revoke our visas and deny us entry into Thailand. Ok, we’re going. So we cycled into Nakhon Phanom about 10km away.
From there it was another long day to take us to Sakon Nakhon where I’m writing this from. I clocked up 117km, about 20 of which were on dirt roads and the occasional rice paddy when Bob refused to consult the Google map and instead relied on his natural sense of direction which usually results in wrong turns and backtracking.
I was last in Sakon in 2011, and back then there was an MK restaurant in the Big C shopping mall in the centre of town. We were horrified to discover that it has since closed and moved outside town several kilometres. So we ended up eating sub par pad Thai in the food court.
And that ends the riding for the moment. I’m flying back to Bangkok tomorrow and working out what to do next.
Photos in reverse order for some reason