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Journey to the Source of the Mekong (1999)

This was an epic journey in which we (Ian Gardener and Justin Wateridge) travelled the length of the Mekong River, from its mouth in Vietnam through Cambodia, Laos and China to its source, 4,500 kilometres away in the Tibetan plateau. To our knowledge such a journey had never been successfully completed, certainly never by bicycle. The last to try was a Frenchman, Henri Mohout, in the nineteenth century - he died of malaria in Northern Laos, half way through his journey.

Travelling by bicycle gave us humility and independence, both of which were essential for touching the landscape and its people. It allowed us to connect with people and achieve some unique results.

The below chapters are intended to give some idea of the exhilarations and frustrations of our physical progress: the sapping heat and humidity, the tension of the war-torn Cambodia, infuriating officialdom, the pain of struggling over 5,000 metre mountain passes, hazardous landslides, bombardment by golfball size hailstones, illicit entry into Tibet....and subsequent detention and deportation. I hope that the text does some justice to the diversity of culture and range of experiences that we encountered.

The journey was also used to raise money for Motivation. Motivation is the only charitable organisation in the world dealing both with the comprehensive provision of suitable wheelchairs and the associated training and education that must accompany their distribution if an individual is to achieve his or her maximum potential.

Chapter 1 - Vietnam
Chapter 2 - Cambodia
Chapter 3 - Detour through Vietnam
Chapter 4 - Southern Laos
Chapter 5 - Vientiane to Luang Prabang
Chapter 6 - Northern Laos
Chapter 7 - Southern Yunnan
Chapter 8 - Northern Yunnan
Chapter 9 - Approaching Tibet
Chapter 10 - Tibet
Chapter 11 - The End is Nigh


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