Huey Khon, Nan to Mueng Nguen, Laos

Discussion in 'Laos Road Trip Reports' started by mactbkk, Feb 11, 2009.

  1. mactbkk

    mactbkk Ol'Timer

    With due apologies to all you two-wheelers, Sunee & I just returned from three days in Laos via a Thai registered 4-wheeler. Crossed to Mueng Nguen from Huey Khon, Nan, no problem at all. Only caveat is that having a Lao visa in hand is MANDATORY, no visa-on-arrival availble. Crossing paperwork was efficient and quick enough.

    Motored west not quite two hours to Xieng Hon, spent Monday night.

    Tuesday back to 10 km short of Mueng Nguen to the new road north to the Mekong, under construction for most of it. Hit the Mekong in about one hour but upstream from Pak Beng, not where I'd expected the road to end. There's longtail boats there which offered to ferry us across the river for baht 3,000! Two longtails together. That wasn't in our plan so we declined. Sorry, I forgot to ask how much for a motorcycle trip. They said it's 17 km on the other side to Pak Beng by what looked like a new road. Do wonder, tho, why the road stops here rather than at Pak Beng?

    Back to Mueng Nguen and an hour east to Hong Sa. Saw a couple Lao whom I'd not encountered for 42+ years, good rememberences over some Beer Lao.

    Wednesday back to Mueng Nguen and only about 20 minutes of paperwork to get back to Thailand. RON at Nan now, back home to Thanyaburi tomorrow.

    Will post some more stuff (including photos if I can figure out the posting method) in a couple of days.

    Mac
     
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  3. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    Good information, thanks. What kind of 4 wheeler did you have that they were going to put it across two longtails? Scarey enough when they do it with a big motorcycle. Look forward to photos (see new user section for info).
     
  4. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Is Xieng Hon the big "Thai"village or is that Ban That?, somewhere close by?

    What about the road in from the border - any asphalt / how deep was the bulldust? Rumour has it that the BMW Club from Bkk has a 40 bike caravan going through this / next weekend for a recce promo, but if it is still deep bulldust then I reckon they will be going down like ten pins.

    The Mueng Ngern - Hongsa road is a killer for dust & stones. I know from personal experience

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorc ... t2201.html

    [​IMG]

    & my mate Watchara (serious cycle adventurer) from Tammila GH also dumped his bicycle in their 2 or 3 times on the same long slope I did the AT.

    Happy Feet also comlained about the treacherous road when he came out a month ago; so it should be interesting.

    I look forward to your photos.

    Thanks for the contributions, please keep 'em coming.
     
  5. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    A mate, Danny from Siam Sun
    http://www.siamsun.com/
    is just in from the elephant festival in Xayaboury & says that the Meung Ngeun - Pak Beng is complete - all asphalt & with a small car ferry service operating across the Mekong!
    Unbelievable with the speed they have done this road!
     
  6. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    Pak Beng-Huay Xai also complete according to Rex and Happy Feet; correct? Should be a nice ride. 8)
     
  7. mactbkk

    mactbkk Ol'Timer

    Were we on the same road? There was a lot to complete it looked to me, about 50% of the length from the turnoff at Mueng Nguen north. Good gravel for the initial part then good dirt then a number of cuts that'd not yet been completed, also 2-3 good sized bridges that were not anywhere near completion.

    Our 4WD 4-door Isuzu pickup had no problems and didn't have to use the 4WD even on the detours around the bridge sites.

    I noted that when we arrived a the Mekong, no Pak Beng on the opposite bank. That's where the Lao there told us we were 17 km upstream via the new road on the opposite bank.

    Looking at David's map, we'd come up that short branch road that cuts north and ends up just to the lower right of the "1016" mountain on the northern bank, near "Pak Ngeuy" on the German produced map of Laos.

    I had not noticed another road heading directly up to Pak Beng as shown on both David's map and the German one from where we went due north to the Mekong.

    And, no asphalting in process along the whole length of travel from the E-W Xieng Hon-Hong Sa road.

    This was on Tuesday 10 February 2009.

    Sorry, no pix, I've not been able to figure out how do do these in spite of the instructions on the FAQ. Someone want to send me a back channel message on this?

    Mac
     
  8. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Yes indeed. Just loading the track into the new Laos map. :)

    I guess a trip report is coming - Happy Feet & Moto-Rex have been having too much fun methinks. :wink:

    Meanwhile look at the red GPS track in google earth

    Pak Beng - Pha Oudom
    [​IMG]

    Pha Oudom - Houei Xai
    [​IMG]

    Now what excites me about this new connection is the trail that runs North along the ridgeline, between Pak Beng & Pha Oudom.
    [​IMG]

    :idea: Who wants to go & GPS this baby?? :arrow:
     
  9. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    :? Now I'm confused. Danny did not do the road, as he came in from Xayaboury, but was told by his Lao tour operator that yes, the road was all finished & there was a small car fery operating. Also I think he met a Thai family from a resort in Pua - exactly which one I don't know, but they claimed to have been to the 'Khong on the new asphalt road.
    So I reckon that you were on another road & not the new asphalt one??
    But then again, someone out there could be telling porky pies.
    Who's gonna confirm it for us - the Ambassador on his Huay Kon visa run maybe? :wink: :wink: :wink:
     
  10. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    Davidfl-

    Now you have me totally confused also. Did you by chance reverse your waypoints on you google maps? H

    How can Pha Oudom be east of Pak Beng and west of Huay Xai.......

    OK, I see now you have played around with your map orientation. How about keeping North pointed up? :lol:
     
  11. Auke

    Auke Ol'Timer

    Yes, I think there are several mix-ups and my post may even muddle up things more.

    Mactbbk is talking about the new road under construction from Mueng Ngeun north to the Mekong ending up about 17 km from Pak Beng on the south side of the river. The French guys did this about 2 years back on bikes when there no improvements yet and a boat ferried them over the river from where they had to ride about 15 km to Pak Beng.

    The other topic is the good road from Huayxai to PhaOudom and on to Pak Beng linking with Rd 2 W just a bit NE of Pak Beng - see the reports on the forum by Happy Feet/Rex.

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorc ... t5141.html

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorc ... t5147.html

    I know that they are (have been) working on the road from Xayabouri north to Hongsa and this may now be asphalted. There was also a deep river crossing quite close to Xayabouri and there may now be a small ferry as crossing in the rainy season was almost impossible.
     
  12. mactbkk

    mactbkk Ol'Timer

  13. mactbkk

    mactbkk Ol'Timer

    Back to the drawing board, that attempt at posting a photo (had a few more to come) didn't work.

    Have the photos in a Picasa web album, right clicked, copied and pasted to GT, highlighted, then clicked "img" from above tags, all I got was "....

    Mac
     
  14. mactbkk

    mactbkk Ol'Timer

    OK, a few of the photos of the road heading up to the Mekong UPSTREAM from Pak Beng are here:
    http://picasaweb.google.com/mactbkk/Xie ... ruary2009#

    We departed Xieng Lom/Xieng Hon at 1015 hrs, arrived at the junction heading north at 1130 hrs, N19-4176 E 100-04281

    -- first bridge encountered at 1140 hrs.

    -- nice cut at 1156 hrs

    -- arrival at the Mekong at 1230 hrs. N19-50.598, E101-04.032, Ban Pak Huey Can, altho no "ban" there, just the river bank shops.

    I was somewhat confused as I'd expected the trip to be at least an hour, and even more surprised when there was no Pak Beng across the way. Small boat, longtail, to Pak Beng,kip 20,000/person, 30 minutes downstream. "Ferry" for out pickup available to cross the river for baht 3,000, two longtails decked together. Didn't want to try it!

    -- only elephants seen in three days, reckon all were down at Sayaboury for the festival.

    Mac
     
  15. Auke

    Auke Ol'Timer

    MactBkk

    Try to post the images with [​IMG] at front and end as follows:

    [​IMG]

    which will show you and the Missus at the Mekong.

    And this is where the new road is being constructed for those interested in where the road will be. The road starts in Huay Khon and crosses the Mekong about 15 km S.W. of Pak Beng and then continues to Pak Beng (the red line is the new road)

    [​IMG]
     
  16. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    Thanks Mac, very useful information. The photo of the sign is good also. It shows a joint Lao/Thai effort and not another Chinese road. "Completion date, August 2009".
     
  17. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    More photos from Mactbkk

    En route to Pak Ngeuy
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The Mekong at Pak Ngeuy
    [​IMG]

    Looking downstream towards Pak Beng
    [​IMG]
    Note the new road on the other side.

    En route back to Hongsa
    [​IMG]

    Two elephants from the "Land of a Million Elephants"
    [​IMG]
    the other 999,998 must have been in Xayaboury for the elephant festival?

    So not quite all asphalt then.

    Thanks for the info & photos Mactbkk.
     
  18. Pete_Tallahassee

    Pete_Tallahassee Active Member

    Me and a buddy rode Honda 250's up to the site of the bridge work just up river from Pak Beng in November of 07. We payed US $30.00 to take both bikes across the river and about three miles down stream to a sandy bank.
    I think the reason the road does not go directly north and across from Pak Beng is the mountains are high and rugged.







     
  19. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    That's an interestisng point. Other than the Elephant Festival, I cannot recall ever seeing elephants while traveling in Laos. Many donkeys and other animals, but no elephants. OK, I just remembered some doing "tourist duties" at a temple in 2004 :cry:
     
  20. Pete_Tallahassee

    Pete_Tallahassee Active Member

    We saw four while driving around the north of Lao in Nov. 07
    Not tourist related.
     

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