Chiang Mai – Xam Nua Return

Discussion in 'Laos Road Trip Reports' started by DavidFL, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. Jurgen

    Jurgen Moderator

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    We are lucky to have you scouting the places ... and (as I have a fading memory) they will of course all be on the next GTR-Laos map :)
     
  2. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    PAK BENG - LUANG PRABANG
    23 December 2010

    324 kms.
    Ex Pak Beng: 9.15 am
    Arrive Luang Prabang: 5.15pm
    Average speed: 40 kph.

    The kids on R2W Pak Beng - Oudom Xai

    264534=785-img_3034.

    My favourite bike & people photo for the whole trip

    264534=786-img_3037_0.
    check out the varied expressions on all the faces.

    Oudom Xai - Pak Mong

    Another fave happy snap

    264534=787-img_3204.
    a group of happy kids playfully "walking the branches down the road."

    Now R13N from Oudom Xai - Pak Mong sucks for most people & I agree.
    The road is a mixture of dirt & asphalt. 50 metres of gravel & 100 metres of asphalt. But the asphalt generally has loose stone & gravel on it, so you can be skating through most corners if you are not careful.
    It is not difficult, just tiring requiring constant concentration.
    The blind corners are infinite & you never know what road surface you are going to be riding on around the next corner.
    If the road was all bad dirt you would know what pace & gear to ride at, but not the way it is now.
    It is good character building, & the trick is to just work 1 or 2 gears - 2nd & 3rd - nothing else.
    For me 3rd gear seems to work best, just powering on & off gently from corner to corner.
    You can get a nice rhythym going & not catch yourself out trying to ride too fast on the racing line.

    264534=788-img_3205.

    264534=789-img_3209.

    Looks ok, but encounter an oncoming vehicle on yourside of the road & it gets tricky real fast.

    264534=790-img_3212.

    A glorious golden view of the Nam Ou

    264534=791-img_3213.

    264534=792-img_3216.

    264534=793-img_3223.
     
  3. Noel Akers

    Noel Akers Ol'Timer

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    Wow, excellent pics David....really capturing the essence of Laos. I am getting really itchy feet to back there again. Thanks for sharing the ride.
     
  4. Auke

    Auke Ol'Timer

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    Well, it looks like that the bus has been moved as I took a picture on the 1st of July when it was still standing on the road and caused a problem for the other traffic.

    264614=848-Bus%20crash.
     
  5. Jurgen

    Jurgen Moderator

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    Happy kids and deep colours ... Pak Beng to Oudom Xai is one of my favorite links in the region. The houses are so close to the road that you feel like driving through the courtyard
     
  6. ronwebb

    ronwebb Ol'Timer

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    Terrific photos - picture postcard especially the views around Nam Ou, many thanks.
    Also a invaluable help in planning my Laos trip ie, a stop at the Tha Heua restaurant at Pak Beng
     
  7. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    LUANG PRABANG
    23 - 28th December 2010.
    & time to kick back in the evening after pounding the streets in the day time.
    I always get trapped in LPQ &the original master plan was for 3 nights, maybe 4.
    but it was 5 nights.

    The Oudom Souk is my preferred place of stay in LPQ, & the Malaysian guys stayed here also.
    They got in a day before me, after I'd rung ahead from Oudom Xai & booked them rooms to ensure they had rooms at this peak time of the year.
    Again we had a nice time swapping tips & road notes. Meeting good guys on the road is always a pleasure & it is funny how you sometimes hit it off with some & not others; but these guys were great & an absolute pleasure to hang out with. I was also highly impressed that neither of the Hayabusa riders had come off on the Oudom Xai - Pak Mong road; which they agreed was much more demanding than the 20 kms of dirt on the Houei Xai - Luang Nam Tha road.

    So it just goes to prove it normally isn't the bike that lets you down, but the rider.
    https://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/threads/33626-Advice-on-road-condition-for-Laos-Trip

    A breakfast stop with the Malaysian guys

    264639=851-img_3238.

    By the "Khong

    264639=852-img_3242.

    Nolanyusof

    264639=853-img_3246.
    with his Kawasaki Versys.
    150,000 kms on the clock & still in perfect condition. Nothing wrong with the bike or any complaints! Everything works & nothing has failed so far.

    Hayabusa1

    264639=854-img_3247.

    Hayabusa2

    264639=855-img_3248.

    In the fog by the boat landing

    264639=856-img_3252.

    The riders

    264639=857-img_3253.

    Luang Prabang was cool & foggy every morning.

    264639=858-img_3261.

    An amazing blue light evening over the Mekong

    264639=859-img_3271.

    An amazing orange sunset over the Mekong.

    264639=860-img_3285.

    Christmas day lunch at the Oudom Souk with the staff

    264639=862-img_3301.
    + a real mixture of drinks - spy, beer & malt whisky. The girls drank it all, sometimes mixed together - kamikaze drinkers I thought; & some of them did not last the day out.

    Luang Prabang at dusk

    264639=863-img_3306.

    264639=864-img_3309.

    Food stalls in the night market

    264639=867-img_3311.

    The Soudaphone, my fave restaurant by the Mekong in LPQ

    264639=865-img_3425.

    264639=866-img_3430.

    A GT Rider dinner at the Soudaphone

    264639=861-img_3300.
    a Lao curry, a Luang Prabang salad & some LPQ sausage.

    The Malaysian guys were not the only riders that I met in LPQ.
    A big surprise was Brendan BJ & his wife Aor

    264639=868-img_3435.
    from Chiang Mai. They rode Chiang Mai - Nan - Huay Kon - Pak Beng - Oudom Xai - Luang Prabang; two-up on BJ's ER6 & had no trouble. Just pace yourself, take your time & it is easy.

    BJ & Aor it was brilliant sharing drinks & a chat beside the 'Khong in LPQ. I hope we can do it again soon.

    More to come, but I'm off to the south & Pakxe tomorrow.
    But it will get finished.
     
  8. BJ

    BJ Ol'Timer

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    Really enjoying the report David
    It was great to catch up in Luang Prabang. What a beautiful place it is, we weren't expecting to see anything like that in Laos. One of the real gems of Asia.
    The 3 days we had there weren't enough and looking forward to getting back there again.
    As we arrived on the 26th the girls from the Audom Souk weren't lookingor feeling so good after your xmas day party. They did improve over the next few days we were there though and it was a great place to stay, close to most things.

    Davids Birthday breakfast at the bakery 27/12/2010
    SV101992.
    SV101984.
    Hope to get a report up within the next couple of weeks. We're a bit busy after 2 months off.
    Once again thanks to GT rider and its members reports for making our trip so easy.
     
  9. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    NONG KHIEW
    28-29 December 2010.
    Departed LPQ at 11.18AM
    Arrived Nong Khiew 2.24PM.
    A short leisurely ride north via Pak Ou.
    149 kms. Average speed 48KPH.

    Nong Khiew is arguably the most pristine spot in Northern Laos & the Nam Ou River with the majestic cliffs is the big attraction.

    265538=1175-img_3474.

    265538=1176-img_3476.
    265538=1177-img_3485.

    Hanging out at the restaurants either side of the bridge taking photos seems to be a major pastime when you visit NK.

    265538=1178-img_3491.

    Time for an evening bath in the river.

    265538=1179-img_3498.

    Pristine & totally unspoilt it is.Doing the dishes beside the road....

    265538=1180-img_3501.

    Dogs & ducks supervising

    265538=1181-img_3504.

    Back on the bridge as the sun goes down

    265538=1182-img_3505.

    Another day is done

    265538=1183-img_3523.

    The CT is my fave restaurant in Nong Khiew & where I generally tend to hang out, taking photos.
     
  10. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    NONG KHIEW - VIENG THONG
    29 December 2011.

    One of the best "feel good rural back roads".

    265586=1192-elevation-nong-khiew-vieng-thong.

    An early start for me & it was cool.

    265586=1193-img_3526.
    a nippy 13 celsius. (Ok it's cold for us locals, but not if you're from Europe.)

    Trying to keep warm & have brekky at the same time.

    265586=1194-img_3528.

    Morning fog on the Nam Ou

    265586=1195-img_3532.
    265586=1196-img_3534.

    Downtown Nong Khiew

    265586=1197-img_3552.

    Downstream past the hospital & bus station is a newish upmarket resort. The Pha Xang Resort.

    265586=1202-image-67-phaxangresort.

    265586=1198-img_3553.

    265586=1201-img_3555.

    265586=1199-img_3564.
    265586=1200-img_3566.

    well worth checking out if you're looking for something a little more upmarket + away from the "busy centre of downtown Nong Khiew." Room prices started @ US$40 a night I seem to recall.

    A German motorcycle tour group, packed up & ready for departure.

    265586=1203-img_3567.
    the jeep is now for sale.
    https://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/threads/34203-Suzuki-Caribian-for-sale.

    Nong Khiew - Vieng Thong is a super laid back gorgeous narrow hilly-steep & winding twisting motorbike road.

    265586=1204-img_3569.

    265586=1205-img_3572.
    265586=1206-img_3573.

    265586=1207-img_3575.

    A Lao village thamboon checkpoint raising money for the village temple.

    265586=1208-img_3581.

    the villagers put a piece of string up across the road. You're supposed to stop & make a donation to the village for their temple. A delightful custom & often a lot of fun joking with the locals.
    The gals lined up on one side.

    265586=1209-img_3579.

    The men on the other

    265586=1210-img_3582.

    everyone gets stopped & even the travelling Viet motorbike vendors are required to make a donation.

    265586=1211-img_3585.

    Ride on..

    265586=1212-img_3589.
    no complaints about the weather & amazing blue skies!

    265586=1213-img_3592.

    On the outskirts of Vieng Thong city

    265586=1214-img_3595.

    265586=1215-img_3597.

    Ex Nong Khiew: 9.12AM
    Arrived Vieng Thong: 3.30PM
    Average speed: 28KPH.
     
  11. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    #36 DavidFL, Feb 26, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2017
    VIENG THONG
    A small one-horse street town

    Why stop in Vieng Thong?
    Because it's the convenient half-way point between Nong Khiew & Xam Nua / Phonsavan.
    You can do Nong Khiew - Xam Nua / Phonsavan in a day, but it is a long day & you need to get a god start & ride hard all day.
    Doing this there is no time to look at the scenery, enjoy the people or take photos = slower is better.

    Vieng Thong is also becoming popular as an eco-tourism base for treks promoted by the LNTA Lao tourist office.
    http://www.ecotourismlaos.com/houaphan.htm

    There's only two guesthouses in Vieng Thong: the Dok Champa & The Souksakhone.
    The Souksakhone is the best.

    Price 50,000 kip a night.
    GPS Location: N20 05.054 E103 22.161

    The view from the Souksakhone

    at dusk in Vieng Thong there's not a great deal to do, except hang out in the local market place.

    Play Boules

    Smile for the farang

    Eat

    note the warm clothes worn in preparation for a cold night!

    The "main" restaurant in Vieng Thong seems to be the one straight across the street from the guesthouse.

    but as Moto-Rex advised in a somewhat long distance phone call "just have a look in the kitchen first."

    I did, but still ordered dinner & ate

    I had the "liquid squirts" for 3-days thereafter, although no stomach pain or discomfort.

    On my trip through from Vietnam in March 2010
    Chiang Mai - Hanoi Back Part 6 Xam Nua - Nong Khiew

    Silverhawk & I ate out by the petrol & bus station; & I would most definitely go there again to "wine & dine" rather than downtown at the joint I did. Now you know..

    Of note too in Vieng Thong is that the power only runs from 6 or 7PM - 9PM in the evenings, plus 6AM - 8AM in the mornings.

    The next morning was C-O-L-D. The Trail Tech thermometer on the bike showed 8 celsius at 7AM.

    The morning view from the Souksakhone

    not quite the same as the previous evening.

    Off to school in the cold & fog

    VIENG THONG - XAM NUA
    30 DEcember 2011
     
  12. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    VIENG THONG
    A small one-horse street town

    265605=1290-img_3613.

    Why stop in Vieng Thong?
    Because it's the convenient half-way point between Nong Khiew & Xam Nua / Phonsavan.
    You can do Nong Khiew - Xam Nua / Phonsavan in a day, but it is a long day & you need to get a god start & ride hard all day.
    Doing this there is no time to look at the scenery, enjoy the people or take photos = slower is better.

    Vieng Thong is also becoming popular as an eco-tourism base for treks promoted by the LNTA Lao tourist office.
    http://www.ecotourismlaos.com/houaphan.htm

    265605=1291-img_3615.

    There's only two guesthouses in Vieng Thong: the Dok Champa & The Souksakhone.
    The Souksakhone is the best.

    265605=1292-img_3602.

    265605=1293-img_3605.

    265605=1294-img_3606.
    Price 50,000 kip a night.
    GPS Location: N20 05.054 E103 22.161

    The view from the Souksakhone

    265605=1295-img_3608.

    at dusk in Vieng Thong there's not a great deal to do, except hang out in the local market place.

    265605=1296-img_3616.

    Play Boules

    265605=1297-img_3620.

    Smile for the farang

    265605=1298-img_3623.
    265605=1299-img_3609.
    265605=1300-img_3622.

    Eat

    265605=1301-img_3618.
    note the warm clothes worn in preparation for a cold night!

    The "main" restaurant in Vieng Thong seems to be the one straight across the street from the guesthouse.

    265605=1302-img_3614.

    but as Moto-Rex advised in a somewhat long distance phone call "just have a look in the kitchen first."

    265605=1303-img_3625.

    I did, but still ordered dinner & ate

    265605=1304-img_3631.
    I had the "liquid squirts" for 3-days thereafter, although no stomach pain or discomfort.

    On my trip through from Vietnam in March 2010
    https://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/threads/32399-Chiang-Mai-Hanoi-amp-Back-Part-6-Xam-Nua-Nong-Khiew
    Silverhawk & I ate out by the petrol & bus station; & I would most definitely go there again to "wine & dine" rather than downtown at the joint I did. Now you know..

    Of note too in Vieng Thong is that the power only runs from 6 or 7PM - 9PM in the evenings, plus 6AM - 8AM in the mornings.

    The next morning was C-O-L-D. The Trail Tech thermometer on the bike showed 8 celsius at 7AM.

    The morning view from the Souksakhone

    265605=1305-img_3632.
    not quite the same as the previous evening.

    Off to school in the cold & fog

    265605=1306-img_3639.

    and I too was off on me bike.......

    VIENG THONG - XAM NUA
    30 December 2011

    265605=1264-elevation-vieng-thong-xam-nua.

    Up out of the fog & what a glorious day to be alive & riding.

    265605=1265-img_3642.

    Its a tight narrow twisting road

    265605=1266-img_3645.

    with superb views over the mountains

    265605=1267-img_3646.

    This ride through the Nam Et - Phou Loei wildlife park is one of the best in Laos!

    265605=1268-img_3648.

    not that you'd want to see any wild tigers "grazing beside the road." But they exist out there & the forest cover over the rolling ountains to the east & Vietnam border if fantastic.

    Onto towards Xam Nua

    265605=1269-img_3653.

    265605=1270-img_3658.

    and civilization

    265605=1271-img_3662.

    the way ahead through a village built on the side of the mountain

    265605=1272-img_3666.

    This route is one of the better ones for friendly villagers, yet it is funny that sometimes when you stop you think you're onto a winner for photos & fun with the villagers & it does not work out.

    265605=1274-img_3684.

    Other times you think it looks drab & nothing happens & you hit the jackpot.

    I was not expecting much here,

    265605=1273-img_3677.
    but stopped to take a peak at the weaving.

    265605=1275-img_3679.

    265605=1276-img_3685.

    265605=1277-img_3686.
    265605=1279-img_3671.

    This lady was a winner & one of the toughest Ive ever seen.

    265605=1278-img_3676.
    Why?
    A broken arm, self treated in the village with some twigs & herbs, plus a piece of plastic & string holding the "splint" all in place.

    Onward

    265605=1280-img_3687.

    Another wonderful village with kids

    265605=1281-img_3694.

    265605=1282-img_3698.

    265605=1283-img_3702.

    A road hazard

    265605=1284-img_3705.
    and why you need to keep your speed down, for they don't make noise coming road the bend to alert you in advance. Plough into a herd of buffaloes & it could get awfully messy.

    Putting the new power lines in

    265605=1285-img_3713.
    & I'm sure some dirt riders would not mind the job.

    30KPH is supposed to be the speed limit through many villages

    265605=1286-img_3706.

    265605=1287-img_3709.

    The entrance to Houa Phan / Xam Nua city

    265605=1288-img_3722.

    Xam Nua

    265605=1289-img_3721.
    and it reminded me of Sapa in North Vietnam!

    Ex Vieng Thong: 9.20AM
    Arrive Xam Nua: 2.18PM
    Average speed: 30KPH.
     
  13. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    XAM NUA
    31 December 2010.

    Downtown, the dry market

    265775=1468-img_3746.

    En route to the wet market

    265775=1469-img_3753.

    The market, big new & clean.

    265775=1470-img_3754.

    It was relatively cold (as Xam Nua always is) & there were some great characters rugged up in & around the market.

    265775=1471-img_3759.

    The "butchers" section is always good

    265775=1472-img_3761.

    265775=1473-img_3764.

    265775=1474-img_3768.

    Lottery vendor

    265775=1475-img_3771.

    Seaweed

    265775=1476-img_3774.

    Xam Nua is undergoing a boom, like many towns in Laos

    265775=1477-img_3777.
    once the river embankment is complete & landscaped it should be quite a pretty town.

    Riding safely home

    265775=1478-img_3784.

    Xam Nua - Vieng Xai, a later afternoon excursion

    265775=1479-img_3790.

    The elevation profile

    265775=1487-elevation-xam-nua-vieng-xai.

    It's another narrow steep & winding road

    265775=1488-img_3802.

    when it's so narrow the trucks don't leave much, if any room.

    265775=1489-img_3815.

    The "tinsmith" village

    265775=1490-img_3794.

    265775=1491-img_3800.

    note the man above "carting" his kids home from their evening bath in a stream a few kms away.
    I was amazed how many kms he pushed his 2 kids along in the cart. Dedication plus, & with just a towell wrapped around him.

    265775=1486-viengxaipanorama.
     
  14. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    VIENG XAI
    31 December 2010

    265787=1493-img_3823.

    Hot 'n dry

    265787=1494-img_3825.
    and I need to time my Vieng Xai trips a lot better!

    265787=1495-img_3829.

    265787=1496-img_3831.

    265787=1497-img_3832.

    Back to Xam Nua, at dusk

    265787=1498-img_3833.

    265787=1499-img_3835.

    New Year's eve it was, however Xam Nua was so cold I tucked up in bed by 8.45PM.
    No worries I had BBC TV in the room & thought I'd just "chill out" watch the world's New Year Eves unroll on the tele right in front of me.
    But not to be! At 9.15Pm Xam Nua suffered a massive city wide power failure. And the power was still off the next morning when I left town at 9AM.
     
  15. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    XAM NUA - PHONSAVAN
    1st January 2011

    & a belated happy new year...

    and what a fantastic ride to start off 2011 with. Yippee!

    265808=1531-elevation-xamnua-phonsavan.

    It was cold & foggy coming out of Xam Nua & up on the ridgeline.

    265808=1532-img_3844.

    265808=1503-img_3842.

    The sun comes out

    265808=1504-img_3848.
    and you can see clearly now.

    The power line trail

    265808=1505-img_3849.
    great for dirt bikers & a bit of a hill climb!

    The fog's cleared

    265808=1506-img_3853.

    The road winds its way around the mountains, crossing ridge line after ridge line, hugging the sides of the mountain. In the shade the moisture lingers leaving damp wet patches on the road = keep your speed down.

    265808=1507-img_3857.

    265808=1508-img_3867.

    Numerous villages dot the roads & there are lots of small wood stacks beside the road.

    265808=1509-img_3869.

    265808=1510-img_3871.
    fuel for cooking &/or a warm fire at night

    265808=1511-img_3872.

    After Phonsavan / Vieng Thong unction there is a fantastic descent / ascent to the Nam Neun river.

    265808=1513-img_3889.

    265808=1512-img_3882.

    265808=1515-img_3893.

    265808=1516-img_3900.

    The brush village

    265808=1514-img_3903.

    some cool dudes

    265808=1517-img_3908.

    doubly cool

    265808=1518-img_3906.

    Gnod Lieng village

    265808=1519-img_3912.

    265808=1520-img_3914.
     
  16. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    XAM NUA - PHONSAVAN Contd
    1st January 2011

    The road is a real beauty, tight steep narrow winding through the mountain. In the middle of no whereI came across a very small group of Hmong celebrating new year.
    265828=1535-img_3918.

    265828=1534-img_3938.

    The girls were stunning, dressed up in their best gear.

    265828=1536-img_3935.
    265828=1537-img_3929.

    265828=1538-img_3928.
    265828=1539-img_3921.

    Their size, or lack of it, was impressive

    265828=1540-img_3941.

    Back on the road for the run down the hill into Phonsavan

    265828=1541-img_3944.
    taking your pet pig out for a ride I thought.

    265828=1543-img_3967.

    A bevy of cyclists

    265828=1544-img_3946.

    Fueling up

    265828=1542-img_3962.

    Flying down the road I spotted an old bomb casing beside the road, outside a house. Great photo I thought.

    265828=1545-img_3955.
    I managed 1 quick snap & grandma came out.
    A sweet little banter occured as I endeavoured to turn on the charm & seek a photo of the old lady with her house bomb.
    The last exchange I never quite understood & she sauntered off around to the back of the house; somewhat grumpy with the pesky farang I thought.
    I started to pack up & was about to mount my bike & ride off when she reappeared at the front & shouted out why I was leaving her now that she had put on her best blouse for the photo. Was leaving her in the lurch, bloody men?
    I quickly dismounted & got my photos...

    265828=1546-img_3958.

    265828=1547-img_3959.

    Life's good I thought.
    Another brilliant day on the road with wonderful people & super motorbike roads.
     
  17. Moto-Rex

    Moto-Rex Moderator

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    Yes life is good when on the road, particularly in the back blocks of Laos. Its a riders paradise, no sitting behind a computer, just the riding the bike, and taking in the endless parade of Laos life before you.
    Some great costumes in the photos above David, and a ripper story of the elderly lady putting on her finest for an old AT rider.

    Thanks for the great post mate.

    Moto-Rex
     
  18. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    PHONSAVAN
    1-2 January 2011

    1ST JAN 2011
    Ex Xam Nua 9.58am
    Arrive Phonsavan 4.45pm
    Average Speed 28kph

    Phonsavan at dusk

    265859=1584-img_3982.

    Sunset

    265859=1585-img_3985.

    The day is done

    265859=1586-img_4004.

    My breakfast & lunch spot
    The Si Dao Heuan

    265859=1587-img_4015.
    N19 27.011 E103 13.152
    40 metres east of the Nice Guesthouse

    Lunch at the Si Dao Heuan

    265859=1588-img_4029.

    Phonsavan's a bit of a drab town. The old airstrip

    265859=1589-img_4021.

    with a massive line up of cheap housing.

    265859=1590-img_4020.
    being built for whom I never found out.

    The old AT dwarfed by a logging truck

    265859=1571-img_4018.
    Phonsavan looks so barren you have to wonder where do the logs come from? How faraway is it?

    Phonsavan city in the day light.

    265859=1572-img_4023.

    THE PLAIN OF JARS
    Phonsavan's claim to fame, other than the bombing from the secret war.

    Ron 2Wheels has is brilliant Plain of Jars trip report here if you want to read up & learn more.

    Plus I also found this one
    http://plainofjars.net/
    that some of you will find interesting & worth following up on - who's going to download, read & review the book?

    Some piccies from Site 1 at the Plain of Jars.

    265859=1573-img_4037.

    The jars

    265859=1574-img_4032.
    they are big

    265859=1575-img_4043.
    gives a new meaning to a "Jar of Vegemite." How big is yours?

    265859=1576-img_4040.

    265859=1578-img_4054.

    Oops, someone dropped a bomb

    265859=1577-img_4039.

    265859=1579-img_4060.

    265859=1580-img_4071.

    Pondering what the jars are all about = "who did it?"

    265859=1583-img_4084.
    When, where, why were they made? I certainly don't have the answer, so if you've never been there - go take a look & see what you think.

    Phonsavan & the Plain of Jars are well worth the ride & effort to get there.
    http://www.ecotourismlaos.com/worldheritagesites.htm#plainofjars

    Downtown Phonsavan city at dusk

    265859=1581-img_4089.

    Logs away

    265859=1582-img_4090.

    Looking for a place to stay in Phonsavan
    https://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/threads/33418-Phonsavan-Accommodation
     
  19. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    PHONSAVAN - VANG VIENG
    3 January 2011

    Ex Phonsavan 9.10AM

    265884=1594-elevationphonsavan-vangvieng.

    For some people a better road & ride than R13.

    265884=1595-img_4093.

    265884=1596-img_4094.

    265884=1597-img_4097.

    265884=1598-img_4101.

    Phou Khoun at the junction with R13 / R7

    265884=1599-img_4109.
    is under going a massive face lift.
    The roadside mountain top is being removed

    265884=1600-img_4107.
    a car park & market place will eventually appear in it's place.

    265884=1601-img_4111.
    Progress.

    The old AT gets some attention from a group of happy Thais on holiday.

    265884=1602-img_4113.
    I think it was the Bangkok number plate that sucked them in.

    R13 Downhill towards Kasi

    265884=1604-img_4126.

    265884=1603-img_4125.

    Arrival time in Vang Vieng was 1.50PM.
    Average speed 50KPH.
    Ex Phonsavan 9.10AM.

    It was hot so I decided to look around for a nicer guesthouse with easy access & parking.
    Enter the Vilayvong

    265884=1605-image-71vilayvongvangvieng.

    Parking right outside the front door

    265884=1606-img_4135.

    plus a room at ground level = no steps.
    And the rooms are pretty nice

    265884=1607-img_4129.

    265884=1608-img_4132.

    265884=1609-img_4133.

    After a kip & kick back in the room it was time for happy hour at the Ban Sabai Resort

    265884=1610-img_4138.
    I love the Ban Sabai for the location & ambiance. The best in Vang Vieng I think. It's the sort of place I like to take happy go lucky for a romantic night & / or whatever...

    The sunset / dusk view from Ban Sabai

    265884=1611-img_4140.

    a perfect ending to another wonderful day riding Laos.

    265884=1612-img_4145.
     
  20. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    Nice report Ron.
    This one
    http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au/newmandala/2011/03/04/china-and-the-mekong-region-beyond-the-territorial-trap/
    is good for southern Laos.

    and northern Laos
    http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au/newmandala/2011/02/11/the-internal-frontier-chinese-extraterritoriality-in-northern-laos/
     
  21. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    Vang Vieng
    4 January 2011

    The scenery is indeed spectacular & it is hard not to take endless photos of the Nam Song & the karsts across the river.

    265903=1617-img_4167.

    The best views I believe are from upstream at the north end of town from the Sunset guesthouse / Pha Souk restaurant. GPS Waypoint: N18 55.750 E102 26.884

    265903=1616-img_4170.

    265903=1618-img_4171.

    265903=1619-img_4173.

    Downstream at the south end of town

    265903=1621-img_4184.

    265903=1622-img_4193.
     
  22. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    VANG VIENG Contd

    another couple of breakfast snaps from the Ban Sabai

    265965=1640-img_4241.

    265965=1641-img_4242.

    Actually the best views must now be from the hot air balloon service

    265965=1643-img_4245.
    Yep that's right Vang Vieng now has hot air balloon rides.
    Run by Chinese company. There's a link here
    http://www.vangviengtour.com/balloon-over-vangvieng/
    to some info.
    Also try this one
    http://www.travelblog.org/Asia/Laos/West/Vang-Vieng/blog-559104.html

    My only snap

    265965=1637-img_4223.
    grabbed quickly as it caught me by surprise landing just upstream from where I was quietly imbibing.

    A little further downstream, at "the end of town" there's a superb new resort being built.
    The Villa Vang Vieng

    265965=1638-img_4191.

    265965=1639-img_4198.

    The riverside bungalows look inviting & inexpensive. This place is also somewhere I'd like to take happy-go-lucky.

    265965=1642-image-74villavangvieng.

    My stay in VV was only spoiled by the group of noisy Chinese staying at the Vilayvong guesthouse. A large group they had 15 rooms booked

    265965=1644-img_4209.
    all the bungalows, plus riverside rooms on the car park side were theirs. Plus they had vehicles to spare.

    265965=1645-img_4210.

    and what was it all about

    265965=1646-img_4211.
    The high speed China - Laos railway. Announced last year with a completion date set for 2014!

    Hard to believe? Then take a look at this


    some more info from Lao Voices
    When I first read the reports, I thought yeah yeah, maybe in 10 more years, but after seeing the staff & vehicles in Vang Vieng it is full speed ahead & I don't doubt that it will happen in just a few years, although the 2014 date still seems unrealistic. But then again. There are a few thousand Chinese in the country working non-stop on the project. West of Phou Khoun supposedly they are digging the tunnels already & there are huge camps of Burmese? labourers out there doing the heavy work. How fast time changes in Laos. Best ride & go there asap.
     
  23. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    VIENTIANE
    "The end of the road."
    6-7-8 January 2011.

    Vientianeis a cool party town for me & I always love to finish my Laos rides up in Vte with a few nights .
    My fave spot is the Kopchaideu Pub from 8PM+. Then hit the Windwest Pub 10.30PM+ till 2AM.

    Earlier in the evening you can always get some nice sunset shots from the Bor Pen Nyang Pub on the Mekong boulevard.

    The downstream view from the Bor Pen Nyang

    265975=1648-img_4261.
    note the new look Vientiane foreshore!

    A sunset view upstream

    265975=1649-img_4268.

    Sunset inside the Bor Pen Nyang

    265975=1650-img_4272.

    Kopchaideu

    265975=1653-img_4311.
    the 2nd band.

    Inthy, owner of Kopchaideu & Green Discovery.

    265975=1654-img_4307.
    one of the most active & dynamic stars in the Lao tourism & entertainment business. A fabulous down to earth honest guy & born in one of the Vieng Xai revolutionary caves! His life is an amazing story.

    Windwest

    265975=1651-img_4277.

    265975=1652-img_4285.
    Miss Pat is the singer, & a good one.

    My start to the day after a night at the KCD & WW with Inthy

    265975=1655-img_4288.

    Another highlight of riding in LAos & ending up in Vientiane is to always catch up to Eric

    265975=1656-img_4292.
    from LARA
    http://www.ride-lara.com/
    Eric is a two-stroke man, & knows his bikes & riding.
    Check out his new Mynmar motorcycle tour here
    http://www.ride-lara.com/myanmar

    plus Thierry from Jules Classic Bike rental in Laos.

    265975=1657-img_4299.
    http://www.bike-rental-laos.com/

    That's it. a month on the road in Laos. 2 days later I was home in Chiang Mai.
     
  24. Jurgen

    Jurgen Moderator

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    Great pictures and information about a wonderful region, with lovely people. Definitively an itinerary to put on the X'mas wish list. In between, I will take solace in enjoying your report a couple of times :)
     
  25. Jurgen

    Jurgen Moderator

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    Thank You again for all the work and material provided to traveling or dreaming readers :
     
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