Quick trip to Laos


Jan 20, 2003
In late May, I decided to do a run to Nong Khai and over into Laos for a few days. One main reason was that I had just gotten the license plate for the new TDM - one year after purchasing it. Now that it would be easy to cross borders, I wanted a set of papers showing that it had been across. Makes it easier for future trips.

Day 1. Left Chiang Mai around noon, heading for Sukhothai. Down 108 to San Pa Tong, 1015 to Lamphun, and south on 106. About 25km south of Lamphun, I tried 1184, which runs parallel to 106. Good road, no traffic, no towns. Then 1274 to get back to 106 at Li. The construction zones south of Li are now rebuilding bridges - still very good surface. At Thoen, took 1048 east, then the airport road turnoff before 101 (1135?) down to Sukhothai.

Managed to dodge rain all day, but 10 minutes away fron Sukhothai the skies opened up. Dried off at the Lutus Village guesthouse.

Day 2. Route 12 heading east. Some early showers that ended before Phitsanulok, then a dry day. Nice ride over the mountains before Lon Sak and Nam Nao. Two bidges being rebuilt between NaM Nao and Chum Phae, but OK detours. At Chum Phae, turned north on 2153, then 210 into Udon Thani.

Wanted to try the Napali Hotel in Udon. Pulled in to the sight of 300 U.S.Marines in the lobby. Luckily, they were checking out and I checked in.

Day 3. Staight north on Highway 2 to Nong Khai and the Friendship Bridge. There is a left turn to bypass the town and go directly to the bridge. I have already posted the boder crossing ritual in the Laos section. Then over to Vientiane, and the Lao-Paris Hotel. Nice place, and you get to ride your bike up the steps at night and park it in the lobby.

Day 4. Spent a second night in Vientiane. Watching Grand Prix at the Tai-Pan Hotel, dinner by the Mekong, vosit to the Chess Cafe, etc.

Day 5. Short trip up to the Nam Ngum reservoir and Thalat. Steady rain for the last half of the ride. Always an interesting evening at the Khem Ngum guesthouse, just east of the bridge in Thalat.

Day 6. Down and out of Laos. Showers at first, then dry. Stocked up at the duty-free, then across and down Highway 2 to Khon Kaen, and the Khon Kaen Hotel.

Day 7. Headed west on Route 12. Some rain over the mountains, and a shower near Sukhothai. Spent the night in Tak, at the Vieng Tak Hotel. Nice place, but it was a big Buddha day, and everything was closed.

Day 8. Highway 11 north to Thoen, then backtrack to Chiang Mai. Dry and sunny.

All in all, not a bad trip weatherwise for the time of year. There had been lots of rain in Chiang Mai while I was gone.