Feb 8-9, 2020 — days 67, 68 — Σ 4,189km — lunar fest
From the 4000 Islands spot going up north, the road never gets too far from the Mekong River, but you never see it again until Champasak, and there isn’t much to see in between, except, when a group of elephants show up.
I got another flat and stopped to change the front tube. It’s the same patching issue that never left me. A few days ago I also got rid of the front derailleur, which was dysfunctional and rubbing on the chain on high gears. Now, on flat roads I stop and change the gear manually with a stick. No big deal.
The monotonous ride on the highway ended about 10km to the ferry port. We saw a dirt road shortcut that appeared on the map and took it. It was slow going but totally worth it.
The ferry person wanted to charge us 30K but we managed to agree on 20K and got over to the other side of the river on his rickety boat to reach Champasak. This was an old town with many colonial buildings and also next to an ancient temple, Vat Phou, which was our next point to visit.
When we arrived at Vat Phou early next morning, we saw a lot of garbage around and could not fathom how this could have been allowed to happen. It turns out, there was an annual 3-day festival, celebrating the full moon. We just arrived after the third day.
After a quick visit to the “sacred” fountain, various carvings and the attached museum, we cycled back to town and looked for some of the preserved colonial houses.