Laos Information

Ally

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Lone Rider, you have done it agan, this information is very detailed and invaluable to any traveller within this region.

Putting this stuff together must take you ages but you seem to do it from the heart and put all your energy ito it.

Well done!!

Now I am going back or my 3rd read

:RO

Ally
 

2wheels

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Thank you Auke; this is invaluable research and extremely useful.
And I hear you are going to cover all Provinces !!!
Next drink is on me. :DD
 

KTMphil

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This is building into probably the best, easy to find, Laos province information on the internet. Great work Auke, we'll all have some new places we want to explore in Laos now that we didn't know about.


Amazing how much there is in Luang Namtha - I normally try blast right through there as on the surface it seems a tourist trap.

general-information-f72/about-luang-namtha-things-to-see-and-do-t2132.html
 

KTMphil

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Just read your Phongsaly piece LR --- That region is still so untouched (being so out-of-the-way), the trail to the 700 year old trees goes on forever, passing through multiple tea plantation villages as the trail winds through the mountains, really interesting, thankyou.


http://www.rideasia.net/motorcycle-forum/general-information/2051-phongsaly-things-see-do.html



5568683700_fd28f8fd80_b.jpg





More on Phongsali below:


[url]http://www.rideasia.net/motorcycle-forum/laos-ride-reports/239-phongsaly-north-east-laos-trip-obstructions.html




[/URL]
 

Harp Booth

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XRV 750 RD04
Chom Ong cave visit

Hi all,

did anybody allready visit Chom Ong Cave by self guided motorcycle tour?
Is it possible to get accomodation in the tourist lodge, food and a guide for the cave directly in Ban Chom Ong without booking an organized tour at PTD Oudomxay?

Thanx for your help!

Harald
 

Lone Rider

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Some people have been there by themselves on their motorbike and I have not heard about problems getting into the caves. In principle it should be possible to go there and get a room in the lodge or a homestay as long as you speak enough of the Lao language as there is very little English spoken in the village itself. To make sure that there is place you can call the Oudomxay Tourist Information Center at 081-211797, 081-212483 or 020-22148679 (Country code for Laos is 856). They will also know how the road condition is at the moment as normally, during the rainy season, the last part of the road to the cave is very difficult.

See also Tony Wheeler's blog on the Chom Ong Cave: Chom Ong Caves | Tony Wheeler's Travels
 
Last edited:

Harp Booth

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XRV 750 RD04
Hi Lone Rider,

thanks for your feedback!
I had already found Tony Wheelers block. That is why I found it to be a very intersting place to be visited.
We are definately planing to do our Laos trip by motorbike.
So it was no option to book the cave visit organized by PTD Oudomxay including transport.
We don't want to loose our flexibility. If road condition is bad or we can't manage the last km due to not sufficient off-road driving experience, we will go back
I already asked PTD about the possibility to organize only lodge, food and cave visit.
But compared to the cost you have mentioned in your detailled information the quoted price seemd to be high.

OK, without Lao language it might be complicated to find room, food and guide but my experience from northern Thailand is, that you don't have to find the guide, the guide will find you. Because what else should be the purpose of the visit of two farang in the village, then going to the cave?

I hope that gesticulation will be enough to show what we want.

PTD wrote that there is a village fee to be paid. I guess this will be included in the price of the lodge.


Harald
 

Lone Rider

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Hi Harald,

Yes, most people will understand the gesticulation and my limited experience has been that the local people are generous when you are in need of a place to sleep/eat so I would not worry to much about it. Just go and have fun.

Lone Rider
 

Ally

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Hello Harald

Thanks for taking the time to sign up with us & contribute here, your input is of value.

Have you considered promoting the trekking forum that you are a member & mod of : Trekkingforum.com - Powered by vBulletin either in your signature or in the vendors section ?

Welcome to RideAsia.

Ally
 

marcusb

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Jan 21, 2012
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ER6N, ninja 250 klx 250 ritchey olmo santa cr
Chom Ong

The advice is correct about the guide. We pulled into Chom ong and within a few minutes he was there, and his english was very good. The "lodge" is very spartan and very cheap, it was just an empty house. I think it would be quite comfortable. Never saw a shop but the guide assured us we could get beer if we stayed over. Myself I would bring some food and water if I was staying over. There was no need for us to stay as it was an easy day trip.

I didn't even know about the cave, I bumped into a lady who was a writer for tour books, her boss paid me to take her there as there was no local transport. Very fun ride getting there.
 

Harp Booth

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XRV 750 RD04
@Ally: Thanks for your welcome, your support on problems during registration and for promoting trekkingforum.com :-)
Everybody is welcome to visit this forum. There is a lot of expertise on worldwide trekking, especially for Nepal and nordic countries.

During my last Nepal trip I saw more and more tourist on motorbike. In the last year many off the remote mountain areas had been developed by dirt roads, that make intersting trips on motorbike possible. Could be an idea for your next trip???

Most of the post are in german but english is understood by most of the users.

@marcusb: Thanks for your comment and additional hints about visiting Chom Ong.

Any more recommandations about such places "off the beaten track" worth a visit in North Laos?

Thanks Harald
 

Harp Booth

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XRV 750 RD04
Hi all,

after our return from 2.000 km in north Laos on two Baja, here some feedback on the Chom Ong Cave.
If one once found the entrance to te Chom ong road, the way is easy to follow.
The road seems to be build new as small dirt road in the last years. You just have to follow the "main road".
The first km were a little bit washed out from the last rainy season. Then it became better since actually some heavy machines were repairing the dirt road.
Without much off-road experience it took us about 90 minutes from Oudomxay to reach Ban Chom Ong including some foto stops.

In the center of the village is a large information board in english and lao about the cave visit.
We parked there to use the bilingual information as attempt to translate, what was the purpose of our visit.

We could not figure out, which building is used as lodge.
It took several attempt to find a guide. We were finally guided by a guy who called himself "Tian". His house is one of the first in the village, even before the last river crossing. His english was quiet poor.

He only had a torge and took us about one hour through rice field, woods and some river crossings to the cave. Tour through the cave took about 90 minutes.
So the tour can be easyly done within one Day from Oudomxay.

Since the trail to the cave entrance is also marked on midnightmappers gps map, it would be also mpossible to find the way by oneself.
The trail to the entrance that starts north of the village is meanwhile in large parts a dirtroad. Only at the beginning of that road there is actually one rivercrossing which does not have a fort actually. So acces by motorbike is not possible at the moment. Since the road is quiat large after that, I guess that the ford will be build soon.
This road ends at the river. From there it is only some hundret meters to the entrance of the cave. Our guide used this way to walk back.
Within the cave orientation on the first few 100 meters is quiet easy. You just have to follow the cables of the lighning system. The cave itself formely was a river, so that you can easyly walk inside the cave, nearly flat. Only few passages require some climbing (about 1 m high ;-)). When more climbing was necessary we returned to the entrance.

Food and water we brought from Oudomxay. There is a small shop in he village, but only with a limited offer.

Harald
 

marcusb

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ER6N, ninja 250 klx 250 ritchey olmo santa cr
""If one once found the entrance to te Chom ong road, the way is easy to follow."""

My thoughts also. It's a nice cave, nice set up, everything seemed to be done well, but huge
oversight not putting a small sign on the main road.

I was sure there was a more direct route (road) to the cave. I think they do not want us to know about that so that they can get their guide fee. Thats fine by me. When I was there the cave and the lights were locked up so going without a guide wouldn't have been good. Bring a good headlamp if you go.
Mr Harp, did you see the small cave beside the big one, with the nice water pool, i liked that one.
 

Harp Booth

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Jul 31, 2013
Bikes
XRV 750 RD04
Hi Marcusb,
from my point of view it seems to be especially PTD Oudomxay that has no interest at self guided tours.
They want to sell there complete tour package, but I don't belive that lot of the money is staying within the village.

The walk from the village to the cave entrance passing the rice paddies and the forrest is very nice and part of the tour.
Way back on the road was not so nice, especially because you have to walk without any shadow for about one hour.

When we arrived the the cave wasn't locked. Even the switch for the light had no lock. Since we had headlamps we didn't even try if the light is working.
For us it was OK with the head lamps.

Close to the entrance is a vistor information point with a small hut.
Although the information boards are very good, the hut was in a very poor condition and a lot of litter was lying around.
Looked like nobody really cares about this.

Unfortunately we did not see that small cave. We just went to a side cave which is left of the main entrance and looked like a former entrance that was blocked by a landslide.

When we decided to go to Chom Ong by our self, we were aware of the situation not getting a good guiding with a lot of information or seeing the complete cave. For us it was OK to pay some money to the local guide and by this have a litle bit more of safety, since some people know if you got lost in the cave.

But what we had seen together with the information on the "visitor enter" close to the entrance were worth a visit and I can really remommend it.

Everybody interested in more detailes or a real exploration of the cave should take into account to book the tour at the PTD Oudomxay.
Self guided tour is a nice motorbike trip not so difficult dirt road with a nice walk and a very interesting cave visit at reasonable cost.
Orgnanized tour by the tourist information might give a lot more of "program" but cost are also much higher.

Harald

Harald
 

Tanarthur

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Current ride. Kawasaki Versys 650 2012
Hi guys, needed some info and help. I am planing. A trip soon to Laos. Will enter Laos from Chiang Khong, ride up to Boten. Then all the way down to Dong Calor via Route or Hwy 13.

I am riding a Honda Crossrunner fitted with Anakee 3 tires. Is the road condition fine for my bike? I am not the off road kind of guy so no adventure road for me.

I plan to ride 800-1000km per day. No night riding for me. Where would you guys recommend me to make my stop for the night? Advice is greatly appreciate. Thank you
 

Lone Rider

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Riding 800-1000 Km a day is quite a bit over the top as the roads in Laos are not the same as Thailand. Most roads in Laos are 2 lane and often not of the best quality and you share the road with other bikes, cars, trucks, buses, tractors, free roaming cattle, dogs, goats, people, etc. An exception is probably the road from Huayxay (Chiangkong) to Boten and then on to Oudomxay with the road being good quality. From Oudomxay to Pakmong the road was very bad with deep potholes and bits and pieces of pavement - in July it took me 3 hours to cover a distance of 80 km. Have heard that they have filled in the potholes but have not seen it so it may still be bad.

I would say take it easy and take in the sights along the way and limit your day trips to not more than 400 km. An exception is driving from Vientiane to the south where you will be able to cover more ground as most of the road is straight so you can see what is ahead of you on the road. Personally I would stay the first night in Luang Namtha after crossing the border although you might be able to reach Oudomxay but Luang Namtha is a much more pleasant place to stay overnight. Second night you could stay either in Luang Prabang or maybe Vang Vieng but again I would stay in Luang Prabang and see some of the sights like waterfalls and maybe some of the temples and then drive the next day to Vientiane. From Vientiane to the south is a boring road with not much to see but if you are willing to go off the main road, there are plenty of interesting things to see while still remaining on paved roads. Again I would probably stay either in Thakheak or in Savannakhet and from the latter head to the border with Cambodia after visiting the falls at the 4000 islands close to the border.

In case you need more info, just ask. I don't know anything about the tyres but hopefully some of the other people will be able to say something about that.
 

Tanarthur

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Current ride. Kawasaki Versys 650 2012
Thanks man. Will revise my route on mapsource again. Of the places you mention to stay, any hotels or guest house to recommend? Coordinates will be appreciate.
 

Lone Rider

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Thanks man. Will revise my route on mapsource again. Of the places you mention to stay, any hotels or guest house to recommend? Coordinates will be appreciate.
In Luang Namtha try the Zuela Guesthouse at N21.00268 E101.40896 (entrance from the main road at N21.00292 E101.40947) or the Tulasith GH at N21.00208 E101.40941 or the Dokchampha Hotel at N21.00202 E101.40969 All have good parking for bikes. Good place to eat is the Bamboo Lounge N21.00219 E101.40965 next to the Dokchampha Hotel or the Manichanh at N21.00262 E101.40945

Luang Prabang - lots of guesthouses in the center - the Oudomsouk on Horxieng Rd. at N19.88952 E102.13195 is used to bikers but the whole street is filled with Guesthouses and most of them are good.
 

Tanarthur

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Any issues with petrol stop along highway 13? I can cover 300km per tank.
 

Lone Rider

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No problem at all getting fuel although, once in the mountains, it is better to fill up when you see a petrol station as in the mountains the distance between the petrol stations is larger than in other areas. No 95 octane fuel though - only 91 and Diesel.
 

Tanarthur

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Noted.... Even along highway 13? I not adventurous so not going to the trail road or off road. Purely highway riding..
 

Lone Rider

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Generally no problem but in the mountains or just before the mountains just fill up to be on the sure side. However, with your reach of 300 km on a tank full you should have no problem at all.
 

Jayem

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Aug 5, 2013
Luang Prabang - lots of guesthouses in the center - the Oudomsouk on Horxieng Rd. at N19.88952 E102.13195 is used to bikers but the whole street is filled with Guesthouses and most of them are good.
Following Auke's suggestions, I was planning to stay at the Oudomsouk earlier this year, but upon arrival in LP I could not find it immediately so I looked it up on Tripadvisor on my smartphone to get location info. However, when reading the reviews about frequent theft of guests' valuables such as cash, laptops, cameras, phones, etc, I decided to stay elsewhere.

I am always cautious with reviews on TripAdvisor, but this time the reviews were overwhelmingly convincing. Currently 12 out of 23 reviewers rate the Oudomsouk as 'terrible' all based on having valuables stolen from their rooms by the staff. Reading the reviews it is appalling that the management or ownership of the Oudomsouk couldn't care less about the thefts. Again, Caveat Emptor!
 

Lone Rider

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Jayem, thanks for the heads-up with regard to the Oudomsouk. Haven't stayed there for over a year or so as most of my Laos travels are now in other areas of Laos so any more up to date info with regard to places to sleep and eat is always welcome.
 

Harp Booth

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Jul 31, 2013
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XRV 750 RD04
Hi Jayem,

even if its to late for you, perhaps a usefull recommandation for any follower.
In Luang Prabange have stayed at lao Lu lodge (Welcome to Lao Lu Lodge, Luang Prabang, Laos)
You can park your bike in the yard and they close the gate at night.
A night guard sleeps at the reception only 5 m away from you bikes.
So quiet safe for parking.

Rooms and service were among the best on our trip.

Harald
 

Tanarthur

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Thanks for the updates. Will have more choices now... How much does it cost per night?
 

Tanarthur

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Current ride. Kawasaki Versys 650 2012
Sorry for being annoying... You pay the petrol in USD or Kips?


Let's just ride....
 

Tanarthur

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Thanks Harald. Since we are at this, is it the same for Cambodia? Pay in their currency?


Let's just ride....
 

bsacbob

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Jul 1, 2012
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Chiang Rai
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Sorry for being annoying... You pay the petrol in USD or Kips?


Let's just ride....
It is possible to travel Laos with Thai baht or dollars, although the exchange rate can get confusing at the best of times, but if you work on 100k kip is 400 baht as an easy bench mark.

Room's generally are no more than 100k kip a night.
 
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