Muong Moc, SE of PDJ

Discussion in 'Laos Road Trip Reports' started by mactbkk, Aug 2, 2009.

  1. mactbkk

    mactbkk Ol'Timer

    Greetings from a 4-wheeler. Following is a cut from a trip report I did for friends in the U.S. of a late June 2009 trip with my wife and a friend from Vientiane up to the PDJ, and SE to Muang Moc (Mok).

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    We drove on to Muang Mok, old LS-46, after visiting the school at Ban Phosy, Muong Khoun. Note, when you get to "Phouvieng," as it's marked on the maps, take the left fork on to Muong Moc. FYI, Phouvieng is old "Muong Ngan," as noted on the km marking stones, old LS-236 if anyone's interested in old airfield numbers. FYI, old 1:250,000 scale maps for SEA have been scanned and are available here: http://www.nexus.net/~911gfx/sea-ao.html They're kind of fun to look at these days.

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    Muang Mok was a bit of an adventure to reach, with the trip including some 100 km of dirt road SE of Muong Khoun. With the rains, it took four hours to cover the 60 miles. You can bet that we were glad we had the 4 X 4 Ford Ranger pickup on that road. We had started from Phon Savanh at 3,600 ft, went up to 7,000, then down to 1,500 by the time we reached Muang Moc. This was the highest I have been in Laos with feet on the ground. Do wonder if this is about the highest road in Southeast Asia.

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    While this place is quite isolated, there is daily "bus" service to Phon Savanh, via a six-wheel, covered truck. We also saw a number of motorcycles slipping and sliding along the road because of the drizzle. There is a brand new Bailey bridge across the main river in town. I believe it was funded by the Vietnamese government. There is also the start of what looks like a pretty good dirt road on the other side, and we were told it is only about 1-1/2 hours to the Vietnamese border from there.

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    Actually, Muang Mok is a very attractive spot and adequately supplied with goods for sale and government services for being so far away from any large towns. The town has cell phone service, but not much in the way of electricity.

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    We were there for a meeting on possible assistance to the primary school. After the meeting, the principal invited us to his house to have dinner with the same group. Of course, everybody sat on the floor with the food served on large circular trays. The folks were really friendly and there was a lot of talk, which of course was topped off with Lao whisky. Lao lao, ugh.

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    We spent the night at the District Guest House, after being cautioned to first visit the market and buy our own candles. It's located on the SE corner of town just a couple hundred meters south of the new Bailey Bridge. There was one light out in the foyer, but the electricity was not sufficient to light up the individual rooms. Evidently the electricity is provided by what they call a "dynamo," a small water turbine that is lowered into the river. The problem at the time of our visit was that the river was flowing quite fast and they were afraid of losing the dynamo, so they pulled it out. A 12-volt battery powered the one lonely light. There was cool water for the shower, three hard, single beds per room, and mosquito nets. Not a bad idea to buy a can of mosquito spray at the market, too. But the sit-down crapper made my day! Actually quite a nice place. Sure better than some I've stayed at. tels: 020-608-0561 & 020-253-3396

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    It was raining a bit more the next morning for our drive back to Phon Savanh. In the Muong Ngan area crossed over one bridge where some of the villagers were collecting firewood that had been cut upstream, good labor saving idea.

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    For folks thinking of traveling on to the south, we were told that the "roads & trails" do continue on down to Rt 8, dry season best for travel. One guy said you came out at Lak Sao, no idea if this is correct or not. It being rainy when we were there, and since we were continuing on to Sam Nuea, we didn't give it a try. Perhaps next dry season?

    And, a big THANKS to Auke who provided the tracking and profile info to this GPS knowledge limited guy.

    Mac

    ps: hope the photos come through, first time I've tried this method.
     
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  3. mactbkk

    mactbkk Ol'Timer

    Two photos lost in the process now added:

    The new Bailey Bridge and new road leading to Vietnam:

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    Mac & Sunee at dinner at the teacher's house:

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    Mac
     
  4. Azoulay

    Azoulay Ol'Timer

    Hi Mac,

    Thanks for this trip report, i would love to do it on 2 wheels but the weather conditions seem not to be idle at present.

    Wonderful landscapes and pictures !
     

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