A Cool Laos Ride. Salavan - Pajudone - Dong - Xepon - Plin - Xethamouak - Vilabury.

Discussion in 'Laos Road Trip Reports' started by Moto-Rex, Jun 25, 2014.

  1. Moto-Rex

    Moto-Rex Ol'Timer

    The way; Salavan - Pajudone - Dong - Xepon - Plin - Xethamouak - Vilabury.

    This was a two day ride from Salavan to Vilabury, staying one night in Plin.
    Great ride with everything from F1 track quality Tarmac, to tight first gear trails with vegetation so thick its like riding in a cave.
    There’s also some interesting sites which include sections of the Ho Chi Minh Trail that have been fenced off in order to preserve the trail as it was, when used during the Vietnamese war.

    This ride is shown in blue on the map below, the red line is another way to get to Plin from Salavan, which is dirt all the way, and a ride I did 2 years ago. You could make a good loop out of these two tracks.

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    The Salavan to Plin ride report (red Line) which I completed 2 years ago, which is a ripper dirt ride.
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/35675-Ride-from-Salavan-to-Plin

    I awoke from my Salavan slumber at the salubrious Phonxay Hotel refreshed and ready for the days ride ahead.
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    After picking up some food, and restocking the Camelback for the journey, I rolled into the local gas station, where two happy attendants fuelled up the KLX,…which as you see, is a stylish, yet practical motorcycle, equally at home on the sheik boulevards of Paris, or the dusty trails of Laos.
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    The first part of the ride out of Salavan to Pajudone was on the Tarmac. I usually try and avoid the hard grey surface, but in this case I wanted to check it out, as I hadn’t ridden it before.
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    Just north of Salavan, and what looks to be a fairly new bridge next to one that’s had its day.
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    From this point its only a few Kilometres down stream to the Bombed Bridges shown in the Salavan to Plin ride report.
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    After a nice twisty tarmac ride, I arrived at the turn off at Pajudone, and from there its dirt all the way to Dong
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    A few Kilometres from Pajudone I came to this rocky river crossing.
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    The far side of the river crossing was fairly deep, so I took the 5000 kip toll bridge.
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    Just after the river crossing the track narrowed, and riding was great.
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    And it got even better.
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    This is the first village I came too after the river, and it was one of those villages that looks really poor.
    If you ever think of riding this track, grab a blanket, or you’re a couple warm tops for the kids before you leave Salavan. It will only cost the price of a few beers.
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    The Pajudone/Dong super highway.
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    After riding past a few more very small villages, the jungle closed in.
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    It doesn’t get much better,..nice narrow trail, with plenty of cover, on a cool sunny day.
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    Great lush jungle,..with a lot of first gear riding on steep narrow rocky gully’s, with little river crossings that were like small oasis’s. There was one section where it was like riding in a cave that went for a few Kilometres…..Great stuff.
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    Selfie Time...Rex in the mist…I look like a spaceman. Any wonder some of the villagers run for the hills when I ride into town.

    Me in my natural habitat.
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    A day riding the back blocks of Laos….beats working.
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    The KLX and the trail ahead. From this bridge there were tracks going everywhere, so I just kept following the one that seemed the most used.
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    A few huts with the standard bomb shell supports.
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    The track began to open up a little when I came to this crossway, which was a great spot for lunch.
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    I ventured on.
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    One of those classic Laos bridges.
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    The track now had become a road, and no doubt the road workers must have had the safety of the motorcycling public in mind when they planted a stick with a plastic bag to make you aware of danger that lay ahead.
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    Imagine this in the wet season.
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    I had seen these small fences that followed the maim road a few times, and had always wondered what they were.
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    Fortunately this time there was a sign to explain what it was all about.
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    The sign says it all.
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    Definitely not the trail to be riding on around 45 years ago.
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    A few kilometres from Dong and hwy 9E, you come to this beautiful old suspension bridge.
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    And right next to it is a new bridge under construction. It looks to me that there’s going to be a new road that will go from Dong to somewhere near Oi Ta
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    Once I hit hwy 9E, I rode the hwy to Plin where I stayed the night.
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    Next morning before heading off from Plim to Vilabury, I had a quick look around the town.

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    After taking a few photos, I rode west to what I think was the bustling town of Xethamouak, where after a few wrong turns, I finally found a track that looked like it was heading towards Vilabury.
    When all else fails…follow the goats.
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    Cool stuff…Little tackers out having a ball, fishing rods in hand, and not a care in the world.
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    An early morning river crossing to wash the dust off.
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    This track is a ripper. Cruzy ride with plenty of villages, with a few river crossings.
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    This was another great ride, but as Ive said before,…its all good.

    The next day I rode out and back from Vilabury to the Vietnamese border on the Ho Chi minh trail before heading further north.

    Ho Chi Minh trail report.
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/39588-Riding-the-Ho-Chi-Minh-Trail-North-East-out-of-Vilabury-Laos

    Moto-Rex.
     
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  3. mgeepers

    mgeepers Active Member

    Thanks Moto-Rex yet another fantastic report wish I was there.
    MG
     
  4. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer Staff Member

    Another ripper report Rex to accompany excellent photo's.
    Almost feel like I am there riding with you mate.

    This will be a must do next time over that way.. Looks a ripper track.

    Cheers
    Brian
     
  5. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    Very Nice. I Love those sort of Trails in the Dry but not fond of Riding them in the Wet Season!
     
  6. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Awesome ride & report Rex. It's amazing how quickly Lao is changing eh; & I reckon for those of us able to ride it the last few years it has been a privilege & see these incredible changes powering on at a frantic pace. We are so lucky - enjoy it while you can guys, & as soon as you can.
    Another new development out there from Pachoudon, that you passed through.

    I really liked these couple of pics, for me showing how good simple life it is out there.

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    Thanks again for the report. If you've got anymore....:wink:
     
  7. Moto-Rex

    Moto-Rex Ol'Timer

    Your right David, things are certainly changing in a hurry.

    The flash new sign, to go with the flash new road, that goes to Lalay, and the Veitmanisse border
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  8. Moto-Rex

    Moto-Rex Ol'Timer

    Xe Bang Nouan - Toumian Road update.

    One more road that anyone riding in this area maybe interested in, is the road that runs east from HWY13 at Xe Bang Nouan to Toumian (shown on Gt-Rider Map) From Toumian you can ride south to Salavan on the dirt track that passes the Bombed Bridges 14kms north of Salavan, a must see for anyone in the area. Riding North from Toumain will take you to Plin.
    You can also go a further 15km east out of Toumain to the main Salavan-Lalay border crossing road.

    I rode this road/track 2 years ago, so it maybe tar now for all I know….I hope not.

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    Nice easy riding with great scenery. Those clouds were getting blacker by the second.
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    At the time, the track was in pretty good condition, and any bike would do without much trouble. But in the wet I would say you would definitely need a trail bike, or a Honda dream.
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    The track east out of Toumain was great till the rain started. From that moment it was like riding on ice.
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    I took this photo about 20 seconds before it poured big time. I didn’t mind the rain, but the lightening I could have done without.
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    I stopped to get some shelter, not from the rain, but from the lightening, Id never seen anything like it.
    The whole jungle was lit up like a Christmas tree.
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    I decided that the tin shed I was sheltering under may attract the bolts of lightening, so I jumped on the bike, as my thinking was, it would be harder to get zapped while moving than being surrounded by metal.
    About 300 metres up the track I came to this bridge. All steel, and out in the open. What should I do,..the old mini bike days saying was "when in doubt..go flat out", and that’s what I did.
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    I make it to Salavan without being Barbequed, but my nerves were in need of a beer Lao injection.

    Although this update is a little out of date, I hope its of help to others.

    Good days ride.
     
  9. Marco.

    Marco. Member

    I hijack a little bit that thread. It looked nice so i tried to make the same but ... get some problem. So it's bit different (made some days ago), short version of story.
    Here's the gps trace :

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    The bridge, still under construction but going good :

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    There is a lot of sign for POI. But there is too much different roads and no much sign. So i loose the direction avec 3-4 turn and that bridge called me.

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    Inside national park, get lot of problem to find my direction, too much track/way to go. Local people tried to explain, but at the end, get tired, thursty and too much deshydrated so i drop off motorbike, and hopefully find a camp for the night.

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    There is a lot of different track, going everywhere and only one going to salavan. It was impossible to find it alone, because a crossing is like 20m of a lot of vegetation, more less looking like a track. Without local man show me the way, i think i should be already inside :-?
     
  10. Javawa

    Javawa Guest

    Hmm, thought I replied to your post but it appears to have disappeared but anyway, this must have been quite an adventure going through the Dong Phouvieng National Park. Looking at your track, it looks like that right after crossing the Xe Lanong river at Nong (did you ride over the long bamboo bridge?) you headed south-west instead of south (to Ta-Oi) as your picture of the track shows that you ended up near road 23 probably near Toumlan. Would you be willing to post the track here so that others can see where you went and be able to do the same trip?
     
  11. Marco.

    Marco. Member

    Its not exactly the same, i go more inside the green part of google maps. I cross the bridge (10K) going south. I used OSM and the track is ok to the next village then after there is nothing. (a track is going on west, but seems its wrong or not updated). For the GPS, its on OSM, will add the road today or tomorrow.
     
  12. Javawa

    Javawa Guest

    OK, thanks and look forward seeing the track in the OSM map
     
  13. Marco.

    Marco. Member

    Pay me a beer and you will get the direct link ;)
     
  14. Javawa

    Javawa Guest

    555555, no problem and I'll buy you a beer or two next time we meet in Laos which for me will be next week or so but this time in the Phongsali area as last week I was in the Ban Nong to Ta-Oy area and from there to Sekong and Attapeu
     

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