The Mekong

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - Road Trip Reports' started by DavidFL, Jul 20, 2008.

  1. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    I always love riding alongside the Mekong & Chiang Khong is my fave spot on the 'Khong.
    The Mekong river's always changing up & down, & colours.
    If you're like me & miss the 'Khong & views of it, here's what is was like on Saturday 19th July 2008.

    Houei Xai (Laos) from Tammila guesthouse, Chiang Khong.
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    Yes, it was raining & the river's up.

    The view downstream, from Tammila
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    Mouang Khan from the Huai Sai Mann viewpoint, 16 kms north of Chiang Khong.
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  3. thailasse

    thailasse Ol'Timer

    Phu Chi Fa viewpoint july 2005. Route 1093.

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    Chiang Khong, july 2005.

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  4. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    FRIDAY 1ST AUGUST - SUNDAY 2ND AUGUST 2008
    And the river’s way way up

    The Ferry landing on the Thai side & the water’s up to the Customs Office & Gateway

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    Crossing the “Khong in a steel hulled boat with a bit of protection
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    The Africa Twin just fits in nicely!

    The view back towards Chiang Khong from the Laos side
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    The view from the Wang View “happy hour” Resort
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    Laos immigration at Houei Xai, get off the boat & it’s straight up the steps with the river so high.
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    Lao immigration & Mekong panoramas
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    And in the rain
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    The Houei Xai “Mekong Boulevard” looking upstream
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    And looking downstream
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    The Bug car ferry pier at Houei Xai. Note how close in the cargo boats & Bug ferry are
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  5. Rhodie

    Rhodie Ol'Timer

    The 'Kong looks a little different from hen we crossed in Jan.
    What's happened to the ferries?
    Having done a bit of long tail excitement in the past,
    I prefer the sedate chugging of the flat steel platform.
    Great pix mate looking forward to the full write-up.
     
  6. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    Pretty amazing, I have never seen the 'Kong that high before. As they have been complaining for the past couple years of low water, it looks like a change is in store. Any reasons?

    The low water has been blamed on the Chinese dams, so why so high now? Unless they are diverting water around the dams or from somewhere else there must have been spectacular rains somewhere upriver.
     
  7. cdrw

    cdrw Ol'Timer

    Hmmm...
    David had a nifty and covered boat to take him across the Mekong.
    When I was there, last year, the ferry wasn't running. I waited two days, still no ferry. So, I was open to anything and a small boat was the oply option. I tried sitting and balancing on my bike at the start of the crossing from Houei Xai to CK...but my balance was precarious. The boat kept rocking, so not wanting to go swimming...both me and the bike...I let the local manage straddle the bike. All's well that ends well at CK Immigration.

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  8. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    A bit of a note on the Bug Car Ferries at Chiang Khong / Houei Xai.

    There are two operators now
    1. A Thai one from Chiang Khong, & the original sole operator.
    2. A "new" Lao one, & I understand in partnership with the Thai operator that used to be at Mukdahan / Savannakhet, before they put in the bridge (& bye bye ferry companies.)

    You would think this provided a greatly improved service with double the number of crossings, but nope they have new rules in place that effectively halve your chances of getting across on the car ferry.

    What happens?

    Well, with two operators now everybody must get a share – so they can only carry vehicles from their home port & always return empty.

    If you leave from Thailand & want to go on the car ferry you can only go on the Thai ferry.
    The same for the Laos side - leaving Laos you can only leave with the Lao ferry.
    Or
    You’re stuck with the old boats.
    Or
    You wait & hope that at the side you’re on, some other vehicles will turn up so the car ferry goes.

    Now speaking from very recent experience (Monday 4th August) this can be extremely frustrating if you’re patiently queued up waiting to go on the Lao side, but the Lao ferry is not going, and you have to sit & watch 2 ferries from the Thai side come, discharge trucks & then return empty, And you’re not allowed on – twice!
    Needless to say I was not impressed, particularly when my sneeky master plan of paying the Lao Bug 500 baht for nothing & then tipping the Thai ferry for a cheap ride back was not alowed. No way – cannot do. Must go with Lao boat!!
    So back it was to the old wooden boat. And here’s where the trouble really started.

    The trip over cost 600 baht on the Thai side, plus 20 baht a man unloading fees on the Lao side & there were 6 of them who couldn’t wait to get their hands on the bike to get their 20 baht. It was all easy & extremely efficient, so no complaints.
    However on the return the greedy bastards wanted 700 baht for the boat + 200 baht loading fees = 900 baht. All a bit much I thought. A fairly lengthy & intense exchange ensued, which ended up with me walking off to speak to the Lao ferry owner to confirm if he was indeed going at 2PM, for which I was prepared to wait so that the small boat thieves got nothing. But before I got to the car ferry a polite well dressed Lao official called me over to ask what the problem was. He immediately understood & said to follow him & he would fix it. So back down the steps we went to confront the small boat owner. He barked out an order, telling them the fee was 500 baht, no extra labour fees & to get to work loading the AT. Laugh you should have seen the look on the face of the boat owner – he’d lost his first prize in the lottery. I was highly impressed. I understood the Lao official to be the harbourmaster, but did not get his name or exact position, but he said anytime you have trouble, just go & see him at the port & he will fix it!
    A nice man & next trip I will drop him off a bottle of whisky to keep the waters smooth.
    But wow, that was sensational - a clear win over the boatmen of the Mekong!

    Crossing back over to Thailand from Houei Xai in a small wooden boat, something I prefer not to do if possible.
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    Of note too on the Lao side, the Customs are computerized & “online” they say with their Thai counterparts across the river. There is no handwritten form Customs Import form anymore, the data is typed into the computer & the form is printed out. Couldn’t be easier.

    Cleaning the mud off the port ramp.
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    The river had dropped a couple of metres after 48 hrs in Laos.

    Mouang Khan from the Huai Sai Mann viewpoint, 16 kms north of Chiang Khong.
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  9. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Sunday 14th September 2008.
    On the run into Chiang Khong from Chiang Saen.
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    Of note too was the gorgeous balmy weather. No rain, despite all the flood warnings & I reckon that in the top north the end of the rainy season is near! You can all get out & ride now.
     
  10. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Another run along the Mekong, Chiang Saen - Chiang Khong via R1129. 14 Jan 2009.

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  11. Deano747

    Deano747 Ol'Timer

    Thursday Nov 14th 2008 around 8am in Chiang Khong
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  12. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    Great photo Deano!
     
  13. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Chiang Saen. 21 Feb 2009.
    It's hot 'n dry.......
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  14. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    8th March 2009: The Golden Triangle
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  15. Rhodie

    Rhodie Ol'Timer

    David - that haze is incredible compared to when we crossed over in January last year!

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  16. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Sunday 19th April 2009: On the road (in the car) with Happy Go Lucky & the 20 yr old (looks like she is 14 or 15) niece.

    At Chiang Saen: The river's down, but the air is clean.
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    Monday 20th April: Chiang Khong & the view from Tammila guesthouse
    1. Downstream
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    2. Upstream towards Houei Xai
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    Tuesday 21st April: Huai Sai Mann Viewpoint
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    R4007 upstream from Chiang Khong on the "river road" heading for Rai Saeng Arun Resort
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    The river's low & narrow
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    In some places wider
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    but it is still low
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    The Rai Saeng Arun riverside conference room is "high & dry"
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    Compare the above to Beddhist's photo in the flood in 2008
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    from
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorc ... t4245.html

    No doubt the river is down eh?
     
  17. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    Hard to Believe a River that Wide can Vary that Much in Depth :shock: Incredible difference in the Photos, got to be near 10 Metres!!!
     
  18. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Bungy
    Forgot these two photostitch snaps from the other day....

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    Only taken a km or two apart, but they show much the river width can vary so much in the dry season.
    Why not ride up to Chiang Khong with me to send me off to Laos & take a look at the 'Khong yourself? I'll be over-nighting in CEI on the way through to check on the SEO Guy GT Rider webmaster. It's been awhile, so are you up for a ride with me?
     
  19. thailasse

    thailasse Ol'Timer

    Doi Pha Tang
    21.5.2009

    Mekong river in the front side

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    Mekong river in the left side

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    Phu Chi Fa
    21.5.2009

    Mekong river in the left side

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    Phu Chi Fa
    22.05.2005
    05:30 am.
    The sunrise in the Phu Chi Fa viewpoint.

    Mekong river, below the clouds

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    The pics:
    Lasse's Paradise
    www.saunalahti.fi/lassek1/
     
  20. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Mouang Khan from the Huai Sai Mann viewpoint, 16 kms north of Chiang Khong.

    26 August 2009
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    Chian Saen & The Golden Triangle from Wat Prathat Pha Ngao
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    Absolutely glorious weather & a full Mekong.
     
  21. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    The Mekong Route 211 Chiang Khan - Nong Khai

    Monday: 19 October 2009

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    The road
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    As per usual it was a magnificent ride on R211 along The 'Khong.
     
  22. hs0zfe

    hs0zfe Ol'Timer

    The Mekhong beckons, wish I was there... Some amazing photos!

    Chris
     
  23. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    1st APRIL 2010. On the way back from Vietnam.

    ROUTE 211 Nong Khai - Chiang Khan.

    Hot 'n dry & little water in the 'Khong.

    The Don Chan Palace hotel, from Sri Chiang Mai.
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    FURTHER DOWNSTREAM & The 500 baht question - where is this / taken from?
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    Chiang Khan & the "dry" Kaeng Khut Ku rapids
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    where are the rapids?

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    The beach upstream from the rapids
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  24. Auke

    Auke Ol'Timer

    Pictures taken from Wat Pha Tak Suea with the Don Kanghong island on the Lao side.
     
  25. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Pictures taken from Wat Pha Tak Suea with the Don Kanghong island on the Lao side.

    Auke :clap: :clap: :clap:
    Right of course. I can see it's going to be difficult to catch you out. I hope you're coming to Franz' on Saturday too.

    More photos & GPS info coming for this tomorrow " Tuesday."
     
  26. Jurgen

    Jurgen Ol'Timer

    I share your love for the Mekong and enjoy your pictures very much :)! For my next trip I have decided to cross at Nong Kai, playing safe for the first tour, and coming back through Muang Ngeun. I followed the suggestion to avoid the Luang Nantha - Oudom Xai bit, without a suitable bike (for me, others might easily do it with an ER6n). But for sure my next trip has to go through Houei Xai, even if it is on a rented bike! Your pictures are too tempting to resist!
     

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