Sunday, 14 November 2010


After breakfast we head over to a local travel agents to collect our “Carnet de passage” which I’d had couriered there from the UK just a few days earlier. Whilst it’s taken us around 6 weeks to get here, the carnet makes it over from Southampton, England in less than 72 hours. The miracle of flight (And DHL!) Without this piece of paper we’re technically unable to enter Laos with a foreign registered vehicle.

The Carnet, issued by the RAC in England, is an internationally recognised certificate guaranteeing that we wont permanently leave our car in Laos, thereby circumventing applicable import taxes. Requirement for a carnet varies from country to country, for our route Laos was the only country that required one - Unfortunately they don’t come cheap, this piece of paper set us back a little over £800.….Although technically required, there have been numerous reports of Laos customs failing to ask for a Carnet. This would be frustrating waste of £800, but we cant risk being turned away at the border.

The weather has been sunny for the past few days now but its still a little chilly, especially at night. Although we’re now in the tropics, the high altitude takes the edge off of the temperature.

Its time to hit the road again, destination Puer. Our route takes us back down the mountains; With each hour of decent the engine runs a little better, the trusty custard cake packet deflates a little more and the temperature rises. The scenery changes from mountain peaks to tropical flora set into dense green jungle.

We arrive at Puer just after sunset. Even though its dark, its still pretty warm outside - Bex is relieved that we’re well and truly back into air conditioning territory!

Serena chooses a small local hotel on the outskirts of town, we take a late BBQ dinner in a packed out local curb side restaurant. Empty beer bottles are thin on the ground but the locals seem fairly wasted. It turns out they’re smoking cigarettes with a little extra ‘kick’ courtesy of illegal smuggling from Laos. ..

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