Vientiane Alternative Northerly Route 0120


Senior Member
Feb 18, 2011
GSA, NC700D, KLX450R
On the first day of our ride we left Vientiane for VangVieng. I have ridden Route 13 from Vientiane before and it was only enjoyable the first time, merely because I have never ridden the route before. The traffic was heavy by Lao standards, with hardly any scenery worth mentioning.
I spotted an alternative route that leaves Vientiane and followed the Mekong ft 60kms until a village called Pakton. From Pakton the road turns inland towards Senxoum, joining Route 13 neat the Hineheup Bridge.
We took a gamble and followed that route. The road from Vientiane was R11, a road that was smooth with no potholes at all. Traffic was light.
At Pakton we hit a junction, and the road became unpaved. Great quality albeit dusty, it was an easy off tarmac ride on the big GSAs. We passed many villages as we made our way to Senxoum. We stopped at the halfway point at Nahat for coffee. It seems that this road will eventually be paved as we saw work being done about 20km from the Route 13 junction. It was a more interesting ride compared to the Route 13.
However, it would be pretty slippery if rain comes, and fun can quickly turn to misery on big bikes with road tyres.

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Look's like you travelled on route 0120, good to know it's still not paved :giving: thanks for the update.
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In November last year I did some exploring in that area and at that time Rd. 0120 from Pakton to Sangthong up to the junction with Rd. 0127 was newly paved. After that it becomes badly potholed asphalt and after a kilometer or so it continues as an unpaved road till it links with Road 13N at Ban Houay Ileut about 8 to 9 km. south of Hinheup
Rewinding the story a little.
We dropped our bikes at Hatyai a week earlier, having made arrangements for us to pick up the bikes at the Nong Khai Customs parking on the Thai side.
We flew into Vientiane, took a van out, unloaded our bikes and rode back into Laos.
We advised the Honorary Malaysian Ambassador of our trip and they gave us a letter of invitation. Great help as we got through the border formalities like a walk in the park.
We stayed at The Rose Hotel in Central Vientiane for the night.

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Unloading our bikes at Nong Khai
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Bruce, clearing Immigration on a bike that belongs to someone else, brought into Thailand by yet another person a week earlier.
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Monk Mobile
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The obligatory shot at Patuxay
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The Band of Merrymakers
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On the way to the hotel.
Continuing from post #1;
After we exited 0120 we stopped at Senxoum, where Bruce ( he won the Baja Race twice previously ) contemplates his next ride.
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Crossing the Hinheup Bridge on Route 13
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Entering Vang Vieng
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Lima Site 6, the old Air America Runway, smack in the middle of Vang Vieng
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Silver Naga Hotel, by the Riverbank.
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Chilling in the coolness
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Hot Air Baloon
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Sun going down
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We woke up to clear weather, the river full of morning traffic.

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A short less than 300km awaits ahead as we left Vang Vieng for Phonsavan. R13 was a great road by Lao standards, with the obligatory stretches undergoing improvement.
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A quick stop at Ban Pha Chou, a vegetable patche overlooking the Kasi Mountains. I stop here everytime I ride 13, marvelling at the scenery that greets the owner of the patch of greenery every morning when he wakes up. Lucky Soul.
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We stopped at the Phou Khoun viewpoint for lunch
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My workhorse. 30,000km most of it fully loaded two up with the wife. Runs like clockwork, not the best at anything, but damn good enough everything.
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After lunch at Phou Khoun Viewpoint, we left R13 and headed towards Phonsavan. The first section was just the usual windy Lao road, the surface actually better than R13.
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Midway we stopped at Namchat, situated in a valley with a river running across the village.
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While having some drinks there we saw this curious animal, apparently bred for food. Forgot the name but I think its not a native of laos, introduced a century ago.
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Cooked ready for consumption.
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After Namchat the road climbs and winds into the mountain range for about 30kms before the magnificent Plains of Phonsavan comes into view.
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A great ride, nice roads, smooth surface, good speed can be made
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We headed straight to Site 1, the main touristy Jar site.
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The Center
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Site 1
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Probably the biggest jar there.
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Crater caused by American bombs
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Remnants of a trench
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More jars
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My wife Gerry, she took most of the photos posted here.
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Sam and Shija, who were on the R12GS
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We left the site as the sun went down, putting up at the Plain of Jars Hotel.
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It was cold in Phonsavan as we woke up to a bright morning. Ahead a simple 300km ride awaits, with a detour to see an old tank.
The Plain Of Jars Hotel, situated on a hilltop offers a pretty good view of the mist covered town. At USD40, it was OK but still poor value compared to Thailand.

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On the road by 0900.
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We reached the tank site within 20 minutes, just about 3kms from the main road.
Why the PT76 Amphibious tank is being used on a plains with no rivers or sea escapes me.
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Back on the road to Luang Prabang
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Met a bunch of Malaysian Tourists making their way to Luang Prabang
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Henry on a rented XR we call ET
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The Nam Khan means we are getting close to Luang Prabang
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The Sayo Guest House by the Mekong where we spent a few days
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The "Sulawesi Five" - All of us rode Sulawesi Island early 2014. On this ride three in this pix rode their singles from South Laos, doing the Ho Chi Minh, while Alex and me rode our bigger bikes on simpler roads. We RVed at Luang Prabang.

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Bikes parked by the banks.
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Cock Fighting
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Dinner was at 3 Nagas, the Iconic Citroen now joined by a Benz.
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We met "Danger Tom", and Aussie riding solo along dirt trails on his KLX250.
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