Chiang Khong loop recommendations

Discussion in 'Laos Road Trip Reports' started by fm2002, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. fm2002

    fm2002 Ol'Timer

    I'm planning a trip with about 4 friends starting from CM going into Laos crossing at Chiang Khong. Our deepest penetration and/or turn around point will be Muang Sing. Trying to figure out a loop returning to Chiang Khong without having to backtrack on the same roads. Two options I can roughly see are trying to head to Muang Meung/Xieng-Kok/Mueng Sing than returning the traditional Luang Namtha route back to Chiang Khong. After reading this thread:

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorc ... t4832.html

    It looks like there is no road and you have to take a boat to get to Xieng-Kok and perhaps after that the road is dusting ???

    The other option is heading to Muang Sing going through Luang Namtha and from Muang Sing head to Oudom Xai/Muang Beng/Pak Beng/???

    I did this second route up to Pak Beng in my truck, but at Hongsa headed due south ending eventually in Vientianne. So although I read that you can cross back into Thailand at Muang Nguen/Huay Kon I am unfamiliar with the section between Pak Beng and Muang Nguen. Can someone enlighten me about this section and what option is the better one ??? Also any updates on the border crossing for my second option would be great !
     
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  3. Auke

    Auke Ol'Timer

    Don't know enough about the Muang Sing area so don't know what is possible.

    With regard to Pak Beng, from Pakbeng to the crossing of the Mekong (a bit west of Pakbeng) is still unpaved but once you cross the Mekong (regular ferry) the road to Mueng Ngeun and then on to the border with Thailand and Nan (Rd 1080 or 1081 in Thailand) is all asphalt.

    Actually when you went with your truck from Pakbeng to Hongsa and then on to Vientiane you were on this road and passed through Mueng Ngeun. The border crossing to Thailand is only a few kilometers from Mueng Ngeun.
     
  4. Moto-Rex

    Moto-Rex Ol'Timer

    Hi fm2002

    How many days do you have to complete the loop? Dirt or road? Are the friends in you group experienced riders? What do you want see in Laos?
    Type of bikes?

    Cheers Rex
     
  5. fm2002

    fm2002 Ol'Timer

    Hi fm2002

    How many days do you have to complete the loop? Dirt or road? Are the friends in you group experienced riders? What do you want see in Laos?
    Type of bikes?

    Cheers Rex
    We are looking at about a week, Feb. 10-17, Looks like we will be on D-Trackers or KLX 250's so dirt or road is ok. Most of us could handle just about anything, but we do have one weak link. Sure he can handle dirt just nothing too tough. As mentioned I've done the Chiang Khong/Luang Namtha/Muang Sing/Udomxai/Pak Beng sections in my truck about 6 months ago so I am familiar with most of what we will be doing. After I read your thread I referenced was wondering if that would be fun, but after the dustbowl pics I'm not sure that would be too much fun. Anyway any input you have would be great !

    Side note - spoke with both Mr. Mechanic & Pops rental shops. They both will allow us to take their bikes into Laos, but Mr. Mechanic wants you me to sign over my truck or 50,000 baht per bike as a deposit. Pop wants only 10,000 per bike. Guess I'll go w/ Pops
     
  6. jimoi

    jimoi Ol'Timer

    Reports from my clients indicate it's very dusty on the road west of M. Sing.

    A week on the loop might be a bit much but you can poke around Nale and perhaps loop around via Pak Beng, might be interesting if you have the time
     
  7. fm2002

    fm2002 Ol'Timer

    Thanks for the info. We are planning a side trip around Muang Sing. Loading the bikes on a boat cruising the Mekong a bit, trekking a bit to visit some remote villages and temples and back on the boat and riding out. So riding about 5 days. Do you have any info about the section Pak Beng to Muang Nguen (border crossing) ? Also any updated border crossing info would be great.
     
  8. Moto-Rex

    Moto-Rex Ol'Timer

    These so many different loops you could try. Myself Id go...

    Houei Xay-Pak Peng. Easy scenic dirt track. (track in good condition now)

    Pak Beng-Muang khua. Great tar road, lots of villages. Have lunch in Oudon Xai before heading to Muang Khua to stay the night.

    Muang Khua- Luang Namtra via Boun Tai.
    I did this one month ago with 3 friends. The track is in good condition.
    Big day.

    Luang Namtra-Xieng Kok-Laung Namtha. Out and back.
    As jimoi said, this road does get dusty, but theres very little traffic, and if you spread out you should be fine.

    You could then do an out and back trip to Nale, which is an easy ride, that would give you 2 nights in Luang Namtra.

    Then ride to Houei Xai on the main road.
    Or you could also go back to Houei Xai via Nale.
    This is a big days ride, and I would not attempt it if it rains, or without a gps.

    It just depends on how much riding you want to do.

    When you get to Chiang Mai give me a ring and we'll meet up.

    Rex
     
  9. fm2002

    fm2002 Ol'Timer

    I like your route. You avoid overnighting in Pak Beng (no power 9pm-8am) and you avoid route 13 (bad road and police checkpoint)

    Few questions:

    1) AS mentioned we will be doing a side trip biking/trekking out of Muang Sing. So could we do Muang Khua/Boun Tai/Muang Sing than Muang Sing/Luang Namtha (either overnight or lunch) than Houei Xai via Nale
    2)I have my maps on my way from David, but the map I have currently doesn't show Nale ???
    3) Boun Tai to Muang Sing or Luang Namtha - on my map the road/route is unclear. Do you head out from Boun Tai to the Chinese border and follow the border down to Mohan - Boten ?

    We have delayed our trip to arriving CM Feb. 18 or 19. If you are around CM and up for a chat than the beers are on me :)
     
  10. fm2002

    fm2002 Ol'Timer

    Well my route has evolved into the following: (questions follow)

    Day 1 – Chiang Mai / Border Crossing (this could change if we rent bikes from Remote Asia Travel)

    Day 2 – Border Crossing / PakBeng / UdomXai (Lunch) / MuangKhua(Overnight)

    Day 3 – Muang Khua / BouanTai / MuangSing

    Day 4 - morning start from Muangsing 8:00 AM by motorcycles to Muang Long district 2 hours after that you will
    drive motorcycles up to the mountain (adventure), visit minorities on the way Kui and Akha. Lunch on the way

    Afternoon: continue tour by motorcycles to Mekong River
    and stop police checkpoint and take Slow boat to Xieng Kheng
    where you will get off your motorcycles in Xieng Keng village (leave motorcycles there), and continue

    Slow boat To Ban Sai where you will stay overnight

    night: after dinner you will learn culture from Tai Lue,
    village history and Tai Lue massage

    Day 5 - morning: after breakfast you will visit that hin
    phouStupa and continue trek 6-7 hours Climbing 1500 meters mountain and Exellent Views, Mekong Views and Burma you will visit 2 Villages on the way we stay overnight in Ban Ela (Akha)

    Night: after dinner you will learn culture from Akha
    village history and Akha massage

    Day 6 - after breakfast you will trek down To Xieng Kheng 4-5 hours where we pickup motorcycles and visit Xieng Kheng Stupa very old Stupa

    Afternoon: we will Tour by motorcycles on the way back to
    Muangsing, stop 3 Villages on the way back to Muang Sing

    Day 7 – Muang Sing/ Luang Namtha / Nale / Luang Namtha

    Day 8 – Luang Namtha/Border Crossing/Chiang Mai

    Question 1 - haven't done the drive from border crossing to Pak Beng. Is this route on David's map ?

    Question 2 - is Day 2 doable ? Thinking it's too long to do in 1 day ?

    Question 3 - days 4,5 and 6 we will have a guide, but was wondering if any of you have heard of Xieng Kheng and Ban Sai ?

    Question 4 - looks like I have 2 options for bike rentals

    1) Mr. Pops in CM (D Trackers or KLX 250) 1000 baht per day
    2) Remote Asia Travel ( Baja 250 delivered to us in Houei Xai) around a 1000 baht per day plus delivery charge
     
  11. Auke

    Auke Ol'Timer

    Q1 The road is on the latest version of David's map (March 2009 - 4th edition) but it is not on the 3rd edition (2005)

    Q2 The distance you plan to cover is close to 400 km. Will be a long day as from the Border crossing to just north of Pak Beng (basically all dirt) will take about 4 hours I guess. From there to Oudomxai and Muang Khua is asphalt.

    Q3 Have a look at the reply by Pee in http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorc ... t5213.html which has a bit on Xiengkheng and the stupa. Ban Sai - no idea so better ask the guide. I do have a Ban Xai on my map (on the Mekong) which is about 17 km by boat from Xiengkheng to the northeast so it could be the same place.

    Q4 Better check with Remote Asia if this is still possible.
     
  12. fm2002

    fm2002 Ol'Timer

    Q1 The road is on the latest version of David's map (March 2009 - 4th edition) but it is not on the 3rd edition (2005)

    Q2 The distance you plan to cover is close to 400 km. Will be a long day as from the Border crossing to just north of Pak Beng (basically all dirt) will take about 4 hours I guess. From there to Oudomxai and Muang Khua is asphalt.

    Q3 Have a look at the reply by Pee in http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorc ... t5213.html which has a bit on Xiengkheng and the stupa. Ban Sai - no idea so better ask the guide. I do have a Ban Xai on my map (on the Mekong) which is about 17 km by boat from Xiengkheng to the northeast so it could be the same place.

    Q4 Better check with Remote Asia if this is still possible.
    Thanks Auke

    David's new edition map is on the way from EMS

    I've done Oudomxai to Pak Beng which as I recall around 1 1/2 hours. Do you have any idea how long it will take from Oudomxai to Muang Khua ?

    Thanks for the link. It really pertains to my trip !

    Already in contact with Remote Asia. Awaiting pricing from the wife.

    Thanks again !
     
  13. Auke

    Auke Ol'Timer

    Oudomxai to Muang Khua is about 100 km basically all asphalt. Not sure how much time it takes but on a bike I would guess about 1.5 - 2 hours.
     
  14. Moto-Rex

    Moto-Rex Ol'Timer

    Gday fm2002.

    Day 2 is a lot of riding, but doable.
    But day 3 is a big day, maybe too big, considering you said one of your group is not so good in the dirt.
    The dirt sections are not that difficult, but there not the kind of tracks that you can rip along at any great speed.

    Having bikes waiting for you in Houei Xai makes sense, because you simply turn up and ride.
    Saves wasting and day dealing with customs etc. But its up to you.

    Rex
     
  15. fm2002

    fm2002 Ol'Timer

    Just received my Maps from David and I'm looking at the route Muang Khua to Boun Tai and that's pretty straight forward. From Boun Tai to I guess Highway 13 is a bit sketchy. Would sure like some first hand testimony on this part ???

    FYI- looks like it's to expensive to have the bikes shipped from VT to Houei Xai. So we've decided to pickup the bikes in Luang Prabang. So Day 1 would be LB to Muang Kua and Day 2 Muang Khua to Muang Sing (maybe) Day 3,4 & 5 (side trip) Day 6 Muang Sing to Nale and back Luang Namtha. Day 7 Luang Namtha to Pak Beng, Day 8 Pak Beng to LB.

    Appreciate the help !
     
  16. Auke

    Auke Ol'Timer

  17. fm2002

    fm2002 Ol'Timer

  18. Moto-Rex

    Moto-Rex Ol'Timer

    Are you still coming Chiang Mai?
    If so, how will you get to Luang Phabang?

    Cheers Rex
     
  19. fm2002

    fm2002 Ol'Timer

    Trying to decide what is the best option. If we come into Chiang Mai we can rent relatively new bikes and hopefully hook up with some of you guys for a beer or two and go over the routes. Bad side is the border crossing paperwork and no in Laos support. If we rent from Laos we get in country support if we have a mechanical failure, but the bikes won't be as new.

    We are heavily favoring Chiang Mai at this point, but if you have any points we may have overlooked please chime in.
     
  20. fm2002

    fm2002 Ol'Timer

    Well just booked our tickets to Chiang Mai. So we are back to the original route.

    Any recommendations for hotel ? Would be good if it's close to the best Mr. Pops outlet for renting the newest 250's.

    Lastly anybody interested in having a beer or two and going over my route it's my shout. Pick the place and time. We'll be arriving CM mid morning Saturday.

    Thanks Frank
     

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