Laos January 2016 - Comedy of Errors

Pounce

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2011
Location
Perth
Bikes
'09 DR650 & '09 KTM 450EXC
#1
It's better late than never...

I took 3 mates for a ride this year, they have been keen for a trip since I started doing these.
2 of them not the most confident or experienced of riders, so we may have been in for some... let's say different experiences.

Photos are from each day, but not neseccarialy in the correct order

Day 1 & 2
Chiang Mai - Huay Sai
Got the bikes & set them up ready for the off early tomorrow morning.
Two of the guys got horribly pissed & one of them stupidly ate a sandwich in one of the bars. Throwing up at a fuel stop, almost falling asleep on the bike & running off the road, needing to stop for emergency craps & a sleep.
2 hours to get through Laos customs, take 3 copies of everything, take 3 copies of everything, take 3 copies of everything.
Met some other riders booking into the guesthouse then later at dinner. Not the most talkaive or friendly person.








 

Pounce

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Jan 23, 2011
Location
Perth
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'09 DR650 & '09 KTM 450EXC
#2
Day 3
Huay Sai - Muang Long
Piss about in the morning trying to get some Kip as we got in late in the arvo.
Light shower but I confiently predict it won't rain. Well not today anyway.
First creek crossings, slippery roads, crazy locals, bikes pointing the wrong way, laughs in Xaingdao, beer & food in Xiengkok, vomiting on a bailey bridge.













 

Pounce

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Location
Perth
Bikes
'09 DR650 & '09 KTM 450EXC
#3
Day 4
Muang Long - Luang Nam Tha

Cool markets & bush meat.
Mild concussion hitting my head on the footbridge cross beam. Not bike friendly anyway so we had to find the correct one.
Lots of rain.
Slates breaks his ankle with rookie error, don't give the bike a squirt on concrete culvert! Rode the rest of the trip with a hairline fracture.
More rain.
Lots of river crossings
Dire warnings of Police roadblock/checkpoint from local coming the other way. Get there & they're all inside out of the rain. Breeze through.
GPS dies, touch screen comes off. Luckily brought old backup.
First experience with the pink & orange clay of Laos
Helping a local with his flat tyre, in the rain
In bed before 11 on New Years Eve
































 

Pounce

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Location
Perth
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'09 DR650 & '09 KTM 450EXC
#4
Day 5
Luang Nam Tha - Nale - Oudamxai

Lots more river crossings.
Little rain
Drunk villagers trying to get beer out of us.
No real problems today









































 

Pounce

Senior Member
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Jan 23, 2011
Location
Perth
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'09 DR650 & '09 KTM 450EXC
#5
Day 6
OudamXai - Buon Thai - Samphanh... or so we thought.

Today the fun started.
Torrential rain.
Mud, mud & a bit more mud
Broken motorbike. Braked to hard to miss a child & went down. Bike now stuck in first gear for around 40 klm's
15 klm's from our destination & the road just ends at the waters edge, we can't go any further & it's getting dark.
12 klm's back up the slippery, muddy very winding hill to Phouchang-Kao village.
Bribe family 200,000 kip to spend the night at their place. All four of us sleep in the food store/guest room.
We are now the local side show.
Extremley hospitable people, we get food (instant noodles), some local whiskey & try finding out how to get to Samphanh.
Showing them photos on the mobile phone. Come across old one of bike on canoe, DING!, they all point & shout Samphanh, Sampanh.
Well now we know what's in store for the morning.
Around 9pm they point at the room & unceremoniously say, "you go home now" Looks like it's bed time.


























 

Pounce

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Jan 23, 2011
Location
Perth
Bikes
'09 DR650 & '09 KTM 450EXC
#6
Day 7
Phouchang-Kao village - Samphanh - Muang Khua

Great sleep, noodles for breakfast, still pissing down.
We wait until around 9am (getting in the way of our very gracious hosts while he husks his rice) for the rain to ease off.
Wonder how we will find a boat when we reach the waters edge. Luckily a local is there & rings for one for himself. There's a board there with a number on it but none

of us have a Laos sim in our phone or speak Lao. Even if we could have called, me yelling "Falang boat Samphanh, Falang boat Samphanh" probably wouldn't have worked

anyway.
Boat arrives & is too small so Mr Ferryman rings for a bigger one. A 10 minute boat ride to the newly constructed hydro dam wall then into Samphanh. Only 3 bikes fit

in the canoe so it's done in 2 trips.
Before leaving Chiang Mai, Lan from C&P gave us a spare sprocket shaft envisioning & explaining this may happen, so lucky us.
No mechanics will fix the bike here so in very bad & limited Thai, we arrange for BJ & his bike to get to Muang Khua via taxi. I think 600,000 kip was he cost for the

50klm trip








































More to come, but hopefully not in 4 months time.
 

Lone Rider

Blokes Who Can
Staff member
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Jan 29, 2011
Location
Chiangmai
Bikes
4 Wheels
#7
Ah, this looks like a classic Crusty Quinns adventure - rain, mud and a fun. By the way, I talked to the guy who you met in Huay Xai - a fellow Aussie living in Bangkok. According to him your bikes were not dirty enough so he considered you guys to be nice weather/paved roads offriders and therefore not up to his standards.

Look forward to more of the pictures of your adventures.
 

bsacbob

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Chiang Rai
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Honda CRM-AR 250, Honda CRF 250-L, Suzuki V Strom XT 650 Honda xr250 Baja
#8
Great stuff Mr Pounce, look's like the Nale trail is still as good as ever, some fun water crossings.
 

Pounce

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Jan 23, 2011
Location
Perth
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'09 DR650 & '09 KTM 450EXC
#10
Day 8

Muang Khua

Bike repair, clothes washing, beer & food.
Resting the broken ankle.


















Day 9

Muang Khua - Nong khiew

Over the mountain.
BJ has a head on crash with a scooter, local was on the wrong side of the road. No one hurt so we straightened his gear lever then took off before anyone else showed up.
Long overdue massage.








































 
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Pounce

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Jan 23, 2011
Location
Perth
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'09 DR650 & '09 KTM 450EXC
#11
Day 10
Nongkhiao - Viang Thong - Ban Xon-Nua

Misty morning, in & out of the clouds
Bump into the Aussie father & sons we met in CNX & HuaySai
Local kids & their toys.
Roadblock so we stopped at a village asking for a donation before they would let us through. Pinned a flower on our sleeves.
Vietnamese influenced village. Only food is a choice of 3 Pho shops.
Surprisingly good guesthouse.
Great food, lots of beer. One of the best stops on the trip
Sadly, dog in a cage waiting to be ordered for dinner.




































 

Pounce

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Jan 23, 2011
Location
Perth
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'09 DR650 & '09 KTM 450EXC
#12
Day 11
Ban Xon-Nua - Samneua - ViengXai

Morning market for a look
Hella lot of roadworks
Getting around & through all the roadworks by sheer gall.
Angry backhoe drivers.
Friendly backhoe drivers making a path for us.
But sometimes, you just have to wait.
Clear & distant vistas up high
Abandoned airport frolics


































 

Pounce

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Location
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#13
Day 12, the longest day

ViengXai - (Muang Xam Tai turnoff) - Namuen - Muang Kham

This was the longest hardest day. I've not read any reports of others doing this route. It is so worth doing!
We left around 8am as the Indian place, while great food is very very slow.
Vieng Xai to the M. Xam Tai turnoff is a main hwy. Good winding road.
The rest through to Hwy 7 a mixture of dodgy single trail, wide old unused powerline roads, (poles but no wires), slippery snotty mountain hills, creek crossings, dark valleys & bright mountain ridges.
Fully fenced in, remote & very poor villages where not only the kids but the adults were shy & hid away from us.
Major river crossing in & out of a canoe then 80 klms on dirt & tar at night.
























This was my first unintentional swim in a river.
The ferry dude tried loading 2 bikes upright on the boat. He was used to light scooters & riders, not these bikes & fat falangs. I kept saying no but he insisted it was OK.
As soon as the bottom of the boat left the shore I knew we were going in the drink as it was that top heavy & unstable, so I'm shouting at him this time, he concedes &

as we're trying to get out, both bikes, BJ & me go in the drink.
Never throw your $800 helmet in a shit fit.
No photos of the spill because if you look at the second photo, imagine this scene.

You see that truck, well as we're going swimming it's rolling backwards down the hill towards the other 2 guys. They're panicking trying to get their bikes & get out of the way of it. A bunch of the locals are yelling & trying to throw rocks under the tyres. The ferryman & his wife are trying to bail out the boat yelling, me & BJ are trying to pick up submerged bikes, you guessed it, yelling. Luckily they didn't drown the bikes.
Lots of noise, swearing, laughs & water involved here. We end up laying the bikes on their sides & doing it in 4 crossings.
We get charged for 5 though as as far as I can tell, the spill into the water was classed as one. Cheeky sod even rocked the boat on the other crossings to put the wind up us.
There is no bridge, although a major one is being built just up stream.
I want to go back here, this spot is only 3 klm's upstream from the Vietnam border.

Now me & BJ are soaked to the skin, helmets full of water & it's now getting close to dark. Only 80 odd klm's to go.
We get into Muang Kham around 8 that night, cold wet & needing food








 
Joined
Dec 30, 2015
Location
Chiang Mai / Cali
Bikes
Ducati Multistrada, FE450, CRF300
#15
Great Adventure... Your account of falling into the river is funny as hell... Look like the ferry driver just barely got his shorts wet.
 
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cuban8

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Feb 8, 2011
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Singapore/ Chiang Mai
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KTM 990 Adventure, KTM 690 Enduro
#16
Great locations, spectacular views especially the one where the clouds were lower in the background. What was the part that Lan asked you to bring along? Do you have photo?
 

bsacbob

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Chiang Rai
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Honda CRM-AR 250, Honda CRF 250-L, Suzuki V Strom XT 650 Honda xr250 Baja
#17
I do recall a certain Mr Pounce taking the piss when the same thing happened to me with a canoe crossing :hmm great stuff mate i will have to try that route from Vieng Xai next time.
 

Pounce

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Joined
Jan 23, 2011
Location
Perth
Bikes
'09 DR650 & '09 KTM 450EXC
#20
Mr Bob & Mr Phil, I'll add a link to the GPS tracks at the end of the report.
Phil, only half right.
 

Pounce

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Jan 23, 2011
Location
Perth
Bikes
'09 DR650 & '09 KTM 450EXC
#22
Day 13

Muang Kham - Phonsavan - Long Chen(nope!) - Phonsavan
Short ride today.
Phonsavan for breakfast.
Stopped at a checkpoint, didn't even make it to Xam Thong.
We were told Long Chen is not a quiet place.
We gave our passport details, signed the book & had more or less convinced the young bloke on the checkpoint to let us through, then some officious looking dude with a briefcase said a blanket no & that was that.
Mimed a rifle & got the head nod.
Old soviet tank & Plain of Jars site 2 & the old Soviet planes at the back of the airport will have to do then.























 

Pounce

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2011
Location
Perth
Bikes
'09 DR650 & '09 KTM 450EXC
#23
Day 14

Phonsavan - Luang Probang

A very cold start in the morning.
Roadside coffee.
Racing buses on the mountain roads.
Main hwy frolics all day.
Beer for lunch & toilets with a view.
Dinner overlooking the Mekong














 

Pounce

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2011
Location
Perth
Bikes
'09 DR650 & '09 KTM 450EXC
#24
Day 15

Luang Probang rest day.
Morning markets
Pork & chicken on a stick for breakfast.
Tuberculosis in a bag
2 hour river cruise with beer & pork crackling.
Forgot to go to the line dancing disco last night.



















 

Pounce

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2011
Location
Perth
Bikes
'09 DR650 & '09 KTM 450EXC
#25
Day 16

Luang Probang - Hongsa - Pak Beng
Crowded ferries.
4B roadworks.
Happy hunting parties
























 

Pounce

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Jan 23, 2011
Location
Perth
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'09 DR650 & '09 KTM 450EXC
#26
Day 17

Pak Beng - Huaysai

First time I've seen rice paddys green, unseasonal rain planting?
Cross the Mekong twice
Magic tricks for the kids at lunch in Hatsa
Lots of bulldust on a once great track
New ferry crossing to try?
Elephant hitching a ride
Laos border dudes lose paperwork, hassles on the Thai side. One of us has to ride back into Laos for an argument. All sorted.
Back into Thailand
































 

Pounce

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Jan 23, 2011
Location
Perth
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'09 DR650 & '09 KTM 450EXC
#27
Day 18

Huay Sai - Chiang Mai

Breakfast with Bob
Cruisy ride back
200 meters of monks.










4 very happy blokes.
Best. Ride. Eva.
Thanks guys

 

Pounce

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Jan 23, 2011
Location
Perth
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'09 DR650 & '09 KTM 450EXC
#28
GPS Tracks.

Because the touch screen of the Montana came off, I lost the tracks from Huaysai to Luang Nam Tha so I have re plotted the routes we took for them.
From Samhan to Muang Khua seems to be missing as well, so it's been re plotted too.

The actual GPS files aren't as accurate as they normally would be because they were done on the old Garmin GPSmap 60Cx so they are limited to 500 points.
08-JAN-16 is the one you're all interested in.

Dropbox confuses me, so if this link doesn't work, let me know & I'll do something else.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/9fhxwfoedbw2b9y/Laos Jan 2016 Pounce Tracks.rar?dl=0
 

bsacbob

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#29
Link works a treat thanks mate, looking at your 9th of Jan file, after you got turned back at LC you made a detour off the trail for some reason :RE


Great report thanks for putting up the pictures....On the day from LNT to Nale to Oudomxai, ive done that route along the river a few times but don't recall any suspension bridges other than a few wicker crossings, you have any WP's

Any new GH info you have would be useful cheers.
 

Pounce

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2011
Location
Perth
Bikes
'09 DR650 & '09 KTM 450EXC
#30
Link works a treat thanks mate, looking at your 9th of Jan file, after you got turned back at LC you made a detour off the trail for some reason :RE


Great report thanks for putting up the pictures....On the day from LNT to Nale to Oudomxai, ive done that route along the river a few times but don't recall any suspension bridges other than a few wicker crossings, you have any WP's

Any new GH info you have would be useful cheers.
We had some rubbish we needed to dispose of, thoughtfully ;-)

The suspension bridges are on the first leg heading south to Nale from the turnoff at Homxai on the 13-N

I didn't really record the GH info as most were just major ones we came across.

The Sengeduan in M. Kham was a basic truckstop style with average rooms. It looks like they had 2 or 3 options. Good rooms in the first building, average in the second & cheaper elsewhere.

The one in ViengXai, I can't recall the name of. It is set back from the main road heading north, opposite the market. Pretty decent.
 

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