10 day dirt trail riding in north east Laos PART 2

KTMphil

Senior member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Bikes
2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
]xam n hotel sign.jpg[/attachment:h9z169ur]

The hotel had some interesting carved chairs
xam n hotel alex.jpg

Being quite close to the Vietnam border we thought we may see some bush meat in the market, we were right. there was a mountain cat with a very long tail, some kind of big ferret, might have been from the dog family on the slab with a chicken
xam n bush meaty 1.jpg

xam n bm 2.jpg

xam n bm 3.jpg

The new market in XN is huge
xam n mkt 1.jpg

xam n mkt 2.jpg

There's a great restaurant in XN 50m from the SN hotel back across the bridge, they even have home made french fries


xam n rst sign.jpg

Don had gone off early mapping and loaded a gps route from his gps map for a back way up to LIMA 85 for us, this was the U.S 's main radar station during the Vietnam war which was mainly used for bombing Hanoi. Don had had problems there in the past with Laos military being interviewed for 4 hours and all his gear checked and advised us to hide all our money and passports away from the soldiers easy searches, so we did. Unfortunately. 20km up the trail it started to rain and became a narrow muddy trail so we turned back
lima 85 trail.jpg
 

Attachments

AlexUSA

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2011
Bikes
XR280R, Dash 125 (supercup) , DT125
KTMphil said:
the road NE to Xam (sam) Neua. If you've not done this road it might have some of the best views from tarmac in SE Asia. It's about 270km to Xam Neua from Phonsavan and curves all the way, we all had some scares with buses and pickups, a very tiring road mentally.
Seconded. Nice report again.
 

KTMphil

Senior member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Bikes
2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
Re: 10 day dirt trail riding in north east Laos PART 2 -

]uxo alex.jpg[/attachment:2e0x7eyl]

uxo truck.jpg

VX was heavily bombed during the Vietnam war and the local farmers were fortunate to have caves to live in then would farm the fields at night, the buffalo's did the UXO work then

Home made hydro-electric on the river on the way to VX
hydro on river.jpg

VX is a small town, tourists are drawn by the caves. We stayed at the Naxay GH oppsite the cave tourist info center 60,000 kip
vx gh room.jpg

vx gh naxay sign.jpg

Bomb shell at the Naxay GH
vx gh bomb.jpg

An alternative to stay at is the xailoymen GH, its on the lake, the rooms are small but clean, 60,000 kip. we ate there the food was good
vx restaurant.jpg

vx rest room.jpg

vx rest al;ex.jpg

The monument in VX
vx monument vx.jpg

The lake in VX
vx lake.jpg
 

Attachments

KTMphil

Senior member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Bikes
2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
10 day dirt trail riding in north east Laos PART 2 - EAST TO VIETNAM

The next day, with the aid of Don's laos gps map, i headed east towards a locals crossing into vietnam. We'd had a lot of rain the night before and it was flowing over the road -excuse the photo's ill correct them when i get home (computer cant handle RAW files)
P1050071.jpg

This was the turn off the main dirt road to the border that should lead to the locals crossing
P1050074.jpg

after 10km down a muddy dirt trail
P1050075.jpg

There was a locals crossing as the gps map had as data
P1050076.jpg

P1050077.jpg

There were some beautiful hill tribe ladies at the Vietnam border in traditional dress EVERY lady was wearing it
P1050081.jpg

A bamboo bridge near the Vietnam border, note the flood of rainwater in the river below
P1050084.jpg

P1050083.jpg

After returning to Viang Xay, alex, steve & myself rode back SW to Phongsaly, Don was away stuck in the jungle somewhere. The control tower at Xam Neua airport below right on the main highway
P1050088.jpg

When we were back in Phonsavan we saw the daily occurrence of motorcycle crashes, this just as we were going out to eat
P1050097.jpg
 

KTMphil

Senior member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Bikes
2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
]P1050102.jpg[/attachment:qo3zq452]

Steve and Alex taking in the views
P1050103.jpg

P1050104.jpg

Note the rain clouds building
P1050109.jpg

Alex on the windy trail below
P1050115.jpg

Rice fields
P1050116.jpg

P1050119.jpg

The trail runs SSE through the Nammo forest production area ie a huge logging project
P1050135.jpg

The logging
P1050141.jpg

P1050142.jpg

It was a beautiful trail SE of Phonsavan (little did we know)
P1050149.jpg
 

Attachments

KTMphil

Senior member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Bikes
2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
]P1050182.jpg[/attachment:3de05bpu]

1km after the ferry there was a village and we replenished our fluids and moved on
P1050184.jpg

We were now back on a major trail, it felt good to be safe again out of the jungle with great views
P1050186.jpg

About 30km west of Paxsan on the mekong river we found a new ferry crossing to Thailand being used by a mining company
P1050189.jpg

The next piece of drama was Alex's bike came to a halt. We all pulled over Alex looked around the bike and saw that the spark plug had worked its self completely out!
P1050192.jpg

Finally got to Vientiane and stayed at the Sihom GH 450bht incl aircon , good value for Vientiane
P1050195.jpg

P1050194.jpg

Drying out the hammock and flysheet in the room!
P1050196.jpg

Well deserved dinner at the Hare & Hound in Vientiane their breaded chicken and pork fillets are great value for money and they have cider
P1050197.jpg

I got a text that Auke would be in Vientaine with Mac as they were on their way to long Chien and might be able to get in so we met up with them for dinner at the Khop Chai Deu
P1050204.jpg

P1050209.jpg

I got a text from Don that he got stuck in the jungle in the rain and had to sleep under a hut with a horse!
 

Attachments

Marco

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2011
Location
Khuang Nai
Bikes
2016 Honda CBR 500R
Man

Lot of nice thigs happening,, i really liked you guys slept in jungle,,, nice old feeling comes to my mind,,,but those times i had only big back pag and abt 5days to go next day,,, love those feeling's,,but must be very hard with bikes especially with so much mud,,,should have Mud tire chain,,, then u could go up nice and very easy way
 

KTMphil

Senior member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Bikes
2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
Marco it was a drama packed trip, not a dull moment, i'm not sure steve knew what he was letting himself in for!
 

KTMphil

Senior member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Bikes
2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
Lessons learned from jungle trail "tour" riding in rainy season

1. Respect mother nature in rainy season, once you're stuck that's it. If it looks like the wx is deteriorating get out of mountain jungle trails ASAP.

2. Always be prepared to camp, the fact we all had decent camping gear rated to rainy season didn't make it a big deal getting stuck. hammocks are the best way to go in the jungle. Headlights are a must.

3. Carry more water than you think you need, we all ran out of fluids

4. GPS WP your crash points something will fall off- Don lost the top of his Shoei helmet in a crash and has it marked and can go back and get it.

5. Check with the bus companies HQ if the buses are getting through on unmade roads, are the rivers too high etc....

6. Tire pressure critical - I had way too much in the rear, when let down to 15 psi made a huge difference to traction

7. Don't be afraid to walk the bike up a jungle track running in gear - falling off uses 20X more energy picking the bike up loaded with gear.

8. try and keep the bike as light as possible make a big big difference

9. 48 tooth rear sprocket will make a big difference in getting up tough muddy jungle tracks

10. stand and lean forward as much as you can. Don has ridden over 200,000km on dirt trails in Laos and is always standing leaning forward over the bars keeping the front wheel digging in.

11. Commit to the hill with momentum to start, if you stop half way very good chance you will slip backwards and it will all become a mess, you wont get going from a slippy hill start.

12. Don't be afraid to turn back ..if its down hill might be the best option.

13. have weather proof shoes to test water crossings

14. have all the tools (spark plug wrench in case you drop the bike in the water), fuses and fixes for all eventualities, we were in places that we could NOT have had someone come get the bikes.

15. Don carries a quick release saw that looks like a hacksaw for wood. useful for making fire wood, unblocking a trail etc......

16. lots of painkillers in the medical kit 3 of our crew ended up on painkillers

17. everyone should have a gps with the route. even if they take a wrong turn they should still get to the destination.

18. ANY village will give you a decent bed for the night and feed you for 50,000 kip, everyone wins. try to make a village if you can, they will help you all they can.

19. be prepared to take your gear off and walk it across rivers or up muddy mountains, the bike will be 10x easier to handle without the gear on.

20. we found food such as dried bananas, tinned fish and cashew nuts were ideal emergency food, replacing energy makes a big difference in what you're prepared to do.

21. One i picked up from Don, when in a foreign country where they drive on the opposite side of the road, make a arrow head out of tape over your speedo clock pointing to the side of the road to drive on . ie in Laos have the arrow pointing to the right so that you stay on the right side of the road.
 

Marco

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2011
Location
Khuang Nai
Bikes
2016 Honda CBR 500R

Erictheviking

Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Absolutely awesome post and awesome adventure that you guys had!

Have any plans for another assault on Laos in the near future??

Cheers,
Eric
 

Erictheviking

Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
As for Lima 85, if memory serves me....
It was built as the US air force claimed that they needed it to accurately bomb Hanoi, the CIA and other operatives in Laos at the time (Bill Lair??) were against it as it was too high profile and it would piss off the North Vietnamese, it was built anyway but because of the political situation (Laos was neutral) it was not used very much.
The North Vietnamese once attacked it using one or two Russian biplanes (yeah, biplanes, from WWI), some Air America choppers in the vicinity were called in and caught up with the plane(s) and shot it (them??) out of the air.

After that the North Vietnamese started to build a road going dead straight for the installation and everyone knew what was coming, at the end it turned out that the installation was used more for the defense of itself than for any bombing raids of North Vietnam.

Eric
 

KTMphil

Senior member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Bikes
2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
I was told the Vietnamese climbed up there and threw the Americans off the top still need to confirm this

Erictheviking said:
As for Lima 85, if memory serves me....
It was built as the US air force claimed that they needed it to accurately bomb Hanoi, the CIA and other operatives in Laos at the time (Bill Lair??) were against it as it was too high profile and it would piss off the North Vietnamese, it was built anyway but because of the political situation (Laos was neutral) it was not used very much.
The North Vietnamese once attacked it using one or two Russian biplanes (yeah, biplanes, from WWI), some Air America choppers in the vicinity were called in and caught up with the plane(s) and shot it (them??) out of the air.

After that the North Vietnamese started to build a road going dead straight for the installation and everyone knew what was coming, at the end it turned out that the installation was used more for the defense of itself than for any bombing raids of North Vietnam.

Eric
 

Pounce

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2011
Location
Perth
Bikes
'12 KTM 690R & '09 KTM 450EXC
Hey Philanderer,

You're making my choice of holiday this year easier.
I'm getting more interested in doing something akin to this trip.
You still up for a merry jaunt over the Xmas period?
 

Steve Canyon

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2011
Bikes
SMT990
Fantastic trip, sleeping rough in the Jungle......wicked stuff..

know where I'm heading for Xmas..
 

KTMphil

Senior member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Bikes
2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
Mr pounce I'm pretty sure I can get talked into it, sounds like it might be easy to get 6 bikes together

Pounce said:
Hey Philanderer,

You're making my choice of holiday this year easier.
I'm getting more interested in doing something akin to this trip.
You still up for a merry jaunt over the Xmas period?
 

KTMphil

Senior member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Bikes
2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
Erictheviking said:
Absolutely awesome post and awesome adventure that you guys had!

Have any plans for another assault on Laos in the near future??

Cheers,
Eric
Eric I'll go back any time... Considering a hm trail trip next
 

SprintST

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2011
Great report Phil. Sounds, and looks like you all had a fabulous time. A little adversity makes a ride more memorable in my experience.

I'm missing Thailand terribly and look forward to returning and doing some of these rides with you guys.
 

KTMphil

Senior member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Bikes
2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
Stuck under the bike on the canoe ferry

Stuck under the bike on the canoe ferry

Alex got this photo of me stuck under the DRZ on the canoe ferry in Laos. As I tried to rotate the bike diagonally the weight shift capsized the ferry canoe and the bike fell on top of me, bursting the ferry canoe and it sank.
 

Steve Canyon

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2011
Bikes
SMT990
You where lucky not to be drowned Phil....

Bugger me.....

what don't kill you makes you stronger..

What a trip, what a tree!!
 

KTMphil

Senior member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Bikes
2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
Ktm Chris said:
You where lucky not to be drowned Phil....

Bugger me.....

what don't kill you makes you stronger..

What a trip, what a tree!!
From the shore it looked like the bike had pinned me under the water, Don came running down to the water and accidentally drop kicked his camera!
 

Steve Canyon

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2011
Bikes
SMT990
Danger is never far away...

Nor are your fellow riders...

A mate to help and another to get it on film...great work

Pure adventure......well done..
 

Pounce

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2011
Location
Perth
Bikes
'12 KTM 690R & '09 KTM 450EXC
We have an un written policy amongst us that ride together.

Camera first, help mate second.

Because without photos, it's harder to take the piss out of them later.
 

KTMphil

Senior member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Bikes
2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
Pounce said:
We have an un written policy amongst us that ride together.

Camera first, help mate second.

Because without photos, it's harder to take the piss out of them later.
Pounce its always a dilemma - help him 1st or photograph the mess


SEE PART 3 SOME BETTER PHOTO'S NOW I'M BACK AND STORIES


post1574.html#p1574
 
Top Bottom