Xam Neua – Namsoi – Xamtai. Two days in the hills of Houa Phan Province.

Discussion in 'Laos Road Trip Reports' started by Moto-Rex, Jul 9, 2012.

  1. Moto-Rex

    Moto-Rex Ol'Timer

    Xam Neua – Namsoi – Xamtai. Two days in the hills of Houa Phan Province.

    This was a good two day ride from Xam Neua, firstly riding to Vieng Xai to look at the famous caves, then on to the Vietnam border check point at Namsoi for a look, before riding up the scenic mountain hwy to Xamtai where I spent the night.

    I had always wanted to check out Xamtai, and for no other reason than when you look its location on the GT-Rider map, its stuck out there in the middle of nowhere on its own.

    GPS Track. Hwy6 to Xamtai. http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/36764-Xamtai-from-hwy-6

    The way.
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    Profile of hwy 6 from Xam Neua to Namsoi.
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    The beauty of the Houa Phan province at this time of year is breath taking. Sure, you get a little wet now again, but it’s worth it to see the vegetation so lush and green, the mist in the mountains, and the newly planted rice appearing out on the water filled fields. This is a pretty good part of Laos for motorcycling.

    All the little towns that I passed through were deserted, because everyone was out working in the fields.

    Hard work, but there always having a laugh.
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    Cool looking house just out of Xam Neua.
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    Some good views between Xan Neua and Xieng Xai.
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    These are some of the caves that the Vietnamese used as hideouts during the Vietnamese war.
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    This room was used for intensive care.
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    From the inside looking out.
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    You can take a boat 400 metres up this cave to a big water fall. I gave it a miss.
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    The boats.
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    I don’t know much about the history of the caves, but they were worth having a look at. 10,000kip to see the caves, and that includes a guide, and two helpers.

    This little bridge that you cross to get to the caves, and the two little helpers that walk on sharp stones and rocks in bare feet.
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    The guide’s grandmother was happy to have her photo taken.
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    You can also get a snack at the caves. I stuck to a can of fish less coke.
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    Xieng Xai is a beautiful little town which this lake in the middle.
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    What a spot for a few cold beers and a BBQ
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    The new Kenbos are in early this year.
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    Just love the fork bootys.
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    Xieng Xai is a small town. But in these two bike shops there were over 200 bikes for sale.
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    One of the town’s monuments.
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    I couldn’t help but see the irony here. The monument is at the front of a government building. And along with the monument, is the governments brand new fleet of Ford pick ups.
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    Back on the road and heading east, and the scenery get even better.
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    This shot turned out pretty good. Great riding through here.
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    I noticed this track so I went for a detour to have a look.
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    This little girl sits on a blanket all day while Mum and Dad sow the rice. Least she had some shade and a wind break.
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    I got of the bike and took a few photos. The people were so friendly, and although you can’t see it in the photo, the girls were in hysterics.
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    Hard work for a young girl
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    Getting an up close look at rural life in Laos is one the joys of riding there. I was only there for a short amount of time. But in that time they aloud me into their world, where we had a good laugh, and we had no idea what each other was saying.

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    The narrow little track took me to one of those great travel moments you get now and again.
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    The Namsoi international border check point.
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    After leaving the camera shy border check point, I took off in the direction of Xamtai.

    From the turn off on hwy 6, its 21kms as the crow flys to Xamtai. But as shown on the GT-Rider map, it’s a 68km ride to get there. This is why it has been voted the second windiest road in the world.

    Hwy 6 to Xantai profile.
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    After a quiet night in Xamtai where I dined on potato chips (BBQ sausage flavour) because the restaurants looked a little dodgy, it was back on the road.

    The bridge that that you further south of Xamtai.
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    Looking across the river to Xamtai city.
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    After having a brief look around town, it was time to ride back to Xan Neua. The road from Xamtai to Hwy 6 is without doubt, one of the most amazing rides Ive had anywhere. The scenery is truly stunning.

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    And the ride itself is great, as the narrow tar road is in good condition, there is hardly any traffic, and it follows this river almost all the way.
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    The photo doesn’t show just how far down the river is here. There are some seriously big cliffs here.
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    Back on hwy6 and a drink stop at the local store.
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    The owner of the store looks after her grandson while Mums out planting the rice.
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    Back in Xan Neua, and when it comes to food there, this is about as good as it gets.
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    Moto-Rex
     
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  3. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    Great report and photo's Rex..

    Looks like you have proven that riding in Laos well in to June is not really a problem..

    This looks like a must do ride..

    Cheers
    Brian
     
  4. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    2nd that. Great Photos, You are getting better at this report stuff all the time Rex! Easy to See the Chinese Influence with all those Bikes for Sale! Keep up the Good Work and Enjoy!
     
  5. ronwebb

    ronwebb Ol'Timer

    Terrific photos Rex, well illustrating the fabulous scenery at this time of the year. It looks magic, especially the road running along side the river.
     
  6. Jurgen

    Jurgen Ol'Timer

    Great pictures and fabulous places Rex. Greetings from sunny Spain. I am looking forward to be back soon.
     
  7. Rod Page

    Rod Page Ol'Timer

    Another top report M-R. I've not been as far as Xamtai but your photos & report will make it the envy of all. Kwaka should give you new KLX's as required - you must be boosting their sales enormously.
    Is there a problem getting the audio tour (Narrowcasters) nowadays at Vieng Xai? Its absolutely brilliant.
     
  8. Moto-Rex

    Moto-Rex Ol'Timer

    Thanks for the kind words guys. Its been a good trip so far, and Ive been to some pretty interesting parts of Laos this time.

    Hi Brian, Ive been pretty lucky really. Ive only been caught in one major downpour which was a few days ago, and since then the suns been shining.
    But I have had to turn back at rivers that were deep and flowing far too fast even for the water proof KLX.

    Moto-Rex
     
  9. mat.ward

    mat.ward Ol'Timer

    Enjoyed reading about this trip as we headed down to Xamtai a while ago and loved the ride. Vieng Xai is great as well, love the caves and landscape.

    "I couldn’t help but see the irony here. The monument is at the front of a government building. And along with the monument, is the governments brand new fleet of Ford pick ups."
    I thought this sticker in the bathroom of the guesthouse in Veing Xai was also ironic:
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