Cycling 49 km from Jinghong to Ganlanba. Rather flat stage with lost of sun and a Mekong crossing by ferry at the end.
Today, we went on our first cycling stage, riding about 50 km South of Jinghong to the beautiful Thai minority village Ganlanba.
Cycling out of the 200.000 people city, we stopped by at a redwood furniture factory and store. Hugely impressed by the big wooden tiger standing at the entrance of the store we went inside to have a look at the exhibition. We found long desks, benches, tea tables and a lot of fancy decoration made from tropical forest wood. The most expensive set of benches and chairs was to be sold for a price of around half a million Dollars. All looked pretty and is skillfully carved – but we know that those trees are all taken from the Monsoon forests of Burma and Laos and have left gaps in the once so beautiful landscape, which leaves a little bitter taste.
With the great weather (sun all day!) came the heat, but we were lucky to be cycling on a shaded road, running through rubber wood plantations and along the Mekong for the last couple of kilometers.
After crossing the Mekong on a ferry, we arrived at Ganlanba, a museum village of the Dai (Thai) minority. In the afternoon we had plenty of time left to explore the old buddhist temples and Thai style buildings of the place. The people here speak a Thai language, celebrate the water splashing festival at the Thai New Year and have many customs with the Thai people of laos and Thailand in common.