Laos Spectacular

Discussion in 'Laos Road Trip Reports' started by brian_bkk, Nov 19, 2015.

  1. G'day All,

    Having again visited Phu Chi Fa and Doi Pha Tang...  I decided my next trip to Lao would include a ride around the area below and between the Mekong and riding along the Mekong up to the border with Thailand. Then see if there is away across by local canoe / ferry.

    Phu Chi Fa



    Doi Pha Tang



    The route we ended up taking


    More to come

    Attached Files:

  2. I took the day time train from Bangkok.. Left at 7am and arrived 30 mins late to Den Chai.

    By the time I was loaded up and going it was 5.10pm.. Not even an hour before sunset..

    I really wanted to make it up to Siam Bungalow and see Marco and enjoy his resort and the fantastic cooking.

    So started and thought if need be I will slow right down and get there when I get there.  There were quite a few cars and I sat behind them and follow the lights through the mountains and all was good.

    Ended up arriving at Siam Garden Bungalows just after 8pm.. To a great feed, good company and fantastic food.

    The next day I headed to the Nan border crossing.. I had heard this crossing can be a bit awkward on the Lao side.. But had every thing in order and was meeting Scott on the other side.

    I put Scott in touch with Fuark in Vientiane and he had hired an XR400. and rode up to Hong Sa the day before..

    We had been in touch in the morning and all going well.

    Thai side no dramas. Lao side, very anal. Checked everything a few times. Even asked to looking in my bags.. poked and prodded my bags and then distracted by his mate.. Didn't bother making me take the bags off.

    Went through my passport.. married up all the stamps.. Then revved the crap out of my bike to see if the exhaust was loud..  OK I was allowed to proceed.

    Similar reception at the visa area.. 20 questions then processed everything and was allowed to go.

    None of the insurance shops near the border were open and the town was closed off as some big party going on.. OK..  So met Scott down the road and we decided to push on and I will get insurance and change money in Hou Xai.

    We ended up hitting the "road" just after 12.
  3. First destination.. The valley below Phu Chi Fa...

    Moto-Rex had told me of a few Guest houses so we were not too worried about time and day light.

    Looking back to the town and border crossing and Thailand


    The track that leads in to the village and Phu Chi Fa.


    The locals in the town said to go in the fields at the back for a better view of Phu Chi Fa.


    It really is a lovely little track in to the valley.. There is only one way in and out.
    We had a lovely sunset on the way out that made the valley look stunning.

    There is a new guest house in the town up the road about 17 km from the village.
    (Will add that to the accommodation section later) There are two old guest houses next to each other.
    They didn't want our business and luckily we found the new place which was much nicer.

    Word of caution.. Watch those water trucks that dampen down the dust. We rode on the track after one passed.. I am sure he put ice on the track.. Scott crashed I slid all over the place and just kept hold of it.

    More to come

    Attached Files:

  4. The next morning we have a late breakfast.. 9am and on the road at 10..  Really no point going to see a mountain from the base if everything is covered in fog.. Sure enough.. The sun started to burn off the fog by 9.30 am.

    First a spectacular ride around the Mekong.


    A little puddle we misjudged :)

    After riding through we went back for a few pics.. This is what it is all about.. Fun and enjoying the trails.


    Opps. The soil is slippery when the tyres are wet and at speed.




    Stunning mekong track and scenery.


    Not far past this spot you can see Phu Chi Fa.. If you are lucky and it is a clear day you can see the Mekong in the distance.

    I zoomed in on Phu Chi Fa.. It is actually very small on the horizon and if you don't know what you are looking for can easily miss it


    The Mekong from Phu Chi Fa.


    Next we arrive below Doi Pha Tang.

    Attached Files:

  5. We ride in below Doi Pha Tang.. Pretty spectacular is an under statement.

    Amazing.. We just kept looking up in awe the entire time...



    We rode in an through some banana plantation at the base of the mountain.. Then we could see a new logging track. Looked at each other and said.. Lets see where it ends.. Right at the base of the mountain and straight up to Thailand.

    Riding over logs, tree stumps, steep, makeshift logging bridges and loose jungle soil.

    Not too many vehicles around here. The track is sweeping and up and down along the Mekong.
    Perfect.. So we set up to ride all the way to the end to the border with Thailand.
    The track on Google earth looks to finish about 4 or 5 km short of the border.

    All the while keeping an eye open along the river run to see if there was a suitable boat to take us across.
    We really didn't want to have to go to Pak Beng.

    Sure enough right at the end of the track.. There is a car and bike ferry.
    Just before the village Phak Ta on the other side.


    A great first two days.. All boxes ticked and weather totally on our side..

    Beer Lao time to celebrate after crossing the river


    more to come

    Attached Files:

  6. Great stuff Brian. Must be many of us who have wondered what the view was like from the other side.
  7. We spend a nice evening in Hou Xai and ready for the off in the morning.

    Get my insurance at the bank down the main road.

    It was later than planned by the time we left.. Close to mid day..

    But hey.. worse case scenario.. We have camping gear.. We can just pull up and camp..

    Not a slave to the "All Mighty" guest house.

    We rode along until we hit the Special "Exploitation" zone.


    Then started to ride the track along the Mekong past the Golden Triangle with Burma and the Mekong on our left.
    What a ripper of a track.




    Some nice creek crossings.


    Places to cool off...



    Rafts to cross the river.. We walked it and about to ride it.. when old mate turns up with the raft.
    So we decided to take the raft and sponsor the local economy.




    Then things start to get interesting... Land slips every where.. Way more than we took photo's of.

    ( When Rex and I rode this three years ago.. Cars were getting through, but very very muddy with trucks stuck).
    First time this ride where I needed a break and a snack for energy and drank a litre of water before continuing on.






    Oppsss.. Guess I need to practice my landslide skills.


    It was tough going in parts.







    Taking a break..


    We make it out.. But didn't realise this was the end.. But were really hoping it was.
    There was a really thin line / wall of mud to ride along and drop down.. Scotty went off.
    I had no choice but to go to the end where I could stop the bike. Get off and climb back up.. Scott had pulled the bike back up and was right behind me...


    Cross the bridge and all was good.. Back to car tracks.. Took us 2 to 3 hours to get through all this..


    We made it to Xieng Kok..
    Time for a celebratory Beer Lao or Two...


    Roughly where the Land Slides started.

    Beer and Cooling off place.

    More to come...

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 1
  8. Wow this certainly looks like another epic adventure.

    Fantastic weather - looks like you got it perfect & lucked right out.

    Super images too.

    You got me with this one


    where is it - what town?

    Attached Files:

  9. I will take a guess and say Pa Dam.  Have asked moto rex to confirm the name as he showed me this place 3 years back.

    Such great ride



    Attached Files:

  11. Have to add to this report..

    Could not imagine doing the riding we have done this last week on the stock suspension.

    The Ohlins really made it a pleasure to ride. Never bottomed out once with 15 kg gear on the back.

    Plus the superior handling  up and down mountains through the mud and ruts, rocks and large holes from the trucks.


  12. Great trip report Brian and great photos! This is the true spirit of adventure!
  13. A little out of sync in the ride report.

    Some fun with the local kids at a creek crossing on the way to phonsagsali from luang namtha.


    • Like Like x 1
  14. Not wanting to high-jack the thread but couldn't find a PM button.    I've just fitted Ohlins front and rear to my KLX and I'm trying to get the settings right.   The suspension seems very hard in comparison to stock,   I've got to take the rear off again and tighten the spring a little to reduce the sag.   what are your clickers set at ?

    Great report Guys,    I've wondered what it was like from the laos side too.   I've done a track by the mekong   but it heads inland before Puuchi fa I think.
  15. Great report Brian.

    The track that runs south of Xeing Kok must be one of the only tracks that hasn't been turned into a major highway. Looks like a brilliant ride mate.

    Your photos of the mountains show what a beautiful part of Laos the Phi Chi Far area is.

    Great stuff

  16. Hi Lakota.

    Afraid can't be much help to you.

    Ohlins set up mine for my body weight 83 kg plus 15 kg for baggage.

    I never change it as this bike is primary for big trips. Occasionally running around bkk.

    There is an Ohlins dealer in chiang rai I believe.  Check out the Ohlins Asia website for the list of dealers / resellers.


  17. Great stuff Bryan, wonderful adventure. I always admire this type of ridding which is now out of reach for me. I am happy to follow your reports which gives me an insight in regions close to my own visits but impracticable for my mount and its jockey.

    I am only sometime missing a little more information as it is not always easy to follow your speed on dirt and through water way. It is no as following well marked highways.

    Thank you for posting all this, as your title says it, there are still spectacular places in Laos.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Again a little out of sequence.

    We named this track sabaidee alley.

    So many kids running out, waving. Etc. Most I have seen in Laos.


  19. The circus comes to Laos...  Nearly with a splash..

  20. Really enjoyed photos and articles I head up from Chaing Mai on Friday for 10 days hope to stay on road  but looking forward to seeing Laos

    thanks for posting

    safe riding

  21. Fantastic write-up; thank you for sharing this with all of us. Whatever happens in the future, these memories are here to stay ;-)
    • Like Like x 1
  22. Here is another short clip.

    Riding from Muang Khua to Nong Khiew.

    We stopped in the village to buy a drink and all the kids came out to look.


  23. The Road to Phongsaly...

    This road has more than enough trucks on it and tight and twisty.

    My Go Pro froze before capturing some of the more Looney Truck drivers.

    Here is a short vid that shows the road conditions. Except I am missing the road works 15 km out of Phongsaly.


    Attached Files:

  24. After rehydrating and chatting with the locals and a quick look around.


    Apparently the rice is being dried to be fed to the pigs.



    It was time to go.

    Leaving Xieng Kok and on to Muang Sing..

    There were some steep and rutted mountains. Excellent riding. Not much in the way of pics unfortunately
    At this stage we didn't have our Go Pro's out either.

    The bike took a swim on this creek crossing and didn't want to start.



    So I stayed back and began to collect fire wood in case we had to camp here..
    Scott took my bike to see if we can get a pickup or truck to take us to the next village.

    We now had less than 2 hrs of day light left.

    I was surprised how quick Scott was back and with a proper truck.

    So off we go.. I follow the truck, Scott in the back with two Lao guys holding the bike in place.

    The next thing, on this bend.. A scooter comes flying around on the wrong side of the track..
    The truck swerves and half disappears in to the bush, then shots across the track and starts heading in to the bush on the other side of the track.

    The truck driver tries to straighten it and the truck tips over to the left with both right wheels lifting up.

    Amazingly the driver still moving and balancing the truck drives it half on the road and in the bush and get the truck back on all 4 wheels before getting the truck back on the road.

    The two Lao guys look back at me with mouths wide open.. Like WTF..
    Scott looking some what puzzled and seeing his life flash before the tress in the bush.

    After that I decide to get in front of the truck and stop at the next village.

    While waiting take some snaps of the kids that are surprised to see a Power Ranger arrive.



    After a few minutes they were braver


    We end up staying in Mueng Mueng this night.. Working with the local bike shop to drain the oil, clean it out with diesel and make a few other fixes to the bike..

    The locals were super friendly and arranged for one of the restaurants to stay open for us.

    In-between the noodles being prepared the owner was working out.



    Early morning we had a walk around and they were preparing the days supply of Lao Khao.


    We declined the generous 7am offer of a drink!

    Also very foggy start to the day.


    Sabaidee for now.. More to come.


    Attached Files:

  25. We are heading to Muang Sing the next morning..

    A few pics that I found from the previous days ride first.



    This was not gated off a few years back when riding through with Moto Rex.


    We arrive in Muang Sing.
    Jurgen is well known here.. Nice bungalows and good food..


    The last couple of days riding.. Very telling on the KLX :)


    Egg and Chips.. Winner..


    Off to check out the market and look around to see if we can get Scott's starter fixed..
    Gets a bit tiring push starting.. Also not as easy when cold.

    First off to see the Glod Shop.. Yes that is GLOD..


    Solenoid gone.. So after a call with Fuark and the shop owner.


    Then take the part out of another starter motor
    Done.. Starts up fine.


    Back to the market for a look around..

    Neil Griffiths Facebook comment made me laugh.. " He will never get his head out of there "


    Seems every trip I blow zipper on my body armour.. grrr


    Good Morning Muang Sing....


    More to come...

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