Overview of routes / itineraries in Laos (one week)

Discussion in 'Laos Road Trip Reports' started by Axel_F, Jun 13, 2009.

  1. Axel_F

    Axel_F Member

    I am trying to plan a bike trip in Northern Laos and am looking for possible itineraries that can be done within one week (Sat-Sun); start and finish in Vientiane or a trip starting in Vientiane and then dropping the bikes off in Luang Prabang, Udomxai or any other place that has an aiport.

    look forward to seeing suggested routes

    Previous trip for sharing:

    Southern Laos

    Day 1: Vientiane - Vieng Kham (a long day of tarmac trying to get to more remote and interesting areas);
    Day 2: Vieng Kham - Nyomalat or Mahaxai (pleasant flat roads through karst mountains, apparently known as 'the loop');
    Day 3: Nyomalat - Muang Phin/Sepon (a long, but doable ride over jungle paths; might be difficult in the rainy season); alternative: Nyomalat to Savannakhet
    Day 4: Sepon-Tahoy (Long and somewhat unpredictable jungle ride; halfway is a town called Nong; wise to not try to push for Tahoy if you are not in Nong before lunchtime); alternative:Muang Phin - Toumlam/Salavan
    Day 5: Tahoy-Salavan/Sekong (jungle, difficult when raining and presumably not recommended in the rainy season, Salavan-Sekong (tarmac) will take around 3 hours)
    Day 6: Salavan/Sekong - Attapeu (can be done over tarmac or dirt road); or
    Day 6: Salavan/Sekong - Champasak (going straight west: tarmac; gliding roads to Wat Phu; loop (easier when already in Sekong): beautiful mixture of tarmac, easy jungle and dirt roads over the Boloven Plateau. cross the mekong by boat at Champasak);
    Day 7: (i) Attapeu - Pakse; (can be done over tarmac or dirt; the dirt road is virtually impassable during the rainy season); (ii) Champasak - Pakse (plenty of time to visit What Phu before heading to Pakse; drop off bikes in Pakse)
     
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  3. Jules

    Jules New Member

    hi Axel,

    I'm a little bit confused by your message asking for the North and showing South...

    Anyway, for the North I might be able to help you but I need to know if you want to go "off-road" or if you prefer to stay on the tarmac.

    My company rent bikes and you can drop them in Luang Prabang if you want but.... if you fancy some dirt, there is a nice loop to be done.

    Let me know: [email [email protected]][email protected][/email]
    We have a website: www // bike-rental-laos.com

    cheers
    Jules
     
  4. Axel_F

    Axel_F Member

    @Jules: i am looking for a combination of dirt and sealed roads in the North.
     
  5. jimoi

    jimoi Ol'Timer

    Hey, best for me to inline answer the days you outline, please note that this trip is best done between the middle of October until late March. Days 3 - 4 and 7 may be far too wet to ride and water levels are quite high creating dangerous crossing in rainy season:

    For you south adventure, it's not a bad ride. I can write something comparable for this many days north but it does really depend on your riding skills. Even in wet season, there are good, challenging dirt tracks out there. A combination dirt/paved is easy to do.
    I've posted a while back http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/jimoi-spills-information-on-laos---8-9-day-northern-loop-t4640.html

    For a bit more info on the route you are looking at south, Bill made a really good post a bit back http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/sth-laos-hcm-trail-nong-fa-lake-attapeu-t5189.html#29773

    Southern Laos

    Day 1: Vientiane - Vieng Kham (a long day of tarmac trying to get to more remote and interesting areas); I'd not stay in Vieng Kham, Na Hi is only 44 KM to the east and much better accommodation and food. VTE to Na Hin is about 280 km and can be done quickly. This puts you in a better launch position for the next day as you write it.

    Day 2: Vieng Kham - Nyomalat or Mahaxai (pleasant flat roads through karst mountains, apparently known as 'the loop'); This is a relatively short ride and you can push it a bit more with an early start and depart Na Hin and or Vieng Kham and make Xepon in one day. It's a little demanding but I've done it several times. If you do decide to stop in Mahaxai, you'll arrive well in the early afternoon. There is a small outer loop via Nongchan (by the VN border) to Bualapha and back to Mahaxay.

    Day 3: Nyomalat - Muang Phin/Sepon (a long, but doable ride over jungle paths; might be difficult in the rainy season); alternative: Nyomalat to Savannakhet Here is a day that again is quite short for a ride. You can take my advice and cut this out with a bigger ride the day before and advance the schedule. If not, starting from Mahaxay take the run to Bualapha and then south to Vilabury (not easy). Ride down to Xepon and then cruise easy to Moung Phin for the night.

    Day 4: Sepon-Tahoy (Long and somewhat unpredictable jungle ride; halfway is a town called Nong; wise to not try to push for Tahoy if you are not in Nong before lunchtime); alternative:Muang Phin - Toumlam/Salavan Depending on your route choice, both are not easy and solo riding is not recommended for either choice. You should have accurate gps or at least speak a bit of Lao in some of these sections as it is quite remote with many turns. On Phin - Salavan, the first 35 km are easy then a river crossing by boat. The next 50 km you need to take your time on as it is somewhat difficult. There are several turns on the track now and few locals out here. For Nong - Ta Oi, possible as well in one day and the trail is not terribly difficult to follow. Again, not a lot of people out here.

    Day 5: Tahoy-Salavan/Sekong (jungle, difficult when raining and presumably not recommended in the rainy season, Salavan-Sekong (tarmac) will take around 3 hours) 90 km from Ta Oi to Salavan isn't terrible but could take time in rainy season. The last bit to Sekong is quite easy to ride.


    Day 6: Salavan/Sekong - Attapeu (can be done over tarmac or dirt road); An easy ride and maybe you need the break at this point. You will arrive early enough into Attapeu and a quick trip to Paam is easy enough to do.

    or
    Day 6: Salavan/Sekong - Champasak (going straight west: tarmac; gliding roads to Wat Phu; loop (easier when already in Sekong): beautiful mixture of tarmac, easy jungle and dirt roads over the Boloven Plateau. cross the mekong by boat at Champasak); Not a bad day. I'd say ride a little further this day as you can make Champasak easy enough by early afternoon. A little further riding to Kingfisher Lodge for the night is a good idea.

    Day 7: (i) Attapeu - Pakse; (can be done over tarmac or dirt; the dirt road is virtually impassable during the rainy season); (ii) Champasak - Pakse (plenty of time to visit What Phu before heading to Pakse; drop off bikes in Pakse)
    Yes, 18B in the south is pretty impassable during rainy season and can be done if you walk the bike and plug it up. The rivers can be deep and fast in some places and what is usually a 3 - 4 hour ride can be an all day event with cleaning water out of the bike.

    Your alternate Day 6 ending in Champasak gives you a day to ride before ending up in Pakse. An option if you are in Kingfisher or Champasak on Day 6 would be to ride south to Mounlapamok, try to cross the Mekong here and ride back up the west side of the river via Sukhuma then out to the Thai border and all the way up to Pakse.
     
  6. Axel_F

    Axel_F Member

    I actually done the Southern trip and thought of posting it for other's use and reference. Your comments are indeed pretty much in line with my own experience. I will be doing the North later this year (after the rainy season); thanks for the link and post mentioned in your reply).
     

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