::: Vietnam - Cambodia - Laos: three bikes, three countries

Discussion in 'Vietnam - Motorcycle Trip Report Forums' started by VietHorse, May 15, 2014.

  1. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    Day 2: From Stung Treng (Cambodia) to Savanakhet (Laos)

    Day2_zps461241fd.

    Woke up, walking around for photograph, bringing the KLR to the shop and fix it, get the WC GS pannier fixed.... etc.
    We went to have breakfast - there was a Vietnam shop nearby the hotel, provided some sort of Vietnamese noodle.

    Ready for hitting the road for the 2nd day - hopefully we can cross Cam-Laos border quick:

    DSC04120_zpse586d62b.

    Oh wait, just 529km for the first day:

    DSC04124_zps1bc6f927.

    Really good road from Stung Treng to the border, no body on the road, no pothole, no loose stone....
    Late departure so I tried to reach border at soonest, so no photo along this way.

    I really love this border gates. All the processes for Passport and bike are really smooth. Not too long, we can crossed the border. Rode around 2km to reach the Laos bike checkpoint:

    DSC04129_zps5d7c36ed.

    At Nong Nok Khian border, the bikes are imported and exported very formally, they have very good process and paperwork for bikes. I really love that. We really confident with the support importing papers.

    DSC04133_zps615a375e.

    It was soooo hot, guys tried to put their heads inside the office window as they have air-con inside lol8.gif.

    Laos is really cool country - but look!

    DSC04136_zps16105d20.

    So we would ride with this??

    DSC04139_zps0c501bb6.
     
  2. Poompui

    Poompui Ol'Timer

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    VietHorse...you are my kind of man!!Non insulated tools too!
    Got me curious about the wiring though....a neutral at the light switch,will have to research how the wiring system is over there.(I am an electrician you see....)
     
  3. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    Oh I don't know how the electric goes. Just do like that and we have all stuff charged. :happy2:
     
  4. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    After all paperwork at Laos checkpoint, it passed the lunchtime.
    We once again hide into the Khone Phapheng waterfall tourist area to take a nap. This place we had experienced in the 4nations trip last year:

    DSC04141_zps2a7dcf20.

    Sorry for taking off all upper clothes, it was tooooo hot.....

    DSC04144_zps870d91ab.

    Fish from the Mekong river:

    DSC04145_zps8d5ee03c.

    Traditional Laos sticky rice:

    DSC04147_zpsd7f1a719.

    DSC04148_zps180c72ad.

    Fish soup:

    DSC04149_zpsa8b25104.

    My GS also took a rest beside the waterfall:

    DSC04156_zps90f87c09.

    Lesson learned from previous night in Stung Treng, we called to book a hotel in Savanakhet. A friend of us helped to do so as he has internet connection, and he also paid for the rooms.

    After lunch, we nap for around 15mins, then we run like hell toward Savanakhet.
    When stopped for fuel, the WC GS rider he bought a bottle of pure honey selling at the roadside. I have no idea of drinking such honey as a soft-drink. He pour some of honey into his fresh water bottle and drank them all. Phew...

    Last trip, we had a night at Pakse before crossing the border to Thailand. This time we rode across Pakse. However, It was funny that we need to find way to get out of Pakse as one of the main bridge was taken down for renewal. We lost quite lot of time for finding way.

    Day2-1_zps5cde280c.

    While riding along the Pakse airport, I was almost killed by a SUV. That SUV was behind me, and it was flying like hell on my left while I was trying to pass the other SUV at front - of course I gave the turn signal very carefully. I think I had around less than 10" to get hit by that crazy SUV. Luck still beside me.

    Dark time, we hit a heavy rain while just some kms away from Savanakhet center. We did not think that the rain was so much heavy, so we did not stopped to wear raincoats and kept looking for our booked hotel.
    We never thought it was soooo difficult to find the booked hotel, the name of the hotel was in Laos, and it was too long, we could not remember the name. When we called the hotel, someone answered but could not communicate as we said in different languages. We found some locals beside the street to talk with the hotel, however, you may imagine how difficult to find a guy can speak Vietnamese or English under the rain in that area.
    Someone did not know the hotel, someone told us how to get to the hotel, but we could not find the hotel anyway. Ah yes, my GPS also had no idea about that hotel.

    Finally we gave up. We all agreed to check in any good hotel in the center, as we all wet, cold, and hungry.

    Checked in around 9PM.
    Another crazy night.
     
  5. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    Lucky us, the Hotel manager was a Laos who can speak Vietnamese very well, as he was studying in a University in Vietnam.
    He was very helpful to us. Good hotel room, good price as well.
    Went to dinner quite late, spent too much for tuk tuk as we tired of riding motorcycle around town.

    Morning time, woke up a bit late so all food in hotel was finished.
    Well, it was good, because of that we can experience the good food in town.

    Got on our bikes and we rode around the town. We rode along the Mekong river, where this side is Laos, and the other side is Thailand. It was really nice and peaceful there. There was a checkpoint to let people go across the river/border

    Back to hotel to pack up. It was really hot.

    DSC04162_zpsb7dc9594.

    DSC04159_zpsb5c48d48.

    DSC04161_zps08c9ab0a.

    1022km was what we did after two days:

    DSC04164_zps85f73ee1.
     
  6. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    Day 3: Savanakhet to VienTiane (Laos)

    Day3_zps1040b770.

    We again left Savanakhet quite late. We had not have any early departure since beginning of the trip.
    Normally when riding within Vietnam, we have to wake up and ride out very early, let say like 5AM we have departed from the muster point, ride around 1 or 2 hours outside of the City then have breakfast.
    However when riding in Cambodia and Laos, we could not make it happens. First because of our previous day was always the hard day, late arrival, late dinner,... and tired - so could not make it early in the next morning. Second, because we don't know exactly where we can find breakfast!

    Highlight of the 3rd day was the National road #13. It's along side of Mekong river. And Mekong river is the border line btw Thai and Laos. Really nice national road #13, clean, clear surface, not much to no traffic, trees along the roadsides.

    We saw some Traffic police checkpoints, however none of them cared of us.

    A really interesting we found in Laos - believe or not, Vietnamese brand of Gas station are majority. Hardly you can find local brand for petroleum, or Thai ones. I don't know how the Vietnamese petrol companies making this kind of success.

    A PetroVietnam Oil company's station:

    DSC04165_zpse51cd516.

    DSC04166_zpsf64e6f6e.

    It was too hot, we had to find a shade to put the bikes in:

    DSC04167_zpse7b569e0.

    The shop owner was a Vietnamese. He could speak Vietnamese quite well. He saw our bikes and came to talk.
    He then showed us his bike in the back of the shop:

    DSC04168_zpsa33c1a9f.

    He said in Laos, it is not allowed to register a bike which is bigger than 400cc.
    Asked why, he said because the biggest bike of Police is 400cc. icon10.gif

    His Ducati is an illegal one.

    Nice one at the back of the shop:

    DSC04174_zps20e5a4ec.

    DSC04177_zps8d3dc732.

    DSC04176_zpsf9f9e414.

    We spent around an hour around this place..
     
  7. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    Back on road, toward Vientiane:

    DSC04178_zpsd45fc954.

    DSC04181_zps2a96df4d.

    Good looking road in Laos:

    DSC04183_zps15c030d3.

    DSC04184_zps8b7db70e.

    DSC04185_zpsfb3d89d7.

    DSC04188_zpsb0377c21.

    DSC04192_zps7e690d7e.

    DSC04193_zpsa5167abd.

    Stopped for lunch quite late, thought it was around 3pm:

    DSC04197_zps140fb8cf.

    DSC04198_zps686f4e9c.

    Funny thing is food in Laos seemed more expensive than in Vietnam.

    DSC04202_zpsfc7ed713.

    DSC04203_zpse1c2160d.
     
  8. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    So we assumed we could check in hotel very early on that day.
    How high you can go on this road.

    DSC04205_zps232b94cd.

    I did 18x kph. deal.gif
    DSC04206_zps5857be33.

    DSC04209_zps4d67522c.

    Sign of the City:

    DSC04217_zps6761f06a.

    It was Monday rush hour in Vientiane:

    DSC04218_zps72493505.

    DSC04222_zpsa6716f8b.

    6:15 PM, we reached Patuxay Park, the central park of Vientiane - Laos:

    DSC04225_zpscfde6fc3.

    DSC04236_zpsd514ac99.

    DSC04237_zpsff79a917.

    DSC04233_zpsffdb19df.

    DSC04238_zps3b6607e1.

    DSC04247_zps90101e53.

    DSC04251_zps1983f294.
     
  9. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    Took sometimes at Patuxay park for photos, and waiting for a friend of friend to come.
    He guided us to a hotel nearby his workplace.
    Checked in Lao Hotel, quite a good place. Quite near the night streets and plenty of street foods.
    Most importantly, we had good bike parking slot, covered and guarded 24/24.

    Nightwalk:

    DSC04264_zpsead07ed6.

    DSC04265_zpse5804815.

    DSC04266_zps4cd15681.

    Street food:

    DSC04267_zps157c520c.

    We had dinner there:

    DSC04269_zps6b73fc6d.

    We could not resist this one:

    DSC04275_zps14339a4b.

    DSC04273_zpsf6a582e1.

    My dinner:

    DSC04277_zps46e16d76.

    Quick snapshot of the night market:

    DSC04282_zps1b94e3d1.

    It was raining that night.
     
  10. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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  11. Javawa

    Javawa Guest

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    A few years ago Petro Vietnam or PV Oil bought all the Gas Stations which were operated by Shell Laos and later on Petrolimex bought all the Gas stations operated by Caltex Laos so there are at least 2 Vietnamese owned fuel companies active in Laos
     
  12. Poompui

    Poompui Ol'Timer

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    Iron Man???
     
  13. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    Thanks for your info.
    That's really good price.
    The Lao Hotel we 've been charged us $26 for a two beds room.
     
  14. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    Thanks you.
    It surprised me a lot. Wonder if they could do the same for Cambodia?!
     
  15. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    Heheh. It's called "flare" from the light at the side of the camera lens.
     
  16. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    The next day morning, felt sad as it kept raining like hell. That morning, I had to say good bye to my ridding buddies and let they continue to Northern Laos. I had to head back to Vietnam as I have my family event at middle of Vietnam in the next some days.

    See what I got from home to Vientiane:

    DSC04290_zps6ec982e1.

    Day 4: Vientiane (Laos) to Hà Tĩnh (Vietnam)

    Day4_zps07d13f9b.

    Good day number 4:

    DSC04285_zps29ddaa68.

    Left the hotel, it was raining continuously for hundreds kilometers. What a wet morning.

    A quick rest after two hours riding in the rain from Vientiane:

    DSC04295_zps6f7fc797.

    Lonely road:

    DSC04296_zps3816602e.

    I tried to ride and minimize stopping to get away from rain as soon as possible - that led me to almost run out of fuel. Still lucky me when found this station. I might have just some kms left with the remain fuel tank:

    DSC04299_zpsf0989724.

    Almost noon time, rain was out. However I did not dare to take off rain suit.
    Stopped on the road side for some hot corn. It is also easily to find in Vietnam, especially along Hochiminh trail.

    DSC04302_zpsa8c495ec.

    All are pretty the same in Vietnam, except language and currency :D
    Well, it was not a fun place to stop anyway. Imagine you are on the road shoulder while all kinds of truck flying with more than 100kph.

    DSC04301_zps1c8af5fb.

    DSC04312_zpsa5e2c981.

    Hungry and cold made everything sweeeeet:

    DSC04304_zpsc32c995e.
     
  17. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    Before leaving the national road #13 to turn left to national road #8, I stopped for lunch.
    Set up of any food shops here pretty the same as Vietnam, but more expensive.

    DSC04313_zpsfa29dcd5.

    Some dry cow meat - I tried one:

    DSC04315_zps76dc0caf.

    Back on road, it was starting with curves right then.
    Rode for around 100km on the road #8 then I turned right to 1E to go to Chalo border gate.
    But hell, I found the 1E started with very messy surface - it was under serious construction. I had tried for arund 3km and the road did not seem better.
    Well, I headed back and continue with the road #8, toward another border gate. It's Cau Treo border gate on Vietnam side.

    Stopped at a viewpoint on the road #8:

    DSC04324_zps26fea1ae.

    Too bad that the camera could not capture all the beauty of this area:

    DSC04319_zpsd3c2b64d.

    DSC04325_zpse7ecd39d.

    DSC04322_zps4ee01744.
     
  18. Wald0

    Wald0 Ol'Timer

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    Once again very nice trip!! I have only one question, Can you explain how it is difficult to cross the boarder?? as I am planning trip next january to Laos, Thailand and I would need to cross to Laos from Vietnam. My bike is in my Wife name as I hate the hassle what i would have to do every 6 months. and the second is A2.. and I have to say i'm not so nervous about leaving the country as I am entering back to Vietnam as I don't have A2 yet.mind you that Im planning to drive one later this year. (unless they change something that I could just transfer my A2 to vietnamese A2..)
     
  19. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    The difficulties are not really much. However, the main thing is because of unclear procedure for all the checkpoint.
    Basically, there is a sort of Transportation agreement between Vietnam and Laos - it allows vehicles (personal / company / public vehicles) across the border. However, to get granted at the checkpoint, you need to do something in advance. For example you need to get a Permit from your Provincial Department of Transportation. As far as I know, you can just get the permit with the bike with your name on the blue card. However, it is not soooooo easy for all, as in Vietnam there are not many big bikes following the name transfer process. Previously, we buy and sell the motorcycle by giving money and taking the bike + registration card. That's all.
    If the bike is with you wife's name, then it sounds good. I meant it "sounds" good for crossing Vietnam-Laos border.
    A side note is that Vietnam and Cambodia has no agreement as with Laos. Currently just the Company vehicles with permits from Transportation Ministry and Tourist bureau can cross the Viet-Cam border.
    For A2, currently it is opening for all. No more restricted as before. If you have resident card (or what I don't know) in Vietnam for 6months or so, you can easily apply and go for the test. Easy.
     
  20. Wald0

    Wald0 Ol'Timer

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    Yes, Thank you! This was really helpful! and next time your in Hanoi let me know! Ps. Yes A2 is open for all now.. only minus is that theory part is in Vietnamese :), but think that can be arranged by little tee money.
     
  21. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    Ducktape fix everything LOL

    hA0A08973.
     
  22. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    Nearer to Viet-Laos border, the road more twisty, narrower, and the elevation changed very rapidly.
    The thing I scared about this area that they don't have any stopper on the road side. If anything happened, bike and rider will be free falling from the height. deal.gif
    Now it's near to the border:

    DSC04328_zps69050d16.

    Check points was some kms behind the mounts:

    DSC04329_zps3add2415.

    Excited to come back home Country:

    DSC04332_zps2519c2b6.

    Check points was at the cloud level eekers.gif

    DSC04335_zps23eb3616.

    Saw the Laos checkpoint at almost 5PM. Fingers crossed!!!

    DSC04336_zpsad09adc7.

    It was really high potential for me to come back or stay around this area as normally they stop working at 5PM.
    Yeah, I saw all the lights in offices had been switched off. Officers almost gone.

    DSC04337_zps84037943.

    Hell, who cared! Just one more pix:

    DSC04339_zpsa2550bf4.

    Yeah, one more, before getting my passport in:

    DSC04341_zps91cc7dcb.

    One more... ;)

    DSC04342_zps10e2b552.
     
  23. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    It was almost 5PM, and there sounded none cross the border.
    I was so afraid that they close the gate due to end of office hour.
    I found that they already turned off all the lights in the office. naughty.gif
    Lucky me, the officers still around, they came inside office again and do Passport control for me, and with the light still off.
    Actually it was really easy crossing the Laos side.
    Not too fast when crossing Vietnam side. They checked all paper for bike, check the engine and chassis number vs registration card, etc...
    Lucky me again, I was officially imported back to Vietnam after around 30mins.
    I had no pix of the Vietnam gate, but the constructing Border office building:

    DSC04343_zps798a0807.

    The road from the border gate was amazing. Fog was all around. There were plenty of curves. I was comparing with the Tail of the Dragon, where I rode last two years.
    None on the road, except me and my bike:

    DSC04347_zpsff5f1552.

    DSC04349_zps4fadb9d2.

    DSC04350_zps228674f7.

    DSC04351_zps17a5a025.

    DSC04354_zps19dc580b.

    DSC04356_zps2e45a532.

    Cau Treo bridge - that may be the reason for the name of the Border gate - Cau Treo:

    DSC04357_zps0eedfbbe.

    DSC04358_zps0958b831.

    DSC04359_zps388a5d0f.

    DSC04360_zpsc6ce6cee.

    Now see what's I was comparing with Tail of the Dragon:

    Day4-CauTreocheckpoint_zps99db8972.
     
  24. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    There were still a lot of curves to pass in the late afternoon.

    DSC04361_zpsc6040892.

    DSC04374_zpsaba1d002.

    Looked like we almost reached the flat area:

    DSC04376_zps33413e09.

    From Cau Treo Checkpoint headed toward East side, for around 50km plus, we reached East Ho Chi Minh trail:
    It was almost dark when I reached there. It was raining.
    I decided to ride for around 50km more to Huong Khe district and spend the night there.
    Hochiminh trail on Ha Tinh province is a good road. Not so many traffic. However, riding there in the rain and not good visible of the dark was not really fun.
    Riding in Vietnam you mus pay lot of attention to the road side. There could be any one ride bicycle or scooter straight from their house to the road, or a pig, buffalo or dog can run across the road anytime. Especially on this part of the road, where the traffic rule is not well enforced.
    Some random pix on East Hochiminh trail:

    DSC04379_zpsac29d8d3.

    DSC04381_zps6f73ec8f.

    I reached the hotel in the dark. Because I already knew the place so I did not spend any spare time to fin.
    It's a good hotel beside a big lake.
    At night, you can find many spots on the lake side they sell foods and drinks.
    It was raining all night long.

    Day5-HuongKhehotel_zpscf9e959f.
     
  25. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    After day 4:

    DSC04382_zpsbda05951.

    Day 5: Hương Khê (Hà Tĩnh) - Đà Nẵng.

    Day5_zps41864b66.

    Woke up, I realized that I still had some corns I bought in Laos, left in the top box naughty.gif.
    Ok, I sent them to the kitchen and asked the guys there boil them up for me. Well, that's my breakfast.

    I continue to the South on the Hochiminh trail. The road surface was really great, very minimum traffic. However, I had to watch for the Po-po as the road was really clear and I had nowhere to hide icon10.gif.

    If turn right at this point, I would reach to another border gate with Laos. It's Chalo border gate, the one was my original target to back to Vietnam.
    I am sure from there to the border gate the road is great with lots of twisties, too.

    DSC04383_zpsa97cfa3c.

    Don't know how many kms.

    DSC04385_zpsbea6d56e.

    There is a fun thing when riding along Hochiminh trail in this season. You can easily hit a rain, then no rain, then rain, then over and over again... within very short distance. So if you ride there around raining season, you'd better not take off your rain gear.

    Stopped for pix when the rain had just stopped:

    DSC04387_zps714b50db.

    I really love to see such scenery, where a very flat area located between some mounts:

    DSC04389_zps7c742949.

    DSC04390_zpsc20e2e0c.

    Well, rain, again...

    DSC04391_zpsc9ce9d2e.

    DSC04396_zpsaf027084.

    There were many wooden houses around the trail.

    DSC04397_zps8a9281b0.

    DSC04398_zpscde9e5a9.
     
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