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Laos Forum Laos travelers tales forum for your trips and holidays in Laos, whether it is a weekend in Vientiane or a trek to Luang Prabang or river rafting down towards the Mekong, a cultural tour of Plaine Des Jarres or just chilling out in Pakse, Viengsay, Savannakhet, Paklay, Sayaboury, Oudomxay or Saravane. Weather in Laos.

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Old 06-01-2013, 08:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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My massive road trip from Cha-Am Thailand to Laos and back again Jan 2011

Hello all!

I've not long been on this forum and joined looking for advice about living and working in Laos as I am going to be moving there in the near future.

Anyhow back in January 2011 me and a friend embarked on a massive trip from Cha-Am in Thailand to Laos!

The route took us from Cha-Am to Saraburi on day one, day two was Saraburi to Ubon Ratchathani and day three took us from Ubon Ratchathani through the border at Chong Mek and down to Pakse in Laos.

Anyhow here are some pictures! We carried on up Laos, I will explain the route as I post pictures:



The bikes just prior to leaving Cha-Am





Stopping near Phetchaburi to re-secure bags




No pictures from within Bangkok as we spent a hell of along time severely lost!! We ended going up the complete wrong way and ended up in Bang-Na!!! We got to Saraburi at about 1:30 am!

Day two took us from Saraburi to Ubon Ratchathani which was a long ride!



Picture from near Nakhon Ratchasima







Stopped for lunch and there were a load of Army vehicles parked up.



Big Wat just near Nakhon Ratchasima.



The bikes did us very well indeed!



7-Eleven break





Another break near Ubon Ratchathani



No pictures from the Thai side of the border at Chong Mek however we passed through the border all OK and arrived in Laos!!!

We were very nervous at the border as we stopped at a immigration office near the border in Thailand who said that bikes had to be 250cc or bigger to cross the border so potentially we had ridden all the way from Cha-Am for no reason!

Anyhow we got through because apparently that rule is only for Thai and Lao people to stop loads of them crossing the border every day on mopeds and it is fine for foreigners.

We had to fill in some paperwork etc and pay for a month's insurance in Laos and also had to exit via the same place.

Anyhow we were in Lao!!!







We road to Pakse where we found somewhere to stay and went to a friends restaurant to go and have some food and a drink.



My friend rather enjoying a beer Lao ha ha.

My Mr's came down from Vientiane to Lao on the bus to meet me.





After a few too many beer Lao my friend decided to go swimming in the river ha ha.



The next day me and my friend went to do a bit of exploring! My Mr's friend was getting engaged so she spent all day getting her make up done etc...





Some water buffalo wallowing in the mud and rucking.



A bit of off road riding on the waves



We spent a few more days in Pakse and then my Mr's went back up to Vientiane on the bus so me and my fried decided to go down to 4000 Islands.



Stopping off on the way, I cant remember where this was though to be honest...

We took the ferry to Don Kong.





We stayed on Don Kong for one night, it wasn't great to be honest.

The next day when setting off to get the ferry we bumped in to two women on British registered bikes who were on a round the world trip!



Who would have thought it hey!!



We went to another one of the island where we stayed two or three nights however I cant remember which one it was?

We then rode back up from 4000 Island to Savannakhet in one day!





I have loads more pics, just got to pop out now, I will update with the rest of the pics and journey when I get back.

Hope you all enjoy!
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Old 06-01-2013, 08:27 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Great thread SuperN
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Old 06-01-2013, 08:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Great pics
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Old 06-01-2013, 08:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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That's one hell of a ride on a small bike kudos to you and your mate. Look forward to seeing more of your pics.
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Old 06-01-2013, 08:53 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Nice one .

Just shows that if you have a bit more time you don't need a large bike to go touring. Another advantage is fuel economy and ready availibilty of spares in case of trouble. Thanks for posting.
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Old 06-01-2013, 09:43 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Nice one .

Just shows that if you have a bit more time you don't need a large bike to go touring. Another advantage is fuel economy and ready availibilty of spares in case of trouble. Thanks for posting.
Nice photos there apart from the one in the pants,fuck me turn it in son you look like a German!

Look forward to the rest.
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Old 06-01-2013, 10:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The next day when setting off to get the ferry we bumped in to two women on British registered bikes who were on a round the world trip!
cool pics. but how pathetic did you feel seeing 2 grandmas on big ass bikes next to your scooters
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Old 06-01-2013, 10:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Nice thread supernovadw. A great experience I'm sure. Carry on and enjoy!
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Old 06-01-2013, 10:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thank you all for the positive comments!

Yep you certainly don't need a massive brand new BMW to tour on! The bikes really did us proud!!!

My friend even ran his out of oil however after re-filling with oil it was all OK!!! Amazing hey!!!

Anyhow here are some more pics:



On the way to Savannakhet from Pakse



There are loads of Tak taks in rural Lao! They can be quite dangerous at night as they rarely have any lights on the rear!





We headed north from Savannakhet to Thakek and stayed there a couple of nights, one day we road out on the road that takes you to the Vietnam border, it really is a great road! Very smooth and quite, I would love to have been on a nice bike at this point!





Stopping along the way to take in the sights and found a little village in the middle of no where!



Woman fishing





I love this picture above!





There was a big cement factory near the Vietnam border so loads of truck going up and down.



Due to the amount of time in the saddle my friend decided to buy a pillow and tie it to his seat ha ha.



We stopped in a cave along the way which was massive! Price to enter was 25,000 kip each on the sign however the ladyboy on the door charged us 10,000 kip each for some reason? Must have liked us ha ha.





The cave was certainly worth a visit! We were the only people there!!!

We then rode from Thakek to Paksan which wasn't particularly nice so we only stayed a night, we went to a restaurant on the river front where I saw the best menu that I've ever seen!



It certainly sounds appetising doesn't it!

The next day we rode back to Vientiane where we ended up staying for a week. My then girlfriend and now wife lives there so I had a really good time!

Her friend has an old Opel with a Nissan engine in it, really cool old car!




Anyhow back out now but as soon as I get back I shall post more pics!

Hope everyone is liking my thread and pics, thanks
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Old 06-01-2013, 10:54 PM   #10 (permalink)
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great thread, awaiting more pics, well done on picking a winner of a laos missus, top marks young lad
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Old 06-01-2013, 10:59 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Marvelous photos, thank you
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Old 06-01-2013, 11:09 PM   #12 (permalink)
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well done on picking a winner of a laos missus, top marks young lad
and the rest.
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Old 06-01-2013, 11:35 PM   #13 (permalink)
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well done on picking a winner of a laos missus, top marks young lad
Thanks mate

I certainly did get lucky there as I cannot even remember meeting her ha ha, too many beer Lao
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Old 06-01-2013, 11:36 PM   #14 (permalink)
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There are loads of Tak taks in rural Lao! They can be quite dangerous at night as they rarely have any lights on the rear!

Nor did the blue bike by the look of it
We did have lights on the back, attached LED strips to the back of the luggage rack, didn't fancy having a truck smash in to the back of me lol.
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Old 06-01-2013, 11:43 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Nice thread and pics bud, did you hire those scooters from Cha Am ?

I would have loved to have seen the look on Felix the bald fat swiss guys chops when he checked the mileage :-)
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Old 06-01-2013, 11:58 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Anyhow more pics!

OK well as I said we spent a week or so in Vientiane, spent most of our time drinking ha ha.



This is my wife's friends house which she was renting out for a bargain 4000 Baht a month! Really nice place!





Did some washing and got these massive ants all over it!



Went out to my Mr's parents house in the middle of no where.



My mate on a Tak tak.

Anyhow after our time in Vientiane we decided to go to Vang Vieng to indulge in a bit of tubing, rode there from Vientiane two's up with my Mr's on the back, took a long time!







Stopped for lunch in probably the most skanky restaurant I've ever eaten in! Now I've eaten in many different places and am not fussy at all but it was really pretty horrible in here! Went to the toilet and the door completley fell off so we made a swift exit.

Anyhow we got to Vang Vieng and the next day indulged in a bit of tubing, my friend from the UK who spends alot of time out in Thailand/Laos came to meet us and came tubing too, he's 63 but acts like 21!





Spent a few days in Vang Vieng and had a really good laugh! Anyhow the next day my Mrs returned back to Vientiane on the bus and me and my friend set off north on our way to Phonsavan.









The road on the way there was pretty decent to be honest! As we left Vang Vieng at lunch time it wasn't until late that we arrived in Phonsavan and wasn't it cold!!! Really didn't account for how cold it was going to be! Around 6 Degrees!!!!

Anyhow we found a Chinese hotel and checked in, had to ask for extra blankets as it was bloody freezing! It was lovely to get there and have a hot shower Went out to a local Karaoke bar and ended up going off with some Lao guys and girls to a random disco about 20 mins out of town, it was really cold though!

Anyhow the next day we got up early and went to eat some Pho for breakfast where I met the biggest dog I've ever seen in Asia!!!



The pictures don't show but this dog was massive!



Pictures from Phonsavan town, it was really quite a dreary place to be honest...It didn't help how cold it was! It was like being back in the UK!!!



Went to the plain of jars which was OK, not really as great as I thought it was going to be to be honest.
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Old 07-01-2013, 12:02 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Nice thread and pics bud, did you hire those scooters from Cha Am ?

I would have loved to have seen the look on Felix the bald fat swiss guys chops when he checked the mileage :-)
No we didn't hire them we bought the bikes, I still have my bike, it is sat at my friends house in Cha-Am.

In six months we both did about 10,000 Miles!!!! We didn't just do the one trip we also did alot of riding in Thailand!

The bikes really did us proud! No problems what so ever with mine!
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Old 07-01-2013, 12:22 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Great pics indeed. That stalagtite looming above you in the cave looks like a petrified T-Rex!
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Old 07-01-2013, 12:27 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Great pic of you both, one to look back on over the years no doubt.

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Old 07-01-2013, 12:31 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Great pic of you both, one to look back on over the years no doubt.

Thanks! Yep it certainly shall be one to look back on!

My friend who I did the trip with is currently living in Bangkok and I am going to be in Laos soon so we shall certainly not rule out another road trip!
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Old 07-01-2013, 12:59 AM   #21 (permalink)
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An incredible trip on very small bikes! You went all that way and didn't check out Wat Phu, near Champassak, south of Paskse on the W/S of the Kong River? I rode over the Kong River on one of those skangky canoe ferries @ Wat Phu. Hope you checked out the Kong Lor Caves east of Vieng Kham on Hwy 8. An incredible experience on a boat trip thru 7 km cave. I like Vientiane, especially the Beer Lao ... the best beer in SE Asia. Vang Vieng was really wierd. The old Air Port was the main US Air Base for the Secret War in Laos. I agree with your comments re: Phonsovan. A bit over rated. It was one of the main Opium Route Trading Cities between North Vietnam & Chiang Mai for probably 1000 years. As you travel along Hwy 7 between Phou Khoun & Phonsovan, nearly any straight section of the Hwy was a US Air Base during the Secret War in Laos. Recommended reading for travellers. You can download off the Internet. A great trip indeed. I'd like a 250cc bike however. Check out some Thai built Bikes. I met several big bike riders who said they like their 250cc Thai bikes for touring, rather than their big Honda's & Harleys. A great travel journal.
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Old 07-01-2013, 01:16 AM   #22 (permalink)
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An incredible trip on very small bikes! You went all that way and didn't check out Wat Phu, near Champassak, south of Paskse on the W/S of the Kong River? I rode over the Kong River on one of those skangky canoe ferries @ Wat Phu. Hope you checked out the Kong Lor Caves east of Vieng Kham on Hwy 8. An incredible experience on a boat trip thru 7 km cave. I like Vientiane, especially the Beer Lao ... the best beer in SE Asia. Vang Vieng was really wierd. The old Air Port was the main US Air Base for the Secret War in Laos. I agree with your comments re: Phonsovan. A bit over rated. It was one of the main Opium Route Trading Cities between North Vietnam & Chiang Mai for probably 1000 years. As you travel along Hwy 7 between Phou Khoun & Phonsovan, nearly any straight section of the Hwy was a US Air Base during the Secret War in Laos. Recommended reading for travellers. You can download off the Internet. A great trip indeed. I'd like a 250cc bike however. Check out some Thai built Bikes. I met several big bike riders who said they like their 250cc Thai bikes for touring, rather than their big Honda's & Harleys. A great travel journal.
Thanks mate, no we didn't go to Wat Pho, we did plan to go but for some reason didn't, I can't remember why? To be perfectly honesty I've seen so many wat's that I wasn't too bothered, as shallow as it sounds I don't find them greatly interesting anymore.....

Phonsavan when I went in January was very cold! It was just like being back in the UK, I was genuinely cold on the bike! We kept stopping to buy coffee. Phonsavan it's self was very different to Vientiane and the rest of Laos (That I have seen) It seemed like China more than Laos in a way.

As I've said the bikes were great! I would have been nice to have a bit more power but the maneuverability and light weight was very advantageous! Next time around I would probably go for a 250cc to 400cc Bike. I certainly wouldn't fancy a big heavy BMW etc...
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Old 07-01-2013, 02:19 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Anyhow more pictures!

We stayed I think two or three nights in Phonsavan, I can't remember exactly as it was a while ago.

Anyhow we spent a while looking at the plain or jars.









Tried to open the lid on this jar with no luck :/



Sitting in the jar






The next day we left at about 9 am with the intention to make the not too long ride back to Vientiane, we estimated that we would be back by 5pm ish however that certainly didn't end up being the case!

Here's a few pictures of the road from Phonsavan to Vientiane.



Just out of Phonsavan





Almost as soon as you leave Phonsavan the road turns from tarmac to gravel/dirt. It get's really dusty! If you went there in wet season then I can imagine that certain areas are very bad!



As you get further on there are some really scenic views!

We made a bad mistake on our route! The road goes in to a Y where you can either take the road that goes left down to Thakek or right to Vientiane, at the time we weren't aware and unfortunately went left instead of right and this is where the nightmare began!

Here are a few pictures of the road.





We literally ended up in the middle of no where! I could swear that the people where we ended up had never seen a white person! They were just staring at us in amazement!!! The other thing is that the people there could no speak Lao!!! They could not speak a word of Lao, it was bizzare!









Where the road turned to a Y it was near Xaisomboun restricted area, not meaning to be a conspiracy theorist but after seeing a fleet of Ford pickups with farangs in it certainly made me think about what happens there? There must have been about 10 pickups in a fleet.

Anyhow as we said we took the wrong turning and ended up heading towards Thakek instead of Vientiane! The road got really really bad! I really don't know where we ended up but at one point we ran out of petrol in the middle of no where at 12pm!

Anyhow here is a few more pics.











Nearby where we were in the above picture we got stopped twice at checkpoints by guys with AK47's! They were however perfectly fine, I think they were intrigued more than anything to see two farang on Thai registered motorbikes in the middle of no where! They checked out passports and we were on our way! They weren't police I think they were illegal loggers as they had camps set up there.

Anyhow as I said when we left in the morning we expected to arrive back in Vientiane at around 5pm however because of the wrong turning we ended up arriving back in Vientiane the next day at 5am!!!! It was the most epic day of riding I've ever ever had in my life!!! We were so lucky that we didn't break down or get a flat tyre as we really would have been in trouble!

So just to reiterate we left Phonsavan at 9am and arrived in Vientiane the next day at 5am!!! 20 hours!!!!! Probably about 18 solid hours of riding!!!!
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Old 07-01-2013, 04:00 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Epic trip bud. You did amazing on those small bikes. I'm planning on heading up to Phonsavan for a few days, probably later later this year though. Great stuff.
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Old 07-01-2013, 04:11 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by frazerHX View Post
Epic trip bud. You did amazing on those small bikes. I'm planning on heading up to Phonsavan for a few days, probably later later this year though. Great stuff.
Thanks mate! Yep It was certainly an epic trip!! We covered some crazy mileage especially on a 125 ha ha. Have fun in Phonsavan, if you go in cold season then make sure you take a jacket as it's bloody cold! It was like 6 degrees when we were there!!! It is worth a look but it's pretty grim to be honest, not an amazing amount to see or do.
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