Cruising the Mekong and Riding through Laos, February 2013

Discussion in 'Laos Road Trip Reports' started by TonyBKK, Mar 2, 2013.

  1. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Wow!!!
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    More to come!! :happy1:
     
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  3. jimbobs

    jimbobs Ol'Timer

    superb lad
     
  4. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Departing Bangkok's Swampyboom airport, little guy came to see me off, had a fit when I actually left... :oops:
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    And we're off!
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    KLX needed some tlc before the trip-
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    New tires installed at Cockpit Hang Dong. Interesting shop. Owner seems pretty switched on, not so sure about the staff... ?

    Oil, filter, brake pads, air filter, etc-
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    Met up with the rest of the gang just outside Chiang Mai on the 118 and we're off!
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    Robert and David are on Versys, Ian and Richard on CRF250L and Brian and I are on KLX. We'll meet a couple other fellows along the way. Our fearless leader on his nicely customized Versys-
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    The Ambassador!
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    Robert on his Versys "GS" ;)
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    More to come!!
     
  5. Jurgen

    Jurgen Ol'Timer

    Thank you Tony for your “first chapter” of the Mekong cruise album. It's an enticing beginning and I appreciate you conclusive sentence : More to come!! … Reminding me that, on my side, I have even not yet started :-(
     
  6. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

    Asking for more... and more...
     
  7. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

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    A sony phone pic at the start................
     
  8. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    It was a pleasant ride to Chiang Khong, stopping along the way for coffee and cake-
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    In the parking lot of the coffee shop got to chatting with some of the Chinese tourists who have become a common sight in northern Thailand recently- surprisingly friendly folk.

    Made good time to Chiang Khong where we met up with Jurgen and Ian from Chiang Saen, then relaxed with some food and drinks while all of our customs and immigration paperwork was taken care of- how convenient is that?
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    Seems David is a bit of a VIP in Chiang Khong, even the coppers know him ;)
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    Finally got the call that all the paperwork was sorted and we could board the ferry to Huay Xai-
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    Robert was a bit nervous getting on the ferry as he couldn't reach the ground and the mud and wet ramp looked slippery, but he made it on without any problems. :clap:

    All aboard! Smile from Brian, thumbs up from the Ambassador! :thumbup:[​IMG]
     
  9. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Next stop, Huay Xai, Laos!
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    Seemed a mighty big ferry for just some bikes, but sure enough, we didn't have it all to ourselves-
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    Move the bikes to make room for the trucks-
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    Pair of CRFs and pair of KLXs
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    And we're off!
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    Welcome to Laos!!
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    What's the first thing you do when you arrive in Laos? Cool off with a Beer Lao of course!! [​IMG]
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  10. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    We found a good use for the platform on the back of Robert's Versys ;)
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    Off to the guesthouse to drop our bags then return to load the bikes on the boat that would take us to Luang Prabang the following day. Jurgen showing off his riding gear ;)
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    The guesthouse David booked was cheap and easy to find. The other fellows had tried to book a nicer place but fell victim to some kind of bait-and-switch scam so were delayed. Perfect opportunity to enjoy a few more beers and a lovely Mekong sunset-
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  11. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Time to load the bikes! No ramp so we had to physically life the bikes onto the boat... :wtf:
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    Check out that big piece of rebar sticking out of the cement just to the right of Robert's front wheel- can you imagine if you weren't paying attention and hit that thing?! :shock:
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    Remember how I said they didn't have a ramp? Well that was the case until they tried to lift a 200++Kg Versys, then miraculously a ramp appeared ;)
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    Tight squeeze to get a Versys throught the "door" but it did fit!
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    We dared Jurgen to simply ride onto the boat; he wasn't having it! :shifty:
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    Getting David's Versys put into place-
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    My KLX tucked in for the night. It was a beautiful boat- check out the wood floor- I felt kind of bad scuffing it up with the kickstand...
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    Bikes all loaded and 4 cases of Beer Lao and plenty of ice delivered to the boat, then we're off to dinner. Can't remember the name of the place but the service was quick, the beers ice cold and the food outstanding! Brian took this pic-
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    Brian and I were the first to arrive and the last to leave. Relaxing with our feet up it was a fantastic spot overlooking the Mekong with Thailand on the far side and a nearly full moon in the sky. This trip is off to a great start!! :clap:
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  12. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Woke up at o-dark hundred on Saturday morning to make an early start as it's a full day cruise from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang on the mighty Mekong.

    Owner of the guest house gave us a ride down to the pier (photo by David):
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    Beers and bikes? Check! (Brian's pic):
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    Sitting on the bow of the boat, feet dangling above the river, it was quite chilly, but very beautiful- Beer Lao for brekkie! Life is good!
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    Approaching the new bridge that will connect Chiang Khong to Huay Xai-
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    Cheers David for putting this together!
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  13. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Passing under the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge that will connect Chiang Khong with Huay Xai-
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    Looking towards Thailand above, and into Laos below-
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    It was quite cool this early in the morning and the boat was motoring along at a good clip so the wind was a factor too- people took turns out on the bow and then retreated to the cabin to warm up-
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    A beautiful temple on the Thai side of the Mekong-
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    The skipper has no radar or depth finder and navigates entirely by site and memory and perhaps with a little help from the Lord Buddha? Check out that steering wheel! [​IMG]
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    The Mekong has a lot of rapids and rocks and the hazards move as the level of the river changes. Mad skills our skipper has!
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    Life on the Mekong-
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  14. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    A relaxing full day cruise down the mighty Mekong from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang. River life- best seat in the house!
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    A bridge is being built near Pak Beng that will connect to the Muang Nguen border crossing into Nan, Thailand-
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    Near Pak Beng the boat had to make a stop to check in with the police. We took the opportunity to jump off for a group photo. The skipper's daughter took this fantastic picture with David's camera:
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    And we're off again! I make an offering to the spirits of the Mekong ;)
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    The skippers wife and daughter cooked up an amazing lunch. Seriously, I don't know how they could cook up such a feast in the small kitchen they have in the back of the boat-
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    After lunch some of the guys took a snooze-
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    I messed with the Ambassador a bit ;)
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    Those fields in the sand are peanuts!
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    Thick jungle and sharp rocks-
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    There were many areas where people were panning for gold! Wonder if they actually find any??
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    Richard showed off his Alpinestar Shoe Phone :lol-sign:
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    Robert and Rat relaxing and taking it all in-
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    Skipper and his wife-
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  15. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    After lunch and a nap we made a concerted effort to kill the four cases of ice cold Beer Lao we'd brought along for the cruise-
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    Two down, two to go!! [​IMG]

    I hope Jurgen won't mind if I post his pic here-
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    The skipper's wife taught the ladies some Laotian dance moves-
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    Flipping the bird is apparently an important part of the dance?!
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    Sites and scenes on the Mekong-
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  16. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Keep going Tony, I'm reliving the trip & "working on the next one." :thumbup:
    I'm beginning think I'm infatuated with the Mekong, a rediscovered old love.:rolleyes:
     
  17. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

    Really beautiful landscape. I love the way it set up with river, forest and mountains... Thanks guys for the great photos.
     
  18. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    We pass by the Pak Ou Caves so I know we're getting close to Luang Prabang-
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    With the sun to our backs the late afternoon light really brings out the colors. Jurgen is an amazing photographer-
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    Approaching Luang Prabang there are a lot more boats on the river-
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    We arrived in Luang Prabang just before sunset-
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    We're all pretty good and buzzed and feeling no pain by this point. Love this picture of David-
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    Mekong life- enjoy it while you can as there are plans to dam the river in the near future...
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    The moon is already up, tomorrow is Macha Bucha day on the full moon-
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    The skipper's wife and David-
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    Almost there- what a fantastic cruise this was! I'll never forget it! Thank you so very much for putting it together David!!!
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    We had to jockey for position at the pier in Luang Prabang, seems sunset is rush hour on the river too!
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    Unloading the bikes it seemed they again wanted to do it the hard way even though the ramp they used in the morning was still on the boat... Jurgen's pic:
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    I was good and plastered and worried a bit about getting to the hotel in one piece, but fortunately it was very close to the pier.
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    Strapped all my gear to the back of the bike hoping nothing would fall off and made it to the Oudomsuk guesthouse without any drama-
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    The fellas who booked another guesthouse on Agoda weren't so lucky.....
     
  19. DiginaDo

    DiginaDo New Member

    A great escape, thank you for the wonderful photo report, it was very interesting!
     

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