Chiang Mai – Vientiane – Vang Viang – Luang Prabang – Vientiane – Pitsanoluk – Chiang Mai I left Chiang Mai with David FL and Bob B, we made good time to Loei where we stayed for the night at the Kings Hotel. (Good value for your money) Pix above: En route on Highway 11, heading for Uttaradit After a slow start due the freezing wind and fog, we rode through to Nong Khai for lunch, had a bit of an incident in some roadwork’s loose gravel, when I slowed down too much, and Bob nearly rear ended me. Pic above: beside the Mekong, Chiang Khan - Nong Khai. Got to the Friendship bridge and started doing the bike export paperwork, it was then that FL realized he had brought the wrong bike green book, luckily he managed to sort this out with the customs people, as his bike had been out at this border crossing before, he never would have been allowed to forget it otherwise!!! Got to the Lao side where things slowed down considerably, Miss Khampean was most helpful though, especially after David produced a box of chocolates for Miss Khampean and a bottle of whisky for the Boss, from the Duty Free shop! Pix above: The Laos side of the Friendship bridge. The import took about two and a half hours to complete, by then it was late afternoon, and I have to say the road into Vientiane was pretty awful, very bumpy and what seemed like undisciplined traffic, what did I expect though! We were staying 2 nights in Vientiane, and staying at the Lao Paris Hotel, almost opposite the Lao Plaza Hotel, accommodation seems expensive after Thailand, 15US a night! The next day we did the touro bit with a visit to the Silver market, the Victory monument and National Monument Pha That Luang. Later in the day FL took us to get 3rd party insurance for the bikes, and some Lao sim cards for our mobiles. Bob B and myself left Vientiane at lunch time for Vang Vieng, FL and Craypot from Vte were leaving later, the traffic leaving Vientiane was pretty busy for the first sixty kilometers, (probably not helped by me feeling pretty unwell) then as we got into the hills, the traffic tapers right off, The road surface was described as racetrack by someone, (Not by me or Bob B) but the road is only just two way, and has no central dividing line, you have to be constantly aware of vehicles coming from the opposite direction and cutting the corners! Also on the shady side of the hills the road surface was often wet and very slippery! Luckily FL had told us to cross the (hopefully) disused runway after the Shell petrol station at about 160KM from Vientiane or we would have ridden straight by as there is no signposts to tell you, you have arrived! Vang Vieng`s main road was in a complete mess, and I couldn’t see the attraction of the place, especially considering the amount of tourists there, never seen anything like the restaurants on the main street, with the TV series Friends blaring out day and night! We stayed at the Baan Sabai, mainly because it had a courtyard for the safety of the bikes. We had lunch at the Riverside Restaurant, the shakes and Pizza (Yes Pizza) were superb. FL and Michael arrived in the dark after Michael had a rear tire puncture and FL had a mobile phone moment! Next morning it was off to Luang Prabang, the going was pretty slow as the photo opportunities were so great the road surface was almost racetrack, apart from the occasional bit where it was dirt and rocks, and you spend the whole 167KMS in the twisties, absolutely unbelievable! (Bikers heaven) In Luang Prabang we stayed at the Souansavan Ghouse - not too bad! Pic above: under cover parking at the Souansavan It has been nine years since I had been in Luang Prabang, and I hardly recognized it, but the development has been very sensibly looked after, and I think for the best! The next day we had a pleasant day off the bikes, walking around checking out all the attractions, the former Kings palace, the many temples and the fantastic views of the confluence of the Nam Khan and Mekong rivers. Luang Prabang really is a nice place to go, the Laos are so friendly and laid back, and all the restaurants we used were good. Back to Vientiane the next day, minus FL and Michael who were of to Phonsvan. A great days riding (feeling good now) arriving in Vientiane at rush hour, this is a hard days riding, and only nearly 400KMS. The Lao beers at the KopChaiDeu were well earned that night! The trip back across to Thailand was very quick and easy on both sides, there is a lack of sign posts for the Lao immigration and customs compound, but after we had gone under the bridge we worked it out pretty quick. The rest of the trip was pretty standard, a blast across to Pitsanoluk for the night, almost worth going this way just for the trip through Nam Nao National Park on route 12. Then back to Chiang Mai the next day. All in all it was a pretty good trip, hopefully to be done again someday!