Central Laos Five Day Tour

Discussion in 'Laos Road Trip Reports' started by Cbr2500r, May 7, 2014.

  1. Cbr2500r

    Cbr2500r Member

    Hello everyone, this is my first post on Gt-rider. Last week my Thai girlfriend and I loaded up my cbr250 and made a trip to central Laos, starting in Roi-Et Thailand. I had read that you can only go across a Friendship Bridge if you are coming back into Thailand, so we chose the Tha Li border crossing in Loei as our entrance point.
    We set off shortly after dawn (as we usually do) and reached the border at about 1:30 pm. Our experience at the border wasn't very pleasant, but we did get across. First of all, I had stopped at a bank on the way to change thai baht to american dollars. Unfortunately the bank only had 100 dollar bill notes so I just got one fresh, crisp 100 dollar bill. When I tried to use this to buy my visa they didn't have change (of course) and wanted me to pay 1400 baht instead. Luckily I was able to talk them down to 1200 baht. Score one for me. I also had to pay a 40 baht processing fee, and was then directed to customs. I had to pay 200 baht for a customs form, which when i looked closely at it after, was meant for "jeeps, trucks and saloons" and not motorcycle. It was also supposed to be 25000 kip, which is more like 100 baht.Score one for them. I was pissed about this, but in the end this document sort of came in handy, but i'll get to that later. Some of the border officials were really rude, and the Thai's trying to get across with border passes didn't know how to wait in line. Big surprise.
    Well, we got across the border and headed up route 4 towards Luang Prabang. When it got dark we stopped in some little village about 80 km south of Xayaboury. Total distance covered on May 2nd: 557 km! :)
    The next morning, May3rd, we set off for Luang Prabang. The roads and weather up until this had been fantastic. I was expecting we would have to take a ferry to cross the river at Tha Deua, but instead we crossed a glorious bridge with a spectacular view. After this it started to drizzle but we pressed on. We reached Luang Prabang around noon, found a guesthouse, and then set off to see Khouangxi Falls. I've seen a lot of waterfalls in my life, but i've got to say this was the prettiest.
    [​IMG]
    Then I noticed that my license plate was missing! I don't know where or how it fell off, but it looked like it had come off violently.
    The next day we drove to Phonsavan through beautiful misty mountains. About 10 km outside the city I saw a sign for the Plain of Jars Quarry, and not knowing what to expect, impulsively drove 7 km off route 7 to get there. I was expecting a quarry, but it turned out to be a hiking trail up a steep mountain. We were hungry and thirsty so the steep climb was not exactly pleasant. A sign at the bottom said "1200 m trail", and that didn't sound so bad. But I think that instead of distance, that may have meant ASCENT. My girlfriend didn't make it to the top, but I did and the view was nice.

    In Phonsavan we visited an information center about the US bombings during the 1960s-1970s. The fact that sticks out in my mind is that the U.S. dropped a planeload of bombs every 8 minutes for 9 years straight.

    On May 4th we visited site 1 of the Plain of Jars. Here is Noodaeng with a lidded jar.

    [​IMG]

    We left Phonsavan about 10 am and headed towards Konglor. We turned south on 1D at Muang Koun and took a right to head south again at Khonsana, as this is what Google maps told us to do. This is where we encountered our first real bad stretch of road. For about 20 km it alternated between washed out stones and dust, and patches of pavement. Thankfully the CBR handled it alright, and soon enough we were back on decent pavement.
    In the town of Borikham, I wanted to take a road i saw on the map that goes southeast (I know I should have bought Gt rider maps instead of relying on google!) But I couldn't find it and so I ended up taking a detour to Paksan, where I connected to route 13 and headed east. Route 13 was fantastic, and we made good time. We reached the Chantha guesthouse 1 km from the Konglor cave just as it was getting really dark. I would highly recommend this place as it had wifi, good food and was only 60000 kip per night.
    The next day we went to Konglor cave when it opened at 8 am. I was expecting it would cost only 100,000 kip as that is what i was told by two Laotians, and saw it on a sign. There is a booth at the entrance to the parking area, where i was swindled out of 9000 kip. First you have to pay 2000 kip per person just to get into the parking lot, plus 5000 to park your bike. Then it turned out that the price is 110,000 kip for the boat for 1 person, 120,000 for two, and 130,000 for three. We really enjoyed the tour of the 7 km long cave, and were impressed with the driver's skill.
    [​IMG]
    We finished around ten a.m. and set off for Tha Khek.
    When we got to the Friendship Bridge we were told by the laotian officials that we couldn't cross! We might need to put the bike in a truck somehow. Uh oh. I walked off to the bathroom to think about what to do, and when I came back the situation had been resolved by Noodaeng. She told them that I had read on the internet that i could cross here, and she showed them the Customs form I overpaid for back in Tha Li. This useless document may have helped sway them, and they let me cross. Everything went smoothly on the Thai side, and we made it back to RoiEt before dark.
    So the total cost for this four night trip for two people, including gas, food, lodging, admission fees to attractions, and visa fees, was about 8200 baht. Total trip distance was just short of 2000 kilometers. I will post about my Cambodia trip when i find the time. Hope this was helpful.:thumbup:
     
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  3. johngooding

    johngooding Ol'Timer

    Thanks for the interesting trip report and pictures. Will look forward to the Cambodia one
     
  4. Moto-Rex

    Moto-Rex Ol'Timer

    Nice report Cbr2500r.

    I've never been to the Khouangxi Falls, it looks like a nice spot for a dip on a hot day.
    Ill put the falls on my must see list. Can you buy drinks and food there?

    Thanks for sharing.

    Moto-Rex
     
  5. Cbr2500r

    Cbr2500r Member

    Yes there are some food vendors and restaurants. I think admission to the falls was about 20000 kip per person. They also had a fenced area with at least 5 asian bears which was cool.
     
  6. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Wow, brilliant first post! :clap:

    You guys covered a lot of distance and packed in a lot of sites in such a short time, and 2-up on a CBR250! Respect! :thumbup:

    Looking forward to your Cambo report!

    Happy Trails!

    Tony
     
  7. Billy Baht

    Billy Baht Ol'Timer

    Nice report! The lovely people at Immigration... My buddy and I flew in to Phnom Penh and he tried to pay the $20 visa waiver fee with a $100 bill. "No change" says the official, despite the fact that 20 people preceding us paid with $20 bills.

    I ride a CBR250 as well :)
     
  8. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer Staff Member

    Great report and full of information..

    Looks like you had a fantastic time..
    All that on a CBR250.. Well done.

    Cheers
    Brian
     

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