Vientiane, Van Vieng, Luang Prabang Laos
fantastic long weekend trip! Thanks Brian for putting it together!
I enjoyed a pleasant ride from Bangkok to Udon Thani via Wang Nam Kiao to meet up with the Brian and Rob who had left there bikes at the Kawa dealer the weekend before.
Made excellent time so stopped at the Ubolrat reservoir near Khon Kaen for a fantastic lunch overlooking the lake-
What a meal! Less than 300 Baht (US$10) all in! :D
Met up with Brian, Rob and Tim at Kawasaki/Honda/KTM/BMW dealer in Udon Thani (very impressive dealership!) and off we went to the border-
Made it to the Thai border at Nong Kai without incident and began the rather tedious process of running around to complete the immigration and customs formalities.
Other than one annoying customs official and Rob being assaulted and bloodied by a low awning things went smoothly on the Thai side.
We ignored the signs that say "No Motorcycles" and rode directly across the Friendship Bridge to Laos :clap
No sooner had we crossed the bridge did Rob run over a 4x4 block of wood that sent him flying but fortunately he managed to stay shiny side up!
I stopped and picked up all the stuff that fell out of his top box. Video riding across the friendship bridge from Nong Khai, Thailand to Vientiane, Laos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nd6zs0sbWdw
Completing immigration and customs on the Lao side took a LONG time but fortunately ALMOST everyone kept their cool :wink:
Arriving Customs and Immigration in Laos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvTSS...feature=relmfu
Nobody seemed to care that we rode our bikes across the bridge which was cool. We had to go to the office of the Customs boss to get our forms signed but he was friendly and his office was nice and cool. (It was a hot day and we were wearing full gear).
After we cleared Immigration and Customs and bought the basic required insurance Brian took Tim to pick up the rental bike from Fuark while Rob and I made straight for the hotel and got pretty lost. Thank goodness I had the GT Rider Laos map or I don't know how long it would have taken us to find the Metropole.
I can imagine that back in the day this was a fine hotel, but presently it's in rather sorry state and at 800 baht (~US$27) a complete rip off compared to other options in Vientiane. But it's in a good location and has secure off street parking for the bikes.
We walked down to the Mekong for dinner and ended up in a Tex-Mex place :lol3
After a long day in the saddle, Bangkok-Vientiane, it felt good to stretch my legs.
Pretty decent food and some rather aggressive ladyboys... Here's Brian doing his best to ignore his admirer- :rofl
Bit of bar hopping and ended the night at the Wind West (or West Wind?) bar where they had an excellent live band and a lot of eye candy. Vientiane, like the rest of Laos goes to sleep pretty early. That's ok- we needed to get up early the next morning for the long ride from Vientiane to Luang Prabang.
We'd agreed to hit the starter buttons at 0700 the next morning for the longish ride to Luang Prabang. It's not a huge distance, but it's quite a slow road with variable conditions and you never know what kind of weather you might get in the mountains.
0700 Rob, Brian and Tony are ready to roll but no sign of Tim... Hmmm... 0715 still no Tim but wow there are a lot (I mean a LOT!) of empty Beer Leo cans in the lobby. Brian goes to see if Tim is alive and reports that yes, he has a pulse but is still in bed...
Hmmm, Rob and Brian take turns trying to roust Tim who is obviously nursing a serious hangover. Turns out that when we got back to the hotel the night before Tim's AC wasn't working. The hotel staff told him to come down and have a few beers while they tried to sort it out.
I think the real plan was to get him so drunk that he'd forget about the AC. :1drink Guess it worked.... :evil
Ah well, finally Tim arrives and we hit the road. Saturday mornings are cool in Vientiane- all the school kids go out with brooms and clean the town. No wonder this city is so immaculate!
Traffic's not too bad and we get out of Vientiane without incident.
The road to Van Vieng is in much worse shape than when I rode it a couple of years ago. Many sections of dirt, some hard packed, some freshly dumped and being graded. I'm glad I took the Versys instead of the GSXR. I can imagine it isn't much fun on Rob's FZ1.
Rob and I rode ahead of Brian and Tim.
We stopped on the Lao-Japan bridge to enjoy the scenery and wait for Tim and Brian to catch up-
What a view!
Here's Brian, Tim wasn't too far behind-
Tim's rented CRF250L was brand new and was getting terrible mileage, probably on account of the still-tight engine. He needed to stop for fuel a lot sooner than expected-
An example of the kind of road conditions we encountered along the way-
At least it was dry! :evil
Still, we made good time and reached Van Vieng around 11 where we gassed up and stopped for lunch.
Welcome to Van Vieng, Laos!
Tim was still moving a bit slow and somehow we managed to lose him in Van Vieng. It's such a small town we thought he'd find us, but we didn't see him again until that evening in Luang Prabang. Sorry we lost you Tim!
The road from Van Vieng to Luang Prabang is amazing- up and down, turn after turn, amazing scenery, and it's generally in better condition than the section south of Van Vieng-
Leaving Van Vieng, headed north-
Shortly after you leave Van Vieng you climb up into some amazing limestone mountains- had to stop and snap a few pics-
We had some rain along the way which took away the views and slowed us down, but we still made good time.
There's a road side rest area with some amazing views about ~30km out of Luang Prabang-
What a view!
The monkey was a nice touch too :D
We stayed two nights at the comfortable and friendly Hoxieng Guest House-
Excellent location, family run, 400 Baht for ac rooms with WiFi and complimentary coffee/tea in the morning and secure off street parking for the bikes.
Great location- walking distance to everything-
Beer Lao at the guesthouse, Beer Lao down on the Mekong, and more Beer Lao and outstanding food at the Lamache Restaurant, right on the river-
Sunset on the Mekong-
I was a bit tired and sore from two long days in the saddle and went off for a two hour Lao massage while the rest of the gang went bar hopping.
- Along for the ride . . . . . . .
Enjoying your ride report. Was in Vietnam this past March; looks like the roads are not
heavily congested like Nam.
Keep posting :thumb
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