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Tuesday, 20 January 2015

YUNNAN CHINA ADV RIDE: DAY 9 - 11

9th Dec 2014: WEISHAN – LINCANG (216kms)


It was very cold in Shaxi this morning. After taking a nice hot shower, the GH staff called me for breakfast. After that, his wife, Shiao Ya, who could speak reasonable English helped writing for me in chinese characters the translations that I needed. When I want to check out, she even gave me some fruits. How nice and kind of her.

Shiao Ya and her hb


Shiao Ya’s husband helped me to bring out Laling which was kept in a small narrow passage way of the GH. It was quite difficult to bring out the bike due to the narrow space, so another guy came to help. They were quite rough with the bike, which resulted my cam LCD was broken in the process. My mistake too, bcos I hanged my cam on the side mirror, so when they roughly turned the handle, the cam got stuck and pinched in between the handle and the tank. Haihhh...what to do. Redho jer laa. That was not the only hiccup. Another problem arise when the bike can't be started due to the engine was too cold. I pulled the choke but still I cant start the bike. The locals helped pushing the bike so I can straight get into the first gear, still failed. Then Shiao Ya’s husband poured hot water onto the outer part of the engine, but the engine still can't be started. My heart sank. I calmed myself and just let the bike basked under the morning sun for 30mins while whispering a silent prayer. After that, I tried again. Thank god that this time, with only one try, the engine came alive. I was soooo relieved.

Even though I started this morning with some hiccups, my ride today was blessed with beautiful weather, awesome view, green rivers and yellow wild sunflowers.









I rode on S213, and then G214. I noticed that the G214 sign was much more merrier on the southern part of Yunnan, compared to the northern part. Hence, it was not difficult to find my way at all. I passed a bridge where a very beautiful green river flowed underneath. This must had been the 2nd most beautiful river I had seen after Chuy River, Kyrgyzstan.







I also passed 8 tunnels today, which were mostly dark. However, the road condition on G214 was good and I arrived Lincang quite early, around 3pm.


To complete a happy ending, the moment I arrived Lincang and just about to search for a room, a lady approached me, saying in chinese (but I can understand her) asking if I need one. No drama, no hassles, no headache. Nothing like what I had experienced yesterday. The truth is, all along my ride today, I prayed, asking Allah to make my day easier, and He granted my wish. Alhamdulillah.



10th Dec 2014: LINCANG – SCHUANGJIANG – LANCANG (228kms)


I faced some difficulties to find my way today due to the lack of sign board and since the map in my GPS wasnt complete. I first rode on G214, but upon trying to find G323, I was lost. I wasted half an hour to find my way. Feeling frustrated, I just followed what the locals said even though logically I felt that the direction they asked me to take was not correct. How wrong I was. I soon found myself riding on a new road which was not in the map and also not in my GPS. The road was deserted too. I passed lots of veges, sugar cane and corn fields today.




The road than took me back to G214 again. It was a very scenic ride along Lancang (Mekong) River.

Lancang, 135km







However, there were lots of constructions going on due to erosion on the river bank. There were land slides too along this stretch. The road was very dusty and I was covered in dust. This continued on and off for about 30kms.




Then, the road improved and I was riding on a good paved road again. Soon, I arrived Lancang and I headed straight to the town. 

Yayyyy....dah sampaiiii....

Two guest houses rejected me. I asked a girl, who cant speak English. She signaled me to follow her to a nearby hotel which accepted me. The rate was RMB60 only and the room was spacious. 

TQ Miss for helping me

Through my experience, guest houses in Yunnan are cheap. For RMB60 – RMB100, you can get a nice twin bedded room well equipped with hot shower, LCD TV, electric kettle, wifi, heater, and safe parking, which was equivalent to a 3 star hotel in Malaysia. Not just that, apart from the usual toiletries, even tooth brush, tooth paste, comb and bed room slippers were given too. 



Since there was still plenty of sunshine, I took the opportunity to do laundry and hanged my wet clothes at the balcony of my room to dry.



11th Dec 2014: LANCANG – MENGHAI – JINGHONG – MENGLUN – MENGLA – MOHAN/BOTEN – MENGLA (360kms)


Todays ride is the longest ride that I had done through out my Yunnan ride. I started this morning riding in fog which limited my vision to about 50m only. 



It was a very cold ride as I climbed up the mountain. From Day 1, until today, it seemed that my ride will be filled with climbing up, up, up and after that down, down, down, and the cycle repeats. I had lost count how many ups and downs I did everyday until today. It was a winding ascending and descending ride every single day that I felt like vomiting already. Its nothing but corners upon corners affair that I need to tackle everyday without fail. I passed some dark tunnels, and the worst part is since the tunnels were located in undeveloped area, the road inside the tunnels was bad. Imagine, riding in dark tunnels where there were pot holes and the road was uneven and drainy. Scary.

Previously, I was riding in the fog

Soon, I reached Xishuangbanna, which is an autonomous prefecture in the southern part of Yunnan. Xishuangbanna had seen chaos, rebels, civil wars and revolutions since the overthrew of the Qing government way back in 1911, in favor of a Chinese republican government. Until now, Xishuangbanna is still a ‘black’ area and during my ride here, I had to pass several military check points along my way. Thank god that not once they asked for my driving license. Some even waved me off when they saw that I am a female.



The quality of road decreased as I climbed from one mountain to another mountain. The steep narrow road was deserted too. There were few times that my tires skid as the road, as always, was wet. It was quite tiring to ride on road as such.

I looked like Humpty Dumpty...
Inner pockets & outer pockets of my riding jacket filled with harta karun :)

Even though Xishuangbanna is considered as ‘black’ area, it didnt stop tourist from coming here. There are various villages of different ethnic groups, especially the Dai and Han, who still live in a very traditional way which attracts visitors from all over the world. While riding my bike, I can see the villagers and their way of lives. I could also see acres upon acres of sugar cane and vege fields.

The small road widened when I’m nearing Jinghong. Jah, the owner of my rented bike had suggested that I put a night at Jinghong, but since it was still early, I made an adhoc decision to ride all the way to the border. This is something which I considered luxury when riding solo like this, which is I am free to do whatever I like without having to seek approval from fellow friends if I ride in a group. I passed the famous Jinghong Bridge while making my way to exit the city.




It was a bit tricky to exit Jinghong, but I managed it. Again, suddenly I was directed to an expressway toll plaza. A policeman stopped me and showed me a very small alternative dirt trail which will lead me back to the secondary road. The uneven dirt trail was less than 2 feet in width. Oh my god!!! I must ride on this? No choice. I rode slowly and later, the trail emerged into a cliff. The villagers house was located about 15m down the cliff. I was sooo scared. A slight mishandling of my bike shall resulted in me and Laling rolled down the cliff. At that very moment, a dog came and barked at me. Ohhh please, not now, will you? I honked loud and long and fortunately this scared the dog away. My blood was pumping adrenaline and by the time I was done with the scary trail, I felt sooo exhausted. (Sorry, too thrilled to take any pic).

Soon, I was riding on route G213 which will take me to the border. The road to Menglun (pronounced Monglon) -  Mengla (pronounced Mongla) and all the way to the China - Lao border was nicely paved and in good condition. Even though its still a single lane road, but its the best so far for me. I was amazed at how the Chinese build the high bridges, one after another, all the way from Menglun to the border. It seemed that I rode more on bridges than on the ground. I passed more tunnels today (a total of about 30 tunnels for todays ride). Some lighted, but mostly dim or totally dark. 


One of the many high bridges to the border

I finally reached the border town Mohan / Boten, which was surprisingly quite big. Yayyyyy....I am soooo happy. 

China - Lao border

A cronology to share:

Feb 2013, I rode solo from Ipoh - Boten, with DREAM.
Oct 2014, I rode all the way from the southern most tip of Asia, Tanjung Piai, crossing Peninsular Malaysia to Thailand, with DJ.
Dec 2014, I rode from Kunming - Shangri La - Boten with Laling
This means that I hv 'tasted' the road all the way from Tanjung Piai to Shangri La in three seperate rides with three different bikes. Another personal achievement lah. A new record in MBOR perhaps?


Since it was getting late, I raced back to Mengla, which was about 60kms away from the border. I could stay in Boten, but since tomorrow will be a tough long ride, I made up my mind to shorten the distance and put the night in Mengla instead. 

Last pose for the day

Finally after 10 hours riding, I checked in at a nice guest house, this time no hassle.

RMB60 (RM30)

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