Bangkok to Southern Laos

Discussion in 'Laos Road Trip Reports' started by Phantom200, Jul 8, 2009.

  1. Phantom200

    Phantom200 Member

    My name is Shawn. I currently work in Bangkok. I had a week off so I shot over to Si Phan Don "Four Thousand Islands" in southern Laos and then back again.

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    I approached the border at Chong Mek expecting a confrontation with customs. I was pleasantly surprised. I had NO bike passport for my Thai registered Honda (no ITP). I presented written permission signed by the owner and an English translation - non-certified translation. My wonderful wife wrote out these two documents. I also presented the green registration book with copies as well. I presented my passport with copies. This is all. The customs asked for an ITP but I told them I couldn't get one in Bangkok or in Ubon Ratchathani. The crossing was undertaken at around 10:30AM on Tuesday the 30th of June 2009. The customs guard's first name was Siripol. He accepted my excuses and processed the documents himself.

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    I processed a quick Laos tourist visa but mistakenly blew right through Laos customs. Luckily, I didn't have to pay for this mistake when I came back through on the return trip.

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    Taking a break on the way to Pakse.
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    Crossing the Mekhong to Pakse.
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    Route 13 is as good as it got here in the South. It was on par with any roads I found in Thailand. It is pretty straight, not to mention hot, all the way from Pakse down to the Islands.

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    Took the ferry over to Don Khong - the largest island. TIP: There are two ferry crossings. Take the southern most crossing at Ban Hat. I was quoted 30,000 kip at the northern crossing and only 5,000 at Ban Hat. I set up camp on the Eastern side of the Island and found a great guest house for 50,000 kip. Here is a pic of the western side at a noodle shop.
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    Here is another shot of the same noodle shop in Muong Saen. The locals were quite friendly and had a lot of questions about the bike and myself. I really enjoyed my conversation with them.
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    Some Laotian children.
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    Continuing my circuit of Don Khong lsland.
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    Took a boat tour of Don Det and Don khon islands further south.
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    Old locomotive left behind by the French on Don khon island. I read they had installed a railway to transport teak logs.
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    Shots of the locals living on Don Khon island. Fantastic people!
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    Crossed from Don Khong island to the mainland and began the return trip home.
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    Stopped for a coke and met a nice family. The little girl's name is Tookta. I can't remember the boy's name. I spoke with Grandma. She said their mother was working in Bangkok and she was taking care of them.
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    Crossed the Mekhong river again to get to Chompasak. This is a motorcycle ferry. It took myself and two other bikes across.
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    Found a guest house in Chompasak and departed early the next morning for Wat Phu temple. I stopped briefly to get a shot of these monks.
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    Nearing Wat Phu temple.
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    Wat Phu was definately worth a look. It is a Khymer style temple.
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    Photos of Wat Phu temple.
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    Let's get the Propaganda shot in too.
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    Heading back to Pakse. Had to make one last river crossing. Ahhh! No worries though. I was hoping to find a firm path through to Vang Tao but was told twice that the route had been cut.
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    Back in Thailand. Having a cup of coffee.
     
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  3. Dougal

    Dougal Ol'Timer

    Hey Phantom that's a great first post!!

    Great report and photos. Looks like you had a great time. Thanks.
     
  4. Rhodie

    Rhodie Ol'Timer

    Congratulations on a great trip - especially that long, long haul from BKK to Pakse on a Phantom!
    The islands are great and Bangkok Airways now have a weekly flight to Paskse,
    if you want your Teelak to join you.
    The ITP for bikes is still a moot question,
    depending which border crossing you make.
    Planning to exit there myself in August.
     
  5. Marco

    Marco Ol'Timer

    Hi Shawn

    Nice to see you on the road,, when you passed Ubon,, why you didnt drop me a line and we could have a coffee or soemthing less stronger.
    Dougal know that i only drink non alcoholic beverages...

    nice trip and clad to hear that border formalities for bikes in chong mek are so easy
     
  6. Moto-Rex

    Moto-Rex Ol'Timer

    Great report Shawn.

    I havent been to the islands down south yet, your photos make it look like a good place to check out.
    Thanks for the tips on the ferrys.

    Cheers Rex
     
  7. Phantom200

    Phantom200 Member

    Marco,

    Do you know Andrew over there at Peppers Bakery in Ubon? I believe he made a call to you while I was at the Bakery. Well, it's nice to meet you and I'll catch up with you on my next trip to Ubon.

    Shawn
     
  8. Phantom200

    Phantom200 Member

    hello Captain Slash,

    For the money, the Phantom is a decent choice. I get about 320 km on a tank of gas and I've had no problems with it after 19,000 kilometers. OEM parts are cheap and readily available. The handling is decent. There are a few drawbacks, however.
    • The power isn't there.
    • I have to take breaks every 45 to 55 kilometers because my but hurts too. - this could be me and not the bike...
    • the quailty out of the factory is horrible. e.g., rust and corrosion after only a few months.
    • no kickstand ignition cutoff safety feature
    • no RPM gauge
    • no oil warning lamp
    • NO RESETABLE ODOMETER
    • The guage console is on the tank. I have to bend my head down to see it and it deters me from using a tank bag
    Overall it's a good deal. I bought it to travel around Thailand and it does just that. I've been to the North and have made a few circuits of the Northeast. The next trip will probably be down South.

    cheers
    Shawn
     
  9. Marco

    Marco Ol'Timer

    Shawn

    Ok ok you the man,, yes i know Andy very well,, droping to Peppers every time im in the town,,,

    So i can see that my "online" consultation helped you,,,
    and you had nice trip i can see

    Please drop by any time and give me a bell when you are heading this way
     
  10. Phantom200

    Phantom200 Member

    Captain Slash,

    Thanks for the link. The airhawk looks like the solution to my seat problem.

    Shawn
     
  11. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Awesome report! Thanks for sharing!
    Happy Trails,
    Tony
     
  12. blackb15

    blackb15 Ol'Timer

    Really intesting report,how long did it take you to get to Laos from BK ? is it very difficult driving out of BK ,and whats the bike hire like in BK .I hired at Chaing Mai last year that was no problem and good trip but want to go to Laos this year.

    Thanks
    safe riding

    paul
     
  13. Phantom200

    Phantom200 Member

    The ride from BKK to Chong Mek was 2 full days plus a half-morning ride to the border from Ubon. So about 2.3 days.

    The best part of driving out of BKK is being out of BKK. I guess it would depend on where you start from to accurately answer your question about driving out of BKK. I live in the northern suburbs and it is relatively simple to exit the city. My feelings are: The farther from Bangkok, the more enjoyable and easier the trip is.

    I can't give any details about hiring a bike in BKK because I've never done it.
    -Shawn
     
  14. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    Hi,
    If you don't have much time and want to avoid the boring highways.
    You can buy the cheapest train ticket. Put your bike on the train, head back to work.
    Take an air Asia flight to ubon. Have a dinner and beer and pick your bike up at 6 am when the train arrives.

    We have done this to CM a few times. The first class sleepers are fun for a few times then a bit boring and you don't sleep well.

    I never was asked for ITP for the bike at this crossing. The Thai customs officer told me that if Laos ask u for ITP. Tell them that is the green book.

    Cheers
    Brian
     

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