Day 1 Luang Prabang to Vieng Thong
Left from Luang Prabang at 08:30
After coffee and cream cheese & bacon bagels at Joma’s. Yummm!
Then we filled up with fuel at the Caltex station.
Dropped by mechanics to adjust chains and top up tyres before heading north on Route 13 out of town.
Then over the Nam Ou river and the turning to the Pak Ou Buddha cave.
Thongkhoun - the Rider in Black - and I were riding up front with Dad riding sweeper at the rear.
It wasn't long before we started a gradual ascent into the mountains.
Got to Pak Mong after two hours, a rather squalid junction town,
we then headed east on what looked like a temporary road [don't be fooled by false expectations!] to Nong Khiaw.
Whenever we got the chance we would ride the odd dirt side roads
Picturesque on the Nam Ou river. Delightful ride into Nong Khiaw following the Nam Bak river.
Lunch at Nong Khiau Riverside Resort (www.nongkiau.com
nice Danish owner Eskil).
I had an interesting entry into the resort, riding down the small track and clipping a sandbag,
which sent me sliding down the slope ending up beneath the stilts of one of the villas with the XR on top of me!
Pride rather than physical injury was what was hurt most- more of an eggplant than a face plant!
Great views of the Nam Ou river from the resort
A killer cat was playing with a lizard whilst we ate delicious fried chicken noodles.
Having punctured the lizard a number of times he hid in disgrace in a BDU cluster bomb casing!
A shame we didn't have time stay a night as the food, views and rooms were outstanding.
1:15 headed up highway 1C, an unprepossessing tarmac road that in parts turned to apple crumble topping with a muddy custard.
Dad for ever lagging behind, one moment it was bugs in his helmet, the next it was spiders.
When he caught up he spluttered:
"These knock-off Chinese IRC tyres are darned dangerous. You can ride this bike.”
to our by now long-suffering guide, Thongkhoun. Bikes were quickly swopped.
Thongkhon did have to agree that the IRC's had little sidewall strength, making corners interesting!
Thongkhoun - the best motorcycle guide in Laos.
Contact him through Green Discovery - www.greendiscoverylaos.com
Dad & I at an amazing viewpoint along Route 1C
Few vehicles on the road allowing momentary glimpses to take in the stunning views,
Those darkening clouds were the beginning of a cyclone which we were to find out tomorrow!
Taking a break - hot & humid
On the twisties you have to stay with in your side to avoid nasty surprises around the corner.
The police pick-ups particularly have a tendency to come flying around the corners AND on the wrong side of the road!
Filling up in Sam Soun - incredibly friendly people!
It was a joy riding through the villages in comparison with Thailand. Here the villagers are all beside the road and the kids especially,
wave joyously as we pass through. Natural hazards like poultry, dogs and kids should be best avoided.
By mid afternoon the sun had disappeared and the darkening gloom heralded rain clouds with spattering drops.
At one stage coming down the hill I managed to contact a jumping rock, which sent me swerving, legs akimbo.
Heart in mouth, I recovered, only to wait for Dad - who did the same!
Along the route there were signs advertising the presence of tigers in the national park Nam Et-Phou Louey “We’re Proud To Have Tigers Here”.
The word is that there is barely a handful of tigers left, most of them have been killed off for the nefarious tiger parts trade going to China.
We got into Vieng Thong just before dusk
It was a 9 hour day with stops - not difficult but great fun.
Before dinner we headed out to the hot springs. Down a dirt muddy road for 2 kms we arrived just in time for evening ablutions.
The Steam was rising from the picturesque hot springs though a large floating green scum made the warm pool of water uninviting.
Under long pipes protruding from the concrete wall locals had come to shower.
Supper of garlic fried pork and sticky rice followed by BBQ duck in Vieng Thong’s main restaurant
– a fly-blown establishment that required the “Aussie Wave” to clear through the cloud of flies just to eat.
We stayed at the Dokchampa Guest House (064-314-469, 020-2002-446)
clean and adequate, secure bike parking and is better than the other option the Souksakhone.
Beds are Pathet Lao war issue - if you have a numb bum after hours on an XR, then expect a numb night).
KMs today LPG 32, 40, 40, 30 Nong Khiaw 46, 21, 95 +5 VT 309