Adventure Riding Southern Laos. Recently back from a fantastic 9 day ride in Southern Laos with Chris and Mike.
Chris took some time out from Moto Lao based in Luang Prabang to join us..
Big effort for him to meet us at Muang Nong.. Well done..
Basically we crossed Chong Mek / Vang Tao.. Then turned left a few KM after the border and dirt to the boat over the Mekong.
Then back on the 13 until we could get on to some dirt to ride up to Savan..
Savan to Xepon.. Xepon to Muang Nong and the Big Bamboo Bridge and down to Ta Oy..
Tay Oy to Kerlerm.. (Spelling) abandoned town due to new dam.. Then on to Sekong for the night.
Before heading up the mountains to ride along the HCMTrail and some unique scenery along some remote trails heading to the Xekeman river.
Then on to Attapue.. Before taking in Lake Nong Fa, extinct Volcano 1,200 metres above sea level, then back to ride along the trails on the Lao Cambodia border.
Back to Attapue and the next day 18 A upper track to Pakse for lunch then Thailand and the night train back to Bangkok..
Short video here.. Where we went looking for adventure.. we didn’t find it.
Where we expected an easy ride.. we found adventure…
Sorry for the delay.. Started the post and then realized a load of the early pics on my phone and need to BT them to my MAC.
Bike all ready to go.. Engine rebuild after 65,000 km.
Ohlins front forks serviced and oil changed after 10k plus KM…
Finally get to try out the Giant Loop bag Rexy bought back for me from Australia,
What a winner.. Wish I had spunked up the cash years back now..
The KLX looking a winner..
Still nice and clean…. for the moment 😉
I ride off and meet Mike down the road and we head to the train station together.
Not sure who was more shocked at each others appearance.
Me with Mike in flip flops, jeans and T-shirt
Mike with me full Enduro Battle gear riding through downtown Bangkok Friday rush hour
Bikes dropped off with time for a coffee while we wait for our train.
Quick check to make sure all in order before we get on the train.
Ubon station all friendly as usual.
At one point they use to remember me. But rides with the train south have become less frequent.
Chong Mek the same as usual.. No real change.
Helpful as ever and a breeze to cross.
The Lao side is a big construction site.
Now when you cross they want you to go the right immediately.
Register you are there in a little booth near the gate where the pedestrians cross…
They just recorded passport and green book details.
( This is a first for me )
Then make you way to the old building.. to the left in this picture..
They insisted I ride on the new concrete.. Very proud..
We just parked between the concrete beams.
Usual forms, photo, visa on arrival, customs, Insurance
Then register and final check 200 metres down the road..
The full scale of things…
The road is upgraded all the way to Pakse now.. Just missing some white lines.. but not really needed.
As you saw in the video 😉
It is a toll road.. bikes are free..
For those interested in the train and bikes.
There are new trains from China running the tracks now.. There is no cargo on these.
So guess.. you are best to try and get your bike on the older earlier train so you are not waiting for it
Or when you ring to book your ticket or go down to the station. Ask for the train that you can put your bike on..
These trains will be phased out eventually.. So “logic” would say..
They will have to run a regular cargo train a few times a day.. As there is plenty of people moving things back and forth..
Doesn’t bother me as I will just buy the cheapest ticket and fly after dropping the bike.
Costs for sleeper is around.. approx.. 1300 for the lower bunk and 1100 for the upper bunk.
Or as Mike and I did.. You can book the entire cabin for extra 500 baht on top of the lower bunk cost.
Well worth it.. Once had to share with an old German that had to get up and pee every 1 hr all night long….. Sigh..
Bikes were around 1,100 baht may be 900 baht.. can’t remember..
You can’t book the bike on until the day.. The station asks that you are there 1 hr before
The rest of the pics.. Like the video is a contribution from all riders on the trip.
Chris, Mike and me..
The track is a little bumpy to start with.. Then sandy and dusty
There was still a little water around.. Some what late for this time of the year.
Then you arrive at the town along the Mekong.. Very easy to miss the ferry turn off.
Basically next to or through the temple.. I went past and realized and we doubled back.
Lat 15.26437 Lon 105.65089
Almost ready to go
G’day to old mate..
We are off.. This is a really wide stretch of the Mekong… You really feel small out here.
When I did this a couple of years back with James Franey.
The other side was incredibly steep, through a narrow alley way behind someones house.
Pleasantly surprised to see the track up to the right of the town. Then up and head back to the Route 13 and head north.
The skipper was a really friendly lovely old fella.. Always smiling.. As I was about to ride off the boat..
Realized I hadn’t paid for us.. he didn’t even blink.. I quickly stopped and gave him the money .. he just smiled.
Make our way and back to the 13 and on to Savan..
A bit later on.. A buffalo to the right facing the bush.. Just jumped back around in to the road and darted in front of me.
Mike saw the entire thing.. In a split second.. Brake.. but felt the rear lock, let go and just rode around it..
Rather than skidding in to the beast…
These two guys had their ‘Cock’ out…
Then we peel off and ride dirt to the stone house.
After Rex’s report. Wanted to check this place out..
As I am riding down the track heading towards the river.. A local hears me coming, as i am going around him.
Looks over his shoulder to his left and of course starts to veer across the track while looking at me.
I was already committed and he ran me off the road.. accidentally.. No biggy as on the KLX and just carried on..
The Stone House.
” [B]HEUN HIN (STONE HOUSE)[/B]
Heun Hin literally means “Stone House” and is believed to have been one of the 121 rest houses constructed by King Jayavarman VII (1181-1218) along the roads which once connected every corner of the Khmer Empire. Therefore, it shares similar characteristics with Wat Phou in Champasak and Phimai Temple in Thailand. An annual festival is held in the full moon night in April. ”
http://www.tourismlaos.org/show_province.php?Cont_ID=834′]HEUN HIN (STONE HOUSE)
How to get there:
Lat 16.21476 Lon 105.03139
From Savannakhet city take Route 9B south to Ban Lak 35 and continue a further 3 kilometers before turning right. After 10 kilometers you will reach Xaiphoutoung town, turn left and get along the Mekong River about 16 kilometers then you will reach to the house.
Open daily from 8:00am – 4:00pm.
Located along Route No.13
Here is me thinking.. We will ride dirt in to Savan..
Basically the road is paved 8 or 10 km from the Stone House heading all the way to Savan.
We were not complaining as now it was getting dark and cattle all over the road.
Dinner in Savan at the square and ready for the next days ride..
Off to Xepon..
As we had plenty of time we thought we would go the nicer creative way and avoid the highway.
In hindsight. Wished we had just blasted to Xepon.
The way we went is mostly paved now and a few fun bridges left.. But mostly new bridges
Where not paved.. Potholes and dusty and generally not that great.
There was still some fun experiences..
Sand.. Pattaya weekend riding came in handy here..
Love that surprised look you get when they see you dressed up as a Power Ranger.
Standing on the pegs, blasting through rocks and bull dust..
See a dog bouncing around to my left.. Open the throttle to get past..
Thinking it could jump in front of me. Sure enough.. As soon as I open the throttle..
Bang.. Under the front wheel.. Hardly felt it.
Big thud and crash in to the bash plate.
Under the rear wheel.. Didn’t feel a thing..
I didn’t look back.. Mike saw the dog after. said it was in a bad way.
Expect it didn’t sit there long before ending up in the hot pot.
Not a pleasant thing to happen.. But the logic of hitting them straight on is the way to go.
The local nearby really thought I was going to park here for the day LOL.
We made it to Xepon..
Some what dusty and fillings rattling in our teeth.
Hot pot for dinner a couple of doors down from the Hotel.
Of course sponsoring our friends Kay and Noah with the T-shirt 😉
Chris had contacted us when we crossed the border and decided to take some time out from Moto Lao and ride all the way down from Luang Prabang and meet us.. Off road as much as possible.
He didn’t make Xepon but pretty close.. We decided to push on to Muang Nong, Check out the Big Bamboo bridge and see what the time is and where Chris is and make a plan from there…
Excellent quality road up to Dong from Xepon.. Then turn right to head to Muang Nong.
There is a museum with loads is USA hardware on the corner of the main road and the turn off.
We just had a look from the out side.. Have been in side before..
Interesting if you are a war junkie.. They opened the place up for me last time. The only visitor.
Pics from previous trip
Sadly the road is now paved all the way to Muang Nong..
Just an 8km may be more stretch in the middle where it is dirt.
But easy Dirt and can be done on a Versys sitting at 80 kph.
I am sure a lot of road bikers would love to get to the Big Bamboo bridge.
You could do it on a road bike.. But make sure it is dry.
If you are a bit skittish on dirt or worry about dropping it.. Then see if you can get some one to take you from the village.
Dirt track is about 3 or so km to the bridge.. Worth making the effort.
(Goran, easily doable on your GS)
From Nong side
From the village side.
A close up look
Mike enjoying the moment.
Back towards the Nong side of the river
What a winner. Never get tired of visiting.
How it looks on a sunny day
If you continue on a kilometre or so past the Big Bamboo turn off..
You come across Little Bamboo bridge
10,000 kip same a Big Bamboo.
Worth a look if you have time.. If you follow the track on you can do a loop at Rex did in his report.
Taking in the rapids 15 or 20 km down stream..
Chris a still a fair way off.. We still have the entire day left..
So decide to push on to Ta Oy the way Jim and I rode last time.
Then if Chris is at Muang Nong or Xepon.. We will ride up the HCMtrail track and meet him at Big Bamboo.
We have a few days buffer up our sleeve and this is good riding..
My only concern is how wet it had been and the rivers are high..
There is a big river crossing at the end of the track we will take today…
Off we go.. Take a left out of town.. Through some creeks and dusty roads..
Over the mountain….
We get to the bottom of the mountain 25 km away from Nong.. Mike’s bike is dead…
We check all the fuses and a bunch of other things.. no go…
Remember.. We are mechanical dummies.
Only one thing for it.. Towing Mike back 25 km.
I was really thinking.. How the hell will I get him up this hill.
The pics don’t show it. But it is steep and big holes with rocks etc. Steep ups and downs.
I don’t want to burn my clutch out too..
We made it this far with out stopping or having an off until now.. Amazingly.
The first off…
The ruts are like train tracks..
I have to keep to the left as much as possible so Mike and the rope don’t tangle up and we both come off..
The camera lies how steep and how big the holes are…
We pushed the bike up to the left of where I am standing.
So happy when we made it to the top.. only 20 km to go…..
Towing along the ups and down.. Getting speed up on the downs so can make it on the ups.
Made for some interesting handling experiences.. But the Mighty KLX did the job..
Back we go to Nong.. Try and see if the local bike shop can fix it..
This fuse was gone.. Funnily enough.. There is no spare for this.
A spare for all the other fuses.. We didn’t even know where to look for this one…
But still no go….
In the mean time. Chris had been in touch.. He was a Xepon and decided to push on and meet us at Nong.
This was when we realised one of the Pins in the ECU was bent after being taken out on the track.
When put back in.. bent.. Straighten that out and she fired up…
So we have a late afternoon in Nong to look around and a few beers..
The Ghuest House
Free fuel with a bang…
A sign demonstrating a safe way to setup a fire in case there is UXO under the ground.
Beer o’clock along the road watching the world go past.
Plus it was cold at night…
Muang Nong is in the middle of the track.. The left then right for 25 km before we had to turn back..
While we were having our bike issues and back to Muang Nong.
Chris a good friend from Moto Lao was making his way to join us..
He was taking a few days out and do a bit of a reccy with us on what is happing in the south.
He left LPQ and went the hard way covering as much Ho Chi Minh Trail as possible.
Before meeting up with us in Muang Nong.
The next morning up early and it is still wet.. But we push on and ride the Ho Chi Minh Trail
Over the big Bamboo bridge..
Can’t get enough of that bridge LOL
Onwards down the Ho Chi Minh Trail towards Ta Oy.
Slippery.. Had the front and rear slide around on some parts.. Keep powering on and don’t let up..
The original cobble stone Ho Chi Minh trail..
Mike had another flat… But we were not to be inconvenienced.
Lunch was delivered..
We made it to Ta Oy in pretty quick time The last 20 Odd KM.. Progress has caught up..
On my earlier ride it was all trails and creek / small river crossings.. But these are gone to wide graded and tarmac road with bridges..
Still a great ride.. But do it soon before it is gone..
After an early lunch we head off to Sekong…
After a hearty lunch in Ta Oy and given a dirty look by the local cop..
We head off..
Tarmac away from the Vietnamese border to the turn off for the road to Kaleum and then on to Sekong.
This is one dusty rocky road construction way to go.. So much dust… Not really a fun ride.
Your teeth are rattling in your gums and your fillings ready to fall out with the first Beer Lao at the end of the ride.
Dusty Sabai Dee…
The abandoned town of Kaleum
The empty town is a big construction site for trucks etc.. putting the dam in.
The army were not happy with our plans to cross the river..
– That plan to be actioned another time 😉
Back we go and push on to Sekong.. really having enough dust by now.. more mountainous rocky tracks to come…
The number plate has seen better days..
The mighty KLX.. almost minus the number plate.
Finally arrive in Sekong.. Ready for a beer to wash the dust away.
Some real dust storms on the home stretch.. You have to do 90 kph to get past the trucks in white out.
I almost missed the bend in the road and ended up in the lake…
Three KLX and Three very happy Ohlins Suspension owners..
Really transforms the bike..
The famous chip and egg restaurant.. This time they didn’t try and bring out 2 dozen fried eggs.
Common sense prevailed..
Chris had a bad stomach.. So was on the light stuff food wise..
Tomorrow the Ho Chi Minh Trail and try and cross the ” Missing Link ”
A big day planned today…
Hopefully we can complete what we call the “ Missing Link “ loop and get up to Nong Fa with out back tracking all the way from the 18 B…..
This is the track that cuts across the Xekemen river and follows a graded road up to the base of the trail up to Lake Nong Fa..
We are planning to cross the left of the marker. (Previous ride in the area)
A recap of our previous attempts to get across or check out the feasibility of crossing..
Jim and I did this from both directions on two previous trips.
But the water was still deep and the canoes small.. Not sure they would take our bikes and gear plus us..
Even tied together.. Plus on the NPA side of the river.. It is really steep with loose sandy rocky soil.
Your rear wheel just spins and digs a hole.
The track was incredibly new getting here.. No wash outs.. Like it has just been finished..
The bulldozers literally push the track off the edge of a cliff..
Jim going for a walk to see if there is any easier way down to the river bank..
The locals are diagonally across the river with some canoes..
The white sandy looking area is where the track makes its way to the river then dog legs it back up the other side..
The locals were struggling with 3 of them pushing up a Fino up the embankment.
Not to mention the deep river mud. They sank right up in to their knees ..
This is the only way up.. Though the locals did go bush a bit and disappear with lots of revving of the mighty Fino.. Trying to find a way with more traction
It is still a long was down to the river bank..
We struggled to get back up the mountain from where we were.. let alone from the rivers edge..
The camera doesn’t do it justice… We both reached the bottom and said.. I hope we can cross as getting back up there is not going to be easy..
We decide it is too risky to cross this time around.. Lets see about tackling it from the other side.
Check out the canoes and willingness of the locals to take us across..
Rather than go all the way down to the river bank only to have to get back up..
( It was stinking hot too )
Getting back out up the mountain. Elevation from the rocky drop off.
Where we are and where we want to be on the other side.. 18 months earlier
Around 8 or 10 months after the previous trip.. We check out the other side..
Water is low… You can see the steep drop off over Jim’s left shoulder..
Hmmm Those Canoes..
Not today either.. As we had not really planned to be here this ride.. As we were not far away.
Thought we would check it out..
Note the tree line.. In the coming pics from the present ride.. The water is right up and beyond the tree line..
More here on the previous rides from both sides of the river..
Back to the present day and our route..
The two little blips in the middle of the image below as how steep it is at two locations dropping down to the river bank. Giving the photos a bit of perspective when looking at the river banks and tree lines.
Off goes Chris from Moto Lao..
Mike and I head over.
Chris safely on the other side…
The new ” highway ” up is pretty good.. wide, dusty and graded..
Make pretty good speed to our turn off in to the pine tree forest.
( Moto Rex first took me on the Pine Tree forest track on our maiden ride up to Lake Nong Fa 5 years back..)
Then the fun begins.
We are 1,200 metres up and it is cold.. plus it starts spitting rain.. grrr
But we make light of it and carry on..
We turn off the track and head for the village…
Jim plotted this track out for us on a previous trip.. It is a real winner..
Now where is the trail again..
I know this is the right village and using OSM GPS map with the track Jim and I rode the previous time.
A little zoomed in and off by 20 metres.. Plus a new house was right in the path of the old track.
There was a Vietnamese guy there on his Scooter selling everything to the village.. including the kitchen sink.
He said.. You can’t get through it is a dead end..
But having done this with Jim.. Knew we could.. Just needed to find the track out back of the village.
Which we did after riding between the huts and giving a wave as we went past..
This is one pretty special area of Southern Laos..
Just amazing scenery and great trails.. Next time I want to camp in here..
Then you reach an area littered with volcanic rock..
Only the trail is clear..
I dunno about you all.. But I think this area is pretty amazing…
We continue on..
Then we meet up with another remote village and have to take the single trail out.
Then before you know it..
No more single remote trail.. Back on the main track..
Right Paam, left north towards Duk Chung.
More of this days ride to come shortly..
On we head on to the ” Missing Link ”
We have all our camping gear, water filter, food etc.
Just need some warm beer from the village at the back of Lake Nong Fa
We plan to camp at Lake Nong Fa if we can get across.
It will be a chilly night.. 1,200 metres above sea level by the water.
First some water crossings….
We are not scared of the water.. But water in your boots is not fun at the best of times.
But when the water is cold and you still have lots of km to ride… It is really not fun.
Chris ploughed in and found a big hole.. We pulled him out and crossed a little further upstream.
The buggers blocked off the bridge.. So we couldn’t use it..
Chris with his eye on me.. Selfie style…
My turn.. Mike took some video..
On we go.. Turn off on to the track heading to the river..
Mike gets a flat..
Plenty of spectators.
Plenty of eyes to make sure Chris changes the tyre properly.
Don’t you just love this ladies face..
What a life she must have had..
On we go.. Down the last big mountain to the river…
Please nothing be coming the other way.. Steep and nice ruts to get over…
The only saving grace would be.. It is so steep.. What ever is coming will be pretty slow up..
The Xekaman river.. We stop here at the first place to have boats.. As last time there was a very tiny trail on the other side
Most likely a foot path.. But as it has been over a year.. better check it out and make sure no changes..
Well you can’t see the trail on the other side as it is covered in water..
At the next point where we think there might be a better chance of getting a little boat over..
But you can see.. The track has completely over grown..
Plus we are not at the river bank yet.. One more steep drop to get there..
Since then a rainy season has passed and over grown and probably some landslides..
Times like this a drone would be handy. But certainly not worth the pain of carrying it around..
Here is the pic from a year or so earlier.. See the tree line then and now in the picture above..
Had we made it here again.. Washed away..
I said to the guys. Lets go down.. only to get a rude shock that the water was right up the track.
No chance of going any where near the river and the canoes were dodgy as…
So a very awkward turn around on the steep track metres from the river and a swim…
We decide to head back up.. Glad we came and tried..
Plan B.. Off to Attapue when we are outta here and Nong Fa tomorrow..
Getting up back out of the river embankment. River to the right and a steep drop off.
Can only guess a few locals have gone over the edge when raining or lost control.
Even the locals drop bikes… Can’t imagine this in the wet !!
As I went past they gave a big smile and laughter.. They could laugh at themselves which is pretty cool.
Back up to the main dirt track and head to Attapue.
Getting late now.. Been a big day.. We need to get a move on.. No one wants to be riding at night.
There are places to stay on the way..
We are looking forward to the bright lights and fine dining of Attapue..
The last big drop down…Concreted a few years back now.
Use to be terrible with a ft of bull dust or mud.. You could barely keep control.
Now it is like a race track.. plus a few rocks and boulders on the concrete to keep you alert.
Back down to the road of stones and bone jarring rocks.
A real nightmare of a track until you reach the pavement at Pa am…
Pull in to Attapue on dusk.. What a perfect day.. GREAT FUN…
Attapue to Lake Nong Na.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nong_Fa_Lake – Wikipedia
Nong Fa Lake or Nongphatom Lake (meaning Blue lake) is a lake in the mountains of Sanxay District, Attapeu Province, southeastern Laos, located within the Dong Ampham National Biodiversity Conservation Area,about 12 kilometres from the Vietnamese border.
At an altitude of 1154 metres, the maximum depth of the lake is reportedly 78 metres, although locals have claimed that the depth is unknown, having attempted fruitlessly to gauge the depth with bamboo poles. Similar to but larger than Yeak Lorn in Cambodia’s Ratanakiri Province, was used by the North Vietnamese as an R’n’R for soldiers hurt on the Ho Chi Minh Trail.The lake is shrouded in legends, and Laotians refrain from bathing in it because they believe it is inhabited by a giant snake-pig who will devour its bathers.
Images courtesy of Google Earth.
All other pics shared from the riders.
The mine below has expanded a lot over the years.. From the first trip with Moto Rex,
In fact these GE images are dated around a year after we did our first ride up there.
Ride out of Attapue on the 18 B..
Starts off flat and boring..
The first observation is abandoned logs all the way along 18B
Half way to the Vietnamese border.. It starts to get fun.
Road works.. Stones with tar being boiled by fire wood.. This is going to be a good long lasting repair..
The 18 B always has a special place in my heart..
The first ride up here 5 or 6 years ago with Moto Rex.
Came around a bend.. The road straightens up.. No other traffic..
Rex moves from the right side of the road to the left…
Now, all in a split second… I think.. Why did Rex do that..
Trusting his judgement.. I pull to the left side of the road too..
Still no idea why he did that and why I am following his lead.
To then come across the biggest angry King Cobra I have even seen.
I kid you not..
It was half way across the road to where the white line would be.
The body went off the road and past the road shoulder in to the long grass..
It was a monster..
Rex passed it.. Rattled it to hell.
I come along and it is well and truly awake and angry
Rears up ready to strike as I passed.
I am thinking.. Holy. Sh!t..
Thinking, hope Rex saw that in his mirrors.. No one will believe it.
We stop further up for a break 30 mins later..
First thing Rex said..
“I saw that Cobra rear up at you as you passed…”
I will never forget it.. I don’t think Rex will either.
Every time we tell this story.. I am sure they snake gets bigger….
On with todays ride..
So we pull up at the village entrance to the Lake Nong Fa track
Lunch is served.
The trail to and from Nong Fa..
The development is amazing.. Bridges, mine expansion, new villages and so on.
The ever expanding mine.
We arrive at Lake Nong Fa..
What a beauty and finally on my third visit.. Sunny..
We did discuss camping here.. But too cold.. Even mid afternoon it was chilly.
Some Thai’s visiting from Ubon in the Ford Ranger.
It is pretty steep and loose rocks and soil..
You dare not brake on some parts and hope you are in the right gear doing down..
Mike had a great off.. Steep down bit.. Looking at the scenery..
Lost the bike.. Went running off the track in the ditch and pops back out running on the track again.
( In the video at the beginning of the post )
Pretty funny to watch..
Handlebars are on the ground 😉 Mike running in to the wilderness…
After a brief jog in the ditch. Mike emerges to join us again…
We are not content with the half hearted crash and insist Mike poses for some proper crash pictures..
I wonder what the local was thinking… ” Ting tong Farang ” LOL
Camera lies.. It is steep and even the local has his foot out.. Steep and slippery on the stones and dust.
On we go.. Passing some petrol tankers heading back from the mine..
Back at the restaurant..
The Viet petrol trucks are stopping every now and again.
Pilfering the diesel from the tanks and selling it on to the local – Viets in the shops.
They are looking around while they are doing it..
Scamming their employers.. Had a mate that worked with the mines in Laos.
He said everyone is in on it.. all the way through the company.. You install cameras, they will come in and steal wearing masks.. The theft is phenomenal.. Hard to believe some of the stories.. Even pallets of copper go missing over the border to Vietnam..
There is a pretty decent Viet hotel at the edge of town.
Very new, very clean.. Great as it was too cold to camp up at Nong Fa.
Tomorrow we ride along the Laos / Cambodian border..
Today head out to the Lao / Cambodia border post then make our way back to Attapue.
Did this ride with Jim a couple years earlier.. A nice remote ride..
Nothing to crazy.. Just one big mega river crossing before hitting 18b if we go the same way.
After sleeping the night at the turn off to Lake Nong Fa.. Up early and out to the border.
Mike wanted to go and check it out.. It isn’t far and a nice twisty paved road to get there..
After turning off 18B I remember there was this little wooden bridge..
It looked in pretty bad shape compared to 2 years earlier..
Which made me think.. I wonder what the conditions ahead are like as this is barely used any more.
Five minutes later.. We were to find out.
Here comes Chris.
Starting to think.. I wonder how far we can get.. This is totally upside down compared to two years ago.
( Suspect the logging crack down is the reason for the jungle claiming it back… )
You can see the remains of the guttering in some pictures..
The bridges along the way are getting over grown..
The jungle is winning..
So things were a little easier.. we are a good 20 km in to the bush.
Then hit a couple of decent obstacles.. No one is coming in here to get us out if we get injured.
So caution, safety were the key we all agreed.
You wouldn’t get a 4wd in or those little tractors.. Dragged out is the only way..
Now that one is out the way.. Not too bad.. The next one..
Thinking.. How much tougher will this get and if forced to..
We have our camping gear to stay out over night.
No more scooter tracks..
With Mike’s bike we really struggled.. Doesn’t show in the pictures..
But the ledge is narrow and slippery.. easy to fall 5 ft in to the hole..
The bikes had to be pushed and pulled.. Any engine spin of the tyre made the bike want to jump off in to the holes.
Then a god send.. The old guy and his wife turn up.. Watch and help with Mike’s bike.
Then goes off in to the bush and comes back with a branch cut off and inserts it in to his shovel..
A lot easier once past this…
Time to filter some water and carry on.. ( Big thanks to Justin for bringing this back from the USA for me )
We gave old mate a nice tip for his help.. He was grinning ear to ear..
All up around 130,000 kip.. It was worth it..
It was almost 40 Km of these tracks and trails until we made it to the main graded track heading to the border with Cambodia.
We did get a few looks as there were more people closer to the main track..
The border.. Over the hill and you are in Cambodia.
The army guys gave us a bag of sticky rice.. we shared some chocolate.
The Friendship bridge.
Then on to 18 B and Attapue.
We skipped the trail with the big river crossing.. We were pretty knackered by this time.
Plus it is a long way to get to the river crossing and if the river was too high.. We would have to go all the way back to the main track.. It was 3pm already.. Once over the river it isn’t far to 18B..
(Next time – If we were starting from the other side I would have given it a go as not far to head back to the 18B)
Lots of water and mud about even on the bigger tracks.
Previously they wouldn’t let us use this crossing and had to go back and use the wobbly boat..
But this time.. OK..
Then more dusty trails and hit the 18 B…
Attapue before 18 A upper track and back to Thailand after lunch in Pakse.
A Brilliant ride with great friends