Rainy season in Laos with Keld and many landslides

KTMphil

Senior member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Bikes
2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
Rainy season in Laos with Keld and many landslides

Keld had just bought a BMW gs F650, ridden it up from Phuket (to Chiang Mai) & was itching to do a road trip. I spoke to Midnight Mapper, who told me that in Laos they had just had 40 hours of rain, which meant there would be landslides everywhere, so we thought we'd go take a look (& he was right).

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We left Chiang Mai 0730am and decided to head for Nan/ Huay Kon - Muan Ngeun/ Laos border crossing. The great thong about headed intyo Laos this way from Chiang Mai, is that you get top ride the legendary R1148 to the border

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More R 1148, north of Nan province

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R 1148 in Thailand was where we encountered our 1st real landslide

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No rain at ALL to the Huay Kon, Nan, Thailand border. Paper work was done very quickly on the Thai side

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Then the 1KM ride through no-mans-land to the Laos border checkpoint and the usual excited Laos military at the barrier.

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Laos inbound processing wasnt so bad this time, we had to call the Immigration officer to come so that we could be issued laos immigration visa's (1,400 Thai baht). After that, off to the little hut to get your Laos motorcycle insurance

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Once through the Laos border, 1Km down the road there in a left turn to R 4 north which will lead you to the Mekong ferry crossing, then to the town of Pakbeng, being rainy season, the views were spectacular on R4

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---MORE TO COME
 
This is the route we took from Chiang Mai to the Huay Kon, Thai / Muan Nguen, Laos international border, I havnt checked but it's roughly 460km
 

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One of the first landslides we saw On R4 north that heads to pakbeng in Laos

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Then another one on R4 north

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Then to the ferry across the Mekong river, this was Kelds 1st time in Laos, he couldnt believe how beautiful it was

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With all the rain the Melong river was the highest i'd ever seen it

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Ferry boat driver

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Once across the Mekong river northbound, R4 A heads in a NE direction along the edge of the Mekong river to Pakbeng

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About 4km before you reach Pakbeng from the SW, there is a choice of 2 roads. The old road, which is a right turn sign posted to Pakbang is an unmade road usually pretty easy, with all the rain a huge rut had opened up and had to be dealt with

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We arrived in Pakbeng and decided to give the brand spanking new "Pakbeng Riverside Lodge" bungalows a try. 100,000 Loas Kip (400 Bht), was great value for money, with breathtaking views of the Mekong

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Fantastic new rooms

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Great views of the Mekong from the room

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View from the bungalow balcony

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Looks like they have a new floating pontoon for unloading the boat passengers

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Not many guesthouses in this region have great bathrooms, this one was a pleasure

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Looking up the main street in Pakbeng from the ferry dock

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Dinner at the hassan Indian restaurant in Pakbeng is always good washed down with a few beer laos

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Next day up early and off NE on R2 with the plan to make Luang Prabang

Settlement on R2

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Beautiful rainy season mist on R2

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Landslide on R2

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This time of year, the rice is almost finished (rice takes about 3 months to grow) and is an incredible bright green, one of the beauties of rainy season

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Pigs tied down being transported on a bus, they don't look too happy

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Evidence of the next mudslide on R2 NE of Pakbeng

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Local laos farm workers having a rest

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The next landslide on R2 was a real beauty, the whole road had caved in and become a river\

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There was one after another and another of these landslides all the way along the road

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Can you imagine how dangerous this would be at night in the pitch black?

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Laos settlement on R2

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There were a few unmade sections on R2, dry season you could probably take a Harley along there

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More landslides north east

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& more & more , it was crazy

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Rainy season greens

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At Pakmong, turn right and head west & south down R13 to Luang Prabang, which follows the Nam Ou river

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Some great views heading down R13 in Laos

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One of the bridges on R 13 that crosses the Nam Ou river

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Nam Ou river pretty high from the rain

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Finally get to Luang Prabang and a late lunch at Joma

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We went and had a look at the "Le Belle Air" resort in Luang Prabang, across the wooden motorbike bridge - looked very fancy, buy USD$ 75 a night

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We ended up trying the new Pumalin Guesthouse, which is down the side street next to Joma. 1,400 bht low season rate was one of the best places i've stayed in Laos

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They do have a website where you can book: http://www.villapumalin.com/

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New rooms with plasma TV

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Really cool shower, could have been in a 5 star resort

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& toilet in its own room (makes a lot of sense)

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Midnight Mapper had put my new Garmin Montana 650 on the plane from Vientiane, laos to Luang Prabang, this is what the inside of Luang Prabang airport looks like

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At Luang Prabang airport, managed to get a North Thailand Road & Off-Road printed map on the same plane back to Vientiane for Midnight Mapper to look at, was amazing that the map would be in Vientaine in 40 minutes!
 
Dinner at Luang Prabang Pizza

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Bizarre Laos line dancing at the Moon Swa, then off to bed

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pissing with rain as we leave Moon Swa in Luang Prabang

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Butterfly with good taste

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Back north on R13, Keld trying to help this beautiful Laos lady kick start her scooter, seems it had run out of fuel

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More beautiful mist on R13 with the bright greens from last nights rain

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Nam Ou river

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Nam Ou river Hydro project - very controversial

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After a few more small landslides - then a huge one, the bus driver said they had been stuck there since 1am the night before, luckily the digger had just arrived when we got there

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Only took him about 20 minutes to clear it

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Next situation along R 13 was this poor guy sunk deep in the mud

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He was trying to jack the trailer out but didnt seem to be getting anywhere

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Interesting WC in the gas station just south of OudomXai

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Water flowing pretty good over the weir

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What do we have here? Power lines down, lines on vehicles - must be another landslide

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Yep and a big one --a monster tree slid down the side of the cliff

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20 minutes and a digger arrived


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Digger tried several times to move the tree but it wouldnt budge due to the huge roots

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The only option was to saw the tree with a hand saw......

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They 1/2 sawed the tree trunk - then the digger picked the tree up and dropped it a few times (felt like an earthquake) and that did the job

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10km down the road same again!

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Laos farm tuk tuk

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It was quite amazing that we were having no rain and bright skies - unheard of at this time of year

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R 13 from OudomXai to Luang Nam Tha is still a mess, but R3 from Luang Nam Tha is now almost sealed all the way, there is now only about a 20km section that is graded and not sealed (gravel)

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Coal mine in Vieng Phouka

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Mist in the mountains on R3 towards Houay Xai

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Settlement on R3

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Up above the clouds

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R3 in Laos

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Late getting towards Houay Xai, so we stopped about 6Km before the border at a very "dodgy" area and stayed at the Sengmanyrath GH 400 bht a night.

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Small bars with christmas tree lights outside littered the area


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in Houay xai - to find immigration turn right at this street corner in teh one way system down to the river

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Immigration office at the bottom of the hill where the passenger ferry boats arrive

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Customs office near the vehicle ferry --- Thailand on the far side of the Mekong river

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Maneuvering the passenger long boats with a fast flowing Mekong river

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Note the wooden poles which are used as fenders

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Waiting for the ferry to take us back across to Chiang Khong, Thailand

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Keld on the ferry

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The mekong river bulging after all the rain

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& these are the reasons we do it - unspoiled beauty

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Fabulous Phil !

Great pics & interesting content 8-)

Ally
 
Amazing scenery Phil, everything looks so green. Nice report, thanks taking the time to share!
 
KTMphil said:
Bizarre Laos line dancing at the Moon Swa, then off to bed

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Saw similar activities the last time i was at a joint in OudomXai. Never seen line dancing in a club anywhere else in South East Asia. :d
 
This is the route we took in Laos - all on "real" Laos roads.

Started at the Huay Kon, Thai/ Muan Nguen, Laos border, north to Pakbeng, north east on R 2 to Pakmong (just south of OudomXai), then east and south on R13 to Luang Prabang.

Returning to Thailand, from Luang Prabang, we took R13 north and west to OudomXai, then R13 north from OudomXai to R3 south west to Luang Nam Tha, then R3 south west to Houay Xai.

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Great pictures Phil.
Are they raw out of the camera, without fiddling with them except for resizing?

I've just been looking through my pictures that I took on the trip, I don't get near the same colors you get.
I need to get a camera with wide angle, as the Olympus I have doesn't give me wide enough field in the pictures.

BTW for others, Im that "Keld"-guy
 
Laos has the best cloud formations.....

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Really is a stunning looking place....

Great shots, you don't say that very often when it's raining... :RO

:DD
 
Ok, here are some of my pics from the trip.

My first try with Picasa and their webalbum, hope it works.

Phil in good style
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Phil getting ready to take off
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On Rte 1148, I think.
Too much weed in the lower of the pic.
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Phil scurried around and found this place
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Oh yeah, much better view
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Great views on this trip, stunning landscapes
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More views
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Yet more
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One Phil didn't get
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Getting the bikes ready in the morning in Pakbeng
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Phil passing a small landslide
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Closer (My camera is way to slow in this auto setting mode for fast follow up shots)
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Rice fields
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More rice fields, better colors
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Guys on a motorbike with an AK-47 slung on the back (Interestingly enough a 20 round magazine for an AK, never seen those before always seen 30 round mags on them)
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Terrace rice fields
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Great roads
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The obligatory, bike with a view, picture
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Funny little kid in Laos, met him the next day too
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Bikes look better dirty
(This pic has been modded in Picasa)
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Bridge in Laos
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Bikes parked while we take pics.
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Lots of great views to take pics of here
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Phil dancing a "No Rain Please-dance" on the bridge
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Phil taking pics of me again, so I reciprocate
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Phil passing the bridge into Luang Prabeng
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Getting ready to leave the guesthouse Villa LumaLin in LP.
Got my Kriega bags strapping down sorted, away with the yellow bungee cord.
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Compare this with some of Phils pics, no way near enough colors in them. I need to sort my shit out.
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Nice photo's Keld!

Was great riding with you - just fun riding and no bullshit, was a perfect few days in Laos - AND NO RAIN!
 
Phil passing the first landslide of the day, as the first one across.
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Still going across.
After him two cars went ahead and then I passed after packing away my camera. The car in front of me, when almost across suddenly did a 90 degree slide to the left and almost hit some of the people standing on the other side.
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Waiting at the second landslide with the big tree on the road.
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Another view
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Trying to get a cool shot, not that cool
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Better with out the bike
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Again, compare with Phil's pic. Im a terrible photographer
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Waiting to go across into Thailand again at the ferry
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It started raining then, so I just had to take a picture of this guy looking like that.
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At the Immigration point back in Thailand
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Thats all the pics I bothered to upload for this evening.
 
One very interesting point was that the KTM 990 Adventure used EXACTLY twice as much fuel as the BMW F650 gs. Every time we filled up with fuel, my fuel cost was exactly twice what Keld's was. This BMW F650's are amazing bikes in respect of fuel economy (that's why I can't bring myself to sell mine)
 
Fantastic photos and report, well done Phil and Keld
 
I thought you might like this one Colin. You would LOVE Laos if you could deal with the food thing, it's really worth it.

Captain_Slash said:
Fantastic photos and report, well done Phil and Keld
 
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Amazing views

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Low cloud

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River floods

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Keld cornering

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Luminous rice farms

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Keld and clouds

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Compare this with some of Phils pics, no way near enough colors in them. I need to sort my shit out.

Maybe just give them some life in your photo software tool would be enough, if you have the raw files you'll certainly get a much better result.

Nice report, looks like a amazing and dry ride.
 

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Cool trip, cool pictures. Beautiful time of year.

Lightemup said:
Guys on a motorbike with an AK-47 slung on the back (Interestingly enough a 20 round magazine for an AK, never seen those before always seen 30 round mags on them)
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Also interesting is the 20"/21" RPK-style barrel instead of the usual 16".

Seen these non-uniformed guys riding around with rifles before in the countryside. Any idea who they are? Are they real military?
 
ThePoMoBro said:
Also interesting is the 20"/21" RPK-style barrel instead of the usual 16".

hard to tell on a small picture, I would follow you by saying it's a RPK, though it could be a AKM as well. For what I know about Kalashnikov is that there are so many variants and more producing countries so it's hard to tell the difference except if you are an expert.

As for the magazine same here, must be about 7-8 different sizes and most Kalashnikov's magazines are inter-compatible.
 
Quite troubling how much you two know about guns!


MastaMax said:
ThePoMoBro said:
Also interesting is the 20"/21" RPK-style barrel instead of the usual 16".

hard to tell on a small picture, I would follow you by saying it's a RPK, though it could be a AKM as well. For what I know about Kalashnikov is that there are so many variants and more producing countries so it's hard to tell the difference except if you are an expert.

As for the magazine same here, must be about 7-8 different sizes and most Kalashnikov's magazines are inter-compatible.
 
Excuse me for using the "generic" name AK47.
Wasn't aware I was going to be questioned on it from experts.

Well sorry to say, but you're both wrong.
It's a standard length barrel. 16 inch or so.
It has been fitted with an AKM muzzle break tho, but since the Laos Army has only AK-47's from Russia and Type 56's from China, I would guess it's a Type 56 fitted with an AKM brake.

I have personally carried and shot all of the following: AK-47, AKM, AKMS, RPK and RPD's on some contracts.
 
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