"Sabaidee. Massage, Boom-Boom?"

Great report Ron. Thanks.

I better go read it again though, I seem to have missed the boom boom bit....
A couple of warnings on 'TripAdvisor' about 'Balloons Over Vang Vieng'.

BUYER BEWARE! - Review of Balloons Over Vang Vieng, Vang Vieng, Laos - TripAdvisor

Having been into hot air ballooning, and having witnessed some tragic stuff first hand, I found this TA review alarming;

"serious problems with safety"
Reviewed May 30, 2012
people found this review helpful

I am a UK commercial balloon pilot and took the flight a year ago not saying that I was also a pilot. The safety procedures (no briefing for landings for the passengers, changing tanks whilst cruising low over power lines and many other issues) were appalling. It won't take long and there will be a serious accident. The guys flying the balloon are Chinese where there are no rules and regulations whatsoever concerning flight safety, equipment , insurance or pilot training. Sorry but for your own safety I cannot recommend this ballooning experience to anybody. And the sad thing is, that once there is a serious accident it will probably forever prevent any other properly set up balloon business from operating in this country!

Visited November 2011
Bob and others interested.

'Vientiane Times' is onto the ballooning over VV issue and I'll report what they say/do.
I was 2wheels riding partner on this adventure, and like you, appreciate the eloquent word-smithing that makes the report so readable and warm. For me, it has ben one of the finest things I have ever done in my life. 2wheels and I cruised deserts 40 years ago and have not ridden together for any length of time since the early '70's. A trip to Chiang Mai changed that last year when we took to the hills and H'Mong villages and the plan was hatched. A 5 week leave pass from my wife shows the trust she had in me and the faith she had in 2wheels that I would return in 1 piece. Besides, she knew what a pain it would be if, in the nursing home in 20 years time, I reminded her that I should have done this when I had the chance.

Plans are afoot for other parts of Thailand and Myanmar in a couple of years from now. By the way, I was with 2wheels when we were approached by a lovely Lao lady in Vang Vieng whose first word to 2wheels were "Sabaidee, massage, boom boom?" I would like to tell you what happened next but it remains a secret between 2wheels and me
Darn! I gotta wait 'a couple of years from now' to show you more!

Mate, you realise that some people have only read this story for the 'Boom Boom' bit? ! :RE

Get a bike of your own and send us some reports from the land that you maintain.
There are a couple of photos from the trip that must round out the report
I saw the famous Luang Prabang Citroen shortly after 2 wheels had headed off in another direction. Quite stunning really.
The main roads around Phonsavan vary but towards the Plain of Jars site #2, they change from the sealed to the unsealed
I think perhaps it appropriate to show the continuing devastating damage of the secret war when the USA carpet bombed Laos.

While we were in awe of the Plain of Jars, the terrible toll wreaked upon the countryside remain

However, the beauty of the Jars outweighs the sadness of recent wars. For me it was a 20 year dream to see them and until 2wheels moved to Asia, I never thought I would get the chance


  • DSCN1653.jpg
    24.1 KB · Views: 313
Thanks for the supplementary pics mate; good to see you active on RideAsia.
That gorgeous Citroen is so appropriate in Luang Prabang.

Now I'm looking forward to your ride reports from rural South Oz etc.
Lovely photo's Alan, the UXO injury bulletin board is eyeopening for sure, i've never seen that before

A few people have asked me about the route we rode from Loei to Uttaradit, which I recommend.



  • Loie-run.gpx
    1.3 MB · Views: 339
Today I received a USB containing a collection of my riding companion's (Alan aka 'Ngaltutjara') pics from our Laos ride.
Here's some to supplement mine.

Some interesting whiskey owned (but not shared) by our friend and host in Chiang Rai.


We were both salivating for a crispy baguette; Huai Xai.


From memory this is across the Nam Tha, riding to Muang Sing.
(Or is it that one in Luang Prabang?)


Dinner at Muang Sing market.


Some of the beautiful scenery to Xieng Khok.


Once in Luang Prabang Alan did a lot of shopping for his wife Yolande.


In Luang Prabang this b..ch tried to short-change Alan at a money exchange booth.


Spectacular silver-ware for sale in LP.


Just follow the instruction. Phonsavan.


Nasties in Phonsavan.


Alan bought this set from the market in Phonsavan and went to a lot of trouble and expense to mail it home ....


... to Yolande in South Oz.
Looking gorgeous.

Just a couple of comments

Thanks for positing these Ron. Yes, it is important to count your kip in Luang Prabang...it is the first time in many years of overseas ravel I have been ripped. Every group or 50,000 kip (all 20 of them) had only 19 notes in each one..very clever. i ended up bring home the silver and posting my clothes. Phonsavan is the place for good quality an cheap silver
You've gotta attend to that 'non presently' nonsense asap mate! :GF
Want to see some pics from that fabulous country-side you work in.
Hobo maps has several city maps for Laos including Vientiane, Luang prabang, Vangviang, Houayxai, Muang Xing, Oudomxay, Nong Khiaw, Xam Nuea, Viengxai, Northern Laos, Pakbeng - see: hobomaps.com from where you can download the maps.
Wow! Great photos. So informative. So many thanks for the dedication. I remember as a kid listening to the morning radio news on the ABC hearing reports of the interminable struggle between the Royal Lao Army and the Pathet Lao " for control of the strategic Plain of Jarres." And now you've shown it to me. I have heard it said that there were more bombs dropped on Laos than were gropped on Germany during WW2
I really appreciate the work that has gone into this.
Top Bottom