Long Cheng (tieng) Ls 20a

Discussion in 'Laos Road Trip Reports' started by brian_bkk, Aug 22, 2013.

  1. I got stuck at this area of the track on my attempt in July of this year. Nothing seems to have changed. It was wet and sticky red mud then, meaning I literally got stuck!
  2. Hi Craig,

    That track certainly doesn't look used much any more.. On the other end where it joins up with the new track..
    Also look unused.. You can see weeds starting to grow.

  3. The loop through the mining area adds a bit of time but the track is pretty good.

    Massive amounts of upgrading going on.. Looks like the mine is really going to open up Long Chieng district and make the most out of the concession.

    (Jumping the gun here.. But there is similar development on the other side heading to Long Chieng from Phonsavan..
    Part way in massive road works.. Then it looks like they are building a new road off the original track.. We rode part of it before hitting the road works.

    May be a new way to get the mining trucks through to the upgraded road on the other side and shorten the distance to move the ore.
    Or just opening up the area or both.. Only time will tell.)







    Very strict times the road is open.

    Getting closer..
    The guys had just moved the sign out to this location as we turned up..
    The sign was closer to the village before..


    Sure a lot of people want to know.. Is the area open to visit.

    Officially no.. You need a permit to go to the area.
    Unofficially.. No one seems to care.

    If you have the time.. give it a shot.. You will more than likely succeed.
    Just leave early.. catch the road opening and closing times.. Just in case you are turned back.. Head to Xaisomboon for the night.

    Staying over in Long Chieng at the guest house is a not allowed with out a permit.. We were lucky to be allowed to stay.
    Even the owner of the shop where we had dinner.. Said.. No one is allowed to stay with out prior permission..

    Though I do wonder how long this will remain the case if loads of bikers start to turn up...

    More to come..
  4. We pull in to town.. The only thing missing was a brass band and welcoming committee..

    No one stopped or looked at us.. We went straight for the runway to get pics.. Just in case this changed...








    More to come.
  5. The Best Photos I have seen so far of the place at Present. Is there No Infrastructure or Buildings left from the past? Looks like only the Runway survived? Great Work Guys.
  6. So now the reccy is over, is the track currently doable on bikes Brian?
  7. Fabulous Brian and Oddvar that you made it to this though after historic place, paving the way of a new (still dirt) road. This region might soon become another “destination” and your wonderful document pictures will be “golden oldies” … till then, however you will have a couple of followers on this interesting trail.
  8. Bloody hell, never thought I'd see this.
    Fantastic. Well done.
    You two guys excelled yourself pulling that one off.
    I'm pleased to that you went with Mr T, a top guy & contact.

    I love these two pics

    The one above is 5-star.
    You must have felt like Kings there on the runway.
    But perhaps it's a bit of a shame kicking off 2015 with a trip like that.
    The rest of the year may be disappointing in comparison. :yawn:

    Unless you can get in there on a bike maybe.

    Attached files [​IMG] [​IMG]
  9. Hi Fella's

    Some pics of the other buildings will be posted shortly.

    Yes we rode back the next day. Then for the fun of it.. Rode back the day after from Phonsavan..
    - We are pretty familiar with this route now LOL.

    Officially.. permission is still needed. Realistically.. No one cared.

    The locals there would like to open the place up to tourism.
    They said it is safe there now.. Just need to change the mind set in VTE.. Which of course LC must seem very far away.
    Also a lot of UXO that needs to be cleaned up before tourism masses arrive.
    But we have been hearing for years LC may open up.. But it certainly feels like progress with mines the dam the Chinese are building nearby Will over take and open up sooner than later.

    (There is a big Chinese camp at the end of the runway)

    But a 4wd, dirt or adventure bike are the only realistic way in.

  10. If I get any of these wrong.. Please jump in and correct..

    The air traffic control tower.



    Only goats making a landing this day...



    Forward air control tower.. If I remember correctly.

    I was incredibly lucky early the next morning.. woke up and went for a walk on the runway.
    This old timer was walking too.. he asked me in good English where I am from.
    Then we started chatting... He was an officer on the other side and flew the spotter planes.
    Then he started pointing out the different parts of the base..
    Amazing.. how about that.. only a few of the originals left at LC.




    Vang Pao's house.. Before anyone lectures about posting this pic.. Google it and you will find it all over the internet :)



    The main street


    We stayed the night.. Permission is a must.. Very luckily they made an exception.. Only because of the good Lao friend we had with us.


    Dinner was Deer and Buffalo skin.



    Good Morning Long Chieng.




    The next day we ride in from Vang Vieng...



    From the ridge line.


    Oddvar's Pic.

    What a great few days.. Pleasure driving and riding with you Oddvar.

  11. Hey Guys................ Brilliant Stuff............... The Holy Grail................ well done!
  12. Nearly forgot these last pictures.

    After you pass through Long Chieng and have climbed up past the ridge line.. You have a steep and twisty decent.
    A little damp too as mostly in the shade.

    Then through some nice little villages and more ups and downs over the mountains until you hit the road works coming from the other side.

    Always amazes me how they carve the roads through these mountains.




    We stopped for a coffee along the way... Certainly a good assortment of goods for sale..




    Last but not least.. a pic with this little Hmong kid.


  13. Absolutely brilliant guys.

    It must have been a great feeling riding onto the runway, and being able to wander around those buildings.

    Well done.

    Just love the last photo too.

  14. I will have to do a Jurgen next Hmong New Year and take a printed picture back for this family.

  15. Oddvar & Brian,

    epic! Possibly you post those other pix of those lovely Hmongs you had on FB. Well, plenty of fat to chew at the next Mulligan meeting then :cool:
  16. Here are a few more Peter.
    Will have a look on my riding laptop for more.



  17. Good Job Brian. I would like to hear more about how you made it up to Long Chieng. I am a war historian and working on a book about the Vietnam war. I'm planning a trip to Laos in March of 2016. I would greatly appreciate any information or help you could give me. Long Chieng is one of the places one my list to visit. Hope to hear from you soon. Thank You!
  18. For those that don't know the history of Long Chieng and the Secret war on Laos

    Here is an excellent documentary on Youtube.

  19. I watched that Documentary again and Amazing Moving Story. Incredible the History in this small Area of the World! Well worth the watch!
  20. A good read in the New York Times

    40 years this month since the fall of Long Chieng.


    Back in front of the laptop.. The article below as well is in the link.

    Heirs of the ‘Secret War’ in Laos


    Laotian fighters and trucks laden with ammunition at the Long Tieng air base in 1972. Less than three years later, thousands of people would be abandoned at the airstrip.
    MAY 27, 2015

    On the morning of May 14, 1975, in a valley of limestone, sinkholes and caves, the end was drawing near. The discarded possessions of those who had fled were everywhere: suitcases, shoes, wrinkled blouses. This was Long Tieng, a secret military air base established by the Central Intelligence Agency from where it led clandestine operations in Laos during the Vietnam War.

    That morning, just as in previous days, thousands of Hmong civilians swarmed the dirt-paved runway, hoping for a miraculous chance to shove their way into a cargo aircraft and evacuate in time. Some clung to the plane as the pilot attempted to taxi, only letting go after the engine roared. Meanwhile, over in the deserted C.I.A. compound, the radios had not even been turned off and machines were still running. Vietnam had already fallen to the Communists and Laos was next.

    During the Vietnam War, negotiators in Geneva agreed that Laos would remain neutral. But because the United States feared the spread of communism, the C.I.A. directed a covert operation in Laos known as the Secret War. It recruited Vang Pao, a charismatic, widely respected general, along with tens of thousands of Hmong boys and men, as fighters. For a decade and a half, Gen. Vang Pao and his Hmong guerrillas fought alongside the Americans.

    On that chaotic morning, the Secret War came to a jarring end. After a quick extraction followed by decades in exile, General Vang Pao, who died in 2011, never saw his homeland again. Many of his top officials had been evacuated in previous flights, but thousands of people were abandoned on that airstrip, and even more were left behind elsewhere in Laos. Long Tieng, once a stronghold symbolic of the American occupation, was now in ruins.

    This month marks 40 years since the fall of Long Tieng and the start of the Hmong exodus from Laos. It marks the desertion of a people left to fend for themselves, with nothing to rebuild their lives. It marks the treachery of the United States government, which went into an unknown country, waged years of war, and then dropped everything in a moment’s notice. It marks a landscape devastated by conflict, with American warplanes dropping enough ordnance on Laos to equal a planeload of bombs every eight minutes, 24 hours a day, for nine years, according to Legacies of War, an organization that works to raise awareness about unexploded ordnance.

    General Vang Pao’s flight from Laos prompted tens of thousands to flee. My parents fled with their families on foot, walking for days toward Thailand, plagued by starvation and disease. Not everyone survived. One of my father’s older aunts had been given a gun to carry. When the refugees came upon Communist troops, the soldiers immediately assumed she was a Hmong guerrilla because she was slinging a gun. They killed her on the spot and left her body along the roadside.

    The U.S. government had not foreseen that refugees would flood Thailand seeking asylum. When they initially recruited the Hmong, they reportedly agreed to assist them if the war turned disastrous. This promise was fulfilled to General Vang Pao and his high-ranking officials, but not to the rest of the people. Only after years of squatting in camps, along with pressure from the Thai government, did the United States agree to resettle the Hmong.

    As a Hmong American, I feel the tremors of war transferred across generations. I know now that while a person can be evacuated from his war-torn country, he can never be evacuated from the trauma. At times, I find my father seated alone in the living room, watching videos from the war, perhaps in an attempt to remember what could have been. My mother, conversely, cannot bear the noise of fireworks on the Fourth of July because they rekindle memories of mortar-bomb explosions.

    Today, most Americans know nothing about the Secret War. A classified operation, C.I.A. officials easily terminated the effort when everything went awry. It was a disposable war, intended to look like it never happened. But the presence of the Hmong in the United States, now numbering over 260,000 people, with concentrations in California and Minnesota, is living evidence of its aftermath.

    This war and its consequences are now embedded in my identity. I am a child of the diaspora, born the year my parents started a new life in America, symbolizing the years since they left Laos.

    I’ve wondered: How does one memorialize a failed war that most people don’t even know about or would rather forget? How will my generation attempt to retain the memories of that war so that future generations will know? What happens when we completely adapt to American culture and lose the narrative of who we are? Even now, I ask more questions than I have answers. But I do know that many of us are innately tied to this trauma as if it were strung into our DNA.

    For the Hmong, to retain history and identity means also to retain trauma and loss. I carry the afflictions of this war even though I have never heard a bomb explode or feared my footsteps might trigger a mine. This war is my inheritance.

    But I also believe that we must forge a new narrative, one that not only embraces trauma but builds upon it. We must repurpose the wreckage to serve as a reminder of who we are while acknowledging what our elders endured.

    It’s been 40 years since General Vang Pao flew off on that May 14th, looking out at the Laotian highlands for the final time. Forty years since the last American plane departed and left behind a war-ravaged people, a land plagued with unexploded ordnance, and a desolate Long Tieng. As we look forward, beyond the loss of our homeland, we must build a fortress of Hmong identity that can withstand the effects of exile and diaspora; one that won’t mourn what could have been, but instead, transforms the trauma into what we can fully be.

    Mai Der Vang, a poet and writer from Fresno, California, is co-editor of “How Do I Begin: A Hmong American Literary Anthology.”

    Attached Files:

  21. Bump for Oliver Hargreave asking
  22. Quick update.

    Rode in long chieng from vang vieng today.

    Good track all the way.

    The road upgrade stops right at the village.

    You could make in in on any bike now. Just have the right tyres for the job.

    Some mud. Land slides and waterfalls running over the tracks. But all psssable.

    The night life is on the up.... Say no more on that.

  23. Take a ride on the runway at Long Chieng

  24. G'Day all,

    Bit more detailed update.

    As mentioned above..

    The track in to Long Chieng from Xaisomboun direction is graded hard packed all the way.
    I was honestly surprised to see the road works finish at the edge of Long Chieng.

    It is a mostly easy ride.. No real issues.. We came via Vang Vieng and joined up with the Phu Bia mine roads.
    Unfortunately lost my pics for that days ride in.

    The track from Vang Vieng is good.. Just the last bit a few wash outs and cleared land slides. Had we been earlier we may have been slowed down or stopped by the now cleared landslides.

    Unlike back in January 2015.. When the army really didn't want us staying over night.
    But relented. Though we could go and eat and had to be back in the Guest House and leave early the next morning.

    This time.. No issues what so ever.. No visit from the army.. Rode around the old base / town. Allowed up to the Kings house this time.. Pretty much free to do what ever we wanted.

    Having more access to move around town. There are actually a few restaurants to chose from.

    Leaving Long Chieng for Phonsavan is a bit different.
    We had to stay one extra night as a land slide had blocked the road.

    This time around I really didn't notice much progress to the road works.
    The track is much more deteriorated in the wet..

    We certainly had some fun getting to Phonsavan in the rain..
    Approx 90 km in 4 hrs.. Amazingly no offs. But we all had a few close calls.
    30% of it was like riding on ice.. take you hand off the handlebars to press to Go Pro and you go sideways LOL.






    The pics above taken down the track from the Kings house.. It was a bit clearer here.

    The main paved road, runway on left in to Long Chieng


    The haunted temple














    We were informed the landslide is about 60 km out.. So hopefully when we get there is is cleared or we can at least pass.

    Otherwise back to Long Chieng or camp over night at a nearby village.

    We all bought our camping gear just in case we did get stuck somewhere.

    Breakfast view of the haunted temple


    Chris filling up before we head off.


    It is taking some time to move the petrol from the containers to the drum..
    So I head up and take another pic of the mighty KLX on the Long Chieng runway.


    We head off in rain gear and pretty miserable weather..
    It has been raining now for two days non stop. Started just after we pulled in the first afternoon.

    We slipped and slid and spun in mud, rode through the ruts and watch land slides slowly crumbling and creeping across the track.. In some parts recent land slides had just been cleared.

    There were parts of the track with rocks and a torrent of water across. You could see a crack in the earth. But unsure how deep it was. Decided to test the depth before riding through.

    It was tricky enough.. But if really deep need to power on over and try not to lose it on the wet rocks once clear.
    It turned out to be shallow.. But best to check these things first than get stuck for an hour or two or worse.





    We reach the big land slide that had blocked the path the day before.


    Peep Peep..

    He pats down the area he is working on and moves out the way.


    I was leading.. looking at this and thinking... Will I go up to my arm pits here..

    Powered on through with a bit of slipping and sliding but no dramas.



    Another land slide slowly happening as we pass.


    You can actually see the soil and rocks slowly crumbling and rolling out on to the track.

    Lot of slipping and sliding.. The down hill bits were tricky and like ice in some parts

    Go to press the button on my Go Pro and slide right across the track.. Just managed to keep it under control.




    This is the track from Long Chieng to Phonsavan in the wet season.
    90 KM approx, took us 4 hrs. with a couple of stops for a warm drink.

    It may be a shorter distance from Phonsavan. But the track is much more difficult.
    There was not much progress that I noticed since the ride in January 2015.

    The other way from Xaisomboun is good graded all the way to Long Chieng.

    Do able on any bike with decent tyres if it has been dry.
    The other track to Phonsavan a little more challenging.


    Attached Files:

  25. Great report and update on track conditions once again Brian. Your an old hand, but I'm yet to ride to Long Chieng,... looking at these stunning photos has put the air strip on top of my list of places to visit.

    Is the haunted temple really haunted?


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