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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by BcDano, Jul 19, 2012.
Yes I think we will need time to digest China! It was a love / hate relationship at times. SP
It is just as stunning at night!!
Today we have just 180 km to “The Ancient City of Dali” The road except for the last 45 km is toll and though motorcycles are allowed, pillions are not so it is the van for Sara for most of the day.
The scenery is hilly and much greener and there are lots of crops growing.
Arriving to Dali we found we were in a very nice boutique hotel and with a King bed! Nice after all the single beds.
First for some lunch at a roof top place.
We did a bit of a wander in the old town and up to the Ming Dynasty South gate. We are experiencing some “ancient City” fatigue.
Then we headed to Foreigner street where they have a wide selection of COLD s.
The Camellia park.
The guys also managed to find a whiskey bar 2 blocks from the hotel.
It poured rain all night and was still raining heavily when we left the hotel at 730. We have 544 km to go today and it will be very painful if it rains the whole time.
Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 20.45.40 by Sara & Daniel Pedersen, on Flickr
It took 40 minutes to get from the old city, thru Dali, and then onto the 214. It was still pouring initially, but only lightly raining 45 min later. By the time we stopped for breakfast after an hour it had cleared up.
It was slow going with the traffic and the very curvy road. We had only made it 250 km by the time we stopped for lunch near Mayiduixiang. This meant at 3 pm we had 300 km to go. We left the guides behind and booked it.
LUNCH TIME ENTERTAINMENT
We got way ahead of the guys and did 150 km in 2 hours before the next break. We missed several rain showers that the other 2 managed to get soaked in.
We arrived to Lancang just after 630, got gas and headed to where the hotel was located according Toni. It was not, but we asked at several places and the last was our hotel. We checked it just before 7. We had the English name from the guides, but it was not in English on the building signage.
They were expecting us of course as Toni had called them. We had not see the other two since lunch, but I did tell them to route to the only hotel listed in the GPS, which was just around the corner. Dan went over there but there was no sign of them after 20 min and so he came back.
They did arrive there eventually about 730 and the waiter from the restaurant of the other hotel sat pillion on Trevor’s bike to show them the way to our actual hotel. They had been stopped twice for heavy rain and once for 20 min at the Military check point where they did not even stop us. We had pulled over near by to buy some drinks and they just ignored us. All of us were too tired to go out and so we ordered fried chicken delivery! Toni and Mr Tang made it by just after 830.
Today it is cloudy, but looks like it will not rain. We have 298 km south to Mengla.
Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 20.48.22 by Sara & Daniel Pedersen, on Flickr
The first 170 km is on the 214, which is a 2 lane winding road with not much traffic, but it still made for slow going. This ends in Xishuangbanna, which is a large and very nice city and we pulled into get some lunch. We were by ourselves almost since we left this morning.
Leaving the city you enter the toll road G86, which is not even on the GPS. The old route continues on the 214, but would take you ages. We scooted here to Mengla service centre and waited for the guides and the other 2 to show up. It was just another 11 km to the hotel. We arrived nice and early just after 230 and had time to rest and organize and repack our gear after a month with a support van and disarray.
We have had a ton of help from Andy at Manichan Guest house in Luang Prabang. He picked up the shock and has spent the last 2 days trying to get it shipped to the border for us. He was back at the bus station this morning at 630, but the Chinese driver refused to take the package. The bus station manager said that there will be a Laotian driver tomorrow and he will likely agree to do it, but that gets the shock to us too late in the day. We are back to plan A hire a pickup at the border, which Chris from Moto Laos said would be easy…. Tonight it is Thai food and then the men all went out to karaoke!! Toni is mad for it.
We only have 46 km to the border today and it is again on the toll road. Sara was pillion, but after the toll gates we stopped for gas and she switched to the van as riding pillion on the highway is illegal. Fun to see the elephant signs.
Screen Shot 2017-10-14 at 18.19.52 by Sara & Daniel Pedersen, on Flickr
We arrived to the Mohan Border zone at 9 am when it opened and the bikes and the van were let thru the security gate to the actual border area.
Here we unloaded Lulu and put the windscreen back and moved the bars back into position. Dan used one of our tie downs to strap the shock so it could not move or rebound for the km ride thru the Chinese border and to the Laos border. We loaded all our luggage back to all the bikes.
Toni and the 4 of us then headed 200 m over to the immigration building. Here you fill in a departure card in English, but they do not even look at it and Toni was told to fill in the triplicate forms in Chinese. We then had the documents checked by and agent and were sent to get in line for a passport exit stamp.
When Sara got to the front of the line they said they had to scan every page of our passports for their data base. While doing this they noted the Iran visas and freaked out. The supervisor was called over and we were all pulled out of line. They then spent 20 minutes discussing the fact that we had been in Iran and Turkmenistan. Remember we are trying to LEAVE China not enter. It was totally ridiculous. They made an even bigger issue of the fact that Orvar did not have these 2 visas in his passport and why not!? Of course he has 2 passports and they are in the other. He showed them both passports and this seemed to satisfy the agent.
We then had to get back in the line for an exit stamp. Then it was back 200 m the bikes and we had to walk winding our way thru the masses of trucks now parked in the lot after the hour and a half we were gone.
We now had to wait for the customs agent to show up. We said our goodbyes to Toni and Mr Tang and rode over to the exit gate finally after almost 2 hours. Here the Officer checked our passports, but the customs agent never even looked at the bikes. She just stood there as we rode past her. We rode thru “one by one” so the police could check our documents and then finally out of China.
This is a stand-out photo, one of the best.
Yes they were so cute. It is one of our favorites from China. We rode up beside them and waved and they then moved the baby over to wave at us as we passed. We slowed down and then "asked" them if we could take their photo. Not a bad shot since it was taken when we were all moving. SP
The ride to the Laos border is paved and mostly downhill.
You park at the immigration building and go inside. Here you fill in an entry card and stand in the first line for a passport check. Next you fill out a visa application form. They list the price for each country on a notice board (44 USD for Canadians) and you need to supply a passport photo. We then went out to what we though was the customs booth and gave them our bike registration and passports. They entered this in the computer and let us go (no TVIP??) The gate agent checked us and let us go. This was all done in under an hour. We rode about 200 m to where there were a bunch of vans and small trucks parked and asked around for a ride 282 km to Luang Prabang for Lulu.
We had looked at several trucks, but one had a flat and the other guy said no. There was a minivan driver who said he would do it for 200$ (the estimate from Moto Laos was 150-200) and so we jumped at that. He had to unbolt the seats and we managed to wedge her in the back.
Then we set off out of the border zone. We stopped for gas for the van and the guys went in for some snacks…Next thing Sara and the van were gone! Dan raced after us and about 5 km later there was a “customs gate”. The van went thru the guy looked and me and the bike and waved us on. Dan went on the side thru the motorbike lane and no-one stopped him. The van had pulled over, but he then took off again. Luckily Dan did not as he figured there must be some paperwork we need to do here and when the other 2 showed up and rode to the main gate the guy pulled them over. Lucky for us things are lax here and they did the TVIP for 4 bikes even thought there are only 3 here.
The road south is narrow, winding, and two lanes and passing for the van is a challenge.. It is lined some of the time by wooden houses of the small villages. The lower economic level here is obvious and is the large amount of garbage discarded. There are an unbelievable number of kids. troops of toddlers walking along the roadway with cars, bikes, and trucks zooming past. The school age children are all in uniform coming and going along the road, with the younger ones on bicycles and the older ones on electric scooters. The guys rode on this amazing curvy road and stopped for lunch and so were a bit behind the van.
Daniel finally caught up to the van about 4 30. He said he had had one of the top 5 rides of the trip to catch up from 90 minutes behind us. EPIC!. We arrived to the city just at dark and to the guest house when the other 2 also showed up. We walked a few blocks along the Mekong to find a local place for dinner.
The YSS shock is here thanks to Tiger Trail/ Moto Laos for accepting the package and Manichan guest house for picking it up for us and trying to send it to the border!
Today we want to do nothing and we didn’t really. Got caught up on emails and blogs. We did walk to the main street to get SIM cards and are a bit overwhelmed by the number of tourists. For lunch we had traditional Laos omelettes at a place on the river that has been there for years.
In the evening we walked to the end of the peninsula to a French restaurant recommended by Mark who was also in the guest house. Great Duck salad and galettes. We walked back thru he night market which was packed with tourists.
The newest issue is we have learned that there are on and off issues crossing the border to Cambodia and over landers are being denied entry as the border officials do not want to issue a TVIP. This is not a carnet country, but we may need to use it. Even with the carnet 2 Swiss in a truck were denied entry 2 days ago. They bused to Phenom Pen to obtain a letter of permission to enter and some of us may need to bus or fly there later this week. This really throws a wrench in the plans to travel in Laos as we may spend most of the time trying to get access to Cambodia. Dan and Sara are on a schedule as they have flights from Siem Reap to Hanoi Nov 2. They have storage arranged for the bikes for 2 week in Seam Reap. The TVIP for Laos expire Nov 18 and this means if the bikes need to be left here instead we will have to cut short their Vietnam family holiday.
On a positive note our Vietnamese friend Huong in Vancouver has arranged for the Consul there to issue us “emergency” on arrival Vietnam visas as we fit the criteria and are out of Canada. This means we get an e visa and use this for boarding and then they issue us a visa on arrival.
Today it is install the shock day and this went smoothly.
We have also decided to stay another day to try to get some rest. This afternoon we took the bikes to the car wash and then grabbed some traditional Laotian food for lunch on the main drag. It is impossible to be in the direct sun since it is like a laser!
Several of the other guests were going out to dinner with the owner of the guesthouse Venus. There is an Italian guy in town that has a wood fire pizza place in his front yard. It is open Tue and Fri 6-9 and today is Friday! Great pizza at Secret Pizza!
Well after 2 days of doing almost nothing we finally got the energy to ride the 30 km to the Kuang Si waterfall. The road is paved, but potholed and missing in some sections, but the ride thru the jungle is scenic.
We stopped into investigate this small temple on the way.
The waterfall is actually a series of falls. It was a bit too murky and cold for swimming for us.