The blog’s been quiet for the past few months.  Many of you have wondered what’s up.   Well, we haven’t tossed in the towel, if that’s what you’re thinking.  And no, we haven’t been lounging on some Thai beach attempting to recover from the rigors of China.

And if you’re imagining 8+ years on the road together has driven us into acrimonious divorce proceedings, think again.  Jerry Springer will not be luring us onto his show for the lurid details of a big break up.

We’ve just been busy with other stuff.  And a tiny bit lazy.

Six weeks back we said goodbye to China and rolled across the border back into Laos.  After almost a month in the Land of a Million Elephants (sadly, we only saw 3 of the massive beasts, and they were squashed into the back of a truck) we biked over the border into Thailand at Nong Kahi.    At the moment, we’re on our way to Mae Sot where we’ll cross into Myanmar.  Then it will be onto India and the Himalayas.

I’ve never had the inclination (or discipline) to keep a diary. So writing an accurate blog update 2 months after the fact is proving almost impossible.

I do, however, like taking photos.  So I’ll share a few and let you use your imagination to fill in the details.

We rolled out of Kunming on a perfect autumn day. There were even bike paths and sane drivers.
Some nice relaxing cycling around Lake Xingyun. We thought about camping here but decided the spot was too exposed and might attract the attention of the local police. We ended up in a clean and cosy village guesthouse (hot shower included) for the bargain price of 50 Yuan ( $7).
In the morning we came across this old guy making a run for the outhouse.
Soon it was time to stop for a big bowl of noodle soup! Yum. I like the soup in Yunnan best because you can fancy it up with a big array of condiments.
Most days started with a thick morning fog. Sometimes it wouldn't burn off until well into the afternoon. This can get frustrating when you've spent several hours climbing a big mountain only to hage ZERO visibility at the top. This shot was taken not far from the city of Lushan in the area famous for the Yuangyang rice terrace.
This area is home to the Hani People--one of China's many minority groups. Minority people often don't like to have their photo taken. I think they're fed up with Han Chinese shoving cameras in their face. These ladies were taking a selfie with their camera phone and agreed to let me take a shot too.
These are some of the beautiful terraces around Lushan. The actual Yuanyang terraces are now some type of tourist attraction and foreigners are charged an exorbitant fee to enter. We just saw the poor man's terraces. Nice enough for us.
Some really stunning rides in this part of Yunnan province. Long climbs, never too steep. Just how I like 'em.
One night we camped at the home of a Hani prince. There was a big feast going on and we were invited to partake. The food was delicious but a bit spicy for my tastes. The guests got very drunk on shots of whisky and began singing loudly. Probably the one and only time I'll be invited to dine with a prince.
This Hani shopkeeper was so friendly and curious about our tour that I just had to take her portrait.
Eric found a nice route following a lot of quiet--and often muddy- back roads.
This was a nasty stretch of road on our way back to Mengla and the border with Laos.
For my last image of China I'll leave you with some gruesome shots of the market in Mengla. Will try to write up some of our overall impressions of China at a later date. It's a love-hate kinda place.
China Loop: the grand finale
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5 thoughts on “China Loop: the grand finale

  • January 7, 2015 at 7:56 PM

    > At the moment, we’re on our way to Mae Sot where
    > we’ll cross into Myanmar. Then it will be onto India
    > and the Himalayas.

    Holy smokes! Have you really gotten visas to go through Myanmar and into India?

    If so, please tell us THAT story, because that’s a big deal.

    • January 8, 2015 at 3:51 AM

      Getting a Myanmar visa is now a VERY SIMPLE process. The application process is straightforward and will not take more than a couple of days in Bangkok or Vientiane. We got our Myanamr visas in Vientiane and paid $20 for a 28 day stay. Myanmar visas can also be obtained in Chiang Mai, but apparently you must use a travel agency and the cost can be up to $100.
      To cross the border by bicycle from Myanmar into India, you must obtain a special permit in Yangon. The cost f the India permit is $100 and the recommended travel agency that can help obtain the permit is 7 Diamond Travel and Tours in Yangon

      Here is more info on the Myanmar-India route by bicycle

      • January 13, 2015 at 7:52 PM

        Well hot diggiddy. Thank you for this!

  • October 4, 2015 at 9:19 AM

    Hi, just wondering if you had any problems camping in China? Is it legal? Did you just have to be super stealthy? We have had absolutely no problems camping in Japan and Korea, but are a little apprehensive about China as we can’t find any information on the subject…

    • November 5, 2015 at 6:39 AM

      Camping in the wide open spaces of Western China (Sichuan and Yunnan) is fairly easy and many cyclists do it. The authorities don’t seem to mind if foreigners pitch their tent and camping is catching on with locals. We were also allowed to camp at restaurants, and some publi spaces including a school and forestry offices. If you’re far from a big town people are usually pretty welcoming.


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