After 4208 kilometer: Zai Zhen China!

After some wonderful days in Lijiang we leave this touristy place. The sun is shining and we can see the snow peaks of the Yulonxue Shan almost the whole day.

This mountain with the altitude of 5596 meter is by far the highest mountain in the surrounding area. We climb to 3000 meter where we treat ourselves at French bread with peanut butter, which we bought at a real French bakery in Lijiang.

Two beautiful days of cycling brings us to Dali. Dali is near a lake and is enclosed by a wall. The Chinese turned this town into a touristy place as well, but the atmosphere is nice. When we are having a drink somewhere we see two girl carrying cycle bags. When we ask: “Hi are you by bicycle?” they look amazed and say “yes”. Martine and Rienke are two Dutch girls who started cycling in Beijing. They will cycle the next couple of months in South East Asia and will do voluntary work in Cambodia. We have a nice chat together and the next day they visit us at our hostel. Steven has a look at the bicycle of Rienke where a spoke is loose. It works a little bit different then our own bikes and before Steven knows it, the bike of Rienke says “bang”. Ouch, a part close to the derailleur breaks. The girls look frightened for a moment, but Steven has a spare part and soon he repairs everything. The evening we spend together by having dinner.

In Dali we study the map for the coming part of China and we think we have found a nice route. We have to wait for a while to find out if that is true, because after one day of cycling Stevens stomach is working against us. We stay a day in Weishan, which is a nice place and after that we test Stevens stomach by cycling only 40 kilometer. But Steven isn’t felling well yet and we stay in this town until Steven has fully recovered. We climb out of the valley and we afterwards we start with a beautiful descent. After a few kilometers going down hill we see a long queue of trucks and cars standing still. We can pass the line and we find out why nobody can goes through; deep from the bottom of the valley they just hoisted up a beaten truck….. We can continue our trip by cycling along the river on beautiful tarmac.

In Simoa there is a very special sign on the wall of our room. It must be a rule in China because in every bathroom in the country we see a sign which warns us for slippery floors. But if you are going to have a shower in this hotel you have to watch out for landslides…….

The further we go to the south of China, the more banana trees and tea farms we encounter. Everywhere there is flora and the water is dropping down from every corner. With the temperature increasing we get a tropical feeling. In the morning we leave our hotel with a big fog. We have to wear our reflecting jackets, because we want to be noticed by our companions on the road. But when the fog leaves the valley the sun will appear and we take of our sweaters. It’s great cycling through this jungle.

Laos is getting closer and we are looking forward to a new country. We cycle long distances these days and at one day we ride 135 kilometers. A day later we have to go through a lot of mud. We missed a brand new road and we are trying to find a way on the old road where the trucks destroyed the path. I am fed up with all the mud and we ride along with a truck for a while. I am sitting in the back of the truck in the middle of all the bags and the bicycles and Steven goes the Asian way by standing in the back and diving away for the trees.

In Mengla we go hunting for dollars. In Laos there seems to be only one ATM so we have to arrange some money here. Dollars can be changed easily into the Lao Kip. In Dali we managed to get some dollars but now we have some Yuans which we would like to change into dollars. When we cycle through the streets we are being spot by a man who likes some business with us.

He is able to change everything with us, but we are stubborn and we decide to go looking for a better rate. After a few visits at different banks we can do it and now we are ready to leave for the border. One more day of cycling in China follows. Three and a half months in this country and 4208 kilometers of cycling brought us some unforgettable experiences. This afternoon we’ve spent our last Yuans and tonight we will sleep one more time in China. We already walked to the border to ask at what time they will be open. At 8.30 AM we will be there to leave China behind us. Zai Zhen China!

* Lijiang – Jianchang: 76 km
* Jianchuang – Dali: 119 km
* Dali – Weishan: 73 km
* Weishan – Nanjian: 42 km
* Nanjian – Jingdong: 116 km
* Jingdong – Enle: 79 km
* Enle – a small village: 89 km
* A small village – Pu’er: 64 km
* Pu’er – Simao: 48 km
* Simao – Xiaomengyang: 135 km
* Xiaomengyang – a small town: 72 km
* A small town – Mengla: 82 km
* Mengla – Mohan: 60 km

Total kilometers on bicycle in China: 4208 km



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