Lak 5 Hwy 8 - Nam On


Nov 17, 2004
The first 10 km are fine but the road deteriorated considerably since my last ride up there before rainy season. From the turn to Nam On, there are deep ruts, 40 cm - 2 meter deep rain creases on up/downhill grades, holes in the track that are about tire size wide and well over 1 meter deep that are in blind spots with little reaction time. The rivers are all crossable as of this posting but caution at the river 18.5 km in, very deep and if you cross, take the far left rock track until you get to the other side and then you have no choice but to sink in about 80 cm for less than 2 meters. The rocks are slick as well.

Good news from the police/army station up at Nam On now. Seems like it is no problem at the moment for riders to pass thru on the way to Vieng Thong. If you leave Lak Xao, do so very, very early. 15 km to Lak 5 - 65 km of enduro to Nam On with one boat crossing (you have to ride on a boat, balance and go 250 m to the other side) Nam On - Vieng Thong is far, I lost the posting I did last year but remember it to be about 130 - 180 km. Fuel is available only in Nam On by the police and runs about 14,000 Kip per liter. There is no other fuel I saw all the way up because the road is only passable by motorbike/cattle.

Weather on the trip (Jan 07, 2008) Very cold am, heavy fog. Didn't really warm up as it is all up elevation. Ah, be prepared to have wet feet, even waterproof boots when in deep water get wet at the water crossing at km 18.5.

My bad on the way was that I dropped the bike on the return trip from Nam On four times on very slick downgrades in the jungle and once played submarine in the slick rock river at km 18.5 - 1.5 hours to clean the water out and this put me into riding at night the last bit to the highway. Even during the day, from KM 8 - 22/25, the jungle has retaken a lot of the road and the cover is dense so the ground has not dried out and the clay is very, very slick. Combine that with some deep crevices that could really break gear shifters and foot pegs and you have an excellent off road ride.

At this time, I'd grade this a 8.5 out of 10 difficulty/technically challenging run. Locals on step thru bikes do it but they are not covering the same distances.

email me for photos, I'll try to post some up soon.