The campsite was actually cozy and I woke up to a really foggy day. Atul had walked up to the temple for some morning views but he was greeted with a whiteout. We packed up , had b’fast and headed to the bus station at odumxai.
The tickets were 40,000 kip to luang Namtha and someone mentioned cost of bikes, but never pursued it. The bikes went up on the roof of the mini bus and I found a reasonable spot with legroom. It was an easy 3.5 hr ride into luang Namtha and we reached at 11:30. But at the bus station, the driver asked us for 40,000 kip per bike for transport. That was really bull crap and I wasn’t having any of that. He refused to pull down the bikes and I refused to pay him any more than 10,000. We had a standoff and I just hopped into the bus and he walked away.
I guess some people do think of just fleecing the tourists and if I don’t out a foot down, I wouldn’t pet my way. After 30 minutes of talking back and forth, he reluctantly agreed to 10,000 and we took our bikes and rode into town. It’s strange that they’d carry many sacks of rice for locals for free but charge me every time for the bike. I can pay the 10,000 for his effort to tie the bike to the roof, but anything more is just a ripoff.
We rode into town and I knew Rene would be hanging out at Lai’s kitchen at noon. I was right and Bianca and Melanie were also at lunch. It was nice to meet up with all of them and I had some lunch. We were eating whe they had to go off for work and Rene mentioned about a couple of Canadian cyclists in town. Jan and Julia showed up a few minutes later and we swapped travel stories for a while. They were funny and chatty and I thought it’d have been fun riding with them if they were heading the same way. But they had just come thro from china and going south. We made dinner plans and decided to meet at the sauna in the evening.
Rene was nice and let us stay in his place again! We rode up and met our other buddies in town and headed to Rene’s for a nice shower and rest. These bus rides take a toll on the body.
Rene popped in at 5:30 and told us he had found a nice running loop thro the rubber plantations next to his house. I couldn’t resist a trail run and both of us joined him. This time it was rugged terrain and I decided to run in my cycling shoes, not ideal, but a decent compromise. There were tons of trails thro the trees and a really fine trail with good climbs. We managed to make it out just before dark and headed to the sauna.
I had been looking forward to soaking in the heat for a week and it was great to sit back and relax. Jan and Julia showed up too and after the sweating , we headed to the night market for some grub. Good food on the cheap again!
Rene, Bianca and Melanie were going on a kayak trip the next day and invited us along. I figured it’d be a nice change, and though it was expensive (288,000 kip), signed up for that. The first time I am spending money on this trip on an organized tourism event. Ah well, may be it would be fun anyway!
Route: Odumxai to Luang Namtha
Distance: 0 km (bus ride 40,000 kip + bike 10,000 kip)
Ascent: 0 ft
Descent: 0 ft
Time in saddle: 0:00 hrs
Expenses: Sg$ 22.00
Comments: Bus drivers charge ridiculous prices for bikes. Haggle hard and make a stand!