19/1/15: Kiou Ka Cham to Phou Khoun, alt 1350m (51km, av 12km/hr, max 44.7km/hr, time on bikes: 4hr 17mins)

An easier day, although there are still some steep bits…

We start with a protein-filled omelette breakfast, then after a chilly downhill start (and stops for adding/removing layers), it’s up and down all day. At one point, slightly defeated by a hill, we get off to push, and out of nowhere some children appear and give us flowers to decorate our bikes, and then a push up the hill!

We have a late lunch (not sure where), and the locals are spending the afternoon knocking back Beer Lao. Despite our best protests, they insist we have one too. Then it’s back on the bikes…

Phou Khoun is a small market town, where route 7 meets route 13. There are three guesthouses in the centre, where 60,000 gets you a room with no hot water or wifi, 70 gets you hot water but no wifi, and 80 gets you hot water, wifi and other guests with crying kids all getting up and leaving at 6am. At dinner (noodles) we meet an Estonian/Italian couple who are motorbiking to Phonsavan. AKA cheating!

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