I woke up early in my warm bed, even though I wanted to sleep late. I was hoping that if I left later it would warm up. I stayed in bed for half an hour, but then I figured I should pack up and go.

It was a bit warmer, but still cold. Probably 45 F. And it was raining. But I couldn’t stay in miserable Muang Hiam for another day. Especially since there had been no power for 24 hours. And now, besides what is falling from the sky, there is no water. So I headed out in the rain.

The first couple hours were miserable. I rode back up into the mountains in the rain. My hands got numb, so I had to stop until I could feel them again.

Taking a break to admire the views.
Taking a break to admire the views.

Luckily the rain eventually stopped. I went down, and it was almost warm. I passed through more tiny rustic villages of wooden and wicker houses with thatched roofs. Some kids said hello. People hung out in front of their houses. Women weaved on looms set up next to the road.

It would have been nice to have gotten pictures of these people. But I can’t just stop my bike, take a picture of somebody, then drive off. The motorbike is a little isolating.

This entire route from Vietnam did not have any side roads. This main rode is the only route. There are no dirt paths leading off into the mountains. The terrain is incredibly rugged, all mountains and valleys, which are empty of people and agriculture. There are only a few remote, scattered villages.

A scenic fence.
A scenic fence.

Once again, there were almost no restaurants. But I did pass one, the only one, right before noon. I had a delicious lunch of chicken, sticky rice, and soup. It was surprisingly expensive at $5. Laos is not like Vietnam were there $2 bowls of noodles are available everywhere.

I rode back up into the mountains, and it got cold again. And remote. For the main rode to Vietnam there is hardly anything on it. The views of valleys and mountains were nice, but the rode deteriorated. There were frequent stretches of thick, wet, slippery mud that I had to slowly navigate.

Villagers had makeshift turbines set up in the river.
Villagers had makeshift turbines set up in the river.

Then it started to rain again. And it got colder. Thankfully I arrived in the little village of Nong Kiaw.

After being in such remote places, I was shocked at all the foreigners wandering around. The village is in a very scenic spot on a river, with limestone mountains surrounding it.

There was a sauna in town. I sat in it for a long time and absorbed the steaming heat. Tomorrow it is supposed to warm up.

The road was in bad shape, considering it's the only road.
The road was in bad shape, considering it’s the only road.
Beautiful valleys were everywhere.
Beautiful valleys were everywhere.
At last I arrived in scenic Nong Khiaw.
At last I arrived in scenic Nong Khiaw.
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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