Through southernmost China into Laos.
Saturday 18 November 2006 - Tuesday 21 November 2006
Saturday 18 November - An all day drive to via Kunming to the Stone Forest. However it was closed so we had out first proper rough camp in tents.
The Stone Forest.
The Stone Forest.
Sunday 19 November - Another long, all day drive south from Kunming on an excellent motorway. It is an impressive bit of engineering as it bounces its way along the valleys, bridges, tunnels, viaducts and so on. We had a rough camp at truck stop in hills. I was on cook duty and we managed to turn out a very good pork stew.
No idea what this is.
More paddy fields.
Monday 20 November - The long drives continue as we headed south through Xishuangbanna Region towards Laos. The road was very windy as it passed through the mountains. All the traffic going the other way was trucks laden with road building materials as they are extending the motorway to the border. We camped next to cemetery just outside the town of Mengla.
Tea plantation workers.
The back of our truck.
A constant stream of trucks carrying materials for the new motorway.
Our lunch stop.
Tuesday 21 November - An early start only to be stuck in traffic jam due to a digger falling off the road. The situation was not helped by idiot drivers parking wherever they liked and not trying to sort things out. So we took over and talked, cajoled, threatened drivers to move their trucks so that we could get past. In one instance, we moved a truck as the driver refused.
The road to the border with Laos.
Road inspection crew.
Left a bit...
Four overlanders and a Chinese guide.
We eventually got through the chaos and arrived at the border town of Mohan where we said goodbye to Ting Ting. The money changers at the border needed careful watching and counting of the money. They had a habit of slipping blue 2,000 kip notes into the bundles of blue 10,000 kip notes and given the exchange rate is about 1,500 kip for one Chinese yuan, large numbers of notes were required. It took a while but everyone was sorted with the correct amount of money.
The border formalities were painless but a bit slow due to the numbers. The road to Luang Namtha was new and we were at the resort in about an hour. We did have to stay in tents although cabins were available if required. They put on an excellent buffet dinner for us.