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Thursday, 28 February 2013



It was very foggy this morning. Since today’s ride is short, I took some time to laze and only start my ride at 9am. 

Foggy morning in Odumxay, at 9am
Litthavixay GH
I rode via route 13 all the way. The once-upon-a-time paved 80kms road to Pak Mong was so badly damaged. The condition was worse than the time I rode this road during last June 2012. I felt as if DREAM was about to collapse at any time. I had to stand on the foot rest almost all the way. 

It was very dusty and every time a vehicle passed the road, a cloud of dust will fill the air. The dust and the bumpy off road make me felt as if I was in the scene of ‘High Chapparal’, minus the real horses. 

The view along the road was awesome but hazy since it was now dry season. This thus make the view not so camera-friendly. 

I passed many small villages and the kids were thrilled to see me. They waved at me and some even chased my bike. The boys in their teens looked at me when I passed, and I could see the admiration in their eyes. I smiled and said hello to them. As I witnessed before, again, here, I saw naked toddlers running alone by the roadside; kids around the age 5 – 10 helping their parents with living stocks or farming and women BBQ-ing fishes in front of their houses. The smell was so nice that I felt hungry instantly. How I love to view all these. I’m not sure if I can see similar kampong lifestyle view back in my modernized country, Malaysia. 

I finally arrived Pak Mong after 2 hours riding from Odumxay. Upon reaching the intersection, I stopped for a while. I was deep in thought. To my right is Luang Prabang – my destnation. To my left is Xam Neua, Na Meo and the Laos – Vietnam border. 

To my right is Luang Prabang, and to my left is Laos - Vietnam border
During my ride with sifu Hadi last year, we had chosen the right route. I can still remember clearly how bad, how damaged, how slippery, how steep and how narrow the road was, how deep the crevasses were and how scared I was to ride on the worst leg of my ride (then) on this road. The memories of riding in darkness (only to realize a family of cows were resting in the middle of the road when I was less than 5 metres away from them), raining and so very cold, while I was shivering, hungry and critically fatigue that I was almost thrown into the river for not being able to control DREAM, were still fresh in my mind. Somehow, right now, at this very moment, I felt a big urge to repeat this route. I really want to know if the road still scares me now as how it used to do before. Will the fear rule my mind? Last time, we took 3 days to ride from Huay Xai to Laos – Vietnam border, and back until Nam Neun. How about now? Can I shorten the time? Urghhhh....god knows how much I want to turn left instead of right, but since my days were numbered, I have to forgo the idea. I hv to choose right and follow my itinerary. Its okey. I calmed my heart by saying that I will return, one day....thats a promise. 

The 110km road from Pak Mong to Luang Prabang improved slightly, but still bumpy with potholes, and quite slippery at certain areas. I almost skided twice. Nevertheless, the view of Nam Ou river along the way was simply breathtaking. 

The road was still winding, but less climbing. I rode slowly, taking my own sweet time drinking in the view. I finally arrived Luang Prabang after 1:30hrs ride from Pak Mong. 

Beautiful Nam Ou River

I faced a little confusion upon arrival to Luang Prabang as I couldnt find any sign board showing the direction to the town centre. In the end, I used my GPS to find Nazim Restaurant, and from them, I asked for direction to go to Sysomphone GH. I was lucky as this popular GH has only one last room available. My arrival caught the attention of the guests and some of them chatted with me. 

At 4.30pm, I made my way to Kuang Xi waterfall which was 29kms away. The road was quite narrow and few times, the fast speeding tourist vans and cars from the opposite lane almost hit me. The road was just being repaired. Some of it were newly tarred and was slippery. As usual, the patches were not smoothen, so the road was quite uneven. I was in a hurry and was speeding, that for three times, I almost fell down for loosing control of DREAM when riding on the loose non tarred gravels. However, I managed to arrive Kuang Xi safely after 25mins ride from Luang Prabang. 

This is the 2nd time I visited Kuang Xi. The first time was way back in 2007. Nothing much have changed, except for the tourists walkway and the new bear reserved center. The water was still greenish blue and crystal clear. It was very tranquil and beautiful. 

In the night, I spend some time at the night market, buying stuff for my sister Are Nim. I also purchased a kayaking tour for tomorrow for USD30 from Laos Adventure Company.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013



I overslept this morning and ended up checking out late at 9.15am. I had DREAM serviced at a workshop in Mae Sai and had to pay B30 only since I brought along the engine oil and the oil filter. 

The workshop, only about 3kms from the border

I took 35mins to reach Chiang Saen, stop for a while to take pic (again) at the Golden Triangle landmark, and straight to Chiang Khong. The road was very bad. Lots of pot holes and bad patches everywhere. However, the view was nice. I still remember when I rode on this same road last year, I cant stop for pic as I was rushing, and I still remember that I promised myself that I will come again. So this time, I didnt waste the chance. 

God knows when the 2nd Friendship Bridge will be completed
Golden Triangle landmark

Upon arrival to Chiang Khong, I was hesitating if I hv the time for the yummylicious pad thai (that I hv been craving for since I first tasted it here last year), but since I still have a long way to go and I'm not sure if the shop is open, I decided not to. It was no hassle to stamp my passport (B100), and to settle with the customs at Chiang Khong as the officer at the immigration filled out the form for me, and he spoke very fluent English. The ferry fare (for DREAM and I) to cross Mekong River to Laos (Huay Xai) was B500. I hv to wait approx 30mins for it to depart. Meanwhile, I had a nice conversation with a Russian guy who wanted to cross to the other side (for the first time) just to exit Thailand, and then reenter. I told him that the Huay Xai immigration was located in down town (and not at the river bank), about 2kms away. Since he had no transport, I offered to gv him a lift. 

To the ferry pier
Chiang Khong Immigration Office
Chiang Khong Customs Office (just nx to the immigration)

On the ferry

 When I arrived Huay Xai, I had to wait for 30mins for the officer to settle the custom form for the person ahead of me, and another 20mins for him to settle with mine. He worked so damn slow that I began to feel restless. I had to pay B200 for the process (last year, the charge was B100 only). Once mine done, I went to the insurance company which was located behind the custom office, but was told that the company @ office was no longer operating. The russian guy and I rode to the immigration office and settled our stuff (paid B100 + B40 at the immigration). The guy took longer time since he had to renew his visa bla bla bla, so I told him that I will settle DREAM’s insurance first. The lady at the insurance shop was very nice and speak fluent English. I took the cheapest insurance which cost me USD4. Then I go back to the immigration office, but I couldnt find the Russian guy. I looked for him everywhere. I had wasted 1:40hrs here alone, so I cant wait any longer. I supposed he had already crossed back into Thailand by taking a boat at the riverbank near the office. 

In the beginning, I felt quite funny to ride on the right side of the road, but I adapted after a while. I rode carefully on route 3, passing the small villages. As usual, sifu Hadi’s voice never fail to accompany me during my ride, reminding me to slow down when approaching a village, a bridge or a junction. It took me 2 hours to reach Vieng Poukha (130kms) as the road was going up and down and winding. However, the road condition was very good. This same road gv me the enjoyment before, and it did again, this time. I had the best of time riding on the deserted road while enjoying the beautiful panoramic view. I stopped for fuel at Vieng Poukha and I can still remember the look on the lady’s face when I told her that I was riding Laos alone. LOL... 

I continued riding to Luang Namtha and I could see lots of hill tribes, young and old, hitting one kind of plant onto the road side to remove the plants hairs. They then lay the plant on the road side to dry. I was wondering what ever were they doing, but I understand later that they were actually making brooms. 

I made a left turning upon reaching Na Teuy to Boten via route 13B. I still remember that there were lots of lorries from China that I had to encounter when I rode this road last year. However, since tomorrow is the Chinese New Year, there was not a single lorry that I need to overtake. It was a nice ride all the way to Boten. I saw the 2KM mile stone which I and Hadi took pics upon our success to arrive here last year. I didnt stop there but rode straight to the 1KM stone and stopped for pics. 


Then I rode to the golden gate which marked the entrance to China. The friendly immigration officer chatted with me and helped to take my pics. I spent a while here, recalling memories and lost in emotion...comparing what I had been through previously, and now....How much I hv learned from the first day I started to overland on a motorbike, till this very day. I cant describe exactly how was my feeling right now. It was a mixed emotion of happiness, relieved, thrilled (to be here, as a solo rider), funny and a lil bit of sadness (for remembering how was my condition when I was here for the first time last year). I was laughing and crying at the same time. Alhamdulillah....thank you Allah for granting my wish – that I want to be here, Boten, at this landmark, at this Laos – China border....ON MY OWN. 

A personal history was set today....

Since it was already 4.45pm, I have to make a move. It was about 100kms to reach Odumxay, my destination for today. The road was better now, compared to last year, and the lack of lorries made it a nice ride. I ascended and descended the winding road as fast as I could, sometimes racing with some western guys on rented Laos motorbikes who were also heading to Odumxay. At times, I catched a glimpse of the deep crevasse down the valley, and reminded myself to be careful. My biggest concern was nightfall, as the last thing that I want is to ride on these winding road after it gets dark. Thank god that I managed to arrive Odumxay at 7pm, when the last shine of the sun disappeared into the horizon. 

I checked almost all the hotels and guest houses in Odumxay, and the result I gathered was there were only 4 which have wifi. That night, I couldnt sleep well bcos of the sound of fireworks (CNY celebration).

My room at Litthavixay GH, Odumxay (K70 000 = RM27)


Band: NASTIA, Title: ANGGUR (taken from EP 'EKSPRESI')