5 WEEKS LAOS- return of the monkeys (part 5)


Feb 11, 2003
Left xam nua at about 12.45, seems to be getting later everyday!

The views along this road are amazing and couldnt resist stopping off a few times for photos (and amazingly the sun came out for the first time since leaving houy xai !) , which inevitabely slowed me down even more.

HOUA PHOU - MUANG KHAM : (95 kms) begins a very narrow steep downward climb into nam nuen, but the next 30-40 kms wide perfect asphalt , with long straghts too let rip and make some time up !
Last 40 odd kms a bit slower with the road rising up above a blanket of mist as far as the eye could see (very poetic eh?) with amazing views and friendly villages, but can still hammer it...
At the turn off at muang kham stopped for a quick cafe Lao and ciggy and then added layers for the remainder in the dark.

MUANG KHAM - PHONSAVAN : (53 kms) after buying some lovely white wool gloves (michael jackson eat your heart out!) to go under my lovley ski numbers , and adding my balaclava under my helmet (a joke here too obvious) headed off . a very fast road in good condition.
A bit tricky at night when this tired as i kept thinking i could see people / objects ahead (most of the time they were !)
A lot of villages to have to slow down for aswell.

After taking the dirt road too plain of jars site 2/3 (not easy to find!) and giving an old man a lift , decided too carry on and see the condition.
the first 37 kms too site 3 is a fairly bad rutted dirt road and very dusty.
The further i carried on the worse it got , until i decided too head back close to long chen.
Definetly doable to rt 13 after talking to a few people , but very rough and would take all day.
Plenty of g/h's in town . i stayed at 2. The phonsavan g/h , recomended for huge warm quilts and large bed and room, but turned out to be running mainly as a brothel and with the bike parked outside i was getting funny looks from the locals every where i went, so i moved to the "pou doi " hotel , an old communist looking white building, flanked by shell cassings, rather empty , but good hot shower rooms and friendly owners.

PHONSAVAN - PHOU KHOUN : (135 KMS) This time didnt leave until 15.00 .
First 40kms fast and fairly straght and got into a false sense of time security and then the road slowed right down due to road works along most of the way. 14 kms of near continuous works , over loose gravel.
Then at varying intervals along the way. Twisting road cutting through the mountain , with good views and plenty of laughing villagers.
Parts un sealed , but when the road is completed , it should be a very good , fast road.

PHOU KHOUN - VANG VIENG : Now dark , but the road is very good , so even in the dark got some good speed up.slightly pot holed , with a few loose gravel sections , with the occasional part being worked on , but altogether a great road.(shame i cant see the view)
Last 25kms into vang vieng very fast straghts (had a bus trying to get past me for this length, but 2 wheels were faster than 8, or how ever many. EAT MY DUST!) Took just over 5 hours from phonsavan.

Stayed far too long here (due too female magnet) and had to put up with the "lonely planet hippy crew" for far too long. But gorged on great currys, beer and football and rested my cold, sore arse in the warm (and highly missed) sun !

Managed a few side trips, went back up to kasi , so i would manage to enjoy the stunning views again.
From THA HEUA i wanted to check the condition of the other end of the phonsavan - rt 13 road.
As suspected very dusty , rocky , rutted dirt road , with not much of interest along the way.
After 35/40kms turned back (only interested in nice flat asphalt at this stage of the trip!)

VANG VIENG - VIENTIENNE : Good fast road. Watch out for racing lorries and fast pick ups, flying around bends towards you.
Road in altogether good condition.
After a visa extension and another return to vang vieng (very strong magnet she has) came the dreaded time to blag my way out.
Did contemplate riding down too thakek and leaving there (considered there would be less bother, due to more confusion. i figger not many people enter/leave this way and may be waved through to avoid the situation.)
Lack of funds and lack of time on visa put paid too this plan.
Had a few sunset , river beers for courage and headed too the bridge as it was getting dark . found this to be a prime blagging time as no big bosses, looking over shoulders and late on a friday where to go for booze that night is probably more in thier heads.

A lot of traffic (lorries and pick ups) coming through.
Got waved over to the booth , got off the bike , reached for my old documents and he just asked for my passport , stamped me out and told me i could go.
stage 1 of blag complete!
Couldnt believe my luck here. Thai side was a bit more trouble.
Friendly guy in first booth , had a quick look at bike , asked if it was taxed/ insured (of course ?) had a bit of a laugh at my photocopy , found it even funnier when he realised this realy was all i had, warned me to get the proper paperwork next time and to pay the tax and sent me too the second booth.
(was a bit worried as i had no Thai money left. Thought i would more likely have to pay "fines" on the Laos side, so only had kip left, could see a "fine" coming)

After much deliberation at booth 2 and 3 (they found it very difficult to let me through without some form of paperwork to file, so they took the photocopy and got me to sign it again!) , it was decided it was the "slack houy xai staff" that was to blame , as how was a monkey falang to know any better!

Left with a huge grin all the way too the g/h in nong khai!!!


Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong
Ah yes Phonsavanh.
Glad you found an interesting place to stay. PSV has to rate as one of the more boring places to overnight in Laos.
The Dok Khoun ghouse where I stayed was not much chop.
I should have checked out the Phonsavanh Hotel, just across the street from where I was staying (I think.)
I saw the Phou Doi hotel, & you're right - YUK, it looked like ****.
I did not think that the roads to the Plain of Jars Sites 2 & 3 were bad. But at the same time I thought it a bit of a wasted effort, really did not see anything more than at Site 1, & the road there was ALL asphalt. Maybe someone else can give another report sometime....

In Vang Vieng, I reckon that all the local female magnets are sitting in those cute little bar beers along the "super highway" out of town. I see at least 5 or 6 of bars, but played it safe & stayed in town & went to bed early.

Keep the power on