Lao Loop - Part 2

Discussion in 'Laos Road Trip Reports' started by Champasak, Feb 6, 2003.

  1. Lao Loop - Part 2
    « on: Jan 1st, 2003, 4:39pm » Quote Modify Remove

    In Vientiane, stayed at the Lao-Paris Hotel. Small place with decent value. You also get the added fun of riding your bike up the steps to park overnight in the lobby for security.

    Do NOT use the small wooden ramp that they have. It is not designed to hold a big bike. You are better off bouncing up the stairs (hopefully missing the plate glass windows on either side) and stopping the bike before you hit the restaurant. It can be interesting after a night out on the town.

    Hooked up as planned with Peter and Carol - a Canadian couple doing a round-the-world on an older BMW. They came across from Nong Khai, and had no trouble getting the bike in with a Carnet.

    We headed off for an afternoon at Buddha Park - a wild statue garden built by a monk. He made dozens of large concrete statues about 30 years ago. Then he moved across the river, and has built a similar one near Nong Khai. Dinner was at a Mongolian Barbecue near the Mekong, with drinks at the Tai-Pan Hotel.

    Monday morning, we planned to head north. To stay totally legal in Laos, you need written permission to travel to other provinces. The permit at the bridge only allows you to have the bike in Vientiane Province. So we went to the Transport Office, only to find out that the person who could give us that permission would be out all morning - so we decided to go without it.

    Heading north after the delay, we wanted to make up time. We were planning to go 400 kilometers up to Luang Prabang. HOWEVER, let me give you some important advice:

    If you catch up to a police caravan - do NOT start passing them. This caravan had a lead police car with flashing lights, two VIP cars, a VIP bus, and a follow van with flashing lights.

    The police in the follow van were not too happy when I passed them. They were leaning out the windows, yelling and blowing whistles. So, I finally pulled over to let him pass. Then, Peter and Carol catch up - with the uniform hat that had blown off the one cop's head. The van could not leave the caravan even to get the hat. Obviously some pissed-off cops.

    We decided to be politically correct, told Carol that she could not keep the hat for a souvenier, and caught up to the van and returned the hat - at full speed. This was probably a wise move, and kept me from being arrested and shot. Then we pulled off in Vang Vieng for a long lunch - to let them get far ahead of us. Decent pizza.

    With the late start and the lunch delay, we had to do the best part of the ride in the dark and fog. The road was worse than a year before, and we had to go pretty slow thru the mountains - dodging potholes, landslides, and road cave-ins. Finally made it to LP around 9 PM.

    More to follow.

  2. Re: Lao Loop - Part 2
    « Reply #1 on: Jan 7th, 2003, 5:40pm » Quote Modify Remove

    bob, you said getting into laos is easier now. did you get in with your own bike, or a rental bike?

  3. Re: Lao Loop - Part 2
    « Reply #2 on: Jan 8th, 2003, 7:47am » Quote Modify Remove

    Details of the border crossing were in Part 1, but the two main things that make it easy at Nong Khai are:
    1. It is my own bike
    2. It does have a Thai registration and plate.

    I did get into Laos 2 years ago with a non-plated rental bike, but I was travelling with Dave Unkovich and we entered Laos at Huay Xai. We needed a lot more documentation and used an agent in Laos.

    There is a recent post by Simon Foley about trying to bring his own bike with no plate into Laos. The agent did not show up, and he was denied entry at Nong Khai.

    Check Dave's border crossing info on the site, and contact him for names of agents to do the paperwork.

    Good luck.


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