Laos, The Boat, Birds, Bikes and Booze trip!

Sep 19, 2006
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www.chiangmai-xcentre.com
Some of the Other Guys have already posted about this Trip but as We separated after Luang Prabang and followed different agendas here is Our Trip!
Pretty Neat to be able to actually Share a bit of a Bike Trip with Our Wives as I would Normally Never Take Mine! Bike Riding is for Individuals in My View! Anyway:

Friday 22nd February
We all left Chiang Mai Us on Our Bikes and the Wives following in Our Van.
We regrouped at Chareon Coffee before Chiang Rai for some Drinks and Cakes
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Then on to Chiang Kong where We meet up again and had Our Agent organise everything for Us!
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The Ladies arrived Shortly in the Van.
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Great Service David had Organised! We all just relaxed, went for Lunch and a few Drinks and everything was done on Both Sides! Time to go! We got on the Ferry to Cross.
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The Ladies went across on the Passenger Boats with the Luggage while We were first on Our Ferry!
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Now All went Well up to now but then there was some Real Confusion regarding the Rooms We had Booked? We had Booked to Stay in the Riverside "Houysay". Or so we thought?
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A Guy meet the Ladies and took them to another one which was the "Houayxai Riverside, Phonevichith Guesthouse"
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Now what apparently has been happening is the Guy is advertising on the Internet using an Email claiming to be the other one? Anyway the First of Many Scams We faced this Trip! He was pretty Aggressive but We just Stayed where We wanted to in the First Place and had a Pretty decent Night! As soon as the Rooms were sorted it was Down to The Boat and time to load the Bikes.
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Despite the PreLubrication We all had We managed to Load the Bikes with No Dramas!
Everyone happy with their effort!
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After a clean up we all meet for Dinner and Drinks then retired for some Sleep.

Saturday 23rd February.
Up at 5am showered, collected Our things, Caught a Tuk Tuk down to the Boat and all got aboard and departed at 7am right on time as we had Planned! Off down the River and not far downstream crossed under the New Bridge.
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Now Once this Opens I can see it putting an End to the Scammers in Houei Xai, No need to stop here just Straight through! Brian was first Man into it Cracking a Top Immediately! Some of Us others were a little more reluctant and started out with a Coffee first! Of Course eventually We were all into the Spirit of things!
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It was a Fantastic Relaxing Boat Ride.
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Great Scenery all along the Way. Lunch was Served.
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All went Smoothly arriving in Luang Prabang around 5pm all good. Unloaded the Bikes and off to Our Hotel. Another Scam! We had Booked on Agoda yet the Bi**h had given Our Rooms out to some Chinese so She Told Us to Go somewhere Else? No We weren't having that as We had Booked and Paid already for Our 3 Nights! Eventually We were put in a Hotel a few doors down which was actually a better Hotel! So No Problem for Tonight. More Drinks Food and Fun!

Sunday 24th February,
A bit of a Sleep in, walk around Town, Breakfast and then We had to Change Rooms back to the One We had Originally Booked and Paid for, Scam Number 3! She Only Had 2 Single Beds in each Tiny Room besides the Fact We had Paid and Booked for Large Rooms with a King Size Bed! She said take or Leave it that is all She Has! A Lovely Lady as You can imagine!!! So We had to accept that and make up for it by enjoying other things! Lots of Fantastic Buildings around.
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Went for a Look through the Museum which was once the House of the Royal Family!
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Spent the Day Walking around, drinking and sightseeing! Nice evening with Sunset down on the River.

Monday 25th February.
Up to the Roma for Breakfast. Tony and Brian Left on their Off Road Journey once We had finished. Tony managing to get the attention of Most everyone with the Loud Pipe and wheel stand on His KLX! Lots of Ohs and Ahs!
Myself and Long went for a Look at a Temple nearby. Nice!
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The GT-Rider chatting with an Older Monk.
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Afternoon Myself and Richard took the Ladies for a look around Luang Prabang on Our CRF's. Stopped for Drinks and Snacks here and there, lots to See. Saw a Few Classic Old Cars including this Old Citroen
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Evening it was down to the River for Sunset Drinks again. Beautiful!
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Tuesday 26th February.
The Ladies were Flying out back to Chiang Mai at 1pm so Myself Richard and Robert Rode out of Town at 9am. Our destination Phonsavan. Top up with Fuel and away We go.
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Very Simple We thought, Have a GPS and a Map. I entered Phonsavan in My GPS but about 10 came up? Never mind I entered the first one. After some time I stopped to check with some Locals as I was Sure We were going in the Wrong direction? No Problem that way they said? After more Traveling I stopped again as I still felt it was wrong! We all consulted the Map with some More Locals and eventually ascertained that We were indeed going the Wrong Way! So back the Way We had just came! The Trouble is Nobody can Read a Map. Also None of the Names are Spelt in the GPS Map or on the Paper Map the Same as they are Spelt locally??? Another Problem is most Names are not pronounced as we could Pronounce them!!! So after 3 Hours Riding We were just heading out of Luang Prabang for a second go! This Time GPS Off and looking for Local Mile Markers for Guidance! Anyway We had a Cracking Pace on Fantastic Roads with Fantastic Scenery, Fantastic! We needed a Drink after all this!
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The Roads are Amazing.
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We stopped every now and then for a few Photos.
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The Long and Winding Road.
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Stopped in Villages for a Drink occasionally as well!
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Once We got Closer to Phonsavan the Road opened up and it was a Fantastic fast Ride the last section into town. Checked into the "Nice Guesthouse" Good WiFi and Parking for the Bikes in front of the Rooms.
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Out for a Walk around Drinks and Dinner. We went to Craters which is an often Mentioned Restaurant. The Food was Atrocious, Robert didn't even Touch His and Walked Out! We Recommend the "Bamboozle" Great Food and run by a Canadian Guy! Wish We had know that first! Anyway slept near 11 or so.

Wednesday 27th February.
Up and down to Bamboozle for Breakfast, Fantastic. Had a Chat then out to the Plain of Jars Site 1. We were the First people to arrive so pretty neat to have the place to ourselves for the start!
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Robert wasn't so Impressed with the place!
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So Richard put a Lid on things!
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Lots of Bomb Craters around so these Jars were actually Lucky to Survive!
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Also this Concrete Markers are Everywhere.
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Mine Action Group. You are supposed to keep inside the White side of the Peg. The other side is supposed to be Painted Red. Anyway had a Nice look around then on the Road again. Next Destination was Vieng Thong. This was a Great Ride with Twisting Roads Climbing Up and Down continuously. Fantastic Scenery. We Stopped along the way for Photos and Drinks again. Some photos of a Typical Village, there are lots of these along the way.
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Shower Time.
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There just seemed to be Endless Scrub and Regrowth Jungle. Most Places have already been deforested with Illegal Logging and there was a lot of Clearing going on again everywhere We went, Not sure Why as they don't seem to do anything with it once it is Cleared???
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The Population doesn't seem that Great as the entire place is covered in this Scrub and You just see the odd village here and there, Makes You wonder Who the Yanks were actually Bombing during the War? For the Massive Amount dropped it didn't seem to do Much? Of Course the Locals are still Paying the Price!

Sliding Cart?
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Lots of Nice Clean Rivers up this Way.
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Refueled at Phou Lao.
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On the Road again.
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We arrived in Vieng Thong Checked into Our Guesthouse. A Sleepy Little Town!
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They seem to Be Proud of their Tigers here!
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Probably because they can Kill them and make some Money selling them to the Chinese!!!

We rode around for a look but couldn't find anything so ended up here which seemed to be the Only Restaurant open.
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These Ladies were taking their Pigs for a Walk? They had some Rope around their Backlegs.
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Anyway a pretty Quiet Night so Slept pretty early.

Thursday 28th February.
Up Early to a Foggy Morning. Took Our Time, ate an Omelet which seemed about the Best option avalible!
Lot's of Kids Riding to School on their Bicycles
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Another Good Days Riding passing through some interesting Villages.
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Not sure what "Case Free Village" means? Aids perhaps? Or maybe Roberts Top Box???

Local School
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These Girls were in a little Shop where We brought drinks, real shy!
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Now this was an interesting Way of Producing Power! Each little structure had a propeller at one end which turned a Generator on the other Via a Belt and they had small electric Cable running all the way up to their Houses. wouldn't be much but i guess enough to run a light Bulb at night?
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Afternoon we arrived in Nong Khiew. What a Contrast to Our Last Night! Lots of Foreigners running around. Nice little Town with a Beautiful river, Bridge and Surrounded by Cliffs. We had a Quick look around but settled on staying at the Phanoi Guesthouse. Great Location right on the End of the Bridge. We had Nice Rooms overlooking the River, Great WiFi. Nice Restaurant overlooking everything, Fantastic.
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Looking Upstream.
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Richard on the Bridge.
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Time to have a Nice Relaxing evening. Good Food and Drinks.
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Now Richard got this Bottle of Whiskey, Robert tasted it and Said it was Rubbish and stuck it on His Head, Claiming We could never drink that Rubbish!
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Well Myself and Richard thought Why not and after enough Beers we continued with the Whiskey! I actually thought it wasn't that bad but I am far from a Whiskey Expert! But in No Time We had it finished!
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That was it for the Night so we went to bed!

Friday 1st March.
Up Feeling no worse for Wear, Great! on the Road again and a great Ride till We hit the Section from Nam Bak to Oudom Xai. For Myself and Richard on the CRF's it was No problem but it was Pretty Rough of Robert's Versys which is set up for the Fast Smooth Roads of Thailand. Most of this Road is just Broken up and Very Dusty!
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It was Nice to have a Drink after this lot!
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We used to Ride on ahead then stop and let Robert pass Us just so We didn't get too far apart.
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Our Last night in Laos was in Luang Namtha. We Checked into the Dokchampa Hotel. A few beers to Wash down the Dust and showered then meet downstairs. Turns out right next door to Our Hotel was the "Forest Retreat Laos" This little Tour Agency / Bar / Restaurant is Run by a couple from New Zealand. They happen to come from My Home Town area as well so we knew a few People in Common! Small World!
The Forest Retreat.
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Your Hosts.
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You can Check out their Website: www.forestretreatlaos.com

They also have a Pizza Oven.
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Next to Our Hotel.
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Nice Relaxing Evening had by all.
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Even got another whiskey although I didn't assist with this one! Even though it had on the Label By Australian Expert!!!
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The Pizza Oven at Work!
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Basically the Last to Leave again! Great Night and Great Food!

Saturday 2nd March.
Up at around 8:30, Great Breakfast at the Forest retreat then on the Road back to Houei Xai and What a Fantastic Road it is. Like a Race Track all the Way and Fantastic Grip. You still have to be careful of the Oncoming Traffic as they love Cutting Corners!!!
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We arrived at the Mekong around lunchtime so processed everything and then had some Lunch on the River while We waited for the Ferry. All went well and loaded the Bikes, between all the Trucks!
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Robert and Richard Nearly Home!
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Got across all good but Hell it was Hot waiting at the Immigration!!! Processed everything and hit the Road to Chiang Rai for Our First Night back in Thailand and Our Final Night on the Road!
Most Seen on the Trip!
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Thanks to Everyone on the Trip. Thanks David for organising the Boat. Thanks Ladies for Joining Us and My Thanks to Richard and Robert as always You Guys are Legends to Tour with. Cheers!!!
 
Mar 30, 2010
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Great Report Bungy,

Good to see what you guys did after we split up..

Looks like you all had a fantastic time.

Cheers
Brian
 
Jul 25, 2010
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I have been following various reports on this trip from the gin mills of Krung Thep. Looks like you blokes had a very sensible time and I am sorry to have missed it.
You have covered the trip very well here Ian. Thanks for the report.
Next time.......
 
Nov 14, 2012
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very nice trip n photos....simply awesome...the ride, the journey especially the friends...:)
 
Dec 27, 2007
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Brilliant report and great pics Ian! What a memorable trip!

Was good to see you taking the lodging snafus with a smile!
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:happy1:
 

xanc

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Aug 27, 2012
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Hey Ian, not too sure if you remembered but i was one of the trio from Singapore whom you guys met at Craters (yes the pizza saga!) and at the Jars.. Glad to see that you guys enjoyed the rest of your trip! We also stopped a night at Nong Khiaw (thanks to David U's advice!) and what a beauty it was at sunset!

Great report by the way! i'll probably post ours sometime soon (hopefully when i find time!)! =)

Cheers!

Jeryd
 
Feb 8, 2009
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The sliding cart is amazing. One time I was in this aerea and this woman came down the mountain. I follow here with my motorbike - nearly 40 kmh. Sliding through the curves. She is good for Formula one. The brake is great.

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DavidFL

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Jan 16, 2003
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Thanks Bungy. It certainly was a sweet boat ride & trip. Ive just got back a bit later than everyone else....ha ha...Ive now got a lot of catching up to do.

In the meantime, here's a delightful pic for you, on a rock in the Mekong river.

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I'm glad you guys enjoyed yourselves.
 

Jurgen

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Oct 23, 2009
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Thank you Ian for your admirable contribution and illustration of our sumptuous cruise down the Mekong. All of us had different inspirational moments and, by zapping through all the trip reports, one gets a real comprehensive overview for great memories.

The second part of your trip was also great fun and evoked nice souvenirs for me, as I have driven this loop a couple of times. I rejoiced that the power was not down in the (unique) “luxurious” restaurant in Vieng Thong. Twice I spent romantic evenings there, eating by candlelight.