Paksan - Borikhan - Phonsavan in early November 2008

Discussion in 'Laos Road Trip Reports' started by Philippe, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. Philippe

    Philippe Ol'Timer

    Hi

    We are a group of friends from Cambodia going for a big loop of Laos in early Nov. Our concern is about end of raining season there. Last year, rain stopped very late in Cambodia and the " off road crossing Sem Monorom - Banlung" was quite challenging some sections impossible to go.

    We are planning to start from VNT on Nov 8 and be back there 2 weeks later.
    VTN - Paksane - Phonesavan - Phou Lao Vieng Thong Nam Bak - Udom Xai ( Luang Nam Tha if still have time) and back to VTN through Luang Prabang.
    So we are looking for some infos about possibility to make the junction from Paksan - Phonsavan through this challenging trail through Borikhan - Tha Viang- Mouang Khoune.

    Any deep rivers crossing, large amount of deep mud to be expected at that time of the year.
    We are all good off driver, but mostly in our mi or late 50th, so we are not looking for extreme challenge for too long section.
    But going that way will allow us not to do twice the same road.

    Any advice!
    Tks
    pH
     
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  3. Philippe

    Philippe Ol'Timer

    Hi

    By the way, anybody could tell us if the "new Lao rule" to ban motocycle from outside the country apply to ALL or only to farang - barang. Some Khmer friends would like to join and meet us in VTN (where we plan to rent bike). Do they may have any chance to enter Lao with their KH registered off road bike??
    Tks
    pH
     
  4. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Philippe
    The "Lao Bike Ban" only seems to be applied entering Laos by one of the two "Friendship" bridges
    1. Nong Khai / Vte
    2. Mukdahan / Savannakhet.
    Everywhere else is ok, & you can leave Laos by the bridges (although Beddhist might disagree).
     
  5. jimoi

    jimoi Ol'Timer

    Agreed with David on the border issue.

    November should be alright to go up from Paksan. I'd say leave early and if you are not able to cross, you will only be out 60 km +/- and have to return. There are bamboo rafts at the only real problem point but big bike, hmm, no thanks. The road is better than last year this time but it will be pretty rutted out in the two downhill sections northbound. They are not that long. If you get really delayed along the way, there is a simple guest house in Thatom and one in Tha Viang.

    How deep the water is in the three bigger crossings is anyone's guess. My last trip down, I counted 9 water crossings. Depth is variable. November is pretty descent time of year and like I say, there is only really one area north of Borikam that could be an issue.

    If you can't make it, you can run back down to hwy 13, go direction Vientiane and at Thabok, take upgraded road through the national park (Phou Khoa Khway sp) and end up at the Phu Bia Mining site, then go over Xaisamboune - quickly - and end up at Tha Viang in one day but this is a bit of a push, doable but a push.

    Mud, there's never enough for me but it should be alright in November but this has been a heavy rainy season. Best to check back with me around the middle of October and I may have an updated road condition for you.
     
  6. Philippe

    Philippe Ol'Timer

    Hi Jimoii

    Thanks for those great info.
    Maybe we will have to drive in light gear also, easy for river crossing!!

    Of course by mid- Oct we will know more about amount of rain this year and up-date situation on border crossing and so on.

    To save time and energy, one option for us would be to put the bikes on the roof of a night bus from Pakse up to VNT (we already did it by the small roads), then more time left for good fun in the North!!

    Tks +++++
    pH
     
  7. mactbkk

    mactbkk Ol'Timer

    "If you can't make it, you can run back down to hwy 13, go direction Vientiane and at Thabok, take upgraded road through the national park (Phou Khoa Khway sp) and end up at the Phu Bia Mining site, then go over Xaisamboune - quickly - and end up at Tha Viang in one day but this is a bit of a push, doable but a push."

    If the back track from Paksane is required, the road north from Tha Bok area on Rt13S is good gravel/dirt up to Long Sane then paved all the way north to the E-W road between the Phu Bia mining site at Houey Kham and Xaysomboun/Moung Cha/LS-113. You'll hit that road at Thong Khoun about half way between the two places. Turn right, east, and perhaps one hour into Xaysomboun.

    If time is short, the Phu Bia Hotel there in Xaysomboun is OK, at least has hot water for the showers, have stayed there several times in the last two years. For eats, need to go down to the market area in the back. I've liked the 2nd one from the corner, forget the name, but there's a blue sign I think mentioning a guest house.

    Best to buy at least one mobile phone card, ETL system works fine up there. Because of the sort of lack of business at the Phu Bia Hotel the gal that runs the desk stays home, there may be a note on the door to call her to come and unlock the place.

    Mac
     
  8. jimoi

    jimoi Ol'Timer

    I'm not sure if I'd stay in Xaysomboune overnight as to avoid any "difficulties" and can say there are quite a few guesthouses at the Phu Bia Mining site in Houey Kham. Houey Kham is divided into 2 sections, the lower and upper and prices at the bottom of the hill are usually a bit less than the top. The sections are not far apart so you can check out both.
     
  9. Mot

    Mot Member

    Hello,
    I was in Laos in November (around 25th) 2007,I ride from VTE to VV/Phonsavan/Tha Viang/Xaysomboune (Ke Piset for the lao people) and I suffer from cold in the early morning and by night (karaoke studies :wink: ...)do not forget warm clothes for the area of Phonsavan/Tha Viang!!

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