GT Rider Trip to Laos in December!

Discussion in 'Laos Road Trip Reports' started by TonyBKK, Nov 19, 2010.

  1. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Ok, so we started talking about putting together a Laos trip in another thread and it was suggested we should start a new thread so here we are!

    I'm up to my eyeballs in work right now so I hope that the rest of you can help figure out the itinerary and details.

    Here are the folks who've expressed interest in going so far:

    IanBungy KLX 250(?)
    Hog Heads Versys
    Kiwi John D-Tracker(?)
    JohnGooding S1000RR! :happy5:
    Nikster? Versys
    TonyBKK Versys (or Gixxer if John takes the S1000RR) :mrgreen:
    West KTM or Multistrada(?)

    I can escape from work for 7 or 8 days pretty much anytime after December 7th and West and I want to be back home before the Pirelli Track Day at BIRA on December 26th. There's also a Kawasaki Track Day on December 18th that I'd like to hit, but if I have to choose between Laos and the Kawasaki Track Day I'll choose Laos :mrgreen:

    So, let's hear what everyone else's schedules look like and find some dates that work for all of us.

    Ride On!

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  3. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Tony :clap:
    Good on you for starting this thread. :thumbup:

    If you're starting from Chiang Khong then note the public holidays that you cannot cross on because no customs for vehicles permits & so no car & ferries.
    Sat-Sun-Monday Dec 4-5-6 Kings Birthday long weekend.
    Frid-Sat-Sun Dec 10-11-12 Constitution Day long weekend.

    What you need to do is decide on a time frame / departure date & work around that.

    My advice is take your time.
    DON'T rush & try to cover too much ground & blast on through because you won't be home too long & you will say damn, I wish I'd stayed longer or stopped in the towns you missed. Laos is not for riding hard & covering long distances, but pottering around, enjoying the scenery & tremendous warmth & friendliness of the people. You will love it.
    Ride hard & rush & you may well crash & need to be evacuated back to a Thai hospital = take care & ride safe.

    MY MASTERPLAN (that seldom lasts long):
    Ideally I should be moving to cross over for a few weeks on the 13th at a guess.
    I will be moving real slow GPS- mapping towns for new / closed establishments = hotels, guesthouses, restaurants, bars, banks, travel offices.
    My first night will be in Houei Xai.
    2nd night should be Luang Nam Tha & for at least 2 nights, then Muang Sing, then Oudom Xai for 1or 2 nights, then Nong Khiew, then Luang Prabang for at least 3 nights. It goes on... I doubt whether anyone will be able to keep up with me. Ho. Ho. So whilst I will be there "riding" I will be focused on "work." Should we bump into each other on the road in town, I will be happy to join in & consume a few beverages in the evening & swap riding tales. And I hope we can met up somewhere - LPQ is magic for that.
    I plan to exit at Vientiane & return to Chiang Mai via Loei.
  4. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    A suggested easy ride
    1. ? - border
    2. Houei Xai – Luang Nam Tha
    3. Luang Nam Tha – Nong Khiew
    4. Nong Khiew – Luang Prabang
    5. Luang Prabang
    6. Luang Prabang
    7. Luang Prabang – Phonsavan
    8. Phonsavan – Vang Vieng
    9. Vang Vieng – Vientiane
    10. Vientiane –
  5. Auke

    Auke Ol'Timer

    I agree with Phil that the Huay Khon (Nan) to Muang Ngeun border crossing is slow but is has the advantage that you don't have to wait for the ferry and it is open 7 days a week so I use it quite often. Taking the road to Pak Beng and on to Oudomxay is all asphalt and if they would repair the Oudomxay to Pak Mong stretch, which is now 75 km badly potholed and even more badly repaired with rocks, going onwards from there either to Luang prabang or to the north-east of Laos would be an easy ride.

    The Muang Ngeun to Hongsa road is OK but I assume that the road will get progressively bad as a Thai company has started building the 1400 MW lignite fired power plant a bit north of Hongsa with a lot of heavy transport expected to use that road. Hongsa to Xayaboury and then on to Luang Prabang is OK dirt and in due course will be asphalted. In addition, the construction of a new bridge (a few hundred meters south of the present ferry crossing) over the Mekong at Thaduea/Pakkhon north of Xayaboury has started (should be ready in 2013) and this will improve things as also the new road from Mueng Nan to Kasi should be ready by then.
  6. nolanyusof

    nolanyusof Active Member

    hi guys,

    I & few others from Malaysia will be crossing to Laos expected on 21st December and very glad if we bump up with other riders along the way & we really hope so... Hehehe

    Our route will be similar to Davidfl and planning to overnight in Luang Namtha, LPQ (if road condition are tough for us on this route we might stay in between, mayb at Pak Mong) then head on to Vientain before exit thru Nong Khai to Nakhon Sawan then go south.

    Bike use will be Versys, Er6-n & hayabusa. It will be the tough ride for the busa, but as quote by Davidfl... We just want to enjoy the scenery of loas.. No rushing.... :) :happy4:

    Ride for a life time... :happy4:
  7. Hoghead

    Hoghead Ol'Timer

    Any time afterthe GT-Rider Shan New Year trip Dec 5-8 is fine for me, as is any route as it is my first time to Laos.
    Would like to see the Plain Of Jars however.

    No sense going for a few days and a week or better yet 2 weeks suits me
  8. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    I can really only escape from work for about a week at most but please don't worry about me- Hopefully we can all start the trip together and when my time is up I'll just head back on my own. I'm also a Lao newb but by all accounts Luang Prabang and the Plain of Jars are must see! Cheers! Tony
  9. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Dear David,

    Thank you as always for your invaluable advice!

    For someone like me who only has about 7 days how would you modify the above itinerary? I can always go back again at a later date to cover the parts I miss :D Cheers! Tony
  10. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    Hi Tony, I have only been once so I am also Green to this but that time we did:
    Day 1, Chiang Mai to Chiang Kong.
    Day 2, Chiang Kong to Luang Namtha
    Day 3, Luang Namtha to Luang Prabang.
    Day 4, Rest day sightseeing around Luang Prabang and a Boat Ride up the River to the Temple etc!
    Day 5, Luang Prabang off Road to Thailand, crossed the Border and down to Nan for the Night.
    Day 6, Home to CM!

    A few People have suggested in at Nan and a few days looping around then Out at Loei? We could meet You in Nan and You would have an easier Ride Home from Loei? Robert wanted to go to the Plain of Jars but again I doubt We will have Time?
    For Me personally I am not worried, I am just going for the Ride and the Drinks in the evening :wink: So I will just follow the Groups decisions!
  11. Jurgen

    Jurgen Moderator

    I am sorry not to be able to ride with some of you (particularly in a « visiting » pace like David). I am « off bike » till February.

    I have used four border crossings this year. Nong Khai is possible only on the return way. Out of the three others, I enjoyed Muang Ngeun the most. It is true that it is a little slow on the Laos side (they like chatting), but when I passed, I was the only customer. In addition roads to Nan province and back, as well as the way to Pak Beng and Oudom Xai are magic.

    Chong Mek is also a great place to cross, without a ferry burden, but it is far South.

    Chiang Kong is nice, but flocked with tourists at this season and they all pass emigration early (maybe better to wait till 9 or 10). The gymkhana through 5 geographically separated counters (total for both sides) also needs concentration.

    For newcomers like me (if they go alone), two recommendations (I made the mistakes and will write about it in my Laos posts) :

    . Be sure you get a Lao stamp when you enter the country (have a look in your passport at immigration).
    . Be sure that you get your bike's document properly collected by custom when you enter Thailand again. You have to agree to a fine of 650'000 THB (for a ER6) if you do not bring the bike back (you sign this on the official document).
  12. jimoi

    jimoi Ol'Timer


    I'm not sure but are most of the prospective group BKK based? I'd offer a suggested itinerary but what is your starting base in Thailand?

    A few things I can say to help:

    I'd not spend that much time in Luang Prabang unless I was going on treks or activities in the area. It's really busy in LPQ at the moment and won't slow down. This also means a larger group should think about pre-booking something for the nights. We are finding our preferred use hotels are pretty full all of December (US $ 30 - 50 range).

    A second night in Phonsavan might be a good thing. This allows you to ride slow pace to Plain of Jars, down to old Xieng Khoung and maybe out a bit to the west of town for a look.

    If Luang Prabang isn't so important, skip it all together and get out in the country. Bypassing it and going to Nong Khiaw, Xam Nua and Phonsavan will fill the time and you can run the roads fairly leisurely. I've recently been on 1C and it's not in bad shape, the last 150 km into Xam Nua is nice and an enjoyable ride in both directions.

    So, it depends on where you are starting from. If you like, email me if you need or post up.

  13. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Greetings from Nan!

    Next stop- LAOS! :happy5:

    Ride On!

  14. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    :thumbup: Ride on guys. I hope you all have a good one.
  15. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    At the Thai-Lao border (Lao side):

    Took a while to get our visas and paperwork done but finally we're all smiles and ready to roll!


    Arriving at the mighty Mekong:

    Crossing the Mekong:


    We're now in Luang Prabang- fantastic beautiful city, but a bit lacking in night life :wink:

    Our route from Pak Beng to Luang Prabang:,+Laos&hl=en&geocode=FVeHLwEdEzcHBg%3BFURoLwEdoo4WBimjGz1BPyovMTFWao5gqUmXrA&mra=pr&sll=20.257044,101.782837&sspn=1.783016,3.532104&ie=UTF8&z=8

    Overall I've been very impressed by the quality of the roads here in Laos. There were about 80 km of incredibly ROUGH road between Houaylin and Pak Mong, but otherwise it was all good.

    Pretty slow internet in this town. Will post up more pics when I find a better connection.

    Happy Trails!

  16. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    We're all back in one piece!
    Cool trip! Laos certainly isn't Thailand!
    Will post up a proper trip report soon!

    ps. no smilies on GTR anymore? :-(
  17. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Moderator Staff Member

    If you want to drink after mid night in Luang Prabang.. You need to head to the bowling ally.
    This is where all the illegal boozing goes on, and you pay for it too.
    Didn't go this December trip, went last January.
    It is packed.. Most people boozing.. but lots also bowling.
  18. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    I see You got a Nice Picture of Another Nice WARM Beer Tony! Regardless of What People tell You or Post there is Nearly No Ice Cold Beer available in Laos!!! We did manage to Get some in Vang Vieng at the Aussie Bar run by a bit of a Character Named Steve Who formally had a Bar in Phuket!
    Anyway here We are Enjoying a Cold Beer, Note No Ice Bucket!
    Here We are Drinking a Warm Beer, Note the Ice Bucket!
    After No Cold Beer anywhere Prior to Reaching Luang Prabang after a Day Spent Searching We found the Bar recommended as Having the Coldest Beer in Laos but Alas it Was as Warm as the Rest!
    Couldn't resist a Dig about the Beer!!!
    I will Post some More Photos of the Trip soon when I have more Time!

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