Xmas in Laos

Discussion in 'Laos Road Trip Reports' started by BJ, Jul 30, 2011.

  1. BJ

    BJ Ol'Timer

    Xmas in Laos
    This report is a bit late but it won’t be that long till the rains have stopped and it will be ideal to travel to Laos so hopefully it might inspire a few trips to a lovely part of Asia.
    We set off from CNX late afternoon towards Phayao. I had been around Phayao few times but never been into the city so was looking forward to it.
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    Arrived early evening to a great view of the Kwan Phayao lake.
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    There was plenty of accommodation available with great views of the lake.
    There was a some sort of a fair on in Phayao that night good food and lots of shoot em up side shows.
    Left early next morning for the border.
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    Stopped off at a Wat with the same name as my wife’s Grandfather. With so many wats around Thailand it’s good to find one with a bit of a hook.
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    Had a fair bit of local traffic till the 1148. But was worth the wait really great ride along that road.
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    After turning off the 1148 the roads were really bad to the border. Probably the worst roads of the trip.
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    The border crossing was fairly easy with Aor doing all the paperwork. Thai side took about 45 minutes. I think more than needed as the immigration guy had to tell Aor his family history the weather the political and local news just to pass his time. The Laos side was only 25 minutes.
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    Don’t forget insurance.
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    It’s an easy ride to the Kong from the border just a bit weird riding on the right side of the road.[​IMG]

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    There was a couple of ferries operating at that time so we had no problem just rode straight on to one. I think they had one for trucks and one for cars and bikes.

    There was soft sand on the way down and also getting off the other side. I was full throttle digging a big hole after getting off the ramp on the other side, but like most of the trip a couple of locals ran up and helped me get through the soft sand.
    It was a short ride to Pak Beng and like a few others have done before us we entered the back way into town.
    We had plenty of choices with guest houses in Pak Beng as we arrived before all the river boats.
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    Had a lovely fresh fish meal that the owners were cooking up when we arrived. Washed down with some lovely cold beer Laos.
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    Even though Pak Beng is due to be flooding some people are still building guesthouses
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    Had a walk around Pak Beng after tea and ended up at the only real night spot in Pak Beng, run by a lovely local young lady who’s been featured a few times already on the GT.
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    If that pic isn't enough to get you to NORTHERN thailand nothing will 555.
    We had a lazy morning in Pak beng, and tasted the famous Baggets of which I had as many as I could throuthout the trip. The best bread rolls i've ever had.
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    Set off for Oudom Xai late morning. One of the nicest rides I've had in asia.
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    Stopped for lunch on xmas eve in a small restaurant.
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    Very surprised at the visitors who walked through the restaurant, Aor didn't get the joke never having had a Farang xmas dinner.
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    The ride to Oudom Xai was amaxing all the way just amazing scenery, and there seemed to be celebrations in nearly every village we went through. It was corn harvest as well and there were people loading trucks all along the ride. Unfortunatelly I forget my extra SD card so we had to delete most of the pics till we got tp LP and got an extra card.
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  3. Iwantablackrz

    Iwantablackrz Ol'Timer

    Awesome photo's and indeed inspiring. Can't wait to hit the road in a months time. You're 'insurance' shot, I take it these shops are near the border crossings? I know it's something I'll need to do but I'm but hadn't looked into how to organize that yet.
     
  4. BJ

    BJ Ol'Timer

    The insurance shack is just inside the Laos border. All the border crossings have them, it will cover 3rd parties in any accidents that u r involved in.
    From memory only around 300 baht for peace of mind. Good luck with your trip I'm sure you will enjoy it.
     
  5. BJ

    BJ Ol'Timer

    Uodam Xai to Pak Mong
    Audom Xai was a bit dissapointing after the ride from Pak Beng. Very dry and dusty and industrial place. We stopped at a farang type restaurant and got a lot of good information about the trip next day to Pak mong. Mosttly bad reports about the road.
    Got up early and shared breakfast with some Laos government officials and then headed off fairly early. Very foggy when we left but as we climbed into the hills we had great views.
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    The road was pretty rough maybe 1 kilometre of bitumen and 3 of broken dirt. But the views made it worth it.
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    Arrived at Pak Mong and decided to head to Nong Kieow.
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    What a great place, very spectacular.
    Booked into a rustic guesthouse for the night showered and headed over the road for some xmas drinks.
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    Had a great Xmas night with a lot of western tourists and staff at the restaurant.
    The staff were really friendly and easy on the eye, and a lot of fellow tourists to chat with and played a few games of cards for the night. So different from an ozzy Xmas.
     
  6. Dougal

    Dougal Ol'Timer

    Hi BJ,

    Great report and lovely photos.
    You took an interesting route as well. Really like your seat cover. Is it purpose made or designed by yourself? And how good was it?
    Looking forward your next installment.
     
  7. BJ

    BJ Ol'Timer

    Gidday Dougal
    Thanks for the comments, the route we took was inspried by me wanting to do the 1148, hoping to get back there next month with my brother without too much luggage and not 2 up.
    The seat cover was a lambswool skin we took over with us for the trip from Australia. When I bought the er6 I was living in cnx and rode everyday so the BOTTOM (hope that passes the censors AR*E doesn't didn't know it was a swear word) got used to the bad seat. When we went back we both hadn't sat on a bike for 9 months so we knew we would have trouble with long days in Laos. I just cut it roughly to the shape of the seat and skinned the fur at the front so I could remove the seat and jamb it in at the front. We never had a problam with it shifting and it was really comfortable and warm on some of the early winter mornings in Laos. Hoping to continue the report as time permits. Unfortunately very busy with work atm. The pics are more for the people who don't get the chance to get to that part of the world as most of the regulars on GT will have seen a lot of those places but I don't think there can be too many photos

    All the best BJ
     
  8. BJ

    BJ Ol'Timer

    Woke fairly early as it was a bit cold in the shack and went for an early ride while Aor slept.
    Arrived at the the restaurant when they opened for a few well needed strong coffees. Had a great view of the clouds blowing down the river valley. And the river boats getting ready for their tourist run to Luang Prabang.
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    After a great breakfast packed up and headed off for the trip to Luang Prabang.

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    Only one pic as we were out of storage but not a bad ride. It was the only time I had a close call on the whole trip on the bike. Entirely my fault, I’d sat behind a pickup for 10 or so minutes and decided as no traffic had come the other way I’d just overtake in the very windy section. As soon as I pulled out a pickup came around the bend. **** the only thing that saved us was the local locking up and steering away from us. Got the heart pumping and sore ribs from the boss for a few days ;). It was the final lesson for me that riding in Laos is about enjoying the scenery and forgetting your imaginary MotoGP dreams.
    Luang Prabang Was a real surprise such a beautiful city.
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    Decided on the Gt farourite guest house Udoum Souk.
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    Mentioned we were Gt riders hoping for a discount but no luck. But the lovely receptionist said we’d just missed FL by a day and that he had left for Nong Khiew.
    Had an early night after a big Xmas in Nong Khiew and was a bit confused to be woken about 9 by Aor saying David was at the door. Had some great late drinks and talked a lot of bullshit till very late in the evening. Had a couple of breakfasts and dinners with FL and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know David a bit more.
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    We spent the next 3 days enjoying Luang Prabang, not a lot of riding just enjoying our Xmas break.
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