To Laos with the TLCB - Last Part

Lone Rider

Blokes Who Can
Jan 29, 2011
4 Wheels
To Laos with the TLCB - Last Part

After the school visits in Phonsavan it was time to head back to Vientiane. As Mac and Art (who had joined us in Phonsavan) needed to see some schools in Thatom district, we took Rd 1D south to Pakxane. In comparison with my last trip along this road (March/April this year) another 15 km had been asphalted (35 km out of the 177 km from Muang Khoune to the turnoff at Thasi to Paxane is now asphalted) with the remainder very good unpaved alternated with muddy stretches.



The constant movement of logging trucks from south to north loaded with big logs does not help to keep the unpaved areas in good condition and at one of these places we had to wait for a grader to make a temporary passage along a truck which got stuck in the mud. The next morning we heard that there were some 40 logging trucks waiting which could not go any further.



The grader clearing the temporary bypass for us


Bypassing the logging truck stuck in the mud and another logging truck coming to the rescue by trying to push the truck which was stuck.

We arrived early afternoon in Muang Thatom and looked for accommodation. There were at least 3 guesthouses al close to each other - The Ming Muang GH on the west side and the Thatom GH and the Sibounhueang GH on the east side.


The Ming Muang GH


The Sibounhueang GH (center) and the Thatom GH (right) with Art and an Italian guy who was on his way to Phonsavan on a bike rented from Jules in Vientiane

Later in the afternoon we visited the school in Ban Phonchaleun (a bit south of Muang Thathom) to see if the TLCB could provide some assistance to this school which was built by the parents themselves some 15 years ago.


The school in Ban Phonchaleun



The teacher dormitory and teacher office.

The evening was spent discussing with the teachers and the village head what the TLCB could do for them. Early next morning after breakfast it was off to Vientiane. Things went smoothly till we reached the Nam Xan river at Ban Pakngong with no ferry to cross.


The turnoff to the Nam Xan river crossing does not look promising

It had been raining the whole night and the river was a bit high and flowed fast so we waited for some time for other cars to cross. The people in a Toyota Fortuner who appeared on the other side needed to cross to our side but they decided that it would be safer to leave their car on the other side and chose the bamboo raft instead.



The bamboo rafts are also being used to get motorbikes to the other side

In the end we decided to ask the loggers to give us some help by pulling our car through the river.




The next river crossing was much easier as it was less deep and motorbikes could cross here on a small bamboo bridge and from here it was asphalt all the way to Pakxane and Vientiane.
KTMphil said:
Great pictures Auke! Lots of mud

Thanks but Mac has contributed also with regard to the pictures. The mud was normally OK - only a few places where it would be difficult in particular in case I would have been alone in the truck (my usual mode of traveling).
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