Savannakhet To Pakse – The Not So Easy Way

I only stayed in Savannakhet for 1 rest day and deicded to have a longer rest in Pakse, I assumed Pakse would be a 3 or 4 day ride. I turned out to be very wrong, the first day of riding was pleasant, quite cool and scenic.

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I woke the next day with a slight headache which got more painful as the morning went on, I only managed 23kms before checking into a guesthouse. By this time I had also developed fever-like symptoms: a hot head, cold body, cold sweats and difficulty breathing. I tried sleeping it off, ate some noodles and took some panadol.

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Long story short, I stayed at this guesthouse in the middle of nowhere for 2 nights with very little sleep and no relief from my illness. On the the third day the guesthouse owner managed to get a bus to take me to Pakse, I then went straight to the Pakse Royal Hospital.

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I spent 2 hours at the hospital, blood tests ruled out Malaria or Dengue then they sent me away, despite the fact that I could barely move. I was completely drained of energy and hadn’t slept for days, they told me I had a cold and gave me a panadol. I checked in to a guest house and plan to stay here until I am fighting fit.

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I suspect that the reason for my illness and fatigue is poor nutrition. It has been difficult finding enough healthy, energetic food in the very samll towns. Strangely, most guesthouses are 5km from town so there are no restaurants or cafes and as I have learnt 3 bowls of noodles do not provide enough nutrients for a cyclist.

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The ladies selling chicken on a stick above, can only be found near tourist attractions, usually famous temples. I will try to stock up on muesli or porridge here in Pakse, other cyclists swear by them but they aren’t easy to find. Also, I need to eat more fruit and buy more multivitamins.

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Anyone have any advice for improving my energy levels? Rememeber, I am not in the west and cannot just run down to the local supermarket. Any advice is appreciated.

Lee Fritze

By Lee Fritze

I'm an expat with the opportunity to travel. I use this blog to share my thoughts on the places I visit and to keep in touch with family, friends and travellers I meet.


  1. peanuts and sunflower seeds. easy to find, carry and loads of energy. Good luck mate, don’t kill yourself!

  2. Are you staying hydrated, Lee? You should be drinking huge amounts of water as you ride. I’ve always taken vitamin supplements here in Vietnam. I take some multivitamin, vitamin c, garlic, aspirin and iron daily. Eat lots of yogurt if you can too. It kills stomach bacteria. I think your body is just telling you it needs some rest. What you’re doing these days is so different from what you had been doing for a long time back in Danang, and it’s probably stressed your system some. Good luck,Lee. Stay safe and well.


  3. When we were cycling through southern Laos, we noticed that most food was sold in the morning. So we would try to eat a bigger than normal breakfast (it is the most important meal of the day they say) then buy any portable food we could. Once we realized that we should stock up in the morning, we had less grouchy, “Where’s a soup stall?” moments. Also, if you do a home stay, they feed you really well. That’s where we had our most veggie-laden meals. Good luck on your recovery!

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