Distance so far: 695km
Heading down the major artery of the country over the last few days has been immense fun. In most other places in the world for such a windy dirt road to be the route through which all must travel would be unthinkable. More remarkable, however, is the lack of traffic seen so far.
China and Thailand use the country as a trade route, and it is surprising that no serious motorway has been built to traverse the dramatic mountain scenery in the way. Perhaps a third of the vehicles we have seen, not counting motorbikes, have been Yunnan or Hunnan registered.
The riding has been tough, and with a few stretches of up to 40km uphill my legs are feeling it. With that come some quite breathtaking views, of course, and pedalling through rustic mountain-top villages looking out over huge drops has been a real highlight.
We are resting for a day in Luangprabang, with a magical hotel room overlooking a beautiful golden temple in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. I suspect I might not feel like moving with the cold mist hanging over the city first thing tomorrow morning. Route to be decided over a couple of Beer Laos this evening, but watch this space...