See the plan for my roadtrip through Laos and a map of my route here.

I rode on my own to the Pu Luong Nature Reserve. The road there was bad. And it went through the ugliest, grimiest, industrial villages I’ve been through yet.

But once I entered Pu Long that changed. I rode high on the side of a valley, through small villages of wooden stilt houses. There were views looking down into the valley filled with terraced fields.

Looking down into a valley.
Looking down into a valley.

But it’s winter, so the fields weren’t planted. And the weather was bad. It was gray and cold. Fog came in, obscuring the views. Then it started to drizzle.

I rode on. Kids said “hello thank you.” It was only noon, so I turned towards the big market town. I had pho at a rustic little wooden shack in the rice fields.

I figured I’d try to find the village Vietnam Coracle said had good homestays. I asked a few people and they pointed me onward.

Despite the weather, people were hard at work.
Despite the weather, people were hard at work.

I came to a river crossing the road. I would have turned back, but a guy pointed me across. So I forded the small river on my bike.

The roads were dirt and not good, but it wasn’t too bad. I rode through an idyllic paradise of rice fields and mountains.

I stopped to take a picture and a young guy started talking to me. He had a homestay, so I decided to stay with him. He and his parents live in a very simple stilt house. The yard is dirt, not concrete. The back yard ends at the rocks of a mountain. The floor is bamboo. The walls wood. The ceiling is a complex thatching.

Washing the family buffalo.
Washing the family buffalo.

My host, Hoai, rode me around a little, through the amazing landscape. Back home they gave me fried rice. We drank wiskey and smoked bamboo water pipes with his dad. Then we we walked up a little mountain, and through the fields. We had some beers in a little shop.

Dinner was simple but fantastic. Spring rolls, pork, fish, papaya salad. And banana whiskey. There’s more things Hoai could show me tomorrow. But I always feel a little awkward in places like this, since there is no privacy and my host feels as if he has to constantly entertain me. So tomorrow I will ride to Laos.

Foggy valley.
Foggy valley.
I had to ford this river.
I had to ford this river.
On the other side were villages of thatched houses.
On the other side were villages of thatched houses.
Traffic on the trail.
Traffic on the trail.
Walking on the terraces.
Walking on the terraces.
Exploring the village.
Exploring the village.
Looking down on the rice fields.
Looking down on the rice fields.
Washing the buffalo by the water wheels.
Washing the buffalo by the water wheels.
The men constantly smoked these bamboo pipes.
The men constantly smoked these bamboo pipes.
Terry
I'm Terry, former cubicle-dweller, and now traveler, photographer, writer, and entrepreneur. I quit my job in 2014 to travel to US national parks, then to South East Asia. I write about independent, flexible, long-term, budget travel. Sign up to my newsletter to get the latest news on what I'm up to. I hope you join me on my trek around the world.

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