Apologies for the lack of blog entries.
In many respects the conditions encountered have been taxing. Far more so than previous trips. The temperature has been one factor. Connectivity is not great and my li ion battery storage pack, which was supposed to keep my smart phone going, is defective (again). This renders my solar panel ineffective too.
The story so far:
Steve encountered some difficulties. A little disorientated by a very different culture and lack of confidence in his itinerary meant that he abandoned the long ride. Instead he sold his bike to the daughter of a hostel owner, took a bus and headed down the coast towards Hoi An. However he did cycle the last few legs having bought a new bike and taken a coach to De Lat in the highlands. It all worked out well for him and enjoyed good hospitality along the way.
From Hai Phong I continued alone. Following the Ho Chi Minh Highway I slipped over the border into Laos. I cycled over the Central Viet Nam hills through lush jungle down to desert valleys. I finally arrived at Thakhek on the Mekong close to the Thai border.
My initial plan was to head North through Laos towards the capital Ventienne and then on to Luang Prabang. But given the soaring temperatures, poor road choice and less than complimentary reports from travellers I opted to go South. This proved a good idea. Dust tracks and traditional villages with greener scenery provided a much better experience.
Currently I am exploring the Saravan region which contains the Bolavan plateau. The temperature and humidity remains a challenge especially in the tent at night. The environment as a whole is quite hostile. Laos remains a poor country with very poor dietary choices especially during the dry season. Rice provides the main food for many Laos people.
Given the situation I may leave the blog until I return home and am better able to provide a good account and photographs. Meanwhile I will provide some updates via Facebook (facebike link to the right of this page)