Last week I managed to grab a four day leave pass so decided to head off to Udomxai and Muang Khua. This was going to be a quick trip. I left Vientiane at 1pm to make Vang Vieng in the afternoon before heading of early the next day to make it to Udomxai before dark. The trip up to Luang Prabang was uneventful but bloody hot. It was essential to keep the fluids up. I recall riding Rte 13 north out of Luang Prabang on the Transalp and thought it was quite boring but on the BMW the fast sweepers following the river were a different story. I thought it was interesting how my impressions of the road changed depending on the bike I was riding. I stayed the night at the Vansana hotel in Vang Vieng instead of one of the many cheap guest houses. The Vansana starts at $25 a night and offers pretty good rooms with river views. The bonus is the pool that attracted quite a number of bikini clad falang women on the afternoon I was there. Udomxai doesn’t have much to offer and the choices for decent food seemed to be even less. I rode up the top of the local hill and snapped this shot of the Beemer. Next day I rode the 100km over to Muang Khua, I was actually going to try for Pongsali but missed the turn off and only realised it when I hit MK. This is a great road. The surface is good and it follows along a river valley. Its quite open so you can see around the corners and if your not giving it 100% the scenery is quite nice as well. As usual in rural Laos on minor roads there was bugger all traffic. Muang Khua is also not much to speak of, its situated at the junction of two rivers on the way to the Vietnamese border crossing over to Dien Ben Phu (not open to foreigners). While I was there I did learn what these things are for. They hold little generators that provide electricity when the power is shut down at night. I used to work as a photographer and still keep on the lookout for a nice shot. The boats on the river were quite colourful and I hope this shot captures them. A feature of the town is this suspension bridge. It doesn’t look much in this photo but I can tell you it was pretty scary walking across it. The one railing (a bit of rebar) was about at knee height and when the local guys rode their scooters over the bridge the thing rocked quite a bit. You can see the height from this photo – the bridge is that thin line in the haze. Anyhow I survived my walk across the bridge both ways. If I had a waterproof bag to hold my money etc I would have returned via the river rather than cross that bridge again. Next day was a quick trip back to Luang Prabang for an excellent meal at l’Elephant and then back to Vientiane. I managed to grab this shot of one of the many Vietnamese salesman that tour around the rural areas of Laos trying to sell their meagre goods.