Laos Spectacular Dirt Bike Adventure

Having again visited Phu Chi Fa and Doi Pha Tang.

Decided my next trip to Lao would include a ride around the area below and between the Mekong and riding along the Mekong up to the border with Thailand. Then see if there is away across the Mekong by local canoe / ferry.

Phu Chi Fa

Doi Pha Tang

The route we ended up taking

Up early and take the day time train from Bangkok.. Left at 7am and arrived 30 mins late to Den Chai.
By the time I was loaded up and going it was 5.10pm.. Not even an hour before sunset..

I really wanted to make it up to Siam Bungalow and see Marco and enjoy his resort and the fantastic cooking.

So started and thought if need be I will slow right down and get there when I get there. There were quite a few cars and I sat behind them and follow the lights through the mountains and all was good.

Ended up arriving at Siam Garden Bungalows just after 8pm.. To a great feed, good company and fantastic food.

The next day I headed to the Nan border crossing. I had heard this crossing can be a bit awkward on the Lao side.. But had every thing in order and was meeting Scott over in Laos.

I put Scott in touch with Fuark in Vientiane. Scott hired an XR400 and rode up to Hong Sa the day before..
We had been in touch in the morning and all going well.

Thai side no dramas. Lao side, very anal. Checked everything a few times. Even asked to looking in my bags. Poked and prodded my bags and then distracted by his mate. Didn’t bother making me take the bags off.

Went through my passport. Married up all the stamps. Then revved the crap out of my bike to see if the exhaust was loud. OK I was allowed to proceed.

Similar reception at the visa area. Twnety questions, then processed everything and was allowed to go.

None of the insurance shops near the border were open and the town was closed off as some big party going on. OK. So met Scott down the road and we decided to push on and I will get insurance and change money in Hou Xai.

We ended up hitting the “road” just after 12.

First destination.. The valley below Phu Chi Fa…

Moto-Rex had told me of a few Guest houses, so we were not too worried about time and day light.

Looking back to the town and border crossing and Thailand

The track that leads in to the village and Phu Chi Fa.

The locals in the town said to go in the fields at the back for a better view of Phu Chi Fa.

It really is a lovely little track in to the valley.. There is only one way in and out.
We had a lovely sunset on the way out that made the valley look stunning.

There is a new guest house in the town up the road about 17 km from the village.

There are two old guest houses next to each other.
They didn’t want our business and luckily we found the new place which was much nicer.

Word of caution.. Watch those water trucks that dampen down the dust. We rode on the track after one passed.. I am sure he put ice on the track.. Scott crashed I slid all over the place and just kept hold of it.

The next morning we have a late breakfast.. 9am, on the road at 10.. Really no point going to see a mountain from the base if everything is covered in fog.. Sure enough.. The sun started to burn off the fog by 9.30 am.

First a spectacular ride around the Mekong.

A little puddle we misjudged 🙂

After riding through we went back for a few pics.. This is what it is all about.. Fun and enjoying the trails.

Opps. The soil is slippery when the tyres are wet and at speed.

Stunning Mekong track and scenery.

Not far past this spot you can see Phu Chi Fa.. If you are lucky and it is a clear day you can see the Mekong in the distance.

I zoomed in on Phu Chi Fa.. It is actually very small on the horizon and if you don’t know what you are looking for can easily miss it.

The Mekong from Phu Chi Fa.

Next we arrive below Doi Pha Tang.

We ride in below Doi Pha Tang.. Pretty spectacular is an under statement.

Amazing.. We just kept looking up in awe the entire time…

We rode in an through some Banana plantation at the base of the mountain.. Then we could see a new logging track. Looked at each other and said.. Lets see where it ends.. Right at the base of the mountain and straight up to Thailand.

Riding over logs, tree stumps, steep, makeshift logging bridges and loose jungle soil.

Not too many vehicles around here. The track is sweeping and up and down along the Mekong.
Perfect.. So we set up to ride all the way to the end to the border with Thailand.

The track on Google earth looks to finish about 4 or 5 km short of the border.

All the while keeping an eye open along the river run to see if there was a suitable boat to take us across.
We really didn’t want to have to go to Pak Beng.

Sure enough right at the end of the track.. There is a car and bike ferry.
Just before the village Phak Ta on the other side.

A great first two days.. All boxes ticked and weather totally on our side..

Beer Lao time to celebrate after crossing the river

We spend a nice evening in Hou Xai and ready for the off in the morning.

Get bike insurance at the bank down the main road.

It was later than planned by the time we left.. Close to mid day..

But hey.. worse case scenario.. We have camping gear.. We can just pull up and camp..

Not a slave to the “All Mighty” guest house.

We rode along until we hit the Special “Exploitation” zone.

Then started to ride the track along the Mekong past the Golden Triangle with Burma and the Mekong on our left. What a ripper of a track.

Some nice creek crossings.

Places to cool off…

Rafts to cross the river.. We walked it and about to ride it.. when old mate turns up with the raft.
So we decided to take the raft and sponsor the local economy.

Then things start to get interesting… Land slips every where.. Way more than we took photo’s of.

( When Rex and I rode this three years ago.. Cars were getting through, but very very muddy with trucks stuck).
First time this ride where I needed a break and a snack for energy and drank a litre of water before continuing on.

Oppsss.. Guess I need to practice my landslide skills.

It was tough going in parts.

Taking a break..

We make it out.. But didn’t realise this was the end.. But were really hoping it was.
There was a really thin line / wall of mud to ride along and drop down.. Scotty went off.
I had no choice but to go to the end where I could stop the bike. Get off and climb back up..
Scott had pulled the bike back up and was right behind me…

Cross the bridge and all was good.. Back to car tracks.. Took us 2 to 3 hours to get through all this..

We made it to Xieng Kok..
Time for a celebratory Beer Lao or Two…

Roughly where the Land Slides started.

Beer and Cooling off place.

A little out of sync in the ride report.

Some fun with the local kids at a creek crossing on the way to Phonsagsali from Luang Namtha.

Again a little out of sequence.

We named this track Sabaidee alley.

So many kids running out, waving. Etc. Most I have seen in Laos.

The circus comes to Laos… Nearly with a splash..

Here is another short clip.

Riding from Muang Khua to Nong Khiew.

We stopped in the village to buy a drink and all the kids came out to look.

The Road to Phongsaly…

This road has more than enough trucks on it and tight and twisty.

My Go Pro froze before capturing some of the more Looney Truck drivers.

Here is a short vid that shows the road conditions.
Except I am missing the road works 15 km out of Phongsaly.

After re-hydrating and chatting with the locals and a quick look around.

Apparently the rice is being dried to be fed to the pigs.

It was time to go.

Leaving Xieng Kok and on to Muang Sing..

There were some steep and rutted mountains. Excellent riding. Not much in the way of pics unfortunately
At this stage we didn’t have our Go Pro’s out either.

The bike took a swim on this creek crossing and didn’t want to start.

So I stayed back and began to collect fire wood in case we had to camp here..
Scott took my bike to see if we can get a pickup or truck to take us to the next village.

We now had less than 2 hrs of day light left.

I was surprised how quick Scott was back and with a proper truck.

So off we go.. I follow the truck, Scott in the back with two Lao guys holding the bike in place.

The next thing, on this bend.. A scooter comes flying around on the wrong side of the track..
The truck swerves and half disappears in to the bush, then shots across the track and starts heading in to the bush on the other side of the track.

The truck driver tries to straighten it and the truck tips over to the left with both right wheels lifting up.

Amazingly the driver still moving and balancing the truck drives it half on the road and in the bush and get the truck back on all 4 wheels before getting the truck back on the road.

The two Lao guys look back at me with mouths wide open.. Like WTF..
Scott looking some what puzzled and seeing his life flash before the tress in the bush.

After that I decide to get in front of the truck and stop at the next village.

While waiting take some snaps of the kids that are surprised to see a Power Ranger arrive.

After a few minutes they were braver.

We end up staying in Mueng Mueng this night.. Working with the local bike shop to drain the oil, clean it out with diesel and make a few other fixes to the bike..

The locals were super friendly and arranged for one of the restaurants to stay open for us.

In-between the noodles being prepared the owner was working out.

Early morning we had a walk around and they were preparing the days supply of Lao Khao.

We declined the generous 7am offer of a drink!

Also very foggy start to the day.

Sabaidee for now.. More to come.

We are heading to Muang Sing the next morning..

A few pics that I found from the previous days ride first.

This was not gated off a few years back when riding through with Moto Rex.

We arrive in Muang Sing.
Jurgen is well known here.. Nice bungalows and good food..

The last couple of days riding.. Very telling on the KLX 🙂

Egg and Chips.. Winner..

Off to check out the market and look around to see if we can get Scott’s starter fixed..
Gets a bit tiring push starting.. Also not as easy when cold.

First off to see the Glod Shop.. Yes that is GLOD..

Solenoid gone.. So after a call with Fuark and the shop owner.

Then take the part out of another starter motor
Done.. Starts up fine.

Back to the market for a look around..

Neil Griffiths Facebook comment made me laugh.. ” He will never get his head out of there ”

Seems every trip I blow zipper on my body armour.. grrr

Good Morning Muang Sing….

Today we head up to the Green Triangle.

Sad to say we experienced locals loaded up with buckets of toxic pesticides and no protection.

The Banana tree plantation are endless.

The first part of the track to the Green Triangle is a bit crap to be honest.

Rocks and just an unpleasant bouncy ride.. I can’t remember the exact distance.. may be 20 or 30 km it starts to get nice..

Just before here

We stop and take a look over the edge in case a local lost it on the steep slippery mountain edge.
Couldn’t see anything and continued on.

Burma on the left side of the Mekong. Sitting in Laos.. China around the ben in the river.

Some bike repairs in the middle of no where..

Stop and buy and drink and talk to the locals on the way back to Luang Namtha.

Ended up arriving in Luang Namtha just after dark.. Nice paved road and a good pizza and beer Lao.

The next day we are off to Phongsaly.

Going to combine part of a current ride I am on with this report.

Last week spent 3 days 2 nights in below the Phu Chi Fa / Doi Pha Tang area with Frank..

Here is a short clip of some of the road works going on in the area.

Pretty amazing. The new border crossing will open up next year. So there will be another way in to Laos for foreigners. Heard this before and also confirmed by the friendly army guy at the border post.

A correction here for my Phu Chi Fa (Laos) base pictures

At the time I was thinking this doesn’t look right.. But convinced myself it must be.

Well, I was in the wrong smaller valley next to the valley at the base of Phu Chi Fa.

I only realised this a few days before leaving on the next Laos trip and comparing my tracks with the Track Moto-Rex sent me.

Good thing is.. The locals told of us a short cut between the valley to the real base of Phu Chi Fa.
Which I had also seen on Google Earth.

Cutting out a huge run around back out the Muang Khop and then the road works to the Mekong and turning back in to the track that takes you to the Phu Chi Fa turn off.

Continue on with this report, a bit delayed… Too much riding the last year while I gave retirement a test run 😉
I liked it and will be taking up as a full time job when the time is right.

So now time to catch up with the pending ride reports..

Continuing on to the Green Triangle and a couple of refresher pictures.

Concrete track down to the river where the picture was taken looking up the Mekong to China / Burma..

Stopping off at a village on the way back to Muang Sing..

Not sure what Scott said..

But when you get your camera out.

The kids run for the hills.. Literally.

Look back and make sure they are not running after us LOL

We tried to go a different way back to Muang Sing. Which ended up being a dead end and the rough track at the bottom before town.

Sill a great ride up..

Pretty easy ride to Luang Namtha.. Except I judged the time wrong and we ended up getting in after dark..

A days rest and checking out the sites.

Lovely temple.

We took a track Moto Rex showed me back a few years ago.
But this time.. We are going to Pongsaly. With Moto Rex we went right up to Ou Tai and skipped Pongsaly.

You take a bit of tarmac before turning off.. On the Google Earth Overlay it is listed in red writing.
This is still fun.. But progress has arrived.

A really pretty temple on the way in the middle of a small remote village.

Progress has arrived..
The little wooden bridge was the only one when Moto Rex and I went through a few years back.

I don’t have a pic of the next bridge.. It isn’t finished.. But 99% done.
The guy at the little wooden bridge really wanted to rip us off.. 50,000 kip each.

We were happy to pay 10,000 kip.. but 50 K is just greedy.. He wouldn’t budge..

Back we head to the unfinished bridge.. Ride up on it to the end.. Only a small ledge and wood sticking up where they had poured the concrete.
Then a small gap before the dirt at the end of the bridge..

We collected the loose timber on the bridge, stacked it up to make a small ramp and jumped over the gap and wood where the concrete had set.

All while the greedy bugger watched LOL.. May be he charged 10k each for the next Farang bikes.. ?

Some really nice remote villages.

It is a hard life for some.

This was a lot of fun.. We pull up and the kids are washing their bikes in the river and playing.
So we encourage them to ride them out.. They take up the challenge..

Scott and I decided it is only fair we also take our own challenge and go over the creek / river and ride through.
Amusing for the kids and villagers watching.

Here is a short video of us having some fun with the locals crossing the river.

I thought it would be fun to ride over the bridge for a change..
BUT when I made it to the other side.. the boom gate was padlocked.. No way getting it off.

So Scott came back and pushed me backwards off the bridge..
The locals passing on scooters had big grins on their faces 🙂

Just another magical spot on the trail..

Nearly at Pongsaly..

We take the paved road the rest of the way up up up to Pongsaly..
Lots of road works on the way up near the top and of course, sketchy bus and truck drivers.

Scotty nearly came off on some diesel that was on the shiny tarmac. Just held it together, with the front foot right out and saved it.

We both were careful after that..

Shiny roads, damp cool mountain air, afternoon dew / mist and diesel on the road.. Lovely combination :/

We check in to a nice and clean guest house.. Not really much to do here in the evening.
Find an OK non Chinese restaurant where the food looks clean.

The next morning I woke up before Scott and headed up to Phou fa Mountain.

“Phou Fa, or Mountain in the Sky”

Phou Fa Mountain

“At an altitude of 1626 meters, the mountain of Phou Fa boasts one of region’ s most scenic sites and also lends an alpine feel to the area surrounding this hill station. According to the legend , a man named SansiOnsa led over a thousand families of immigrants from Tibet, Myanmar and Chiang Mai, Golden Triangle to settle in Vieng Phou Kha (Luang Namtha Province) and later upward to Nam Ou river reaching Bhak Long on the banks of Bhak Long river about 6-7 generations ago. On arrival, they found a densly forested region which was considered an ideal place for them to settle and establish a new home.
Covered by densely tropical forest, the mountain of Phou Fa is decorated with plenty of colourfull flowers, especially in cool season, some of which are Dok Thong, Dok Gnui, Dok Khai, Dok Bhik, Dok Ban and so on. The mountain range is also home to many wild animals such as wild fiwls, Sambar deers, Barking deers, javans tigers, bears and different species of birds. The unforgettable sounding in the forest is the song of wild reindeer. The echo explains that when it rains, reindeer calls for the sun, and when it is sunny, reindeer calls again for the rain.
The peak of Phou Fa mountain covers an area of about 300 square meters, which has been a strategic position during the recent war. In 1999, local villagers constructed a path with 431 steps, up to the peak of the mountain making it become a symbol and a definite tourist attraction of Phong Saly.”
– Vietiong travel

Phongsaly Overview:-
[URL=’′]About Phongsaly[/URL]

A couple of stops along the way for a pic with the town and sea of fog below.

It is quite a hike up and the track is rough, rutted.. A few times I wished I had my boots on as slippery early in the morning.
I would not really want to do this on a heavy road bike and with road tyres..

The views are spectacular. This was around 7 am.

Sea of fog..

I went back down and we had breakfast and came back up again.. This time with Scott.

Didn’t take long for the cloud to burn off.
Get up there early!

Around 10 am. This time wearing riding gear before we headed off.

Here is Phuo Fa Mountain from the edge of town closest to the mountain.
You can see the temple at the top.

Here is a short video riding to / from Phongsaly..
Narrow road and a truck pushes us off the road once.

Today we head off to Boun Tai but not before exploring the back trails around Phongsaly town.

Just absolutely stunning..

After exploring around here we arrive on dark at Boun Tai

A couple of streets back off the main road.. Forget the name now.
Good, clean, secure parking for the bikes but no food.

There were a few grim looking places back along the main road if you don’t want to take 10 mins to scout around.

Then it was time for beers and cheers

All the restaurants were closed and we were really hungry.

This place agreed to open up and cooked up a storm

Plus the girls had a few beers with us.

The next morning we go and check out the French Fort.
Peter had given us some directions via Facebook in the evening.

I was pretty sure we spotted this on dusk on the way in to town too..
Pretty easy to find.

We head to the market and get breakfast.. On the way we are entertained by a cock fight..

We head on and on.. This track is dead quite. No motorbikes, no cars.. Nothing. No fuel too.

A few photos of the ethnic people along  the way as well as some of the scenery.

Sunflower alley. Just went on for ages.

Stopping in the village as Scott had a flat and the tools provided with the bike didn’t fit the nut.. so a good long ride on a Flat rear until this village.

Change the rear tyre

Then some games with the kids that had gathered.

Guess which hand has the money.

Stopping for some photos with the villagers.

Washing clothes along the way.

We reach the top and what looks like a long decent down..
Just as Scotty takes off. The arse end of my bike is all over the place… Damn… A flat.

Just before the decent. We can see this white, man mad object below.
The track looks to be taking us there.. Is it a town or a bridge… hard to tell..

Already on the way down and the track is too narrow to stop and start changing a tyre just in case a car or truck does come along.

So my turn the stand up on the pegs with weight forward..

Almost at the bottom and Scotty appears all excited..

” Bri.. Turn you go pro on mate.. you aint gunna believe this ”
Then he was gone…

Not even time to say.. I have a flat.. Oh well off I go again LOL

So I reach the bottom.. Take about 10 looks at my GPS..
That bloody great big load of water isn’t meant to be here.

Scotty was laughing for days after. My face and checking the GPS again and again..
– Progress in Laos..

Scotty said he will take care of the mechanics and I take care of the navigation.
Perfect… While I try and work out if there is a way around.. Scotty is changing the rear tyre.

He is a handy man to have on a trip.
Loves giving the tyre tubes a good pumping.

So tyre changed. We figure there must be a ferry or some kind of boat transport..
But can’t see anything.. Too late to go back.. So looks like we are camping here…

About 20 mins later a lady turns up on a Fino with Baby on-board.

She looks at us a bit surprised. Walks over to the tree and shows us a piece of paper in the tree with a phone number.
Calls the number and sure enough a boat arrived 10 mins later..

Like everything in life. Easy when you know how..

We load up Scotts bike on a smaller boat and that goes off in to the sunset, The local holding it stable with one hand and arse planted on the boat..

Then another bigger ocean liner comes for both Scotty and me and the mighty KLX.

We had to lift the bikes in while standing knee deep in the water..
Not as easy as you would think. Trying not to tip the bike over and in the drink on the other side.
Just the two of us, while old mate keeps the boat steady..

Scotts view.. Both our arses planted down to lower the centre of gravity…

Short video crossings the dam..

We are nearly there.

Safe and sound across to the other side
Scott was especially happy as he forgot his passport is in the bag strapped to the bike!
The locals were fair with the price to get the bikes over as well and had a good laugh with us.

My ocean liner to the left, Scotts canoe to the right.

Scott should have got a discount.

This guy caught dinner on the way across 😉

Same style boat Scott’s bike went over on with the crew and captain.
Scott was too much of a heavy weight to join that voyage.

Next stop Samphan .

Just a short ride away. You ride right through the dam site..

I do wonder if you were coming the other way.. The security may not let you pass..
I did hear of that happening to some others a few months back.

But the way we came. There is really no realistic way back and best to just let you out..

One guest house in town

Would have preferred to camp really..

It was a 70’s night in town.. Scotty fitted right in with his John Travolta moves on the dance floor.

The town is actually quite nice. Steep little roads.

Great little Vietnamese bike repair shop. Very helpful.. Couldn’t fix the problem, refused to take any money..
We gave him something anyway to which he was appreciative.

The GH we stayed in was pretty grotty. The woman running it, incredibly lazy..
Flies every where. Food sitting around..
I refused to eat there.. Just drink the cold drinks and eat else where.

Moto-Rex is in trouble when it comes to Disco moves.
I do believe Scott will be crowned Disco King for 2015

The next day we head to Muang Khua..
Following the Nam Ou.. Nice scenery but the road was as dusty as hell and a few trucks about.

A road coming to you soon!

This use to be the way across.. The boat men waved us up the road to a new bridge.

Tempting to get a good run up with the mighty KLX…

Beer O’clock

Then a explore around town on foot.

If I remember correctly.. We were there in a couple of hours..
Checked in to the usual place in town Moto Rex showed me years back.. Nice family run place.
Bike locked away at night..

The next day we head to Nong khiew.

A nice steep up and up and up….

Great little track. Though progress is catching up once you get down one the mountain on the other side.

Tough job doing road works here

Spectacular Laos.

We stopped at a small village in the middle and bought the kids a load of treats.
One of the parents spoke a little English and thanked us..

No thanks needed. Happy to see the kids smiling..

Everyone ended up with a drink, biscuits and chips etc.. nearly cleaned out the shop LOL

On we go.. The track get rougher..

till a ripper ride in here..

Then you arrive at progress…

Next stop.. Nong Khiew..

What a cool place to hang out and relax after some long days on the trails..

In the morning just as we were leaving we bumped in to the Ride China guys..

Couple of little shows offs teasing the Farang as he is taking pictures.

Next Stop Luang Prabang.

Time to catch up with Kay and his bike group from Chiang Mai..
Plus Chris – Steve C Canyon.. and by chance.. we will meet Thongkhoon also…
Small world indeed.

But first this ripper track to LPQ..

In to Sabaidee Alley on the way to Luang Prabang..

This is why we call it Sabaidee Alley..

Lots of progress as you get closer to Luang Prabang..
But 2/3 of the track is still good fun..

The kids come running out yelling “Sabaidee” or in some cases give a Wai..

Stunning mountains with roads running along the ridge line

Not scared either.

Then I stumble across the abandoned Farang kid.. yelling out “Sabaidee” as I passed..

Watch out for live stock…

Road works towards the end.

Never mind.. A local waiting offers some fruit / vegetable..

Such kind people.

Scotty was gone for a while.. I go back and sure enough..
Another flat.

We arrive LPQ.. Flats and a few broken bits..
My number plate is nearly dead…

Time to catch up with Chris (Steve C Canyon ) and Kay.. for beers and Cheers

We arrive Luang Prabang.. Beer Lao by the Majestic Mekong a must.

Then off to catch up with friends..

Chris ( Steve C Canyon ) at Moto Lao..

Chris showing off the Bar chairs are made out of Beer Lao crates.

Then it was time to catch up with Kay.. Visiting with his tour group from Chiang Mai.

Then a Facebook message from TK.. He is in LPQ as well…

Busy town and lots of catching up…

The next day we relaxed.. Walked around.. Beer Lao here and there then met Chris in the evening.

After a few lovely days in Luang Prabang.. It was time to leave.

Always tough leaving LPQ.. Just so relaxing by the Mekong and endless beautiful sunset accompanied by copious amounts of Beer Laos.

There are two ways that I know of to go via dirt to Phonsavan.
The easy way and the harder way..

Having done the harder way before a few years back, plus Chris warned the hard way track was rutted to hell and your fillings will shake out..

So we decided to take the easier way… Well that was until I went the wrong way..
The wrong way was the harder way.. doh.

Chris was right.. ruts and holes and a bumpy bouncy ride.. But still fun..

This is the route we ended up going.

Some steep ups and downs.

But first the road is OK.. Newly paved in the early part after turning off the main drag.

The some major road works, then back to the track.

All pretty easy going up to here..

Then hit the ruts and bouncing around until the river crossing.

My turn

Once you get past here.. The track really is rutted and messed up and steep up up up up as you can see my the GPS picture.

You are riding right on the lip of the rut.. fall off and you will go right in and probably need two of you to get the bike out.

Glad we were riding up it and not down it..

Also Scott’s bike being a bit thirsty was running low on fuel..
There is nothing in here.. A few times we stopped and Scott was taking it easy..

Making plans in case I had to go out and back with a couple of litres.

We just made it to the main road.. Again when you get closer to the main tracks..
Lots of road works 🙁

As we pull out on to the main road.. bang.. a flat..
Well.. Better out here than in the bush…

Next stop Phonsavan and Beer Lao o’clock.

On a previous trip with Rex

It felt like the end of the earth until we crossed.
The village had one small shop with warm beer and after about 30 mins of riding the road works were coming.

The track was rutted to hell with some land slides from the rainy season still to be cleared..

The we arrived at this and looked down.. I remember thinking..
Crap.. This is going to be steep and lots of loose rock on the hard surface…

(Glad we went up this and not down again as still rutted to hell)

The map of the day.. looks to match up with the GPS pic from the present trip.

You can see no real track or road to the river like there is now..
The area has opened up a lot in both directions and lots of trees gone..

But still a ripper ride.

We decide to head up to Vieng Tong.. Round trip there and back with one over night.
The pics below are taken going both directions.

Stopping off at a LIMA site on the way back and a rest day to take in the jars..

It is much quicker going up the guts on the dirt and over the mountains than all the way around on the twisty windy tarmac.

But bone rattling in parts, until you hit the mountains.
Then it is fun.. Lots of land slides and other wash outs from the rainy season.

Looks closely and you can see Scott. Puts some scale to it..

Cute little village in the middle.

The local teacher came and spoke with us.. Very impressed to see how the village wants to get ahead.
Asked us if we knew any one that would like to stop over for a few days and help teach English at the school.

On the way back Scott and I went to look for the teacher to get his details and spread the word.
As we were both so impressed by him.. But couldn’t find him and in the end gave up 🙁

The water was a little too deep to cross..
We thought we would give it a try on the way back.. But it was even higher than the day before..

Must have been releasing water upstream. So back over the suspension bridge.

You will see in the video.. Scotty nearly went for a swim.

High Wire Act..

At the tightest and highest part.. Only bikes and farm trucks could make it through..
Still washed out and land slides not cleared from the rainy season.
You never know.. But we were discussing the possibility of a road all the way through.
But if you look at the earlier pictures.. they can’t even keep up with that..
Hopefully dirt bike territory for a while to come 🙂

Check in and head off to the hot springs.

Seems history has changed a little over the years.. First went here about 6 or 7 years ago.
There was a very prominent sign thanking a foreign teacher for donating the materials and building the hot springs.

Now no mention of the foreigner and the local teachers did it..

Not sure who is right and things do change over time 🙂

The more expensive seats.. 7 years ago.. there was only this.. I don’t remember the hot tubs.
Now you / locals have to pay to use this section. There is still a free section below at the end of the pipes.

There are some nice gardens and walk ways with areas to sit and have a picnic.
Fresh eggs sold at the ticket counter if you want to boil an egg.

It gets cold in the town at night…

Time to head back to Phonsavan..

But first a ride up to LS 36.. Went up here about 5 years ago.
The track is much easier than then, widened a lot. Could almost get the Versys up if not raining and post rainy season.

The village has developed a lot too.. Offering home stays now..

The runway.

Next stop Phonsavan.. The way we came in over the land slides..

Scotty had never been to the Plain of Jars before. So we stopped at Site One.. Easiest site to get to, just out of town.

Paved road all the way there for few years now.

They have moved the parking area, now have a little UXO museum on site since my last visit.

After being rained in for a day.. Plus it was cold..

Yes.. Don’t let the name.. Dry season fool you.. More than a few times caught out by the cold rain over this side of Laos.

We decide to head off.. Wearing as much gear as we can and the rain gear became a wind breaker.
It gets cold when 1,000 metres above sea level at this time of year.

The mighty KLX clicked over 60,000 km… Another 5,000 km on since then.

Next Stop… Phou Khoun.

Can you guess where we are?

Vang Vieng….

Beer O’clock…

The final installment of this trip..

A couple of days in Vang Vieng and a little explore around the caves and other sites.

The locals are looking for Monkey’s..

Time to go and get those steaks for dinner..

[I][B]” I heard you ” [/B][/I]

Bumped in to Dee Den.. Been riding with him and his Thai friends in Kanchanaburi.
Small world.. They also had problems and the Muang Ngern border.
Only 3 out of 7 made it across..

Then the next day.. Time to wrap up a great trip.. with a great mate.
We had a blast..

Vientiane.. Where we had beers with PJ..

The majestic Mekong was right out.. You could almost walk over to Thailand.
I bought up Google Earth on my phone and was standing bang in the middle.

That is a wrap..

Thanks and hope you enjoyed the journey.. We did..