Discover Laos Expedition 2005

Discussion in 'Laos Road Trip Reports' started by adventourers, Mar 8, 2005.

  1. adventourers

    adventourers Ol'Timer

    Hi David,

    Thanks for the informations on our last trip at GT and now we are planning for Laos. You are great!

    Had rode into Cambodia last year and for the hardcore riders, you should try out the back road of Krong Koh Kong to Kampong Soam. It is challenging riding through 200 km of latrite road up and down hills at hot weather. Aranyaprathet to Siem Reap is equally challenging too. Ride it to know it, words cannot describe the feeling you feel when you do it.

    Seen some of the Laos photos and looks extremely enjoyable and very excited about it.

    I am doing some research on the routes to take with the limited days that we have of only 10 to 12 days in Laos in Dec.

    So have to have selective riding and to get the best location possible. My idea to do a round trip from Chiang Khong to Nam Tha and expore the north side and then south to LPB-Phosavan and then Vientiene. Most days will be in the north as suggested by David.

    I am planning to write a journal or a book on the Expedition on the feeling and experience of the team and how it really feels when we are riding in such extreme conditions.

    I am bringing a group of about 8 bikes into Laos and possibly even a ST11, Diversion 900 and 1100RT and 2 lady riders with the rest GSs.

    Alex BT Quah Always Ride with FOCUS..remember, safety first!
    Adventourer's Website : http://www.geocities.com/adventourers/alex.html
    BMW R1150GS & R650GS
    Email: [email email=adventourers@yahoo.com]adventourers@yahoo.com[/email] or [email email=alexstorm2@hotmail.com]alexstorm2@hotmail.com[/email]
    Mobile : 9685 9995
     
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  3. BobS

    BobS Ol'Timer

    "So have to have selective riding and to get the best location possible. My idea to do a round trip from Chiang Khong to Nam Tha and expore the north side and then south to LPB-Phosavan and then Vientiene.
    I am bringing a group of about 8 bikes into Laos and possibly even a ST11, Diversion 900 and 1100RT and 2 lady riders with the rest GSs."

    Sport touring bikes are not the ones for the road from Huay Xai to Luang Nam Tha. Half of it is deep gravel and dust from coal trucks, and the rest is jungle road.

    Check out the Nov. 28 posting on this thread for a recent road report. http://board.gt-rider.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=524

    Better to send the road bikes around by boat to Pak Beng.

    BobS

    "Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "...holy shit...what a ride!"
     
  4. adventourers

    adventourers Ol'Timer

    Hi Bobs,

    Thanks for the idea. At least the tourer can join too by taking a boat ride to Pak Beng. The journey should start from Chiang Kong for the tourers than rather crossing over and staying at Huay Xai. I was wondering if there any difficulties in bringing the bikes over. Do we need a carnet for the bikes to be brought over as well as other difficulties that we may face clearing customs and immigrations?

    Alex BT Quah Always Ride with FOCUS..remember, safety first!
    Adventourer's Website : http://www.geocities.com/adventourers/alex.html
    BMW R1150GS & R650GS
    Email: [email email=adventourers@yahoo.com]adventourers@yahoo.com[/email] or [email email=alexstorm2@hotmail.com]alexstorm2@hotmail.com[/email]
    Mobile : 9685 9995
     
  5. BobS

    BobS Ol'Timer

    Hi Alex

    Some info:
    1. All the bikes will have to cross into Laos at Chiang Khong - Huay Xai. The boats to Pakbeng leave from there, because the Mekong goes inland into Laos, no longer the border.
    2. Some boats are easier to load big bikes onto. David Unkovich has some info and contacts for the boats.
    3. As far as I know, Laos does not recognize the carnet. It is not needed for a Thai registered bike. There is a Singapore rider named Phuah, who posts on this board. He just did a trip to Laos in January, and can give you first hand info on entering with a Singapore registered bike.

    BobS

    "Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "...holy shit...what a ride!"
     
  6. adventourers

    adventourers Ol'Timer

    Hi Bobs,

    Thanks for the info!

    I will be meeting Phuah this Thurs for a coffee on his trip done in January on hi entry at Vientiane. We are also from the same group called Storm Riders Motorcycling Club in Singapore with many small groups within the big groups, you know what I mean.

    http://club.storm-riders.org/forums/index.php?act=idx

    I have used some of your photos to show them the condition of the roads as well as in my website, hope you do not mind, very well taken.

    David advised me to start the journey from Chiang Kong in Huay Xai and the challenging and beautiful part is the north and I will try to spend more time in the north and mid of Laos as limited time. Looking at your photos, it is really so and very thrilling too.

    As for the tourers, if it is too challenging, I will advise them to take the boat from Huai Say to Pak Beng or not make the trip at all.

    Where are you putting up now?

    Alex BT Quah Always Ride with FOCUS..remember, safety first!
    Adventourer's Website : http://www.geocities.com/adventourers/alex.html
    BMW R1150GS & R650GS
    Email: [email email=adventourers@yahoo.com]adventourers@yahoo.com[/email] or [email email=alexstorm2@hotmail.com]alexstorm2@hotmail.com[/email]
    Mobile : 9685 9995
     
  7. BobS

    BobS Ol'Timer

    Hi Alex

    "I have used some of your photos to show them the condition of the roads as well as in my website, hope you do not mind, very well taken."

    You will have to thank someone else for the photos - They are not mine!!

    I am up in Chiang Mai most of the time. See you in December when you come through.

    BobS

    "Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "...holy shit...what a ride!"
     
  8. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    Alex,

    It is my report and photos that BobS refers too. I did the road in October strictly because there was little choice. David's bike was out of commision and had to come down in a truck. My alternative of driving back to Pak Beng and renting a boat myself back to Huay Xai was not a good choice. I beleive I caught the road at a perfect time. The rainy season had recently ended and the mud was not as bad, the dirt stretches were just beginning to build up with what the Aussies refer to as "bull dust". It is slippery and you cannot see what is underneath the deep dust as far as ruts and rocks and when behind another vehicle you cannot see at all. If you haven't had much experience riding in that stuff, all I can say is it is tough. I dropped my bike twice on similar roads in N. Thailand (fortunately at very low speed) and know of others who have felled their GS's.

    Now that we are well into the hot season, I just returned from Laos yesterday, everything is dry and brown. Unless you are a true dirt rider on true dirt bikes I would not recommend trying the road at all. David and I (and others) have loaded the bikes on boats many times even with the added expense rather than take "the jungle road". I would at least try and get some fresh local info from someone who has done it recently or rethink my plans.

    Either way, good luck and Laos is a great place for touring.

    Dave Early

    Ever notice that "What the Heck!" is usually the right answer?
     
  9. adventourers

    adventourers Ol'Timer

    Hi Dave early,

    Thanks for the tips.

    Yah, after some of the guys sees your photos, some of them hd went ahead to buy a 650 GS for this coming trip and some changed their mind as it may be too tough for them to handle. Great photos and reports, should have more of your photos as they really say a thousand words.

    Coming close to date, will need to make arrangement to rent the boat to bring our boats across Mekong from CK to HX and go through the jungle road. Will need david's help on the contact for the boat. If this jungle road is tarred completely by the Chinese, then there is no fun of riding the challenge, right? The tougher it is the better it is but as long as it is not impossible.

    Alex BT Quah Always Ride with FOCUS..remember, safety first!
    Adventourer's Website : http://www.geocities.com/adventourers/alex.html
    BMW R1150GS & R650GS
    Email: [email email=adventourers@yahoo.com]adventourers@yahoo.com[/email] or [email email=alexstorm2@hotmail.com]alexstorm2@hotmail.com[/email]
    Mobile : 9685 9995
     
  10. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Alex
    No chance of the Chinese having that road paved by the end of this year.
    The road works are divided into 3 sections,
    1 by the Chinese at the North top end, from the Chinese border to Tha Charoen, about 30 kms past Luang Nam Tha.
    Then the 2 other sections are being done by 2 different Thai companies.
    1 from Tha Charoen to Vieng Phukha and
    1 from Vieng Phukha to Huay Sai.
    Whilst the Chinese are working around the clock, they have the most to do - cut out the road from the old jungle trail. Also their construction methods (hammer & cold chisel) seem to be bit more primitive than the Thai are using.
    Whatever anyone cuts out has to survive the wet season this year, then probably some of it has to be rebuilt & then maybe next dry season some asphalt will go down.

    One of the biggest challenges will be getting your bikes loaded onto the boat – they have to be manhandled on board. More than likely during this process, some of the bigger bikes will have to laid on their side & juggled into place. The first time it is all quite nerve racking believe me. Look at Dave Early's pic titled "unloading" to see how it has to be done.

    I would NOT recommend any big road bikes doing the Huay Sai - Luang Nam Tha jungle road, although I know of one guy who did it two-up on a VFR 750 a couple of years ago. But he said it was two feet down all the way for 180 kms! That’s part of adventure for some I guess, & why “we” do it.

    Davidfl
    Keep the power on
     
  11. adventourers

    adventourers Ol'Timer

    Hi,

    Thanks for the tips and advises.

    I believe we better go and ride the trail earlier before the trail changed to a road. It takes the fun away if there no challenge if the road is as good as Thailand road. Highway and highway, already have to face about 1,300 km of North South Highway in Malaysia and Thailand Road to get to Thailand all the way to Surathani on the first day from Singapore.

    I have about 2 Honda STs and the rest small and big GSs in my group. Will need your help on getting the right boat man to carry 10 bikes across CK to HX. What will be the going rate knowing the exploitation of foreigner's pricing in a foreign land.

    I can also imagine the VFR going 180 km at probably 10 to 20 kph at probably 16 to 18 hours. Iron butt and thumbs up for both of them.

    Alex BT Quah Always Ride with FOCUS..remember, safety first!
    Adventourer's Website : http://www.geocities.com/adventourers/alex.html
    BMW R1150GS & R650GS
    Email: [email email=adventourers@yahoo.com]adventourers@yahoo.com[/email] or [email email=alexstorm2@hotmail.com]alexstorm2@hotmail.com[/email]
    Mobile : 9685 9995
     
  12. adventourers

    adventourers Ol'Timer

    Hi,

    And not forgetting 1 Diversion and a Nighthawk 750 who had went through Cambodia Kong Koh Krong who will be joining the group trhough Laos.

    Alex BT Quah Always Ride with FOCUS..remember, safety first!
    Adventourer's Website : http://www.geocities.com/adventourers/alex.html
    BMW R1150GS & R650GS
    Email: [email email=adventourers@yahoo.com]adventourers@yahoo.com[/email] or [email email=alexstorm2@hotmail.com]alexstorm2@hotmail.com[/email]
    Mobile : 9685 9995
     
  13. BobS

    BobS Ol'Timer

    Hi Alex

    " Will need your help on getting the right boat man to carry 10 bikes across CK to HX "

    You have two separate boats to worry about.

    1. The crossing from Chiang Khong to Huay Xai is a few hundred meters. There is a large car/truck ferry that goes across, and if that is not available, there are lots of small boats that can take one or two bikes.

    2. The trip downriver is loaded on the Lao side. That is the one that will be an adventure loading and unloading. How many bikes will you have on that boat, and how many will be riding the trail?

    BobS

    "Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "...holy shit...what a ride!"
     
  14. adventourers

    adventourers Ol'Timer

    Hi Bobs,

    I have the below riders;

    2 1150GSs (Alex & Vincent)
    1 1100 GS (Roland)
    3 650 GSs (Cas, Robin & Chuah)
    1 Nighthawk 750 (Charlie)
    1 Diversion 900 (Shaji)
    3 STs (Bernard, Jasman & one more chap)
    1 more bike not confirm (Suh Fang)
    1 pillion (Ah Ma)

    Total 13 bikes with 14 people.

    Can the boat take all of them or probably split journey.

    Thanks!

    Alex BT Quah Always Ride with FOCUS..remember, safety first!
    Adventourer's Website : http://www.geocities.com/adventourers/alex.html
    BMW R1150GS & R650GS
    Email: [email email=adventourers@yahoo.com]adventourers@yahoo.com[/email] or [email email=alexstorm2@hotmail.com]alexstorm2@hotmail.com[/email]
    Mobile : 9685 9995
     
  15. BobS

    BobS Ol'Timer

    Hi Alex

    You have stated that some of the group will be riding the jungle road, and some going to Pak Beng by boat.

    1. ALL the bikes will have to go across from Chiang Khong to Huay Xai, by the car ferry or by small boat. This is a ten minute ride.

    2. How many bikes will be going by boat to Pak Beng? If all your GS riders plan to do the road, it looks like you have 5 or 6 travelling by river. David Unkovich has info about boats that can take groups of bikes, but not 13 bikes.

    BobS

    "Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "...holy shit...what a ride!"
     
  16. adventourers

    adventourers Ol'Timer

    Hi Bobs,

    We will all try to ride through using the GSs and also the STs the jungle road so therefore all bikes will go to Huay Xai.

    Not easy but doable, right? [:D]

    Alex BT Quah Always Ride with FOCUS..remember, safety first!
    Adventourer's Website : http://www.geocities.com/adventourers/alex.html
    BMW R1150GS & R650GS
    Email: [email email=adventourers@yahoo.com]adventourers@yahoo.com[/email] or [email email=alexstorm2@hotmail.com]alexstorm2@hotmail.com[/email]
    Mobile : 9685 9995
     
  17. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Alex
    Yes all bikes can go to Huay Sai, it is just a km or two on a car ferry across the Mekong River from Chiang Khong, Thailand.
    Your real journey will only start from Huay Sai.
    But maybe not all bikes & riders will be able to do the 180 kms dirt road from Huay Sai to Luang Nam Tha.
    If this is what you think you expect your ST riders to do then all I can say is you're being quite foolish & asking for trouble.
    Ask your ST riders if they would like to do the Mae Hong Son Loop on steep winding dirt roads which maybe alternatively greasy, dusty, muddy & even rutted.
    How many times do you want them to pick up their bikes?

    I am happy to help you guys & maybe even organize the right boat(s) for you, but you need to be a bit more open with what you are trying to do.
    You've taken photos from one of our group & posted them on your group’s newsgroup site, but don't tell your members where the photos come from.
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/discoverl ... /message/3
    Then I applied to join your newsgroup to check what was going on & you don't reply.
    So, please do yourself & your fellow riders a favour - open up & be a bit more honest - to get satisfactory help / advice, rather than jeopardize the safety of your own riders limbs & bikes.

    Davidfl
    Keep the power on
     
  18. adventourers

    adventourers Ol'Timer

    Hi David,

    I must have missed your reply but I have linked this topic as well as Silverhawk's report and other topics too in the group discussion. My apology on that. I did not see your subsribing to the group too?

    The idea is to ride from Huay Xai via Chiang Kong and then up the north side to the border of China and further then down to LPB and then to PSV and Vientinne. [V]

    But if you advise that STs is down and out riding the jungle route, I will give a no no and will request the 2 riders to buy another on-off road bike for this trip. One of them is doing so already as he rides a RT and now looking for a 650 GS.

    If my wife Casandra who ride a 650 GS sees your thread on the toughness of the road, she will probably chicken out and be a pillion instead of riding her bike...[:D]

    Alex BT Quah Always Ride with FOCUS..remember, safety first!
    Adventourer's Website : http://www.geocities.com/adventourers/alex.html
    BMW R1150GS & R650GS
    Email: [email email=adventourers@yahoo.com]adventourers@yahoo.com[/email] or [email email=alexstorm2@hotmail.com]alexstorm2@hotmail.com[/email]
    Mobile : 9685 9995
     
  19. adventourers

    adventourers Ol'Timer

    Hi David, Bob and Silverhawk,

    Been a while out of commission due to workload and family matters.

    The SRMC Laos Expedition 2005 is still on and will write a full report when it is completed. Done a little bit research on it and so much questions..Hope I can write a good report on the trip after that...

    Probably about 8 GSs, 1 S4, 1 CB750 & 1 Diversion.

    BRIEF tentatively planned route subject to changes;

    22nd (Thu): Sin (900 km NSH)-Hatyai (600 km Route 43-4-41)-Chumpon (app. 1500 km).
    23rd (Fri): Chumphon (830 km Route 4-321-324-3039)-N Pathom-U Thong-Suphanburi-Chai Nat-Nakhon Sawan-Phitsanulok (480 km Route 11-101-103-1)-Uttaradit-Phrae-Ngao-Phayao-Chiang Rai (app. 1310 km).
    24th (Sat): Chiang Rai (130 km Route 110-1016-1098-1174)-Chiang Kong (boat river crossing)-Huay Xai (app. 130 km).
    25th (Sun): Huay Xai (173 km Route 3)-Vieng Phukha-Luang Nam Tha (app. 173 km).
    26th (Mon): Luang Nam Tha (262 km Route 3-322-3)-Muang Sing-Xieng-Kok-Muang Sing-Luang Nam Tha (120 km Route 1)-Na Toei-Boten-Na Mor-Oudom Xay (app. 382 km).
    27th (Tue): Oudom Xay (196 km Route 1-13)-Pak Mong-Luang Prabang (app. 196 km).
    28th (Wed): Luang Prabang
    29th (Thu): Luang Prabang (220 km Route 13-7 )-Phou Khoum-Phonsavan (app. 220 km).
    30th (Fri): Phonsavan
    31st (Sat): Phonsavan (210 km Route 7-13)-Phou Khoun-Van Vieng-Vientiane (app. 350 km).
    1st (Sun): Vientiane
    2nd (Mon): Vientiane (700 km Route 13)-Pakxan-Thakhek-Savannakhet-Pakse (app. 700 km)
    3rd (Tue): Pakse
    4th (Wed): Pakse (450 km Route 217-24-2-1)-Chong Mek-Ubon Ratchathani-Pak Thang-Sara Buri-Ayuthaya (app. 450 km)
    5th (Thu): Ayuthaya (600 km Route 340-3215-321-4)-Song Phi Nong-Kamphaeng Saen-Nakhon Pathom-Ratchaburi-Phetchaburi-Chaam-Hua Hin-Prachuap Khiri Khan (app. 600 km).
    6th (Fri): Prachuap Khiri Khan (620 km Route 4-41)-Hatyai (app. 620 km).
    7th (Sat) : 8th (Sun): Hatyai (900 km NSH)-Singapore (app. 900 km).
    8th (Sun): Extra Day

    I need some advise on some issues;

    1. Third party insurance on motorbikes, compulsory? and could we buy from Huay Xai?
    2. It there certain time and days for the car ferry to cross from Chiang Kong to Huay Xai?
    3. Does the CIQ open on Sat and Sun at Chiang Kong/Huay Xai border crossing?
    4. Is Sekong passable to Attapeu through the Bolaven Plateau?
    5. Could VISA be applied on the spot at Huay Xai or best to apply in advance?
    6. At Champasak, is there a ferry for bikes crossing from Ban Muang to Ban Phaphin to go Wat Phu?
    7. Please advise anything else that need attention or somethings that I miss out.

    Thank you very very much for all the help.

    Regards,
    Alex..

    PS: David, Could not find any your Laos map here in Singapore although I have one which I bought at Gecko shop in Chiang Mai which dated "New 2002 Guide" Is there any newer ones that you have published that I could get my hand on?
     
  20. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Alex
    1. INSURANCE Is “compulsory” but not strictly enforced. However I DON’T recommend to ride without it. In Huay Sai it is available when you enter, there will be an AGL employee hovering around the port somewhere to catch you.

    2. CAR FERRY At Chiang Khong / Huay Sai goes when they have enough paying customers. If you have 11 bikes you will qualify.

    3. BUSINESS HOURS Working days at Chiang Khong / Huay Sai crossing are Monday – Friday. Crossing on weekends or public holidays is generally not possible – no customs staff on duty to process the paperwork. Because of this there’s also NO car ferry. If you want to cross on public holidays, then you need to make special arrangements in advance – book & pay for customs staff to work overtime on the weekend. I don’t have experience of this so don’t know how much it costs, but if you want to do this you will need an agent / broker in Chiang Khong to set it up & it wont be cheap. So your best bet is to cross over on a Monday 26th.

    4. VISA On arrival is available, but if there is a Lao embassy in Sing why not get this done before you arrive. One less thing to worry about at the time.

    5. CHAMPASAK Has regular car ferry, that also goes when it has paying customers.

    6. SEKONG – ATTAPEU Is possible via route 16 – all asphalt (except the last 10 kms?) But Attapeu – Pakse / route 13 via route 18 is a no no = OUT OF THE QUESTION!

    7. LAOS MAP Sounds like you have the old one. The latest edition is laminate plastic & published Sept 2004. In Sing try Chan KP at M-Technik. http://home.pacific.net.sg/~chukulut/mt ... echnik.htm If not I can post down a small quantity.

    8. LUANG NAM THA – MUANG SING – XIENG KOK – LNT – UX (?) Is unrealistic straight after the Huay Sai – LNT road. I’d suggest either
    · a rest day,
    · or half day ride to Muang Sing, forget about Xieng Kok
    · or just do LNT – Udom Xai.

    9. OVERALL The riding plan is pretty optimistic – it will only work if everything goes perfectly & with such a long ride it seldom does. So you need to allow more time for rest days for both rider & bike service/ maintenance. Accidents & stuff ups in Laos take time & money to sort out = don’t push it!

    Davidfl
    Keep The Power On
     
  21. adventourers

    adventourers Ol'Timer

    Hi David GT-Rider and David/Mai Phuket,

    Thanks for the advises. Looks like we will need to change the itenaries in some stopovers and the estimated arrival dates.

    Yah safety comes first so not going to push it too far, stopovers changes based on the sentiment of the group and may stopover nearer than planned.

    For the map, we will try to contact M-teknik, Chua or Chan on the availability if not will get some from you then.

    Regards,
    Alex...

    I will update further as more changes comes by.

    There will not be any STs or RTs coming for this trip, mostly GSs and a diversion, CB750 (this two guys have made the enroute Cambodia via Siem Reap, Phnum Pehn and Kong Kroh Kong last year) and a CB400.
     
  22. keess

    keess Member

    David >8. LUANG NAM THA – MUANG SING – XIENG KOK – LNT – UX (?) Is unrealistic straight after the Huay Sai – LNT road. I’d suggest either
    · a rest day,
    · or half day ride to Muang Sing, forget about Xieng Kok
    · or just do LNT – Udom Xai. <

    I agree with David there. Although the road from LN to MS is quite good, in a car it takes nearly two hours, and MS to CK about as long. Ck road is not spectacular, and CK itself not particularly interesting. Better to cut out the CK bit, and spend an hour or two in MS, visit the morning market. Don't underestimate the short stretch from LN to Na Teuy, the road construction has turned it into a nightmare. It maybe better by December, but no guarantees.
    Same for the HX- LN road. I did it recently (admittedly it was wet season) in a 4wd pickup truck, and it was nearly impassible. Saw many vehicles stuck in the mud. The local bus was carrying chains, and using them. It a 4WD it was tricky, but you're relatively comfortable. 8 -10 hrs on a bike, in your case in december in thick dust wouldn't appeal to many people.

    Your total itinerary seems rather ambitious. I know you like sitting on a bike, but I agree with D that you may want to build in some rest time/contigency. I find in Lao, many unexpected things may happen, and everything takes longer then expected. One stuck overloaded coaltruck between VP and HX blocking the road may eevn delay a bike from passing it. The roadbuilders will frequently block the road for up to an hour. If in the middle of nowhere you have a breakdown, you'd better carry any conceivable part neccessary, because you won't get it there, and having it brought in can take days if not more.

    Don't forget to stop along the road to smell the roses.

    Kees
     
  23. robinowyong

    robinowyong Member

    This trip report is long overdue,
    Eight Days in Laos
    Link to my photos. http://photos.yahoo.com/robinowyong

    The Laos Expedition consists of 5 bikes and 1 professional pillion. All are BMW made,
    3 Dakar 650, 1 Fundaro and a GS1150. It takes us 3 solid days of riding from Singapore to arrive at Chiang Khong, estimated about 3,000km.

    On 26th Dec 2005, we took vehicle ferry, cost 500bht per bike to Huay Xai. Once landed at Huay Xai, proceed to endorsed passport and permit for the bike. It is a sticker supposed to display but we keep it in our pouch instead. Our expedition leader Alex was denied entry to Laos because his passport validity is less than 6 months. Members of the group in dilemma, whether to proceed or abort. After some discussion we voted for the boat to Pak Beng instead of riding north to Luan g Nam Tha. We checked with the Khaenlao Tours Easy Trip Co to look for a boat. It cost USD300 to chartered the boat to ferry our bikes down Mekong river to Pak Beng. Beside this we didn’t think of any alternative solution. Put a night at Sabaydee guesthouse. Bidding our leader goodbye as he wave to us with a sadden heart and spirit on the vehicle ferry to Chiang Khong.

    It’s a blessing in disguise for me. The boat trip along Mekong River is beautiful. Thanks to our Laos Guru David’s tip in this forum. We arrived at Pak Beng around 4pm local time. Taking the bikes out of the boat is a nightmare if the landing pier is not available. Armed with David’s map and GPS we proceed to Oudomxai. Actually this is not recommendable because of the night fall. About 60km before Oudomxai, the road is very dark and winding. We almost knock the gantry pole near a bridge. Mistake #1 never continue to ride after landed at Pak Beng at 4pm. Put a night there at the Guesthouse and start journey the next early morning.

    At Oudomxai, we check in the Oudomkham guest house. The room is spacious and clean with attach bathroom. It cost USD5. The next day we left for Luang Pra Bang on Route 13. This is one of the best road I’ve ridden after Mae Hon Som. Beautiful mountains, rivers and most of the morning mist. On certain stretch the visibility is only 5 metres because of the fog.

    Luang Pra Bang is nice and cool during this time of the year. I took a day trip to visit Pak Ou cave and the Khuangsi Waterfall. It’s a worthwhile trip (not to be miss).
    We stay 2 nights at a budget Pathomphone GH. After LPB we go our separate way. Some members want to proceed to Cambodia, while I am contented with Laos Expedition.

    From LPB, I took the route13 to Phonsavan. At the T-junction turn to Route 7 to Phonsavan. There’s a hand pump petrol kiosk about a Km from the junction.
    The route 7 is fantastic. Its newly paved and curvy. I consider it to be the best road I’ve ridden. The average altitude is about 1500m and it is foggy. Notice the fog stays around the height 900m. There is a petrol station at about 85km from the junction.

    At Phonsavan, I stay at Dokkhoun GH, USD5/night. Visited the Plain of Jars. It is cool here, even out in the afternoon sun. During night time the temperature is about 5deg.
    The next day I left for Vientiane. On the way down route 7 witness the locals celebrating New Year.

    At Vientiane, there is nothing much interesting for me to do in the night. The stroll along the Mekong is nice. One night stay in Phoxay hotel is enough for me.

    From Vientiane, I ride all the way south to Pakse for a night and left Laos by Chong Mek checkpoint on the 2nd Jan 2006. The clearing at both immigration checkpoints is fast.

    I will come back again for another visit. Laos is a beautiful country. The people are very friendly. Finally, not forgetting the Lao Beer.

    Robinowyong
     
  24. adventourers

    adventourers Ol'Timer

    Hi Robin,

    Thanks for the ride report and thanks to David and friends for the advises and information.

    I may miss the trip due to overlook in my passport 6 mths validity but my bike is still warm and my heart is ever running.

    Family commitment with my 19 months daughter and an addition at the end of the year temporarily halts my engine.

    Will update further on any expeditions that are in progress....

    Ride safe and take care!

    Alex BT Quah Always Ride with FOCUS..remember, safety first!
    Adventourer's Website : http://www.geocities.com/adventourers/alex.html
    BMW R1150GS & R650GS
    Email: [email email=adventourers@yahoo.com]adventourers@yahoo.com[/email] or [email email=alexstorm2@hotmail.com]alexstorm2@hotmail.com[/email]
    Mobile : 9685 9995
     

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