Ban Laboy Ford. Riding The Endless Ho Chi Minh Net In Central Lao.

Yuri Orlov

Member
Nov 13, 2018
14
31
3
The Ho Chi Minh trails net still promise a lot of new enduro riding expiriences. Riding from Sepon mines known also as Muang Vilaburi there is almost only dirt and cobblestones.
Vilaburi
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Local vendor heading to remote villages
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Tipical Central Lao village
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Asking for direction
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I decided to try a detour road to Laboy ford. One of the main reasons was the stop at this Stone pillars sanctuary.
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Behind pillars there is a giant tree with a small shrine. Respecting the local beliefs I did not took pictures.
After a shallow river crossing I reached the last village on this road. Maybe 50 km North-West from Vilaburi
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From the village a jungle trail leads to the same river. Here the ford was deep and quite risky.
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Few kms I rode a small jungle trail with several streams to cross
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Finally I arrived in the village where the locals told me that further I can "Pai Sabai" which means "Easy go". By Lao standards of course.
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Follow NW direction and you are not lost on several crossroads ahead
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Approaching the Laboy ford there are more and more nice karst formations on sight
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The tipical cobbles of the Ho Chi Minh net. Feel the history.
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Happy to travel in safe area
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Actually the people are extremely friendly in this place. Some humanitarian organisations from USA, Norway, Germany etc. works here. They really help the locals. After I crossed this stream 30 maybe 40 locals (adults and children) came out of their huts to welcome me. Very friendly. The locals looks wild. Topless women is a pleasant natural attraction as well.
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Following the dirt road
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Finally I reached the legendary Laboy ford. Now it is a brand new river ford. Bikes and cars are welcome. Free.
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View from the ford
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I tried to find but could not succeed the way to the alternate ford. I think the jungle ate this way already.
The Laboy village has maximum 10 households. Very poor. This is a school. Children do not have time to study today. They are off the land looking for a firewood.
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There are three or four villages on the last ten kms before the border with Vietnam. War remnants are not available anymore. There is only the same house and the same gates with war missile pillars as few years ago.
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Approaching the border the trail looks like museum protected archaeological masterpiece
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The villages are clean.
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And safe of course
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Finally I reached the final point - the border. A small concrete house with a sound of a Thai soap opera inside. A very friendly official took my picture on the border. Of course I was not allowed to wonder around and to photograph.
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On the way back to Vilaburi I took some photos of the rocks. I wonder how many caves the locals used during the war as a storage, shelter, hospital etc.?
How many of those caves are still unexplored by foreigners?
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On the way back I took a shortcut but was lost for an hour.
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When at dusk I finally arrived in Vilaburi I had only 0,30 liter fuel left in the tank. Totally this day I rode over 200 kms.
 
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GTR-Admin

Administrator
Staff member
Mar 22, 2016
181
98
28
Thailand
Hi Yuri - you really do have the spirit of adventure! The photos are really excellent and capture the rugged and remote areas so well. Thanks for taking the time and making the effort to share your travels with everyone.

I'm sure it will inspire other riders to follow in your footsteps - and maybe they will carry a small emergency fuel supply! 555
- pushing a bike down a cobblestone road on a hot afternoon would not be much fun!
 

Moto-Rex

Moderator
Jan 5, 2008
944
286
63
Brilliant report Yuri.

I find the area around Villabury to be one of the most fascinating parts of Laos, and the track out to the border is, as you have shown, full of history as well as being a great ride with incredible views.

As you noted, there’s some seriously poor villages out that way too. But crime free it seems.

I like this photo, its what riding in Laos is all about.
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Lucky you made it back without running out of fuel. What did you think of Villabury after spending the night there?

I really love this report for its interesting and insightful content. Great stuff.

That’s for sharing your adventure.

Cheers Moto-Rex
 

Yuri Orlov

Member
Nov 13, 2018
14
31
3
Brilliant report Yuri.

I find the area around Villabury to be one of the most fascinating parts of Laos, and the track out to the border is, as you have shown, full of history as well as being a great ride with incredible views.

As you noted, there’s some seriously poor villages out that way too. But crime free it seems.

I like this photo, its what riding in Laos is all about.
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Lucky you made it back without running out of fuel. What did you think of Villabury after spending the night there?

I really love this report for its interesting and insightful content. Great stuff.

That’s for sharing your adventure.

Cheers Moto-Rex
I am happy that my report is inspiring and useful for somebody. I am happy that you, Moto-Rex, have enjoyed my reports too. I have checked yours. They are great and very inspiring. I traveled a lot in Lao before, espiecialy in North, but used to take just few pictures because I knew nobody who interested to see reports of my mototravels. Fortunately now I have found this site, where people share their trips.
This january I rode more than a week in Central Lao around Salavan, Sepon, Phin, Vilaburi as well. From Vilaburi I headed to the Xe Bang Fa cave. I will upload this report soon.
Cheers!
 
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