5 WEEKS LAOS-return of the monkeys(pt 2)


Feb 11, 2003
Headed up to chiang khong via 118-chiang rai (road has improved)

took the 1152 via phaya mengrai. A good twisting narrow road, that has great limestone cliffs and views along the way. did this at sunset , making it even more spectacular. The road does have some broken tarmac and a good few bumps and lumps to be aware of (especialy at night)
stopped for some noddles and had to add more layers of clothing as my nuts were officialy frozen! carried on the 1152, then up the 1020 - looks a longer way around, but believe me its fast as ****e!(just what i needed at this time of night)
Went for the obligetory" end of riding for the day beer session"
Went to see the famous singing nong David rated (good call) , forget the name of the bar, but will have an ax-1 parked outside.
stayed at "bamboo house"(nice)

Like most monkeys, the brain doesn't always do its particular job that well.
My monkey brain forgot to tell me it was now saturday and.....immmigration CLOSED!
weighed up the options of waiting until monday to cross and probably not having enough time too get Laos paperwork and leave early for the long jungle road too nam tha, or my usual BLAG IT!
went for option 2, met a drunk immigration official at the dock, supping singha beer.
he invited me in the office for a beer and general chit chat.
i showed him my old immigration photocopy form and asked if he had one.
No, but he just signed the old copy and told me "mai pen rai, bai, bai "
So i did before he changed his mind.
Took a 500bt canoe (no more ferries). they seemed to be improving thier techniques , everytime. This time they even tied it down.
Found i would have to stay in houy xai until tues morning, when my friend could make it accros.
Spent the time riding the area, eating and boozing with friends Xai and Ting(who have a resteraunt west of town , over the bridge, called ) and a bit of work. (photography and art.Another reason for coming)

houy xai - xiangchai : good asphalt road, following the mekong along. eventualy gets too some good dirt road which was good fun, with no baggage etc.

Went to immigration on monday (trying to avoid the $35/40 for poo doi travel to sort the paperwork)
Had a long wait to see the boss who was very friendly. He just glanced out the door to see my bike and then took my old paperwork i had showed him and did the same as Thai side.
"no tax to pay, you can take the bike"
i tried to explain it was best he gave me some form of new paperwork, but he wasn't interested.
Monkey brain overworked again decided.....BLAG IT.
I had tried and was now only following immigration orders. this would be my story and should pass a lie detector test with the truth in it...init.

My as equaly monkey friend turned up lunch time in huay xai , with even less paperwork than i possesed.
immigration had refused to give him paperwork, due to his lack of registration, but told him he could still cross.(seems to be who ever is on duty, what mood their in, and wether manchester united won the night before is the deciding factors of if you get your unregistered bike in!)

HUAY XAI- LUANG NAM THA : 192 kms , seems to be a good time to tackle this road , didn't seem half as sandy/dusty as before. Some very slippy sections in the shade, due to the amount of rain lately.
I do enjoy this road on the baja though and witha few stops it still took over 5 hours, due too last third in the dark and a long "beer lao break" in vieng phoukha.
After vieng p. some very boggy mud sections. A truck and songthow where stuck in the mud , my friend went around them first and went up too knees in mud and water.
Decided to be smart (not a wise option) and went over a thin ridge i had spotted until it dropped down like a kerb and then back up . My front wheel got wedged and i went arse over into the boggy mud.
Complete entertainment for the Laos onlookers, who found their situation not half as bad after seeing the monkey falang covered in mud.
Carried on in the freezing cold and finally hit the tarmac 12/14 km out of nam tha.
This was crimbo eve and usual g/h "darasavath" was packed full of jolly falangs around a b.b.q. was not in the mood for christmas carols , just a smoke and shad load of beer lao. Did have the finest "yah dong" none to s.e.asia (courtesy of owners Thai boyfriend)
Had to spend another rainy day here on crimbo day.(monkey mate already had to have his luggage rack welded on day 3 )

LUANG NAM THA- OUDOM XAY : 128km , left late as usual, slight rain , but the road is in good condition. Good twisting road, friendly little villages. The odd pot holes , but nothing major to worry over, an enjoyable ride.Into oudom and it was ffffffreeeezing . Most cloths' i had brought were now on. Lost one of my fox gloves in a village on a ciggy stop. Realised i had left it on the tank just 20 meters back up the road and riden off. Walked back to find in the space of 5 mins someone had , had the glove away. (any one passing on this road sees a snotty little kid with one rather large blue fox glove, please aprehend and bring him to chiang mai for interrigation)

Next day heading for phongsali. (part 3 tommorow, got a sore arse)