Trip report from the south

Dec 19, 2003
Hello any interested souls;
I just did about 12 days of riding in Laos on a nearly new 250 Baja from PVO in Vientiane. As others have said, they're a good bunch of folks to rent bikes and each sandwiches from. $15/day and gas (petrol to some) is about half a dollar per liter. The Baja got about 20km / liter. I did 7 days to the south and 5 more in the north. The South is not a place for exceptional scenery as the north is. I rode that way because Wat Phou, Khong Island and the Cambodian border/Dolphins thing were my destinations, and if bikes are available, that's always how I want to go. On the way back, I did a little loop from Pakse to Saravan and back to a spot a little further north on Hiway 13. Tad Fane waterfall is worth making a stop for. That loop was the most curves and climbs of the trip.

Worth noting that to get to Khong Island, you'll be solicited by small boats to ferry across, which I did, ignorant of the larger, much easier and cheaper ferry a few kilometers down the road. Worth asking where that one is.

I did another little loop off Hiway 13 south of Savanakhet to a little Khmer temple ruin at Houan Hine, and learned that the little red lines on Davids map can be sand as well as anyother unpaved material. Fine powdery stuff it was, and 15km of it.

I can confirm that Hiway 23 is not negotiable according to local sources - the bridge is out. I was warned off it, though it was tempting.

All in all, glad to have done it, and look forward to serious exploration of the north, a la Susan and others at some future date. Susan, I met Kristina of Hungary in between rides and she was scheming Vietnam. Ku at PVO says you can take one of his bikes into VN at Lao Bao, which I'd have done (I'm in VN now) but you have to come back in the same way.

Safe travels all, and thanks to all posters for their info and experiences.

Karl (satchinchico)