|Distance: 150km (by bus) and 52km (by bike)
We traveled via bus and van from Hue to Lao Bao, a town near the Vietnam/Laos border. We had our last lunch in Vietnam at a local restaurant, and sampled some potent fish paste for the very first time. We couldn't leave Vietnam without having our last couple of Vietnamese coffees. I had a feeling we would be missing those.
Getting our Laos visas on arrival was simple, albeit expensive. They even looked the other way when I couldn't produce a photo, for a nominal fee. We were soon on our way.
The first thing we noticed about Laos was that we could actually hear each other, while riding side by side. Traffic was almost nonexistent as compared to Vietnam. The second thing we noticed was that almost as soon as we crossed the border we could see trees and vegetation, unlike in Vietnam where all we could see was logged areas and human development. The third thing that we noticed was that the road was sealed and smooth. So far it has been a cyclist's dream - no traffic, pretty scenery and a descent road. We thought it couldn't get any better, and then we experienced a wicked backwind. We met an American cyclist coming the other way. He said he enjoyed Laos, but was looking forward to something 'less quiet'. We both thought he was in for a treat in Vietnam.
Sepon is a small town. In fact, riding through it we could imagine missing it altogether if we didn't know it was there. Our guesthouse, which doubled as a brothel, was pretty nice for what we paid. Food possibilities were scarce, but we ended up having a decent bowl of rice noodle soup with some BeerLao to wash it down with in the end.