Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Walk Map

Just to explain this map to my new followers and also to those who may have forgotten 😂
In April 2017 I finished off walking Europe and Asia when I touched the South China Sea in Vietnam. Please see that portion at the top of the map. From there I flew to Perth, Australia for fifteen-months walking around Oz and also in New Zealand. While I was in northern Australia I decided to return to South-East Asia and walk towards Japan. So from Darwin I flew to Bangkok, Thailand and s...
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Thanks Benjamin for the updated map!

My world walk blog - Vietnam #2

My world walk blog - Vietnam #2

Two more rain-dodging days walking in Vietnam. The first produced 32 and then today 24 kilometres when I stopped early at a nice cheap hotel.
People continue to greet me as I walk through villages. I was even beckoned over to an all-female construction crew and for a joke, I picked up a shovel and shovelled some sand. That went down well and we all had a great laugh!
That day I got to a small called Thanh Long and went into a restaurant for dinner. There seemed to be a party going on and next thing I'm told that my meal and drinks were on the house. Then a man called Thuc and Luu, his twelve-year-old son who speaks decent English kindly invited me back to their place for a shower and a bed. 
Actually, they own a karaoke bar and a visit was made! 
There were not too many songs in English, mostly the Beatles and I couldn't keep a straight face when singing Help! Actually, I laughed my head off as my plea for someone "To please Help me" went on deaf ears. They did have Crocodile Rock, my party-piece, so I enjoyed that one. 
Then today I noticed that there were a lot of Vietnam flags being flown and for sale in shops. A quick Google search told that Vietnam Day is this Sunday, September 2nd.
This Vietnamese public holiday is celebrated on 2 September.
If the holiday falls on a weekend, the following Monday may be observed as a public holiday.
National Day marks Vietnam's declaration of independence from France.

History of Vietnamese National Day

In 1887 Vietnam became part of French Indochina. During World War II, Vietnam was occupied by the Japanese.
Following the end of the war, on 2 September 1945, following the 'August Revolution', Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam).
Despite the differences that grew between Vietnam and the USA, the Vietnamese declaration of Independence itself drew heavily from the American version
In 1976, the two halves of Vietnam were finally united into one country, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, but 2 September remains as the key date in Vietnam's road to independence."
24,692 kilometres walked in 707 road days

My world walk blog - Vietnam #1

My world walk blog - Vietnam #1

After crossing from Laos to Vietnam I walked 33 kilometres that first day. The first 24 of those were almost all downhill, what joy! 😅
There was no atm at the border and I was stuck for cash and didn't have my Vietnamese sim card but I still managed to log on at a petrol stations wifi and ate some reserve food washed down with coffee. I boiled the water using my beverage heater. 
Just as I was getting ready to walk on it started raining heavily so I waited for a while as I was pretty comfortable and dry at the petrol station.
Wildlife had been interesting on the road. Grazing water buffaloes and a tarantula!
There is a small town called Ha Tan which is about three-hours down the road. Eventually, I got to a small town and an atm and was then able to get my sim, a feed and a cheap hotel.
That day, August 27th I celebrated being on the road for two-and-a-half years.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Vietnam country profile

BBC News:


Vietnam country profile

  • - 22 April 2018h Facebook

Map of Vietnam

Vietnam, a one-party Communist state, has one of south-east Asia's fastest-growing economies and has set its sights on becoming a developed nation by 2020.
It became a unified country once more in 1975 when the armed forces of the Communist north seized the south.
This followed three decades of bitter wars, in which the Communists fought first against the colonial power France, then against South Vietnam and its US backers. In its latter stages, the conflict held the attention of the world.
The US joined the hostilities in order to stem the "domino effect" of successive countries falling to Communism.


Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Capital: Hanoi

  • Population 92 million
  • Area 329,247 sq km (127,123 sq miles)
  • Major languageVietnamese
  • Major religion Buddhism
  • Life expectancy 73 years (men), 81 years (women)
  • Currency dong
Getty Images


President: Tran Dai Quang

Vietnamese President Tran Dai QuangImage copyrightEPA

Tran Dai Quang was elected to the largely ceremonial post of president in January 2016.
Secretary-general of the Communist Party: Nguyen Phu Trong

Vietnamese Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu TrongImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

The Communist Party holds the real power in Vietnam. It appointed Nguyen Phu Trong as its secretary-general in January 2011, replacing Nong Duc Manh, who retired after 10 years in the post.
He took over as Vietnam faced mounting economic problems, including rising inflation, a growing trade deficit and a weakening currency.
Born in 1944, he also previously served the Communist Party's chief political theorist.
Nguyen Phu Trong is seen as a conservative.
Prime minister: Nguyen Xuan Phuc

Vietnamese Prime minister Nguyen Xuan PhucImage copyrightAFP/GETTY IMAGES

Nguyen Xuan Phuc was elected to the post of prime minister by parliament in April 2016, after being picked to succeed outgoing leader Nguyen Tan Dung at the Communist Party's congress in January.
Mr Phuc, 61, pledged to improve the business climate and crack down on corruption.
Unlike his charismatic predecessor, he is seen as a team player and a technocrat ready to stick to the party line.


Newspaper vendor in VietnamImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

The Communist Party has a strong grip on the media.
Media outlets and journalists risk sanctions for broaching sensitive topics and for criticising the government. But some press titles and online outlets do report on corruption in official circles.
There were 41 million internet users by the end of 2013, out of a population of 94 million (


1859-83 - France slowly colonises Indochina.
1940 - Japan takes control of Indochina.
1945 - Ho Chi Minh proclaims independence and establishes the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
1946 - French seek to regain control. Anti-French resistance war - or the First Indochina War - spreads across country.
1954 - Vietnam is partitioned between North and South. Conflict between the two rival states rages for the next two decades, in what is known as the Vietnam War or the Second Indochina War. The US is heavily involved in support of the South.
1975 - Southern cities fall one by one until communist forces seize Saigon.
1976 - Vietnam is reunified as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Hundreds of thousands flee abroad, including many "boat people".
1979 - Vietnam invades Cambodia and ousts the Khmer Rouge regime of Pol Pot.

Read the full BBC News Story here... 

Image caption

Sunday, August 26, 2018

My world walk blog - Laos # 8 - Thank you Laos

Now I'm at the Laos/Vietnam border in the village of Nam Phao. I was caught by surprise as there is no hotel here. I could have found a field and pitched my tent. But hey crap, it's always raining at night and the fields are muddy and flooded.
Thanks to the nice immigration officers who are allowing me to sleep in a waiting area. I was a day ahead of my plan to arrive at the border. I allowed that day because of the possibility of bad weather and in the end, it wasn't too bad. I had to give an arrival date for my Vietnam visa. I hate the 'when will you' question but sometimes I have to transit through 'Whenistan' and confirm as the two most frequent questions in the other world seem to me to be... 'When and what time will you..'  lol 😂

 So, it's just as well that I took my rest day back in Lak Sao and not here as I initially planned. I couldn't have crossed early either as my visa for Vietnam doesn't kick in until tomorrow.

 I'm not sure what the man with the rifle was doing on the road 😂
Just like every other day people gave me a great welcome to just about every village. 
Thank you, Laos for a lovely time and lots of smiles. Here are the photos from today's 32-kilometre walk from Lak Sao.
Sitting at the border I got talking to a Laos environmental engineer who spoke decent English. He asked me why I'm doing this world walk. He though that perhaps I was looking for publicity for myself.  I explained about the cancer awareness message... I get many interview requests and turn most down. I wilk only do them if they can promote my message. Many people also ask me why I rarely feature in my photos.I say my world walk is not about me its about my messages and the people I meet. Perhaps you have to go back a hundred pictures to find one of me. Thats the way I want it. I dont do the ego thing, After breaking four world records in my competitive career I set out to run around the world and called that 50,000 km expedition 'the world ' Not many serious runners want to be called a  jogger. To me it was a bit of tongue in cheek and hoping that the average  Sunday  runners would be able to relate and join me. 
Back here at the border: But then he wanted to know a bit more about 'the why' so I said to him to take a look at today's Facebook posting, or any other day
That's why. This is not a collage of my eighteen days in the country.this is just today and there are many photos that didn't make the cut as Facebook only allows thirty photos per post. Yes, I left many more out. This surely, is the best way to see the world. I have a video of my comprehensive world walk route embedded in my mind. It was the same on my world run. From village to village and because I'm travelling in a slow mode of transport people view me in a non-threatening manner and reach out to me. They are curious, just look at their faces in the photos and especially the children. I'm curious too. This is the best fun anyone can have with their clothes on, believe me 😂
 It's almost as if every day is my birthday, I'm so thankful and grateful to be able to do this..And people listen to my early cancer screening message which I translate on Google Translate. 
There are so many people in the western world who are too busy and with so much money and no time for anything. I have all of the time in the world and little money. I never think of looking at the time of day when I take my phone out, or when I'm on my rest breaks, it's crazy! Time doesn't rule me. Who is happiest I asked.. I think he understood..
Even Buddhist monks who have dedicated their lives to a life of minimalist existence are ruled by the clock. They get up at five, bathe, collect food from their village folk and are back for breakfast at seven.

My world walk blog - Laos #7

I came across a sign on the road in a village called Khoun Kham and wondered what it was about. Thanks to Chris Seymour for the following explanation. 
"Australian Embassy thanks Ban Khoun Kham for rescuing Australian tourist lost in jungle
The Australian Ambassador handed over more than 15,000,000 kip to the Hinboun Tourist Office, in Khammoune province to thank the local community for rescuing an Australian tourist, Hayden Adcock, after he was lost in the forests of Ban Khoun Kham for 11 days. 

The Hinboun Tourist Office will use the 15,000,000 kip grant, provided by the Australian Embassy’s Direct Aid Program (DAP) to develop and erect signs at several tourist sites in Ban Khoun Kham, including the Tad Sanam waterfall where the Australian tourist was lost. 

During the handover, the Australian Ambassador, Dr Michele Forster, said “In such a beautiful area as this, eco-tourism offers great opportunities for economic development and poverty eradication. I was very pleased to hear that some of the people who were involved in Mr Adcock’s rescue have already volunteered to become local tour guides and that the skills of all guides are being upgraded through training. This will further encourage tourists to enjoy the natural beauty of this village, with the benefit of villagers’ local knowledge – and in safety. Guides, tourists, the tourism office, Ban Khoun Kham and the district as a whole stands to benefit from this program”. 

Head of the Hinboun Tourist Office, Mr Keoyotkham said, “I promise that my staff and I will use this grant to promote safe and enjoyable tours in Ban Khoun Kham as well as all over Hinboun district. We will put clear signs, in Lao and English languages at several tourist places to make sure that visitors will not get lost in the future”. 

Australian Ambassador also took the opportunity to thank the villagers for their efforts in searching for Mr Adcock, “Today I want also to thank you all for your energetic contributions to local search efforts in the first several days of Mr Adcock’s disappearance. It was very pleasing to hear of the considerable efforts at village, district and provincial levels to locate him – and to ensure relevant ministries at the central level were informed”. 

The handover ceremony was attended by the Hinboun District Governor, Thongkhoun Manivanh, Khoun Kham village head, president of the Khoun Kham’s Lao Women’s Union, villagers and students on 2 October 2008. 

The Australian Ambassador also visited Khammoune Governor, Mr Khambai Damlad, to express special thanks to him and his staff, the district and the village for the considerable assistance provided to the Australian Embassy during the search and rescue – in the village, in the air and in the forest."

Thanks also to Shannon Pipkins for digging out this newspaper article. 

My world walk blog - Laos #6

One 38-kilometre day and I walked most of it in the rain. After only a few hundred metres I left route 13 which hugs the Thai border. I had been walking on it for a week. Turning left I was now walking east on route 8 and into some sawtooth-like mountains. Villages were much further apart. The road was worse, so I only made two rest stops. There wasn't much food at those places either, so a bunch of bananas is always a good idea.
I finished an hour after sundown and it wasn't much fun trying to keep control of Karma on the steep descent which lasted about five-kilometres. That took me to a really nice guest house called Aomsim, six Euro for a lovely big room and a double bed. Out of the rain. Let's hope tomorrow is a dry day. 94 kilometres to Cau Treo, Vietnam.

Another rainy day and with so many stops it was hard to get into my stride. 27km and I found a pretty crappy guesthouse but just to get out of the rain its like a palace. 
On the way, a shepherd was taking his cows back home after a days grazing. They were just in front of me, so I helped out.

Crossing over a bridge I noticed a few so-called bomb boats, which are made out of huge missile-shaped drop tanks that carried fuel for jets operating overhead during the Vietnam war. These boats are now used for tourist canoe type trips on the river.  As I mentioned last week that Laos was bombed by the Americans over a nine-year period, an average of eight bombloads per minute. 

My world walk blog Laos #5

33-kilometres took me to Phonsi. That was day 699 and 24,437 kilometres have now been walked in almost two-and-a-half years walking.

The day was pretty much the same as other days in Laos. I walked through about eight villages for they are only about three or four kilometres apart. It's pretty depressing to see so much poverty and even signs of recent floods where even fields are flooded. I walked past so many houses where gardens were flooded and the water in some cases was only a metre from floor level. What's so evident to me are the huge smiles as people still continue to greet and wave vigorously at me.

Aug 21 was road day 700 and it was a pleasant ramble from Phonsi to Vieng Kham. 24,469 kilometres have now been walked. 
After a sleepless night I was tired on the road and despite my 7:30 am start I only covered 32-kilometres. Four similar distance days should get me to the Vietnam border (132 kilometres away) on Saturday. So, I will probably take a rest day there on Sunday as I committed myself to cross over on Monday on my Vietnam E-Visa. 
Today, I stopped for breakfast in one village and had three boiled eggs served on a skewer.
 Lumpy rice, chicken and coffee finished it off for me. I haven't had much luck ordering food here and almost always seem to end up with something spicy for just like in Thailand the food is extremely spicy. 
In another village four generations of the same family greeted me. The young child was wearing an interesting Buddha medal, please see photo. I had stopped for a white bread ice cream sandwich. I kid you not, they sell that here. 
As in other poor Asian countries and in much of Latin America small grocery stores sell petrol out of plastic soft drink bottles to motorcycle riders. Obviously, safety for its storage is not as much an issue as in the western world and also the same for vehicle security. Despite so many debilitated some home-made trailers which are often tied onto bikes and other vehicles I almost never see an accident. Many years ago a police officer described the dilemma for many of these governments. He said that if safety laws were to be vigorously enforced, as in somewhere like Australia. Well, that would prevent a lot of people from working as many people need to get to places to trade. Many people just don't have money to buy stuff like crash helmets and often a school run with two or three children is on one of these bikes. As someone said to me that if a parent rode with a minor on a motorbike that they would probably go to jail and have their children taken off them.
Perhaps the most dangerous thing I have seen was in India where a man was putting self-tap screws to hold his truck tyre together! There must have been at least a hundred screws. 
India aside, strangely, I rarely see an accident in these countries.  
Please remember my message that life is precious and early cancer screening saves lives.

My world walk blog - Laos #4

Just as well I'm not superstitious, I checked into a hotel near Phonxay and was given a strange room number, 666!
It a beautiful hotel and I paid way above and twice my usual budget. Let's just say, I wasn't happy about the place I stayed in the previous two nights. It was crawling with ants that even got up on my bed and even after I changed rooms it was the same, I'm easy to please, but hey not when I took a rest day.

Then a 27-kilometres day in which I walked some of it in the rain. It's the rainy season and to me, the Mekong river looked pretty high. Recently there was a flood disaster when walls of a dam under construction in the south-east of the country broke down. Dozens of people lost their lives and homes.

I was now in Bolixhamsai province. I walked past roadside hawkers who were etching out a meagre living by selling fruit and vegetables out of shanty constructions.
Despite severe poverty people still, have big smiles and families continued to come out to the road to greet me. Occasionally, I get offered some food but I always refuse it as I can afford my own food here. I always waved and smiled and then they smiled and waved and often laughed back. It seemed to make their day. I love people. It may seem to some people that what I'm doing makes me somewhat of a loner, far from it. I need my 'people drug.' 

 During the Vietnam war, America dropped an average of eights planeloads of bombs a minute over a period of nine years over Laos.
The Americans have also spent hundreds of millions of dollars on unexploded bomb (UXO - Unexploded object) cleanups. Laos is the most bombed country in world history. People are still being maimed and especially children who are attracted to unexploded devices which sometimes look like colourful toys. 
Why did America do this I wondered. Is Trump really the first crazy American president or will he be the first to make peace with North Korea? How many bombs will he drop? Yes, I know he is an idiot but most politicians are.

My world walk blog - Laos 3

Another day I walked 32-kilometres and it threatened to rain all day, but it didn't. It ended up being slightly overcast and was pretty much ideal walking conditions. Near Nongkeun and a half-hour before dusk, I got to a remote restaurant with a long covered deck which must be over 100-metres long. Should I push on and look for somewhere to stay? Unsurprisingly my tummy won out and I figured there was a decent chance that I would be allowed to camp there.
After I finished my dinner the owner whose name sounds like Ham Pie said that I could pitch my pop-up tent on a large bed/table. That was a stroke of luck as just then the weather which kindly held out for me broke, it rained torrentially, and lasted all night long.
I wanted to sing, so I grabbed a pen and soon it was my microphone. I pretended I understood the Lao karaoke script! 😂
Then a microphone was tossed in my direction and I have no idea what kind of crap was coming out of my mouth 😂 Hey, Lao rock stars make some great music. And as we know music is the language that everyone understands and we are having great fun. I miss live music so much 😓
Just as I was getting ready to go the waitress pulls up a picture of me from my world walk page and I have no idea how she knew as I never said anything about it! 
Oh and that day I walked 31-kilometres to get to near Pakxan and the Suvanthong guesthouse. After a scrub up I plunked myself in the adjoining karaoke bar. Most of that day's effort was in the rain. Six-Euro a night which was discounted to five, I planned a rest day the following day as I had a big chaffing issue going on. I needed to find a big tin of Vaseline. This always happens to me with serious humidity. 
My Vietnam E-visa was being processed at that moment. I applied only that night and there is a Vietnamese holiday weekend coming up, but I should still be okay. I had to download a selfie passport photo, so the process was interrupted for a shower, a shave and a change of clothes!
 I planned to cross at Cau Treo border post on the 27th August. That was about 225-kilometres away. It's a 30-day visa, so that will be a nice ramble on up to Mong Kai and cross into the Peoples Republic. Slow boot to China, part-two, a further 625-kilometres away. Last time I walked through the middle of.China. From Mongolia to Vietnam. This time I will meet up with my old route and continue on towards Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan.
Earlier that day, I walked down to the Indochina market. I sat down for a chat and ate a sandwich and drank a coffee at a stall where a camera-shy woman told me that she is married to a Canadian man. They met twenty-five years ago and have three children aged 21, 17 and 6-years old. He is in Canada now and she prefers to sell snacks here at the side of the road rather  than to battle cold Canadian winters.

My world walk blog - Laos - 2

Laos National Route 13 snakes its way along the Mekong river and for much of the way it parallels the Thai border. It passes through vibrant villages which are dotted not too far from the river. 
I walked past open doors of one room houses and shops that reveal shady interiors where people and dogs sometimes rest from the heat. Most days were around 33C and with high humidity. 
The hard-shoulders white line has long since faded which effectively widens the road for motorists and narrows it for me. Despite its dilapidated state and with so many potholes this default makes the roads wider than most Australian and New Zealand roads. I walked along it and towards the traffic and around deep puddles from the days of frequent rain. Many times I had to push Karma well off it and towards a ditch to let impatient drivers pass. As in Thailand, it's not uncommon to see young children riding motorcycles and if there is a helmet law it's not enforced.
  Occasionally, some chickens clucked along and dazed cows sometimes walked in search of fresh pasture. It seems that councils don't waste money on grass trimming, why worry when there are so many shepherds ready to take their stock to the long grass. 

 At the end of my 29-kilometre day, I came to a building under construction. There didn't appear to be anyone protecting it and as there was sufficient shelter from the road I decided to pitch my pop-up tent inside on a dusty tile floor. I was thankful that I had bought an extra sandwich at an earlier break stop. Such extras never go to waste. 

Next morning out on the road I enjoyed a lot of banter with the children. They get so much fun listening to me and repeating such phrases as "Hello, hello, hello!" 
Unfortunately, many young children also smoke cigarettes and perhaps this is because the cost of a packet of ten is no more expensive than a Coco-Cola.
That day I walked steadily and after 36-kilometres came to a village just south of Saysavan. It had a cheap guest house and I stopped for the night. Unlike in Thailand, one good thing about Laos is that such places are easily identified as signs are in English as well as the Lao language.

My world walk blog - Laos 1

I crossed into Laos on a thirty-day  US$35 visa on arrival. So, I have plenty of time to walk across the country. I was in no rush as it was pretty hot at that time. Time to play the clock down and hopefully towards a cooler September. I planned to walk from west to east and cross into Vietnam which is 368 kilometres away. 
Vietnam offers an e-visa, meaning I just apply online and get a confirmation by email three-days later. I present this at the border and my passport is stamped. However, on the Vietnamese e-visa application form, they ask for my proposed entry date, which I didn't know then. If I arrived after my proposed date that would it be days off my 30-day visa and I didn't want to lose any of my thirty-days as Vietnam will be circa 650 kilometres. That's almost identical to my route across Thailand and I had to keep an eye on the clock there. Currently, I'm walking about 200 kilometres a week. I can walk much more if need be, but why bother! 
Anyway, I'm just thinking out loud. Normally, I have to plan two or three countries ahead. 
Thanks to Tina King-Garde and Scott Richards who normally update this Myworldwalk Facebook page and also to Scott who updates the website.

So Vientiane with a population of around 900,000 is the capital and the largest city of Laos, on the banks of the Mekong Vientiane the border with Thailand. Vientiane became the capital in 1563 due to fears of a Burmese invasion but was later looted then razed to the ground in 1827 by the Siamese. Vientiane was the administrative capital during French rule and, due to economic growth in recent times, is now the economic centre of Laos.
That first night I made it to a backpackers hostel and stayed for four nights. I had a problem with my atm card as my bank had issued me another one six months prematurely. I was grateful to my sister Ann who sent it by DHL courier and it arrived here in the hostel in less than 48-hours. One of my biggest advice to people who want to do stuff like I'm doing is to get as many bank cards as possible and to put a trusted family member or friends name on your account so as they can deal with any hassles. I would be lost without my dear sister 😂

That Monday after a late start I walked 24-kilometres out of the capital and I found a cheap hotel in Ban Khoksivilai village and stopped a bit early. It was back to work for me after my three day holiday weekend!
Nothing strange that day, just another bog-standard day, Oh! I did see a lime-green and grey snake that was over a metre long. 

Laos country profile

Laos country profile - BBC News

Laos country profile

24 July 2018

Landlocked Laos is one of the world's few remaining communist states and one of East Asia's poorest.
A French colony until the 1953, the power struggle which ensued between royalists and the communist group Pathet Lao also saw the country caught up in the Vietnam War. Communist forces overthrew the monarchy in 1975, heralding years of isolation.
After the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, Laos began opening up to the world. But despite economic reforms, the country remains poor and heavily dependent on foreign aid.
Most Laotians live in rural areas, with around 80% working in agriculture mostly growing rice. The state has made no secret of its huge hydropower ambitions and its desire to become the "battery" of Southeast Asia.
The government anticipates that by 2025 hydropower will become the country's biggest source of revenue. But neighbours Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia have raised concerns about the environmental impact of its dam building projects along the Mekong River

Read the rest of the article here...