DAY 111 – We rode out of Vang Vieng, stopping briefly at the market on the northern edge of town to buy breakfast. We avoided the grilled frogs and rats, and opted for some sticky rice and pork skewers instead, which we decided to eat a bit later.
Whilst not yet entering the mountains proper, the road from Vang Vieng to Namxa Noy undulated and involved a gradual climb for the first 40km, followed by a 3km steep uphill, before falling down again towards Kasi. The gradual uphill was easy riding and we cruised along, covering the 40km in a few hours.
Just before the 3km uphill we passed through a roadside market selling ‘bush meat’, which included some animals I’ve never seen before. I asked to take some photos but I’m not sure if its legal to sell these meats so the lady refused. I took some anyway, but couldn’t get any close ups.
After the problems of the previous day riding I had adjusted the front derailleur on Yami’s bike and it seemed to work a lot more smoothly, which was a relief. The uphill wasn’t too steep and we made it to the top without any problems.
We stopped for lunch just before Kasi, and decided to continue on to Namxa Noy, a small village with some hot springs, located just before a 15km uphill. By continuing to Namxa Noy, we would be able to tackle the long uphill with fresh legs in the cool of the early morning.
The road from Kasi to Namxa Noy involved one steep climb which left us sweating profusely in the early afternoon sun, before s downhill to Namxa Noy and the hot springs at kilometre marker 234, where we took a bungalow for 60,000 Kip (US$8) before having a soak in the springs and relaxing our legs ready for what we anticipated to be one of the hardest days of the entire trip.