Vientiane - Vang Vieng - Phonsavanh


Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong
Left Vientiane at 1.30 pm, in the heat of the afternoon. Getting out of town on route 13 always sucks for the first 50 kms as there are too many villages & too much roadside traffic. It really is pretty chaotic, no matter what the time of the day.
I caught up to my mate Don & Uuh, on their XL600 at the Nam Lik river bridge (Hin Hoeup).



The Nam Lik river is 93 kms out of Vte, and this is the best place to make your 1st stop. Because of the traffic it normally takes at least an hr to get this far. A lengthy (45 mins) stop ensured with 2 members of the North Thai Tea Drinking Society, having a board meeting.

After the break we set off at a more subdued pace. Don likes to potter along at 80 kph and I tugged in behind for the last 60 kms kms into Vang Vieng. In Vang Vieng we stayed at the Song Ngat


"twin coconut tree joint"


on the dirt road downstream from the town centre. Its a bit out of the way, but real quiet with absolutely no noise at night / early morning. The twin coconut tree is real with, twin trunks shooting out from the one main truck, half way up. It's quite a sight to see.

That night ate at the Pizza Falconi, right at the main road junction in Vang Vieng. I was able to collect on free sandwich, that I had paid for, but not eaten, (due to the extremely slow service, 25 mins coming) on the way through 2 weeks previously. The owner remembered me & had no hesitation in providing the sandwich. With great humour she suggested that she had kept it in the fridge for the last 2 weeks, waiting for my return.

Up "early" and on the road at 8.15 am. What you get for travelling with a real adventurer (Don & Uuh), who likes to potter along "aimlessly" looking for serious trails to follow. We stopped just north of town a few kms to take some photos, and laughed that the spot we were at, must have almost been the exact spot where the bus robbery & shoot up happened 10 days before. 2 RPG grenades were fired into the bus for good measure, after the robbery business was done. (Now 2 weeks later, the latest news is that another robbery / shoot up has taken place a few hrs ago in the same spot!)

Anyway the run up to Phou Khoun was leisurely (for me) with lots of photo stops - the advantage of riding with a mate on another bike.



We got to Phou Khoun at 11.00 am.

Pics below: Phou Khoun road junction. (pretty impressive eh?)


From Phou Khoun to Phonsavanh was new territory for me. This is route 7, but what an awesome amazing mountain road.






Route 7 from PK to Phonsavanh is now all asphalt.
Phou Khoun - Nong Tang = 87 kms steep & very winding asphalt.
Nong Tang - Phonsavanh = 48 kms fast flowing "race track" asphalt.


(After being "stuck" on 40-60 kps corners for 2 hrs, its a joy to be able to wind the throttle on and coner at 120 kph plus.)
We left PK at 11.00 am and with photo stops on the way arrived in Phonsavanh at 1.57 pm.

Pic below: Phonsavan, the main street & intersection.

In Phonsavan Don stopped at the Sengatavan ghouse, on the edge of town. I stayed at the Dok Khoun right in the centre of town, mainly due to the fact that it had a nice car park at the back & & was in the middle of town. Phonsavanh's a really drab boring place. Electricity runs from 6.00 - 11.00 pm. The only attractions would appear to be the Plain of Jars


bomb craters & houses using bomb shells for ornaments. Night life is almost non existent, the Dok Khoun ghouse I stayed at is next to one of the 2 night spots in town, & so you get to listen to the "noise" (music & singing) at night, and then the generator when it kicks in.
The best food I found was at
1. Joint Youth, restaurant "downtown" by the lake.
2. Sengtavan ghouse, where my mates Don & Uuh stayed (they certainly had one of me there.) The owner here also has good information, whereas at the DK there was zilch, (& I would not stay there again.)

For internet there were 2 shops right by the main market intersection in town.

The Plain of Jars Site 1, is just 10 kms from the town centre, and all asphalt. I also visited Site 2, 22 1/2 kms from town, & the Site 3 car park (could not be bothered to walk 500 metres with my riding gear on), 29 kms from town. After checking them "all" out I can't really see the necessity to visit Sites 2 & 3, unless you are an archaelogical / history buff.

From Phonsavanh I also checked out the new border Intl border crossing at Nong Het, 115 kms from Phonsavanh. The actual border crossing is called Nam Kanh


and is 14 kms after Nong Het

Pic below: down town Nong Het

a total of 129 kms from PSV. Nam Kanh has only been open to foreigners for a month, and mate Don was able to sweet talk his way into Vietnam with his bike & plans to come back the same way in 2 weeks.
Travel time from Nam Kanh to Phonsavanh is about 2 hrs. The road is all asphalt



& most of it steep & winding


but not that mountainous - basically very hilly.

Bored with Phonsavanh, I decided to head back to the big smoke of Luang Prabang. It was time for a real ride & test myself out.
Up at 7.30 am I was on the road without brekky & checked out the Plain of Jars Sites 2 & 3 first.

Pics below: the road out to Site 2. Easy but boring.


Pics below: Site 2. Plain of Jars.


Back in PSV by 10.40 am & decided to push myself to see how the old man's body was holding up. Without a single drop of coffee / water I was heading for LP, non-stop.
I got away from PSV at 10.43.
It was Nong Tang 48 kms out at 11.23 am.
Nam Chat 75 kms out at 11.57 am
Phou Vieng 100 kms out at 12.31 pm
Phou Khoun 135 kms out at 1.10 pm.
Kiu Kacham at 2.09 pm
Nam Ming at 2.32 pm
Kuang Prabang at 3.28 pm.

Getting off the bike at Luang Prabang I was sore - arms & shoulders & elbows. The total distance aint that great, but it was 4 hrs 45 mins non stop & NO breakfast & No drinks. It must be time to re build the Africa Twin seat too I think.

After a couple of hrs sleep & a shower, breakfast was at 6.00 pm with a chicken & cheese sandwich, 2 bottles of soda water, plus 2 glasses or Red at Bastian's Ole Ole Restaurant Bar. I was in bed & sound asleep by 10.00 pm.

Keep the power on