Adventure Riding Southern Laos - Ride Report

Discussion in 'Laos Road Trip Reports' started by brian_bkk, Jan 3, 2017.

  1. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

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    After a hearty lunch in Ta Oy and given a dirty look by the local cop..
    We head off..
    Tarmac away from the Vietnamese border to the turn off for the road to Kaleum and then on to Sekong.

    This is one dusty rocky road construction way to go.. So much dust... Not really a fun ride.
    Your teeth are rattling in your gums and your fillings ready to fall out with the first Beer Lao at the end of the ride.

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    Dusty Sabai Dee...

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    The abandoned town of Kaleum

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    The empty town is a big construction site for trucks etc.. putting the dam in.

    The army were not happy with our plans to cross the river..
    - That plan to be actioned another time ;-)

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    Back we go and push on to Sekong.. really having enough dust by now.. more mountainous rocky tracks to come...
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    The number plate has seen better days..
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    The mighty KLX.. almost minus the number plate.

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    Finally arrive in Sekong.. Ready for a beer to wash the dust away.
    Some real dust storms on the home stretch.. You have to do 90 kph to get past the trucks in white out.
    I almost missed the bend in the road and ended up in the lake...

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    Three KLX and Three very happy Ohlins Suspension owners..
    Really transforms the bike..
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    The famous chip and egg restaurant.. This time they didn't try and bring out 2 dozen fried eggs.
    Common sense prevailed..

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    Chris had a bad stomach.. So was on the light stuff food wise..

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    Tomorrow the Ho Chi Minh Trail and try and cross the " Missing Link "
     

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  2. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    Love this pic
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    Re Kaleum
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    any sign of the new town?
    Where it is located now?
     

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  3. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

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    Published on Apr 29, 2015
    VO Xekong moves to new Kaleum capital
    INTRO: Authorities in Xekong relocated people from the old Kaleum district, the provincial capital, to the new Kaleum district, Official said, Construction of the new district began in 2012
    STORY: President of the Lao PDR Chommaly Sayaone attends the handover ceremony. Officials said, the provincial capital had to be relocated because the previous administration centre was located on flood-prone low lying land.
    The new development features 11 priority projects including the construction of public offices, residential areas, roads, electricity and water supplies, and allocation of areas where people can earn a living.
    The existing town is also located in an area that will be affected by a hydropower project so the government has decided to relocate the town. The new site is about 32 km away from the existing one.
    Phonesak Group will invest 930 billion kip to build the new administration office and will be paid back by the government after it is completed in 2015.




    Lao Villagers Displaced by Dam Await Farmland Six Months After Relocation
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    Villagers in Sekong province's Kaleum district, relocated for a controversial dam, say they have yet to receive farmland compensation from authorities.
    icon-zoom.png RFA


    More than 100 families of villagers displaced by a proposed dam in Laos have yet to receive the farmland they were promised as compensation by authorities, according to the villagers who say they now lack enough food to meet basic daily needs after government aid has run out.

    The 129 families relocated to two new villages in Sekong province’s Kaleum district due to preparation for the Sekong 4 dam said that a six-month government assistance program providing them foodstuffs, mostly rice, ended on Aug. 31.

    “Life for the residents of Had Vee and Tra villages is difficult in regard to food because there is not enough,” one of the villagers told RFA’s Lao Service said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    “They have appealed for help from the province and district—especially for rice.”

    The villager said that the relocated families had been forced to clear a small amount of local land for farming while awaiting plots promised by the government as part of compensation for leaving their villages in February, but added that it was “far from adequate” for planting crops to meet daily needs.

    The 129 families are among nearly 4,500 residents displaced from 18 villages in Kaleum district by the Sekong 4 and had been relocated with the promise of farming plots and six months of government food assistance.

    Another villager told RFA that the families never received any of the land they were promised and that even when they were provided with food through the government assistance program, it was inconsistent at best.

    The villager said that residents were given rice depending on the size of the family receiving it, but that amounts varied in how often they were provided.

    Government officials told RFA that they were aware of the current food problems the villagers were facing and are “trying to find solutions,” with priority given to finding the villagers farmland.

    Controversial dam

    The Sekong 4, with a capacity of 300 to 600 megawatts, is one of three hydropower dams on Mekong River tributaries to be built as part of an eight-year-old U.S. $1.5 billion deal with Russian investor Regional Oil.

    Land for the dam has been cleared, though construction is yet to begin on the project.

    The three dam projects, which also include the Sekong 5 and Nam Kong 1, are set to be completed by 2014 and will displace a total of more than 7,000 villagers from their homes in Sekong and Attapeu provinces.

    The dams have a total combined capacity of 822 megawatts, and most of the power generated will be exported to Thailand with the rest reserved for local use.

    Global green group International Rivers has said the effects of the two Sekong dams will be felt as far as the mainstream Mekong in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.

    It also predicts the Sekong 4, the largest of the three, will cause a sharp decline in fisheries that will significantly affect local livelihoods.

    Resource-starved Laos is aiming to become the “battery” of Southeast Asia by selling hydroelectric power to its neighbors.

    But it has come under fire for plowing ahead on the Xayaburi dam, the first dam across the main stem of the Mekong River, without first getting regional consensus from downstream neighbors concerned about the project’s transboundary impact.

    Laos has a total of over 70 dams under construction or in the planning or consideration stages, many of them on waters flowing into the Mekong, a key regional artery.

    Reported by RFA’s Lao Service. Translated by Viengsay Luangkhot. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.
     

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  4. Moto-Rex

    Moto-Rex Moderator

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    Dusty old track Brian. Pity you got turned back.
    BTW..How many number plates do you go through each year?

    Moto-Rex
     
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  5. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

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    Dusty it was indeed..

    I had this number plate reinforced with backing etc.

    Really thought it was indestructible this time round..

    Alas if you are going to break something on your bike. It will be in Laos

    Now I have it bolted on, pointing out at about 3 o'clock .. Let's see.. I prefer to leave it on. Less opportunity for the cops to hassle you.

    Cheers
    Brian
     
  6. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    I like the head honchos footwear.

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  7. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

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    A big day planned today…

    Hopefully we can complete what we call the “ Missing Link “ loop and get up to Nong Fa with out back tracking all the way from the 18 B.....

    This is the track that cuts across the Xekemen river and follows a graded road up to the base of the trail up to Lake Nong Fa..

    We are planning to cross the left of the marker. (Previous ride in the area)
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    A recap of our previous attempts to get across or check out the feasibility of crossing..

    Jim and I did this from both directions on two previous trips.

    But the water was still deep and the canoes small.. Not sure they would take our bikes and gear plus us..
    Even tied together.. Plus on the NPA side of the river.. It is really steep with loose sandy rocky soil.
    Your rear wheel just spins and digs a hole.

    The track was incredibly new getting here.. No wash outs.. Like it has just been finished..
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    The bulldozers literally push the track off the edge of a cliff..
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    Jim going for a walk to see if there is any easier way down to the river bank..
    The locals are diagonally across the river with some canoes..

    The white sandy looking area is where the track makes its way to the river then dog legs it back up the other side..
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    The locals were struggling with 3 of them pushing up a Fino up the embankment.
    Not to mention the deep river mud. They sank right up in to their knees ..

    This is the only way up.. Though the locals did go bush a bit and disappear with lots of revving of the mighty Fino.. Trying to find a way with more traction

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    It is still a long was down to the river bank..

    We struggled to get back up the mountain from where we were.. let alone from the rivers edge..
    The camera doesn't do it justice... We both reached the bottom and said.. I hope we can cross as getting back up there is not going to be easy..

    We decide it is too risky to cross this time around.. Lets see about tackling it from the other side.
    Check out the canoes and willingness of the locals to take us across..
    Rather than go all the way down to the river bank only to have to get back up..
    ( It was stinking hot too )

    Getting back out up the mountain. Elevation from the rocky drop off.
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    Where we are and where we want to be on the other side.. 18 months earlier
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    Around 8 or 10 months after the previous trip.. We check out the other side..
    Water is low... You can see the steep drop off over Jim's left shoulder..
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    Hmmm Those Canoes..
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    Not today either.. As we had not really planned to be here this ride.. As we were not far away.
    Thought we would check it out..

    Note the tree line.. In the coming pics from the present ride.. The water is right up and beyond the tree line..

    More here on the previous rides from both sides of the river..

    Exploring Southern Laos.

    A Southern Lao Odyssey
     

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  8. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

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    Back to the present day and our route..

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    The two little blips in the middle of the image below as how steep it is at two locations dropping down to the river bank. Giving the photos a bit of perspective when looking at the river banks and tree lines.

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    Off goes Chris from Moto Lao..
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    Mike and I head over.

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    Chris safely on the other side...
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    The new " highway " up is pretty good.. wide, dusty and graded..
    Make pretty good speed to our turn off in to the pine tree forest.
    ( Moto Rex first took me on the Pine Tree forest track on our maiden ride up to Lake Nong Fa 5 years back..)


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    Then the fun begins.
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    We are 1,200 metres up and it is cold.. plus it starts spitting rain.. grrr
    But we make light of it and carry on..

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    We turn off the track and head for the village...
    Jim plotted this track out for us on a previous trip.. It is a real winner..

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    Now where is the trail again..
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    I know this is the right village and using OSM GPS map with the track Jim and I rode the previous time.
    A little zoomed in and off by 20 metres.. Plus a new house was right in the path of the old track.

    There was a Vietnamese guy there on his Scooter selling everything to the village.. including the kitchen sink.
    He said.. You can't get through it is a dead end..

    But having done this with Jim.. Knew we could.. Just needed to find the track out back of the village.
    Which we did after riding between the huts and giving a wave as we went past..

    This is one pretty special area of Southern Laos..
    Just amazing scenery and great trails.. Next time I want to camp in here..

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    Then you reach an area littered with volcanic rock..
    Only the trail is clear..

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    I dunno about you all.. But I think this area is pretty amazing...

    We continue on..

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    Then we meet up with another remote village and have to take the single trail out.
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    Then before you know it..
    No more single remote trail.. Back on the main track..
    Right Paam, left north towards Duk Chung.

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    More of this days ride to come shortly..
     

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  9. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

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    On we head on to the " Missing Link "

    We have all our camping gear, water filter, food etc.
    Just need some warm beer from the village at the back of Lake Nong Fa
    We plan to camp at Lake Nong Fa if we can get across.
    It will be a chilly night.. 1,200 metres above sea level by the water.

    First some water crossings....
    We are not scared of the water.. But water in your boots is not fun at the best of times.
    But when the water is cold and you still have lots of km to ride... It is really not fun.

    Chris ploughed in and found a big hole.. We pulled him out and crossed a little further upstream.
    The buggers blocked off the bridge.. So we couldn't use it..

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    Chris with his eye on me.. Selfie style...

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    My turn.. Mike took some video..



    On we go.. Turn off on to the track heading to the river..

    Mike gets a flat..

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    Plenty of spectators.

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    Plenty of eyes to make sure Chris changes the tyre properly.

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    Don't you just love this ladies face..
    What a life she must have had..

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    On we go.. Down the last big mountain to the river...

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    Please nothing be coming the other way.. Steep and nice ruts to get over...
    The only saving grace would be.. It is so steep.. What ever is coming will be pretty slow up..

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    The Xekaman river.. We stop here at the first place to have boats.. As last time there was a very tiny trail on the other side
    Most likely a foot path.. But as it has been over a year.. better check it out and make sure no changes..

    Well you can't see the trail on the other side as it is covered in water..

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    At the next point where we think there might be a better chance of getting a little boat over..
    But you can see.. The track has completely over grown..

    Plus we are not at the river bank yet.. One more steep drop to get there..

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    Here is it a bit closer... As you saw in the video.. loose and not much holding it together.
    Since then a rainy season has passed and over grown and probably some landslides..

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    Times like this a drone would be handy. But certainly not worth the pain of carrying it around..

    Here is the pic from a year or so earlier.. See the tree line then and now in the picture above..
    Had we made it here again.. Washed away..
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    I said to the guys. Lets go down.. only to get a rude shock that the water was right up the track.
    No chance of going any where near the river and the canoes were dodgy as...

    So a very awkward turn around on the steep track metres from the river and a swim...

    We decide to head back up.. Glad we came and tried..
    Plan B.. Off to Attapue when we are outta here and Nong Fa tomorrow..

    Getting up back out of the river embankment. River to the right and a steep drop off.
    Can only guess a few locals have gone over the edge when raining or lost control.

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    Even the locals drop bikes... Can't imagine this in the wet !!
    As I went past they gave a big smile and laughter.. They could laugh at themselves which is pretty cool.

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    Back up to the main dirt track and head to Attapue.
    Getting late now.. Been a big day.. We need to get a move on.. No one wants to be riding at night.
    There are places to stay on the way..

    We are looking forward to the bright lights and fine dining of Attapue..

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    The last big drop down...Concreted a few years back now.
    Use to be terrible with a ft of bull dust or mud.. You could barely keep control.
    Now it is like a race track.. plus a few rocks and boulders on the concrete to keep you alert.

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    Back down to the road of stones and bone jarring rocks.
    A real nightmare of a track until you reach the pavement at Pa am...

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    Pull in to Attapue on dusk.. What a perfect day.. GREAT FUN...

    More to come.......
     

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  10. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

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    Attapue to Lake Nong Na.

    Nong Fa Lake - Wikipedia

    Nong Fa Lake or Nongphatom Lake (meaning Blue lake) is a volcanic crater lake in the mountains of Sanxay District, Attapeu Province, southeastern Laos, located within the Dong Ampham National Biodiversity Conservation Area, about 12 kilometres from the Vietnamese border. At an altitude of 1154 metres, the maximum depth of the lake is reportedly 78 metres, although locals have claimed that the depth is unknown, having attempted fruitlessly to gauge the depth with bamboo poles.[1] Lonely Planet describes it as "magical",[2] a "beautiful volcanic lake, similar to but larger than Yeak Lorn in Cambodia's Ratanakiri Province, was used by the North Vietnamese as an R'n'R for soldiers hurt on the Ho Chi Minh Trail."[3] The lake is shrouded in legends, and Laotians refrain from bathing in it because they believe it is inhabited by a giant snake-pig who will devour its bathers.
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    Images courtesy of Google Earth.
    All other pics shared from the riders.
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    The mine below has expanded a lot over the years.. From the first trip with Moto Rex,
    In fact these GE images are dated around a year after we did our first ride up there.
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    Ride out of Attapue on the 18 B..
    Starts off flat and boring..

    The first observation is abandoned logs all the way along 18B
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    Half way to the Vietnamese border.. It starts to get fun.
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    Then twisty
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    Road works.. Stones with tar being boiled by fire wood.. This is going to be a good long lasting repair..
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    The 18 B always has a special place in my heart..

    The first ride up here 5 or 6 years ago with Moto Rex.
    Came around a bend.. The road straightens up.. No other traffic..
    Rex moves from the right side of the road to the left...

    Now, all in a split second... I think.. Why did Rex do that..
    Trusting his judgement.. I pull to the left side of the road too..
    Still no idea why he did that and why I am following his lead.

    To then come across the biggest angry King Cobra I have even seen.
    I kid you not..
    It was half way across the road to where the white line would be.
    The body went off the road and past the road shoulder in to the long grass..
    It was a monster..

    Rex passed it.. Rattled it to hell.
    I come along and it is well and truly awake and angry
    Rears up ready to strike as I passed.

    I am thinking.. Holy. Sh!t..

    After passing..
    Thinking, hope Rex saw that in his mirrors.. No one will believe it.

    We stop further up for a break 30 mins later..
    First thing Rex said..
    "I saw that Cobra rear up at you as you passed..."

    I will never forget it.. I don't think Rex will either.

    Every time we tell this story.. I am sure they snake gets bigger....

    On with todays ride..
    So we pull up at the village entrance to the Lake Nong Fa track

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    Lunch is served.
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    The trail to and from Nong Fa..
    The development is amazing.. Bridges, mine expansion, new villages and so on.

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    PC090304-XL.

    PC090301-XL.

    motolao-tours-laos%20%28441%29-XL.

    motolao-tours-laos%20%28442%29-X2.

    The ever expanding mine.
    motolao-tours-laos%20%28446%29-X2.

    We arrive at Lake Nong Fa..
    What a beauty and finally on my third visit.. Sunny..

    We did discuss camping here.. But too cold.. Even mid afternoon it was chilly.
    PC090137-X2.

    motolao-tours-laos%20%28449%29-XL.
    Some Thai's visiting from Ubon in the Ford Ranger.
    PC090309-XL.

    Panoramic
    20161209_144835%231-X3.

    PC090138-X2.

    PC090139-X2.


    PC090316-XL.

    It is pretty steep and loose rocks and soil..
    You dare not brake on some parts and hope you are in the right gear doing down..
    PC090146-X2.

    The number plate is doing a great job keeping my shoes and water on..
    The Giant Loop is a winner.. Expensive.. But you pay for what you get.. This is one of those times..
    Screen%20Shot%202560-03-28%20at%2011.20.05%20PM-X2.

    Mike had a great off.. Steep down bit.. Looking at the scenery..
    Lost the bike.. Went running off the track in the ditch and pops back out running on the track again.
    ( In the video at the beginning of the post )

    Pretty funny to watch..

    Handlebars are on the ground ;-) Mike running in to the wilderness...
    Screen%20Shot%202560-03-28%20at%2011.24.47%20PM.
    After a brief jog in the ditch. Mike emerges to join us again...
    Screen%20Shot%202560-03-28%20at%2011.24.15%20PM.

    Screen%20Shot%202560-03-28%20at%2011.23.45%20PM.

    Mike runs across the track.. slowing down and gaining control of his bike exit.
    Screen%20Shot%202560-03-28%20at%2011.23.16%20PM.

    We are not content with the half hearted crash and insist Mike poses for some proper crash pictures..
    OI000046%231-X2.

    I wonder what the local was thinking... " Ting tong Farang " LOL
    Camera lies.. It is steep and even the local has his foot out.. Steep and slippery on the stones and dust.

    motolao-tours-laos%20%28452%29-XL.

    On we go.. Passing some petrol tankers heading back from the mine..

    Back at the restaurant..
    The Viet petrol trucks are stopping every now and again.
    Pilfering the diesel from the tanks and selling it on to the local - Viets in the shops.
    They are looking around while they are doing it..
    Scamming their employers.. Had a mate that worked with the mines in Laos.
    He said everyone is in on it.. all the way through the company.. You install cameras, they will come in and steal wearing masks.. The theft is phenomenal.. Hard to believe some of the stories.. Even pallets of copper go missing over the border to Vietnam..

    20161209_171023-XL.

    There is a pretty decent Viet hotel at the edge of town.
    Very new, very clean.. Great as it was too cold to camp up at Nong Fa.

    20161209_203447-XL.

    Tomorrow we ride along the Laos / Cambodian border..
     

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  11. Goran Phuket

    Goran Phuket Moderator
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    Your photographing has dramatically improved, not that was bad before.
    What is the secret?
     
  12. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

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    You are probably admiring Chris or Mike's pics ;-)
    Team effort and sharing on all the ride pics..

    Cheers
    Brian
     
  13. Goran Phuket

    Goran Phuket Moderator
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    Photos are awesome man, love it.
     
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  14. Moto-Rex

    Moto-Rex Moderator

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    This is an incredible report Brian.

    The village photos are fascinating, as are the landscape shots.

    Amazing stuff mate, you guys are the trail blazers in that area.

    Thanks for the very enjoyable read.

    Moto-Rex
     
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  15. Rosie miller

    Rosie miller New Member

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    I'm really enjoying the read also.........want to go back to Lao and also try Vietnam....not sooo much of an adventure rider as you blokes though......
     
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  16. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

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    Today head out to the Lao / Cambodia border post then make our way back to Attapue.
    Did this ride with Jim a couple years earlier.. A nice remote ride..
    Nothing to crazy.. Just one big mega river crossing before hitting 18b if we go the same way.

    Screen%20Shot%202560-05-21%20at%204.09.39%20PM.

    After sleeping the night at the turn off to Lake Nong Fa.. Up early and out to the border.
    Mike wanted to go and check it out.. It isn't far and a nice twisty paved road to get there..

    PC100328-X2.

    After turning off 18B I remember there was this little wooden bridge..
    It looked in pretty bad shape compared to 2 years earlier..

    Screen%20Shot%202560-05-21%20at%202.34.04%20PM.

    Which made me think.. I wonder what the conditions ahead are like as this is barely used any more.

    Five minutes later.. We were to find out.

    Screen%20Shot%202560-05-21%20at%202.35.43%20PM.

    Screen%20Shot%202560-05-21%20at%202.34.52%20PM.

    Screen%20Shot%202560-05-21%20at%203.11.49%20PM.

    Here comes Chris.

    Screen%20Shot%202560-05-21%20at%203.12.39%20PM.

    Starting to think.. I wonder how far we can get.. This is totally upside down compared to two years ago.
    ( Suspect the logging crack down is the reason for the jungle claiming it back... )

    Screen%20Shot%202560-05-21%20at%203.15.07%20PM.

    You can see the remains of the guttering in some pictures..

    Screen%20Shot%202560-05-21%20at%203.13.05%20PM.

    Screen%20Shot%202560-05-21%20at%203.13.41%20PM.

    The bridges along the way are getting over grown..

    Screen%20Shot%202560-05-21%20at%203.17.29%20PM.

    The jungle is winning..

    OI000066-X2.

    PC100152-X2.

    PC100334-XL.

    motolao-tours-laos%20%28475%29-XL.

    motolao-tours-laos%20%28467%29-X2.

    So things were a little easier.. we are a good 20 km in to the bush.
    Then hit a couple of decent obstacles.. No one is coming in here to get us out if we get injured.
    So caution, safety were the key we all agreed.
    You wouldn't get a 4wd in or those little tractors.. Dragged out is the only way..

    PC100339-XL.


    motolao-tours-laos%20%28481%29-XL.

    motolao-tours-laos%20%28484%29-XL.

    motolao-tours-laos%20%28478%29-X2.

    motolao-tours-laos%20%28486%29-XL.

    Screen%20Shot%202560-05-21%20at%203.37.11%20PM.

    Screen%20Shot%202560-05-21%20at%203.37.39%20PM.

    Now that one is out the way.. Not too bad.. The next one..
    Thinking.. How much tougher will this get and if forced to..
    We have our camping gear to stay out over night.

    No more scooter tracks..

    Looking up
    PC100160-X2.

    Looking down.
    PC100343-XL.

    With Mike's bike we really struggled.. Doesn't show in the pictures..
    But the ledge is narrow and slippery.. easy to fall 5 ft in to the hole..
    The bikes had to be pushed and pulled.. Any engine spin of the tyre made the bike want to jump off in to the holes.

    PC100345-XL.

    PC100161-X2.

    motolao-tours-laos%20%28494%29-XL.

    Then a god send.. The old guy and his wife turn up.. Watch and help with Mike's bike.
    Then goes off in to the bush and comes back with a branch cut off and inserts it in to his shovel..

    PC100352-XL.

    motolao-tours-laos%20%28497%29-XL.

    Screen%20Shot%202560-05-21%20at%203.34.38%20PM.

    Screen%20Shot%202560-05-21%20at%203.38.34%20PM.


    A lot easier once past this... PC100163-X2.

    Time to filter some water and carry on.. ( Big thanks to Justin for bringing this back from the USA for me )
    PC100162-X2.

    We gave old mate a nice tip for his help.. He was grinning ear to ear..
    All up around 130,000 kip.. It was worth it..

    It was almost 40 Km of these tracks and trails until we made it to the main graded track heading to the border with Cambodia.
    We did get a few looks as there were more people closer to the main track..

    The border.. Over the hill and you are in Cambodia.
    motolao-tours-laos%20%28501%29-X3.

    The army guys gave us a bag of sticky rice.. we shared some chocolate.
    motolao-tours-laos%20%28500%29-X2.

    The Friendship bridge.
    PC100360-XL.

    Then on to 18 B and Attapue.
    We skipped the trail with the big river crossing.. We were pretty knackered by this time.

    Plus it is a long way to get to the river crossing and if the river was too high.. We would have to go all the way back to the main track.. It was 3pm already.. Once over the river it isn't far to 18B..
    (Next time - If we were starting from the other side I would have given it a go as not far to head back to the 18B)

    Lots of water and mud about even on the bigger tracks.

    motolao-tours-laos%20%28508%29-X2.

    motolao-tours-laos%20%28509%29-X2.

    Previously they wouldn't let us use this crossing and had to go back and use the wobbly boat..
    But this time.. OK..

    OI000053-X2.

    Then more dusty trails and hit the 18 B...

    Attapue and time to prepare for Christmas..
    20161210_182812-X2.

    The pics above are also in the video earlier in the report.

    More to come.
     

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  17. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    #42 DavidFL, Apr 27, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2018
    Update April 2018

    An interesting note on Nong Fa lake - the lake is being surveyed by Russian divers.

    Russian divers explore the depths of the Nongfar marsh in Attapeu

    Divers from Russia recently explored the Nongfar marsh in Sanxay district, Attapeu province, as the depth and topography of the marsh has never been firmly established, an official said.
    Head of Attapeu provincial Information, Culture and Tourism Department, Ms Bounnan Bounnaseng told Vientiane Times yesterday that divers from Russia first inspected the Nongfar marsh in 2010, and have returned to the location a second time.
    The divers have been surveying the underwater areas as previously the depth has been only estimated by regional authorities, she said.
    During the extensive exploration, the Russian team also measured and sampled the mud and sand deposits, as reports from local residents pointed to the Nongfar marsh having minerals in the subsurface layers and the waters.
    This part of the scientific survey ran for two days in duration, Tuesday and Wednesday, and once the reports are reviewed by authorities, they will release further information about the unique area and its long-held secrets.
    Nongfar marsh is one of the natural sites in Attapeu province with great beauty, and has a wealth of natural resources. The area also is an extensive source of fish and fish-related produce.
    Presently Nongfar marsh remains largely undeveloped, but authorities welcome projects and interest from domestic and international investors and businesses, as well as government or private enterprise, Ms Bounnan explained.
    Some tourists have long known about the marshlands and waterways, but the Russian survey results may encourage a broader interest in the region.
    She said, Nongfar marsh is located in Vangtab village, Sanxay district, Attapeu province. It is around 180km from the nearest city and largely limited to dry-weather access. The unpaved roads result in difficult wet season transit.
    Besides the Nongfar marsh, the Attapeu province has superb tourism sites that include waterfalls. But certainly one of the main attractions is the regional cuisine, especially the specialties such as Jeo Pa Tao (a spicy dish made of pulverized dried fish with chili and seasoning) and both black and sticky rice high quality alcohol - a jointly-run project with Japan, an official said.
    The Attapeu province also has fine silks and cottons, which local ethnic craftspeople weave into souvenirs, and also has talented artisans who create carvings of wood and stone.
    The province is full of fascinating sights and stunning landscapes, and often tourists are surprised and stay in the region longer than planned.
    The provincial capital is about 950 km from Vientiane, according to Attapeu provincial Information, Culture and Tourism Department.
    More information can also be obtained from the Attapeu’s Information, Culture and Tourism Department by contacting the office on 036 211056.
    According to the 2017 tourism statistics report of the Tourism Development Department, regions like this across Laos collectively attracted more than 3.8 million visitors last year

    Source: Vientiane Times 26 April 2018​
     
  18. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    Second update

    Russian divers reveal the mysteries of Nongfar lake

    The Russian team who this week descended into the deep waters in Attapeu province were able to finally confirm the depths of Nongfar lake.
    The lake depths have always been a mystery and were completely unknown before the Russian efforts.
    An official announced the findings, stating that areas of the lake can plunge down to 73 metres with a diameter of 1 km.
    The team of Russians discovered the surprising results during the most recent stage of the scientific subsurface expedition, completed on April 24-25.

    During the time at the depths, the Russian divers were also tasked to collect a range of rock, mineral, and other samples to be analysed by geological specialists. Information about their individual chemical makeup and geological age will be reported to the authorities.
    The head of Attapeu provincial Information, Culture and Tourism Department, Ms Bounnan Bounnaseng told Vientiane Times yesterday that the Russian team has officially confirmed the depth of Nongfar lake at 73 metres,
    After this second stage of the expedition, the Russian divers are packing up their equipment and demobilising. The adventurous men will return to Russia now the mysteries have been solved and the completion of survey and sample work from the Nongfar depths.
    The explorers reportedly found the subsurface areas of the Nongfar waters very fascinating, and while they are returning home, it is unlikely to be their last time in Laos, as the consensus was that the area is full of natural beauty, and would be ideal for a range of nature-based ecotouristm activities.
    Ms Bounnan explained that the Nongfar lake will develop into a natural tourist area, with some concessions for tourism areas going to Russian businesses under a cooperation with Lao.
    The depth and topography of the lake was never firmly established in the past, and in 2010 the Russian team reported a depth of Nongfar lake at 83 metres, using a depth sounding device that operates through soundwaves, or sonar. The team did not use scuba equipment on the 2010 survey, so no samples or silt profiles could be taken.
    The recent expedition was quite different, and the team brought an extensive array of scuba equipment, including pressurized tanks, masks, fins and neoprene wet suits. This equipment allowed the deep descents and recovery of samples.
    Ms Bounnan said that Nongfar marsh is located in Vangtad village, Sanxay district, Attapeu province. It is around 180km from the nearest city and largely limited to dry-weather access. The unpaved roads result in difficult wet season transit.
    Besides Nongfar lake, Attapeu province has superb tourism sites that include waterfalls. But certainly one of the main attractions is the regional cuisine, especially the specialties such as Jeo Pa Tao (a spicy dish made of pulverized dried fish with chili and seasoning) and both black and sticky rice high quality alcohol - a jointly-run project with Japan, an official said.
    The Attapeu province also has fine silks and cottons, which local ethnic craftspeople weave into souvenirs, and also has talented artisans who create carvings of wood and stone.
    The province is full of fascinating sights and stunning landscapes, and often tourists are surprised and stay in the region longer than planned.
    The provincial capital is about 950 km from Vientiane, according to Attapeu provincial Information, Culture and Tourism Department.
    More information can also be obtained from the Attapeu’s Information, Culture and Tourism Department by contacting the office on 036 211056.

    Source: Vientiane Times 27 April 2018
     
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