Chiang Mai - Muang Sing - Phonsavan - Vientiane - Chiang Mai.

Discussion in 'Laos Road Trip Reports' started by DavidFL, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    A start....

    Inspired by my experience at the Boun That Xieng Tueng stupa festival in 2012
    Chiang Mai - Muang Sing (Boun That Xieng Teung festival) - Return.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    in Muang Sing I headed off there again in 2013 for what I anticipated would be another Nat Geographic experience not to be missed.....

    THE RIDER: David Unk, alone.

    THE BIKE: Kawasaki Verys 650.

    THE DATES: 14 November - 29 November 2013

    THE WAY
    Chiang Mai - Chiang Rai - Thoeng - Chiang Khong - Houei Xai. Routes 118 - 1020.
    Houei Xai - Luang Namtha. Route 3.
    Luang Namtha - Muang Sing. Route 17.
    Muang Sing - Luang Namtha. Route 17.
    Luang Namtha - Oudom Xai - Pak Mong - Luang Prabang. Routes 3 & 13N.
    Luang Prabang - Phonsavan. Routes 13N & 7.
    Phonsavan.
    Phonsavan - Luang Prabang. Routes 7 & 13N.
    Luang Prabang
    Luang Prabang - Muang Nan - Kasi - Vientiane, R13N - 4 - the new short cut road - 13N
    Vientiane
    Vientiane - Udon Thani.
    Udon - Loei
    Loei - Dan Sai - Nakhon Thai - Chat Trakarn - Uttaradait - Chiang Mai.

    Total distance: 3021 kms.

    a lot more to come,,,
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2016
  2. Loading...


  3. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    I got away from home at 9.10 am, had a quick brekky at the Kafe, checked on Mr Mechanic's map stock then hit the road.
    I forgot it was the grand opening at Central Department store at San Dek intersection - the traffic was horrific. It took me as long to go from the Kafe to Doi Saket as it did from Doi Saket - Mae Kachan.
    Something is wrong there guys & gals.

    Straight up R118 it was with a brief stop at the good ol Charin Resort, then onto Chiang Rai & a quick blast down the 1020 to the DMV in Thoeng to suss out the Certificate of Registration for a motorbike.
    After spending 20 minutes in the office & supposedly talking to the female officer who issued them I was none the wiser if they did or had ever issued one for a motorbike in Thoeng.
    I was not worried though as I had secured one in Chiang Mai in 3 days as a precaution to any possible border documentation problems entering Laos.

    AND
    there were absolutely none.
    Both sides - Thai & Laos were totally normal.
    NO tricky questions asked & no request for the Certificate of Registration.
    So what the hell was it all about - the info that I was given,
    Forthcoming Laos Bike Entry Difficulties
    that Laos would soon be asking for a ITP / Certificate Of Registration for a motorbike. Who knows - a false alarm by the looks of it.

    [​IMG]

    It was a heavy load going over as usual, but this one seemed heavier than normal I thought.

    [​IMG]
    the rear ramp of the ferry was dragging under water & I'm sure the further we went it seemed to go deeper, such that I asked the deck hand why they didnt lift it up a tad so as to avoid any potential sinking problems.
    Mai pen rai he says, it's just a heavier load this trip. Yeah I can see that I thought. I wonder how well you could really swim - float with your riding boots & jacket on??

    Houei Xai late afternoon.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2016
  4. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Accommodation in Houei Xai was the real Houei Xai Riverside; not the Pornvichit Houei Xai Riverside poser - copy.
    & a real winner @ 500 baht a night.

    1. Undercover parking

    [​IMG]

    2. Aircon TV

    [​IMG]

    3. Half decent hot water bathroom

    [​IMG]

    4. Riverside Restaurant

    [​IMG]

    The next morning it was out to the bridge to check out what was going on....

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    They were just finishing off.

    [​IMG]

    The 4th Friendship Bridge is to officially open on 11th December 2013.
    Supposedly the small long tail pax ferry boats will continue to operate at the same points to cater to "pedestrian" traffic crossing the border; but the car ferries will stop operating.

    Check out & a quick afternoon blast up route 3 from Houei Xai - Luang Namtha.
    Entering Luang Namtha they have finished the new dual carriageway all the way out to the airport.

    [​IMG]

    & if your house is by the road in Ban Khon, then pretty soon you will be genuinely & completely roadside.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Accommodation in LNT was the Dokchampa

    Good value for money @ 80,000 kip / 320 baht a night; although I did note the under cover parking has gone; & literally with the wind apparently - a huge storm ripped through LNT a few months ago & carried off their carport roof.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2016
  5. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Cruising Luang Namtha, & the town continues to impress me..

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    If you ever wonder why Luang Namtha is so flat & "barren" looking:

    When the French withdrew from Indochina after their huge defeat at Dien Bien Phu, Luang Namtha (then called Muang Houa Tha) found itself embroiled in conflict between the Pathet Lao communist forces & the US backed Royal Lao Army. The battles for LNT dragged on & eventually it came under communist control on 6th May 1962; but in the meantime the whole city had been flattened by the bombing. No trees or buildings were left standing.
    US special forces defending the city were cut off with only resupply by air possible, & once they were evacuated 3,000 people fled to Houei Xai & crossed the Mekong to Thailand. Houei Xai too then fell to the communists & Laos was closed off for decades. John, owner of Rim Taan Gh in Thoed Thai was one of those who fled LNT to Houei Xai, with his young Lue wife Nuan, & crossed the Mekong to Thailand.

    The market in Luang Namtha

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    "Tree fungi"

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Something I'd rather not know I was eating

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    but getting photos this day was not easy, no matter how discreet I was hiding on the outside of the market using a long lens

    [​IMG]
    they were onto the sneeky farang trying to get some nice snaps. Everyone made the point of looking the other way.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Fresh river seaweed

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The Two Sisters restaurant by the bus station, appears to have been renamed

    [​IMG]

    Some chain adjustment

    [​IMG]

    The Boat Landing at Ban Khon by the airport was looking as good as ever

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    but there was still no news on Pawn, who went missing kidnapped in broad daylight in 2007
    Owner of Boat Landing Luang Nam Tha abducted
    which just goes to show you cant mess with the authorities in Laos.

    Muang Sing next stop..
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2016
  6. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Luang Namtha - Muang Sing.

    Its only "60" kms, with one big hill - mountain crossing, but its a narrow very winding bumpy asphalt road.

    [​IMG]

    + It takes time

    [​IMG]

    Not everyone struggles on it though. The locals show how it's done

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The one snotty mud hole on the road.

    [​IMG]

    which a certain inexperienced lady driver following me, got stuck in & needed assistance to reverse out & try again; so I'm told.

    The LNT - Muang Sing road 1995

    [​IMG]

    & it hasn't really changed a great deal. Still as bouncy bouncy as ever.

    Muang Sing 1995

    [​IMG]

    Muang Sing, the place to stay today: The Phu Iu - best accommodation, food, information + WiFi in Muang Sing

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    note the spelling Phu Iu, I thought for a long time that it was the Phu Lu, but aint an L, but an I - Iu.

    & in 1995: the only place of stay

    [​IMG]
    the Sing Thong Hotel, & in 2013 it is still going!

    After checking into the Phu Iu, it was time for a short Muang Sing meander ....Wat Nam Keo Luang at the west / entrance to Muang Sing. A beautiful old Lue temple.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Then east towards the China border & sunset
    Golden rice paddies

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The sun sets & goes down

    [​IMG]

    The birds pack up & go home

    [​IMG]

    The full moon comes up

    [​IMG]
    and tomorrow is another day....festival time.
     
  7. Poompui

    Poompui Ol'Timer

    Great trip report....putting the area on my riding wish list for next year!
     
  8. mactbkk

    mactbkk Ol'Timer

    David

    "Houei Xai too then fell to the communists & Laos was closed off for decades."

    FYI, my first visit to Ban Houei Sai was in October 1966, real friendly then, and had been for several years. I also lived there Sept '69-June '70 while with USAID. As far as I know, Ban Houei Sai never went down the tubes after Nam Tha fell in '62.

    Mac
     
  9. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    Stunning photo's with so many colours..

    Looking forward to the rest.

    Cheers
    Brian
     
  10. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Mac
    Thanks for the correction & update.
    Indeed they must have been golden days working / living in Houei Xai then - there can't have been too many other farang around.
    Were you just one of the lucky ones or were there other tourists around?
    I thought it was pretty much closed to outsiders / tourists & only a special few got in; & tourists were generally only allowed in again in the very late 80s - early 90s?

    If Houei Xai fell to the communists in May 1962, after the fall of LNT that means it was basically closed for 2 decades + for tourists, with only a select few allowed in, perhaps to help at the hospital (run by the Tom Dooley foundation?) no?

    Your welcome to post a few "Golden Oldie" pics if you have them; & or tell us a bit more about Houei Xai in those days if you wish. I'd certainly like to learn a bit more, especially from someone with your hands on experience.

    Re the "fall of Houei Xai"
    The info I have suggests that in Luang Namtha (Moung Houn) on 6 May 1962 there was an artillery barrage & assault by 4 communist battalions that routed the remaining defenders - 4500 troops KMT & Royal Lao. The soldiers who escaped fled down Route 3 to Houei Xai; arrived there on May 13 to find that the Pathet Lao troops had abandoned Houei Xai already after destroying buildings, barracks & the old Fort Carnot. Pursuing Pathet Lao troops from Luang Namtha then shelled the outskirts of Houei Xai, causing 2,700 troops & civilians to flee across the Mekong to Chiang Khong. (Source The Secret Army P229.)
    Elsewhere there were still 2,000 KMT troops along the Mekong from Houei Xai - Ban Khwan.
    KMT General Tseng Cheng threatened to sack Houei Xai over 3 soldiers held captive by the Pathet Lao, & they were released with the good generals belongings they had gone to recover.
    By the end of May Houei Xai was quiet. (Source The Secret Army P229-230-231.)

    Again thanks for the update & correction - if you want to share anymore info, please do. You're welcome to join in.
     
  11. mactbkk

    mactbkk Ol'Timer

    David

    I wasn't "touristing" on that first visit to BHS in Oct '66. I'd been living in Hong Sa for a couple of months, employed by IVS, the International Voluntary Services, under contract with USAID. My USAID boss had asked me to go over to Xieng Lom/Hon and get a truck started in order to fly it back to Vientiane. Did so, at least the starting, but no plane showed up, turned out everyone in Vientiane was otherwise occupied with Thao Ma's coup attempt. A couple days later a CASI Porter landed, blocked it off from departing, then hitched a ride to the airstrip out behind Chiang Khong. Hit up the USAID folks in BHS for a ride back to Vientiane.

    Don't know how long BHS wasn't too friendly there in May '62, but not too long. Here's a couple of references to the Dooley Hospital there:

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1946&dat=19620516&id=EqUtAAAAIBAJ&sjid=B54FAAAAIBAJ&pg=4863,3104671

    16 May 1962, PL occupy Ban Houei Sai

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1298&dat=19630128&id=YuZLAAAAIBAJ&sjid=84sDAAAAIBAJ&pg=3131,1810184

    28 Jan 1963, Ban Houei Sai hospital hanging on
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    In any case, by '63 IVS and USAID were active in BHS.

    Houei Sai itself was not off limits to visitors at least in the mid-60s on to 1975, Royal Air Lao had an occasional DC-3 flight as did a couple of the other Lao airlines. "World Travelers" crossed over by boat from Chiang Khong. But, there sure wasn't much to BHS at the time, or much to do. Couldn't travel beyond as the Mekong was pretty much closed after fall 1966, which is how I got some cement down from BHS for a school in Hong Sa. Land travel out of BHS, nope.

    But, indeed, the fun old days of yore.

    Mac
     
  12. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks Mac. Good interesting info.
     
  13. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Back to Muang Sing......& the reason for the trip: The Boun That Xieng Tueng stupa festival; & last year's 2012 was stunning. 2013 could only be better.....

    Up early & race on out to the temple on the hill.

    I had trouble parking my bike - there were too many cars, double the number of last year. Each time I found a spot I was moved on the by the army. Some of you guys will know how much this irritates me too. Eventually I found a spot way back almost in the forest, but with all the other scooters - 3rd class citizens I thought we were.

    Then at the grounds of the temple it was full of cars as well - what the hell was going on, no dance ground like last year???

    It was chilly & everyone was rugged up.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Lue people making merit..

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    and that was basically it for 2013.......what happened - where were all the ethnic people in full costume - none to be seen.

    Well, it turns out every 5 years they have a grand That Xieng Tueng stupa festival, when all the people from the various ethnic groups come; & 2012 was the last big one. I lucked out last year 2012; so the next big one should then be in 2017 - mark your calendars folks.

    More to come...
     
  14. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    The same day a retreat to Luang Namtha, back along that bouncy bouncy asphalt road.
    & then the next day a gentle ride over to Oudom Xai..

    Luang Namtha - Oudom Xai

    [​IMG]

    Starting from LNT & in that beautiful long straight....

    [​IMG]

    the weather did not have the best outlook, but somehow there is always a good feeling when you hit this road hedaing out of LNT.
    The light too is often crystal clear for stunning vistas.

    The golden rice fields

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    then after Na Teuy, onto the narrow twisting R13N into LNT.
    The road surface is superb, but narrow

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Power on the man said

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    In Oudom Xai a quick bite to eat at Lae's Siso

    [​IMG]

    Then on with the master plan....out to gorgeous Muang La & a possible night

    The Road to Muang La (& onto Muang Khua & the Vietnam border) is a beauty

    [​IMG]

    but the road does not seem to have fully recovered from the floods in 2008

    the 2008 flood damage

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    2013

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It was an idyllic scene in Muang La

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    & this new budget resort being built looked very tempting

    [​IMG]
    but Nah, too quiet, cold & lonely... I thought - the only customer perhaps?
    So I'm saving it for warmer weather in a few more months.
    Back o Oudom Xai it was.

    But not before checking out the Wat Singkham temple on the hill over looking Muang La

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Wat Singkham has a highly revered 400 year old Buddha image.

    [​IMG]

    Legend has it that the Buddha image was cast in Sri Lanka, not long after Buddha's death.
    The image came to Laos from Ayodhya in India, in 868 AD.

    [​IMG]

    In 1355 it was one of five Buddhist masterpieces sent by Fa Ngum, the founder of the Lan Xang to show around the country.
    However in a battle the boat carrying the image sank, but later found by a fisherman.
    Ownership of the image was then contested by Muang Khua & Muang La townships.

    [​IMG]

    Muang La ended up owning with the Buddha image & for awhile it was kept in Singkham cave.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    In 1457 it was housed in the temple on the hill over looking Muang La.
    Then during the Indochina it was hidden again in the cave to protect it from the bombing, which flattened the temple.
    In 1987 a new temple was consecrated & the Buddha image returned to its home.
     
  15. Javawa

    Javawa Guest

    Unless you have had an accident it is better not to stay there as it is not a resort but the new Muang La District Hospital
     
  16. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Arh thanks Javawa for correcting me there, you got me & It's good to know you're still closely following GTR.
    A hospital? That explains why I could find no accommodation signs for the place. I never went onto the site, but admired it from afar; & actually wondered why anyone would build so close to the river, as it surely would have to suffer flooding problems. Now I wonder where the hospital waste discharge is going to end up?
    If you have any more tips to offer or corrections to make you are welcome to do so.
     
  17. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Oudom Xai - Luang Prabang,
    with Oudom Xai - Pak Mong the road that sucks big time, or at least when your not on a small off-road bike.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    more to come..
     
  18. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Early morning Oudom Xai at Wat Phou That

    [​IMG]

    it has some good views over bustling Oudom Xai.

    [​IMG]
    & is always worth a look.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The way from OX - Pak Mong not very pleasant.

    [​IMG]

    wet & greasy

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    81 kms & 3 hrs yet again.
    The broken up surface & patchy asphalt really gives you a work out on a big bike.
    Many of the corners you skate through on the greasy dirt - clay they've used to fill in the holes.
    Because of the narrow width of the road & no run off you must stick to your side of the road. No corner cutting at all because you will get taken out by a pick up, truck, or bus also struggling to get round the narrow corners.
    Bumps & holes you generally have to hit them, no swerving across the road to avoid them as the road is not wide enough.

    Once you reach Pak Mong you think it is heaven, only 110 kms to Luang Prabang

    [​IMG]
    but this still takes a couple of hours nowadays, because of the build up traffic & road side villages.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  19. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Arriving in Luang Prabang I got a phone call from the Lao Ducati guys in Vte - we are going to Phonsavan tomorrow, come & join us.
    Damn, I needed a few days in LPQ to rest & get some laundry done. But it was ride & meeting not to miss.
    So off again the next day.
    As luck would have it I arrived at Phou Khoun about 15 minutes after the Lao guys - who were having a big meal at the Phou Khoun Phieng Fah Restaurant & viewpoint.

    More coming..
     
  20. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Luang Prabang - Phonsavan

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The Lao guys had a large group, 7 bikes + mini bus & a couple of cars / pickups.
    One of the riders was a gal on a FTR250 - her first trip in the mountains, only she had ever having ridden Vientiane - Vang Vieng before.
    I admired her courage & determination - denim jacket, sneekers (no socks) & no gloves. It was a mega ride or her & indeed anyone Vientiane - Phonsavan in a day is a L-O-N-G ride.
    he was slow & struggling to keep up, plus the bike was not running well. It got dark & the temp dropped. She must have been frozen through I thought. Eventually her bike brokle down about 25 kms out of Phonsavan. We left it at a road side shop, & she got in the pick up. It started to rain, it was cold damp & miserable. I was the last one, mu glasses fogged & visibility was RS. I could not find the hotel the group was staying at - absolutely no signs on the main road. I gave up for a bit & retired to the Bamboozle for a few hot shots of Jamesons to warm up. My phone rang & I got directions to the hotel - arriving 45 minutes after everyone else - ha ha.

    There was two nights of drinking & feasting - The Lao knew how to do it in style. A Box of red every night, plus then on the whisky for a few night caps.
    The mega meals were at
    1. Phou Vieng Kham Resort

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    2. Auberge de la Plaine de Jarres

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    A visit out to the Plain of Jars Site 2

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The Ducati Hyperstrada owner-riders

    [​IMG]

    but only 3 bikes between them this trip as one is in the Ducati workshop in Udon Thani already.

    A Phonsavan view or two

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Tthe market in Phonsavan is one of the best in Laos, with lots of Hmong customers & vendors & considerable traditional foods& wildlife on sale.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    but getting decent photos is not easy as most of the Hmong did not approve of being photographed - personally or the wildlife on sale = I gave up, somewhat disappointed.

    On the road R7 Phonsavan - Phoiu Khoun

    [​IMG]

    & for some the best road & ride in Northern Laos.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    more to come...back to Luang Prabang
     
  21. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Luang Prabang....& I finally climbed Phousi Mountain, I think that I must have done it before but I can't remember or find it hard to believe that I've never done it....such is the sate of my ancient memory. ho hum.

    Mount Phousi is the big hill on the Luang Prabang peninsular

    • The legend of Phousi: before the stupa was constructed, a dangerous tunnel to the centre of the world was found here. A local monk entered the tunnel to find a splendid treasure. The greedy locals stole the treasure from him and trapped the monk in the pit. The monk defeated the seven guardians of the treasure and escaped due to his magical powers. When the King heard the story, he punished the locals and the stupa was built.
    • That Chom Si on the top of the mountain was built by King Anourouth in 1804.
    • It was restored in 1914 by the Tiao Komakhoun Douang Chanh, & has a rectangular shape and is not a square shape like other Thats.
    • The 328 steps were built in 1936-1937
    • In 1957 the Bodhi tree was donated by the Indian government to mark the 2500th anniversary of the Buddha’s passing to nirvana.
    • In 1962 the buildings were totally renovated.

    Its quite a climb..

    [​IMG]

    On the Nam Khan side there is a series of Buddha's representing days of the week.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    ( I didnt get the 7 days, ho hum.)

    The panoramic views at the top are absolutely stupendous.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    LPQ International

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The rectangular That

    [​IMG]

    The old Russian gun.

    [​IMG]

    and indeed Phousi is well worth the climb.
     
  22. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Laundry & riverside bevvies done it was time to move on......Luang Prabang - Vientiane, via the new short cut road from Muang Nan to Kasi..

    [​IMG]
    and what a dramatic road it is!!

    [​IMG]

    The short cut starts from off the Xieng Ngern - Xayaboury road. That's R4 & it is under going road works - improvement & thee aint too much road works left.

    The start of R4 from Xieng Ngern.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    more to come.....
     
  23. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Some light road works on R4

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    From R13 to the turn off is 39 kms.

    The turn off

    [​IMG]
    hardly sign posted, but it is basically the only real one.

    & here's how the new short cut goes

    [​IMG]
    up & down over the one mountain for 67 kms.
    This short cut takes approximately 100 kms off the old R13 Luang Prabang - Vientiane road.
    And travel time should be reduced by 1.5 (2?) hrs if your riding reasonably fast.
    But being my first time I pottered along taking photos.

    [​IMG]

    The road & views

    Starting from the north Muang Nan end

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    an early view

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Power on up the mountain.....having a drag

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Approaching the plateau on the top - a green moon like landscape

    [​IMG]
    almost devoid of any trees

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Upward

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Then you cross the ridge line for the descent, only to be stuck with road works & /or a landslide.

    It's a big one.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Vehicles held up & waiting below for the road to be cleared

    [​IMG]

    I was lucky & only had to wait 40 minutes, but the first vehicles had been held up for 3 hours, so perhaps it is not always a short cut, or at least until they get the road stabilized & finished.

    One of my Lao Ducati rider friends with connections who has flown over the road a few times in a chopper told me that 16 people had already died in downhill crashes on this road. The worst being a local government official who went straight over the edge at the top of the land slide, to be totally crushed in his pick up which landed up side down & flattened. Yuk!

    The descent into Kasi

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  24. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    3 nights in Vientiane then, a night in Udon then home via the Mekong, Nong Khai - Chiang Khan - Loei - Chiang Mai.

    Some pix of the Khong from R211

    The Nong Pla Buek Bang Fai Phayanak Viewpoint

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Chiang Khan downstream at Kaeng Khut Khu.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    That's It.
    I hope some of you enjoyed the ride & scenery.
     
  25. Ticino

    Ticino Ol'Timer

    Pure reading pleasure, awesome, brilliant. Thanks for freshening up the Old Lung's memories ;-)
     

Share This Page