Laos was out last real adventure on this trip. When we arrived we already knew that we would not go to Cambodia or Vietnam as we already had the plan to go home a few month later from Bangkok. As Thailand was such an easy and chill country we were looking forward to the challenges we assumes Laos was holding for us. And we were not disappointed. The first days started very soft as we decided to take the boat from the border to Luang Prabang. But after chilling in the most beautiful town in Laos we entered the mountains - and boy those were serious. Some days we managed to go only 25 km because after this short distance we already made more than a 1000m in elevation. Food was rare and so were the opportunities to camp and finding any place to sleep in general.
The roads were built in mountainous terrains with basically one meter left and right - not enough space for even one tent. The first night we spend camping in an unfinished building in some remote village. The views though we're stunning and even though the roads were crap, with a lot of potholes and heavy traffic (even up the mountains there were trucks from China all the time) we enjoyed the beautiful scenery around us. Food was a bit issue before we arrived in Vang Vieng. We welcomed that as we put on some extra weight in Thailand (cycling life is just too comfortable there) and we were ready to loose it again.
After 5 hard days in the mountains we rested three days in Vang Vieng. Iris has bee to this place 18 years before and she was disappointed how much it changed (not for the better). After this break we hit the hardest part of Laos...a flat road full of dust and trucks. We had literally the worst three days of the entire last 19 months on our way to the Thakhek loop. But it was worth heading there. The landscapes and small villages in the loop paid back for all the hardship we suffered before. We were passing limestone fields and stunning rock formations. We even managed to get food (other than just soup).
And just as a side note...Laos has the best rice apart from Japan.
The last stop in Laos was Savannakhet, a really beautiful city with a lot of nice places to eat and sleep.
Unfortunately on our last day in Laos the big earthquake in Türkiye happend and we lost two very good friends in Antakya. With a heavy heart, but still looking forward to going back to Thailand, we crossed the border, unable to process the beautiful things we have seen in the last three weeks.
Laos was an up and down country in every respect, road wise and emotion wise. But we are thankful for every moment we got to spent there.