Road Condition In Northern Laos?

Wheelinthai

Member
Dec 18, 2016
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Bangkok, Thailand
I'm going to ride motorcycle ( Ninja 400) with organized group tour from Chiang Khong, Thailand, to China. The trip will be on 5th December, 2018. I'm worried about Laos section. Last I heard was that roads in Laos have deteriorated very much. Would adventure tires( (trail) be recommended? I'd prefer to retain road tires for high speed riding on Chinese highway, but ready to change to something like Continental Trail Attack 2 tires, if that is needed
 

DavidFL

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Jan 16, 2003
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You will be ok on the Houei Xai - Luang Nam Tha road, then Luang Namtha to the Chinese border.
Sure the road can be bumpy & potholed in places, but I wouldn't change my tyres just for that.
HX - LNT = 180 kms / 3.5 hours.
LNT - Boten = 56 kms / 1 hr 15 minutes
If you're that bad a rider you shouldn't be going to China.

Just watch the road & where you are going, not the rider in front.
 

Wheelinthai

Member
Dec 18, 2016
17
4
3
57
Bangkok, Thailand
You will be ok on the Houei Xai - Luang Nam Tha road, then Luang Namtha to the Chinese border.
Sure the road can be bumpy & potholed in places, but I wouldn't change my tyres just for that.
HX - LNT = 180 kms / 3.5 hours.
LNT - Boten = 56 kms / 1 hr 15 minutes
If you're that bad a rider you shouldn't be going to China.

Just watch the road & where you are going, not the rider in front.
Thanks for your advice. I bought your maps on Laos and the Golden Triangle a couple of years ago.
If you're that bad a rider you shouldn't be going to China.
That remark is not needed, BTW.
 

DavidFL

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Jan 16, 2003
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Apparently there is 6 kms of road works before the Chinese border & a detour around a broken bridge.
The water truck goes up and down the road, so you may find this section tricky.

Apologies for for my earlier remark "If you're that bad a rider you shouldn't be going to China" it was not meant to be personal.
The implication being that if you are inexperienced, and felt seriously challenged by the Laos section you may want to consider the level of riding required for the whole trip; especially on a Ninja 400 road bike, because you will have your work cut out for you if everyone else is on a adventure bike and/or a much bigger bike.

Please let us know how you go and what you would advise future riders.
 

pensionist

Ol'Timer
Jul 25, 2011
137
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Hua Hin
I did such trip to Shangri-La twice, really great fun. One of my bests trips ever.
You will love it.

Dont worry for the roads towards chinese border, they are ok. Not too bumpy but sometimes strong longitudial tracks. Be a little careful in such sections, your guide should know.
Anyway you just will enter and leave Laos within a few hours.

There won't be any high speed riding on chinese highways as motorbikes are illegal thereon.
You group may enter a short piece of highway nevertheless.

Quality road tires with good profile are recommended for this trip.

Enjoy your tour!

I'm going to ride motorcycle ( Ninja 400) with organized group tour from Chiang Khong, Thailand, to China. The trip will be on 5th December, 2018. I'm worried about Laos section. Last I heard was that roads in Laos have deteriorated very much. Would adventure tires( (trail) be recommended? I'd prefer to retain road tires for high speed riding on Chinese highway, but ready to change to something like Continental Trail Attack 2 tires, if that is needed
 

Wheelinthai

Member
Dec 18, 2016
17
4
3
57
Bangkok, Thailand
Apparently there is 6 kms of road works before the Chinese border & a detour around a broken bridge.
The water truck goes up and down the road, so you may find this section tricky.

Apologies for for my earlier remark "If you're that bad a rider you shouldn't be going to China" it was not meant to be personal.
The implication being that if you are inexperienced, and felt seriously challenged by the Laos section you may want to consider the level of riding required for the whole trip; especially on a Ninja 400 road bike, because you will have your work cut out for you if everyone else is on a adventure bike and/or a much bigger bike.

Please let us know how you go and what you would advise future riders.
Thanks for update. I'm not slighted by that remark. As a Thai would say "Mai pen rai". I'll certainly comeback, and do a review of the trip BTW, I just bought a 2018 Ninja 650 just for this trip. The Ninja 400 should be adquate, but every member of this caravan is using BMW 1200 GS, and their zest may put strain on the Ninja 400.
 

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
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2,706
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www.thegtrider.com
Thanks for update. I'm not slighted by that remark. As a Thai would say "Mai pen rai". I'll certainly comeback, and do a review of the trip BTW, I just bought a 2018 Ninja 650 just for this trip. The Ninja 400 should be adquate, but every member of this caravan is using BMW 1200 GS, and their zest may put strain on the Ninja 400.

Thanks.
But yes if everyone else is on a 1200 adventure bike, then you will be under the whip a lot of the time on a 400.

Watch out for wet tar on the Houei Xai - Luang Namtha road

19176.jpg


It is best not to ride on it.
 

Big_Dave

Ol'Timer
Apr 21, 2016
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28
Malaysia
The road from Natuey to the border is heavily damaged. There is extensive heavy vehicle traffic. If it has been raining there will be a lot of mud and deep potholes. Usual warning on Chinese psychopath drivers applies. Exercise caution mate.