Etappe 6 (including review from Nepal)

Etappe 6 was a mysterious one. At the beginning I had no idea where it will begin, where it will end. Then I found a good flight connection  from Kuala Lumpur to Buenos Aires, and pieces started to be revealed. Big decision came in Thailand, when I couldn’t find a solution how to extend my visa. I had 15-day visa on arrival, so I could a) pay 45e to extend it for 7 days only (once) or b) go to Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia or Malaysia border to get new 15 days. These visa runs were an option, if the border crossings weren’t so far away from Chiang Mai. One day I found a cheap flight for 26th of January, was fed up with visa regulations, and decided to do c): shorten my trip by train from Bangkok to Hat Yai.

This was the first time, when I took the train feeling bad because of it. In China it was easier because of law (no independent cyclists in Tibet), weather (too cold for cycling) and the time (one extra month at least). Now the reason was money. No money to do the visa run, extend visa or pay the more expensive flight on February.

Overall, Etappe 6 was nice, easy, fast and relaxing. Once more I have to point out, that after India and Nepal, the polite drivers felt great. Partly this etappe was too “vanilla” without a challenge, so I had to invent one. In Laos I had only 2$ for two days (ate rest of my soups, peanuts etc.) In Thailand I cycled from Chiang Mai to Thailand in 4,5 days, in Malaysia I camped four days in a row.

In addition, in Bangkok I met up with the same Romanian cyclist I got to know in Mumbai. In Malaysia I relaxed one day on touristic beaches of Langkawi island. Plus, 100km before Kuala Lumpur I bumped into a Belgian 67-year old cyclist, with whom I continued all the way to KL. That being the longest distance cycling with another biker during this World tour.

Eurasia is done, bags packed, and this night (26th of Jan) I’ll fly from Kuala Lumpur to Buenos Aires. Very, very exciting!

ps. ovi post about China here , the continuations of www.travel2help.org – India volunteer camp story here (part2) and here (part 3). Check them out!!!

 

 

 

 

 

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country roads mentality costs mark
Nepal Crossing the border from India to Nepal didn’t make much difference. It could’ve been even worse. I got one more puncture in Nepal. The south is flatter, but the north extremely demanding. Road signs ok, though the road network is poor. Means partly heavy traffic. I liked Nepalese more than Indians, at least more tourist friendly. You’ll get lots of honking even so, and don’t expect any compassion from the drivers. Camping was easier than in India. Bike shops in Kathmandu easy to find. Easy visa. Similar to India, except the Indian products more expensive. You can find western food in Kathmandu, delicious pastries, trekking food etc. Price is reasonable for the exported stuff. Hostels around 5e. Street food 1-2e, Pizza Hut menu 5-6e 🙂 2
CHN Cycled only in two cities and the south of Yunnan. Chengdu was joy to cycle (close to NED), Kunming a bit worse. Yunnan was spectacular, with good roads, no traffic. After India and Nepal, I was back in a cyclist-respected country. It was very pleasant. There are little western products in the market, but Chinese produce themselves almost everything. Don’t expect to communicate with English. Even the hand signs are not understood. Visa in advance. You get good quality for less money. Hostels as cheap as 3e, but with superb amenities. Food cheap, but can be delicious! Fruits good and cheap. I think South east China is the cheapest place I’ve ever been! 4
Laos I heard roads in Laos are primitive. I took my chance, and by coincidence the 250km road from Chinese border to Mekong river was newly constructed except 40km. No traffic, beautiful landscapes. So if Laos was all like this, it would awesome! Laos people are so positive. During normal working day, I saw people playing outdoor games, sitting and eating, and relaxing. Kids were always saying hello and waving at you. Dogs were lazy to even move their paws. Very nice atmosphere. Of course I saw no bike shops, empty village stores and only local food. Camping no problem. Easy visa. the best part about me being in Laos, is that I had only exchanged some 7e. So in three days I had to survive with minimum amount. In this sense it was cheap. But yes, Laos is cheap. I paid for an ok motel 5 dollars. 4
TH Expected bit more, but generally the roads are good. Traffic is like in Europe, drivers respect cyclists. Road signs good, some hills can be very steep. You can take the dual carriage way and do long distances! Visa regulations strange, otherwise positive experience. Very kind people, good service. You find 7/11 shops everywhere, which helps you a lot on hot days. Camping can be problematic because of the humidity and forever lasting rice fields. It’s touristy, but in a good way I think. You’ll meet some cyclists and crazy dogs on the way for sure! Some extraordinary nature… Cheap. Not super cheap, but if you stick with camping,  thai food, water from canisters and fruits, you’ll be fine with 5e per day. If you want guest houses and familiar brands,  you’ll pay 10-15e  per day. 4
MY Very promising in the beginning, but can’t compete with Europe yet. Most parts are ok, some excellent. Avoid road no 1 at the coast. It’s like riding in a city for 150km. Horrible. constant traffic lights are pain in the ass too. I think I liked Malaysian people the most from Asia. Laid back, good English, friendly, and educated. You’ll find lots of Chinese (also products) and Indians too. So it’s colorful country, with nice landscapes, and reasonable hills. Climate gets tough. also for camping. Very easy visa. Chinese products cost more than in China, otherwise it’s a bit more expensive than Thailand. Still good price. You can get Big Mac menu for 2,5e 🙂 3,5

(Legend: 1-Try to avoid biking in this country 2- Bike in this country for transit 3-Biking is even fun here 4-Nice landscape with good roads for biking 5-Beautiful landscape with nice people and good roads, you should definitely come here)

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4 Comments

  1. tade
    Posted January 26, 2011 at 12:12 am | Permalink | Reply

    Stasnej let pacholku

  2. Posted February 2, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

    When are you starting your Argentina travel? I write for a Nokia blog: http://conversaciones.nokia.com and I would like to have someone there to talk to you for a small interview.

    BR!
    Juan Anez

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