Laos - 13,000 KM of madness on a motorcycle, Next Cambodia
Last days of Vietnam were tough, rain all day long, broken roads more and more. People coming from Laos were telling me that it's not gonna get any better, it's more rainy in Laos and the roads are much more broken. That made me think, maybe I shouldn't drive to Laos. I was dreaming about waking up in a bungalow by the beach, drinking cocktails, climbing a tree to pick some coconuts and chilling with friends. Ohh yes, it was just a dream, I picked up my stuff, started the motorcycle, got on the road to Laos. There is no way that I would miss Laos just for a little cocktail by the beach, I was on the direct way to the broken roads and rainy days again !!!
Laos is the least traveled south Asian country, they have only 6.5 Million residents rather than 90 Million in Vietnam. Most of the residents live in a small villages across the country. Laos is one big undeveloped jungle, the roads are terrible, most of the country is unpaved, that what makes Laos so beautiful, untouched and extremely wild! I guess this is the reason I loved it so much. I spent about 20 days in Laos, starting up north drove all the way to the famous 4,000 islands. 3 full month in southeast Asia made It is very common to meet an old friends and people I traveled with from different countries by mistake. Ok, maybe only the adventurous among them, Laos is hard to handle even if you are not traveling by motorcycle. Here are the main places I have been in Laos. Photos will demonstrate the beauty of this country.
Crossed to Laos from road named QL217 from Vietnam->Viang Xai->Nong Khiaw->Luang Namtha->Huay Xai->Luang Prabang->Vang Vieng->Vientiane->Thakhek->Pakse->4,000 islands.
First day in Laos the sun is shiningggg =)
Nong Khiaw Shows Its best Views
We woke up at 3:30 AM to climb to the top by the sunrise. Yes, we got there by the sunrise , the view was way better than we expected !
Can you see Nong Khiaw village below the the foggy mountains?
On my way to Luang Namtha, found a small gas station with this beautiful view and cool kids :)
Future adventure traveler and motorcycle lover
Luang Namtha sunset over the rice fields
That's how people live in Namyang village, 20 KM from Luang Namtha. There is only one road to the village. Not recommended for unskilled motorcycle drivers, this road is unpaved going uphill to the village. The road back from the village is even more dangerous due bug rocks, mud and water flowing which causes bad breaking and obstacle avoiding.
Such an amazing kids living a totally opposite lifestyle than what we are used to.
I left Luang Namtha in the morning in order to get to Huay Xai later that day. What I didn't know is that I am about to drive in one of the most challenging mentally and physically road condition of my entire trip.
A map showing the way to Huay Xai from Luang Namtha. At the beginning the blue colored road starting from Luang namtha was ok but fully unpaved, huge trucks were crossing, throwing small stones and causing dust which made difficult to see. The road ended in Xieng Kok, where the red colored road starts in the map. There was a small river and an huge jungle ahead, the GPS showed the the road just ended, but i was determined to drive forward. The red colored road was so difficult to cross. From the left side it was a huge jungle, on the right side the Mekong river, muddy road with about a million of holes full of water which i don't know how deep is that. Nature showed its power and strength, I felt like I am the only person in the world! Maybe that's the feeling you get riding along on the motorcycle in the middle of nowhere. It took me 5 exhausting hours to cross 25KM, I saw some wooden houses with people, It was too late to continue and I was too tired, they were very nice and very surprised to see me. They gave me to eat some snake soup because that's what they eat, I took a shower and fall asleep. During the night I woke up several times hearing the strong rain and thunderstorm, I thought how the hell I am gonna drive tomorrow. Naturally woke up at 6:00 AM packed my stuff and hit the blue colored road. It was muddy and difficult but I was stronger than yesterday. Later that day I made it to Huay Xai. Oh Laos that's why I loved you. You are a big tough challenge.
The Mokong on the right
Day after I got to Huay Xai, I decided to put my motorcycle on a boat all the way to Luang Pragang through the Mokong river which takes 2 days. It was a good opportunity to relax and get myexhausted body fully charged again.
Luang Prabang is the previous capital city of Laos. It is small and cool city, drinking alcohol in bars is not allowed after 11:00 PM, so everyone goes to the bowling centre which drinking is allowed there. funny right? I am sure the police is getting some money from the bowling centre to allow them sell alcohol all night long. Playing bowling and drinking is fun and funny :)
Kuang Si waterfalls near Luang Prabang
Next was Vang Vieng, Known as the craziest town in Laos. The roads to there are breaktaking, passing through huge foggy hills feeling like you are in a movie. Vang Vieng is known for its "tubing activity". It means you rent a tube, go inside the river and every 300 meters stop by the river for another crazy party full of alcohol, girls in bikini and music. Yes it was fun!
Vientiane the capital of Laos. Not crowded, messy and loud like any other Asian capital city. People in Vientiane are super friendly and nice. I had a chance to fully relax and fix some small problems in my bike. Riding a motorcycle is a pretty hard job, you body works hard and the head is fully focused all the time, because if not, it's a disaster.
Thakhek - Central Laos
I did the Thakhek loop, took me 2 days and it is very recomended! The view is unreal, the nature is playing a big role in these places, almost feels like you are in national geographic channel.
The road to 4000 islands
The boat to the islands. It is not what you are thinking of. 4000 islands are small islands in the Mekong river. they called "4000 islands" because there are many islands. It is very quit place, if you would like to chill alllllll day long on an hammock this place is for you. It was very rainy when i got there and I didn't like the chilly vibe there so I left in 2 days.
Going back to the Vietnamese border crossing
Last sunrise in Laos
Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Hong Kong - Southeast Asia Full Video