Old Bikes, Lost Caves and Offensive T-Shirts

Trip Start Jun 26, 2009
Trip End Jun 29, 2010

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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  , Khammouan,
Tuesday, November 17, 2009

We arrived at Tha Khek in the brilliant heat on a Wednesday afternoon, but once the sun disappeared in the evening the temperature dropped considerably, a sign that we were in high areas for sure. Too stubborn (or tight) to buy a long sleeve top, I shivered my way down the street as we took in the sights of the local area, a number of female clothes shops, some with offensive tee-shirts included.  What we also noticed is a lack of places that rented motorbikes, which left our plans of an early morning tour of the caves a little difficult to fulfil. After a hefty walk and some ill placed directions later, we found ourselves a place, so hired straight away and drove back to our hostel, a great deal further away than we had first realised.

All equipped to go we set off early, before 7am, to explore the waterfalls and caves of Tha Khek on our rented motorbike, a beauty it was too. Rattled at over 30mph, vibrated at over 50 and punctured at around 5mph, although this may have something to do with the rocky off-the-beaten-track route we took to explore a cave which clearly didn't exist. At least the kick start worked ok, oh hang on, no, it didn’t, and when we were off the main road too. 10 minutes of getting hot and bothered and swearing at it should do the trick, and it did (or maybe it was the age old method of turning it off and on again that really did it).

Despite the bike pitfalls, and indeed the mystery disappearing caves (we were only able to find 1), we still had a great morning exploring the beautiful countryside and drove up a deserted road at sunrise, where we could witness the sun creeping over the mountains and hit the deserted landscape all around us without having to share it with another soul.

There was just enough time when we got back to have lunch overlooking Thailand across the Mekong River, and then drop the bike off before we departed for our next destination, the capital of Laos, Vientiane.

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