Long Weekend Getaway to Luang Prabang.

Discussion in 'Laos Road Trip Reports' started by brian_bkk, Oct 31, 2012.

  1. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer Staff Member

    G'day Fella's..

    This post is a little late by my normal standards.. so better get it done before the next trip comes along ;-)

    The Riders and Bikes:-

    Tony BKK - Versys
    Larkin (Rob) - Fazer
    Tim (not on the forum) - CRF 250 hired from Fuark.
    Brian BKK - Versys..

    Rob and I rode our bikes along from CNX to Udon the weekend before.. ready for the weekend ride to LPQ.
    Had a great ride along the Mekong and stayed the night at Ban Mairimkhong.. See accommodation reports
    The last 30 km in the dark along the Khong was not fun.. but the Versys high beam rocks..

    Friday afternoon Rob, Tim and myself fly up to Udon.. pick up the bikes and ride to the border. Tony rode up form BKK and met us at Kawa Udon.
    I doubled Tim up to VTE as he had to pick up his bike from Fuark..

    The Thai side was OK.. But the Ahole this side.. just wasn't happy that we didn't need to get copies of something as we had three of everything ready for them...
    so made us get a copy of the conveyance form.. May be his sister owns the photo copy machine...

    Anyway.. that done and off we go to Laos.. Tony has made an excellent little video...



    We are barely on the other side.. not off the bridge proper when Rob slams in to a piece of 4X4 wood and goes airborne.. You will see in the video the contents of the Givi box scatter across the road.. Just shows.. It doesn't take long to find dangerous stuff on the roads..

    On we go and change side of the road at the traffic lights...
    Customs were so so so so so so slow.. They couldn't find Rob's bike in the system..
    But never fear.. Rob being the king of cool.. just let it slide by.. Mai Pen Rai.. Sabai Sabai... Do you believe me ? 5555

    Anyway.. after what seemed like an eternity.. off we go.. FINALLY.. I took Tim to Fuark before he closed...
    Then my GPS played up.. But never fear.. Had the trusty GT Rider map on hand... we worked it out and then I spotted the land mark and we were there and Tony greeted us with a beer in his hand...

    So off we go to enjoy VTE.. Really great little city / town.. Nice Mexican food.. As you do when in Laos.. Then off to one of David's favourite bars for a few beers..
    All a bit hammered and tired off to bed for an early wake up and ride to Luang Prabang with Lunch in Vang Vieng..

    Hit the road around 7:40 am.. Already a bit of traffic on the roads.. then riding along and all good.. until before and after Vang Vieng.. The road is a mess.. really rough.. Tony also has some footage of that... (Must say though.. only three days later and on the way back it was already improving - may be a month of so and the worst will be repaired)



    The last 125 KM are the best.. road is good by Lao standards and not too much traffic..
    Tim managed to get run off the road by a bus.. no injuries and some Thai's in a pick up stopped and helped..

    Arrive LPQ around 5pm in time for sunset beer Laos...

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    The next day we take a rest and Tony and I walk around stop and just soak up all that is Luang Prabang..

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    Lovely town and never get tired of going back..

    Then off to the waterfall just out side LPQ

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    That night back at the wine bar... and more carry on..

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    Then off to Vang Vieng...

    Great ride to Vang Vieng.. Few photo's below are the highlights..

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    Rob
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    Tony
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    Me
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    All of my pics are here:-
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.499953436695260.117723.100000418237810&type=1&l=54fc6ed221

    Just in case you want to see them all or Facebook decide to change the URLs again destroying the links above.

    Rob and Tony then decided to ride Vang Vieng to Bangkok on the last day.. Left my bike at Kawa Udon and flew back with Tim

    All in all.. a great trip, a bit of adventure.. and a new convert to off road biking.. Rob has decided to join the dark side..

    Cheers
    Brian
     
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  3. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    It was a fantastic long weekend trip! Thanks Brian for putting it together!

    I enjoyed a pleasant ride from Bangkok to Udon Thani via Wang Nam Kiao (Route 3 on the map below) to meet up with the Brian and Rob who had left there bikes at the Kawa dealer the weekend before.
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    Made excellent time so stopped at the Ubolrat reservoir near Khon Kaen for a fantastic lunch overlooking the lake-
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    TGIF! [​IMG]
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    What a meal! Less than 300 Baht (US$10) all in! [​IMG]

    Met up with Brian, Rob and Tim at Kawasaki/Honda/KTM/BMW dealer in Udon Thani (very impressive dealership!) and off we went to the border-
    [​IMG]
     
  4. johngooding

    johngooding Ol'Timer

    Very enjoyable read and looks like a great time of year to see the best of the scenery. Thanks for the report and pics Brian
     
  5. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Made it to the Thai border at Nong Kai without incident and began the rather tedious process of running around to complete the immigration and customs formalities.
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    Other than one annoying customs official and Rob being assaulted and bloodied by a low awning things went smoothly on the Thai side. Was fun watching the reaction of the locals to a tall sweaty red faced farang with blood streaming down his face. Small cut but bled like a mofo!

    We ignored the signs that say "No Motorcycles" and rode directly across the Friendship Bridge to Laos [​IMG]
    No sooner had we crossed the bridge did Rob run over a 4x4 block of wood that sent him flying but fortunately he managed to stay shiny side up!
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    I stopped and picked up all the stuff that fell out of his top box. Video riding across the friendship bridge from Nong Khai, Thailand to Vientiane, Laos:

     
  6. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Completing immigration and customs on the Lao side took a LONG time but fortunately ALMOST everyone kept their cool [​IMG]

    Arriving Customs and Immigration in Laos:



    Nobody seemed to care that we rode our bikes across the bridge which was cool. We had to go to the office of the Customs boss to get our forms signed but he was friendly and his office was nice and cool. (It was a hot day and we were wearing full gear).

    After we cleared Immigration and Customs and bought the basic required insurance Brian took Tim to pick up the rental bike from Fuark while Rob and I made straight for the hotel and got pretty lost. Thank goodness I had the GT Rider Laos map or I don't know how long it would have taken us to find the Metropole.

    I can imagine that back in the day this was a fine hotel, but presently it's in rather sorry state and at 800 baht (~US$27) a complete rip off compared to other options in Vientiane. While it's in a good location and has secure off street parking for the bikes I won't stay there again-
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  7. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    We walked down to the Mekong for dinner and ended up in a Tex-Mex place [​IMG]

    After a long day in the saddle, Bangkok-Vientiane, it felt good to stretch my legs.

    Pretty decent food and some rather aggressive ladyboys... Here's Brian doing his best to ignore his admirer- [​IMG]
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    Bit of bar hopping and ended the night at the Wind West (or West Wind?) bar where they had an excellent live band and a lot of eye candy. Vientiane, like the rest of Laos goes to sleep pretty early. That's ok- we needed to get up early the next morning for the long ride from Vientiane to Luang Prabang.

    Good night!!
     
  8. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    We'd agreed to hit the starter buttons at 0700 the next morning for the longish ride to Luang Prabang. It's not a huge distance, but it's quite a slow road with variable conditions and you never know what kind of weather you might get in the mountains.

    0700 Rob, Brian and Tony are ready to roll but no sign of Tim... Hmmm... 0715 still no Tim but wow there are a lot (I mean a LOT!) of empty Beer Leo cans in the lobby. Brian goes to see if Tim is alive and reports that yes, he has a pulse but is still in bed...

    Hmmm, Rob and Brian take turns trying to roust Tim who is obviously nursing a serious hangover. Turns out that when we got back to the hotel the night before Tim's AC wasn't working. The hotel staff told him to come down and have a few beers while they tried to sort it out.

    I think the real plan was to get him so drunk that he'd forget about the AC. [​IMG] Guess it worked.... [​IMG]

    Ah well, finally Tim arrives and we hit the road.

    Saturday mornings are cool in Vientiane- all the school kids go out with brooms and clean the town. No wonder this city is so immaculate!
     
  9. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Traffic's not too bad and we get out of Vientiane without incident.

    The road to Van Vieng is in much worse shape than when I rode it a couple of years ago. Many sections of dirt, some hard packed, some freshly dumped and being graded. I'm glad I took the Versys instead of the GSXR. I can imagine it isn't much fun on Rob's FZ1.

    Rob and I rode ahead of Brian and Tim.

    We stopped on the Lao-Japan bridge to enjoy the scenery and wait for Tim and Brian to catch up-
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    What a view!
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    Here's Brian, Tim wasn't too far behind-
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    Tim's rented CRF250L was brand new and was getting terrible mileage, probably on account of the still-tight engine. He needed to stop for fuel a lot sooner than expected-
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    An example of the kind of road conditions we encountered along the way-

    At least it was dry! [​IMG]

    Still, we made good time and reached Van Vieng around 11 where we gassed up and stopped for lunch.

    Welcome to Van Vieng, Laos!
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    Tim was still moving a bit slow and somehow we managed to lose him in Van Vieng. It's such a small town we thought he'd find us, but we didn't see him again until that evening in Luang Prabang. Sorry we lost you Tim!
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  10. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    The road from Van Vieng to Luang Prabang is amazing- up and down, turn after turn, amazing scenery, and it's generally in better condition than the section south of Van Vieng-
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    Leaving Van Vieng, headed north-
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    Shortly after you leave Van Vieng you climb up into some amazing limestone mountains- had to stop and snap a few pics-
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    We had some rain along the way which took away the views and slowed us down, but we still made good time.
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    There's a road side rest area with some amazing views about ~30km out of Luang Prabang-
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    What a view!
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    The monkey was a nice touch too [​IMG]
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  11. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Here's a short video of me on the Versys following Rob on his Yammie Fazer FZ1. Fun road, very little traffic, great scenery. Watch in HD if you have a fast connection!


    :happy1:
     
  12. hawaiianbrians

    hawaiianbrians Ol'Timer

    Thanks for the report, I will be doing that trip in a few months but in my truck, the in-laws want to come as well. It doesn't look like either of my bikes would be well suited for the road anyhow and it gets dusty in March I hear. I plan on some bike trips inside Thailand so I will try my hand at some trip reports once I get back in February. Cheers!
     
  13. rob7711

    rob7711 Ol'Timer

    Nice pics and interesting videos ... a good insight as to what we will encounter soon. Our ride in december will see us riding on these same roads. Hope the road repairs will be done by then. Cheers!
     
  14. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer Staff Member

    Make sure you check the customs paper work when you go in as a group.

    When leaving.. having passed all the other formalities.. The customs officer looks at the piece of paper and say "YAMA5555"

    Well.. it felt like an echo in my ears at first and I twigged.. When we came through they handed back the wrong paper work with the wrong passports.

    I smiled and pointed at the Versys.. he looked and smiled and handed back the paper work.

    OK.. would have wasted an hour if they had been alert as they would have looked back for the last hour or so for bikes that had crossed and matched up the mistake.
    Rob with my Versys paper work and me with with the Fazer paper work..

    But had it of been a more remote check point... and the other bike had not passed.. Could have been a minor nightmare until worked out.

    Cheers
    Brian
     
  15. Rod Page

    Rod Page Ol'Timer

    Sensational photos surrounding the LPQ/VV legs. How good is that run from LPQ/VV!!!
    Jealous.
     
  16. monty1412

    monty1412 Ol'Timer

    That was a ladyboy ???
     
  17. monty1412

    monty1412 Ol'Timer

    If anyone is interested I will be running my nearly by now famous classes " Keeping your cool no matter what happens" soon.
    And breathe 1, 2,3 4 5.

    Can be applied in all situations except for bloody incompetent useless, paper pushing, time wasting, indolent, lazy *******s at border check points.
     
  18. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    :lol-sign::lol-sign::lol-sign:
     
  19. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    We stayed two nights at the comfortable and friendly family run Hoxieng Guest House-
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    Excellent location, family run (Granny is classic!), 400 Baht for ac rooms with WiFi and complimentary coffee/tea in the morning and secure off street parking for the bikes.
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    Great location- walking distance to everything-
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    Beer Lao at the guesthouse, Beer Lao down on the Mekong, and more Beer Lao and outstanding food at the Lamache Restaurant, right on the river-
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    Sunset on the Mekong in magical Luang Prabang-
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    I was a bit tired and sore from two long days in the saddle and went off for a two hour Lao massage while the rest of the gang went bar hopping.

    Good night!
     
  20. louis-SVK

    louis-SVK Member

    I envy you guys,

    This is the good season for sutch a trip!!

    How is The CRF 250 L is doing??

    I would love some impretions as I am about to order one in the next few weeks.

    Enjoy

    Mathieu
     
  21. shoei_com

    shoei_com Member

    Hi, nice report... I think I saw a red Versy on the 23th Oct at the cross inter section of Nong Khai, right turn to Udon Thani, I thinks maybe izzt one of u guy here, as I m the want riding a blue Yamaha XT250 with the yellow helmet on, seem like a good ride for u guy... Life is short, ride hard...
     
  22. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer

    Good shots of the "Royal" road from Kasi to LP. A classic ride everyone should do some time. Amazing topography.
     
  23. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer Staff Member

    Hi Shoei_com,

    Yes.. I did see you.. We were turning right and you were going straight on.. A little bit ahead of us..

    I remember your colourful helmet and thought.. you can't miss that LOL.

    We were trying to find food along the main road.. but nothing was open as a public holiday.

    Cheers
    Brian
     
  24. shoei_com

    shoei_com Member

    Sorry for the late reply, Izzt a public holiday? I dun know that, As I went I went into Laos by Nan n out by Nong Khai, was heading straight to my friend house, any ride in December as my bike is still in CNX but I m back in Singapore, will bring my bike downward to Bangkok or Phuket, everyone guys ride safe... Cheers... 👍👍👍

     

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