Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang same day

Discussion in 'Laos Road Trip Reports' started by Snail, Dec 31, 2008.

  1. Snail

    Snail Ol'Timer

    Couple of nights ago, bored and restless I decided to head to Luang Prabang for New Year. Didn't leave much time to get there at it meant departing Chiang Mai on the 30th(yesterday) so the obvious thing to do was pack my bag straight andhead out early morning.
    Left my house at 0515hrs on a cool and clear(for a while) morning headed for Chiang Khong. Nice easy riding until Wiang Pa Pao when patches of fog turned into thick heavy fog most of the way to Chiang Rai but had cleared by the first gas stop just after turning off the 1 onto the 1020.
    Uneventful riding really as I was intent on getting to Chiang Khong at 0800 when immigration/customs open. Got there at 0820 as it turned out so plenty of time still. Or that's what I thought until I got down to the feery after completing all the paperwork to find no ferry and no traffic waitng! No problems says the guy at the ferry, maybe in an hour there'll be enough vehicles then we can cross.
    Great! Means I'll arrive in Huay Xai just in time for lunch when all the customs and immigration offices are shut. To add to the enjoyment of the wait a truck and trailer that had just driven off the ferry coming over had got stuck in the wet, slippery dirt just off the boat.
    No problem said the guy at the ferry, we can get another truck to tow it but maybe have to wait an hour.
    I wasn't about to attempt loading the Ducati into one of the smaller boats never mind pay the 1500 baht they wanted! Luckily an articulated tanker arrived desparate to get accross so a ferry turns up, the truck takes a run down the hill through the soft sand around the stuck truck and onto the ferry.
    Perfect so I follow him on(along with 3 other bikers that were waitng) and are at Laos immigration by 1115 and on the road again by1200hrs


    Parts of the 'racetrack' road to Luang Namtha has deteriorated since my last trip in January, but only a few short sections are bad.
    Got to the Boten/Vientianne junc at 1420 hrs
    and began the rather bumpy ride through to Oudom Xay
    filled up with gas, took a picture in front of the airport and left at 1630 hrs.
    It was beautiful riding at this time of day and the views/photos opportunities were many but I was on bit of a mission so didn't stop often, with the exception of a much needed drink and vegemite sandwich around 1730 :)

    The road from Pak Mong was such a pleasure after what I'd just been on! Cruising at 80 to 100 kph was such a luxury although being dark, the speed were mostly much lower, especially the 5 ( or 10?) km section of road that was very wide, smooth and flat but covered in a thick layer of loose gravel. Made for a few wild slides but kept everythin upright finally checking into the the Sabai Dee GH at 2020hrs :)
    So yes, possible in a day, would have been much faster on a dirt bike but who really cares. I enjoyed the ride and looking forwards to New Years tonight in Luang Prabang
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  3. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Yeah, yeah "The Snail" - anything but.
    Congratulations, that was one hell of a ride & probably one that won't be beaten for a long time.
    Can't wait for the photos - bring em on, plus have a Happy New Year in LPQ + a safe ride home.
  4. siinthai

    siinthai Ol'Timer

    Nice one Dave !
    Enjoy the new year...when we going to see you in Phuket? the shops open ?!
  5. Pikey

    Pikey Ol'Timer

    Amazing! When we were swapping emails yesterday and you said you were in LPQ, I didn't realise that you'd got there from here in a day - bloody well done! The Na Toey - Oudom Xai leg was a bit rough on the Bonnie a couple of months back so I can only begin to imagine what it must have been like on the head down/arse up Duc :?


  6. BignTall

    BignTall Ol'Timer

    I can only imagine what he unearthed on the internet that inspired that ass ache of a ride :lol: .'re the man. Made of stearner stuff than I'll ever be.

    Thought you were sunk at the border crossing but looks like the gods smiled on you. Good on you!!
  7. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member


    Still highly impressed & now just wondering, what else do you put in the vegemite sandwiches to keep you going? Do you have a secret recipe?
    What other sustenance do you avail yourself of - it can't just be water 'n vegemite? :? Damn Kiwis! :lol:
  8. scotty007

    scotty007 Ol'Timer

    I guess we should change your name to rocketman!
  9. Shawn in Oz

    Shawn in Oz Member

    I'm actually more impressed with the Aussie vegemite sandwich.
    I do hope you made that yourself?
    Though my choice would have been a fritz & sauce sandwich.
    We'll make an Aussie out of you yet!
  10. Snail

    Snail Ol'Timer

    Vegemite(from NZ) sandwiches, made myself washed down with Beer Lao! What more do you need :) The perfect rocket fuel
  11. Pauche

    Pauche Ol'Timer

    well done!

    if you had not been delayed at chiang khong/huay xai, I'm sure you could reach Vientiane in a day! :lol:
  12. trevbart

    trevbart Ol'Timer

    Great ride David! You have certainly got some endurance in the saddle...Does the red sheepskin help?
  13. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Bump for the guys wondering what bike to do it on.
    It aint the bike that lets you down, but the rider.
  14. Greatdane

    Greatdane Active Member

    Are the roads that way especially bad? I mean, 15 hours total with a lot of time to rest at the ferry, that doesn't seem special to me.

    I just went from Chiang Mai to Patong. Only stopped for gas and 1 hour at the end of the night because the morning dew on my glasses made it impossible to see in the dark. I had to wait for day light.

    The bike? A Honda Click i125. I had to stop some 9 or 10 times for gas and in total it took 26 hours.
  15. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    THis was in 2008, but you should have a go at it yourself Cnx - LPQ in a day & let us know how easy it was.
  16. Greatdane

    Greatdane Active Member

    I guess that it will be at least a couple of years till I come back to Chiang Mai, and I don't really feel like going to Laos. I was just curious what makes that trip so special, because the time used does not seem special in itself to me.
  17. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Lao roads & traffic makes it time consuming.
    Almost all travel in Laos is time consuming.
    Take a look at some of the Lao trip reports & you might get a better idea.
  18. jimboy

    jimboy Ol'Timer

    Why was the trip special? Let me guess.

    In 2008 the Thai-Lao routes were less travelled and documented than they are today. Whatsmore, one could not rely on the roads being surfaced, or there even being a road. It's not the distance, per se. It's the going out into the unknown. The adventure. That's special.

    Furthermore, driving on unsurfaced roads on a sports bike, esp. a bike with a high torque engine, could be considered fool-hardy. Keeping upright is difficult on the flat. Riding a high-power sports bike downhill on a very loose surface with road tyres, is either crazy fun or darn-right crazy. To make it that far across Lao on a Ducati. That's pretty special, too.

    Finally, the rider. Anyone who takes his own Vegemite sandwiches can be consider "special" all by themselves. :)

  19. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    It would be Impressive to see someone repeat this in a Day now? You just can't go fast enough! The distance isn't great but the Constant winding Road and atrocious condition means You are slowed to a Crawl in places, specially on a Sports Bike! Add in the factors of Mickey Mouse Bureaucracy crossing between Countries and it is a Two Day Trip! Most people take 3 Days.
    Lets not forget the Fact that the Snail Rode from Singapore to Bangkok non stop a number of Years back!!! So long Distance is a Hobby to Him!
  20. Greatdane

    Greatdane Active Member

  21. nikster

    nikster Ol'Timer

    We were nothing close to that speed last year on the CRF250s but if we had left CM at 5:00 am - how long to chiang kong on a dirt bike? - and arrived at Chiang Kong at 8:00 like the OP way back when - then should be doable. Not relaxed, not particularly comfortable, but certainly possible to go from the border to LP in 12 hours (OP arrived past 8:00 pm).

    The roads must be way better now than they were then, but they still had sections missing last time so no way going much faster than say 100 kph.
  22. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    We did the trip about a month ago. About 4 Hours from Chiang Mai to Chiang Kong on a 250. The Border crossing takes time? another 2 or 3 Hours to Luang Namtah. From there to Luang Prabang is the Difficult part! With the Current Road conditions maybe 6 or 7 Hours? If its Dry it is Very Dusty, Wet it is Really Slippery! So in the Best Case Riding Time is 12 Hours? Border crossing is the Unknown? I may be off in My estimated Times and if there is only 1 or 2 Riders who like to just keep going it would be better! In a group You always seem to be waiting for someone or held up by something?
  23. David Unkovich

    David Unkovich Active Member

    Bump for the Ducati rider asking about riding in Laos.

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