Post Trip-14 Sept 2016
Sergio, Greg, and I have all purchased Honda Win’s 100 in Laung Prabang, Laos. Some bikes needed more work than others. Greg basically redid his whole bike over at the bike shop, Sergio and I just a few minor things before we took off on our adventure. Greg and I also decided to install air horns on our bikes too. After a bit of preparation on the bike we are now ready to leave Laung Prabang and begin our journey up north to Phonsavan, Laos.
Day one-15 Sept 2016– Day one was a lot of trial and errors. Since none of us have ever been riding on a long journey like this. It started off realizing we needed more bungee cords for our bags one the back of the bike other wise the bags were to wobbly to ride with. After the bags were sorted out we were on our way but not after a half hour of driving Greg had a flat tire. Few hours it started to rain and the roads were slick. I rounded a sharp corner and a truck was coming, I tried to slow down but my tires slipped across the road and i went down as well as Greg since he was riding a bit to close. Nothing but a bruise and a few scraps. The bikes didn’t receive any damage.
Hazards we encountered– Rain, pot holes, loose dirt, mud, kids, and riding to close to each other.
Things that went right– 2 crashes with minimum damage, rain coats, great views, no one died, and made it to our destination Phonsavan
Day 2- 16 Sept 2016– Stayed in Phonsavan over night and went to visit the Plain of Jars at sight one which is one of the biggest sites to see with 25 achers of land at that sight. Jars are randomly placed everywhere and are known to date back to 500BC to 500AD and are known as one of the most prehistorical sites in South East Asia. Bomb craters are all over this site from the United States dropping bombs during the Vietnam war. One of the most devastating thing about this is the amount of bombs dropped and the most damaging ones are the cluster bombs that still affect people in Laos today.From 1964-1973 the United States dropped more than two million tons of ordnance on Lao during 580,000 bombing missions that equal to a planeload of bombs every 8 minutes, 24 hours a day, for 9 years. Making Laos the most heavily bombed country per capita in history. A 2000LB cluster bomb holds 600 bombs and over 30% of those bombs did not donate and still affect the people of Laos especially farmers, and children. The last recorded accident from UXO (unexploded ordnance) was on August 20 2016. His name is Sone who is 20 years old in the district Phoukout and had burning in his right foot from a cluster bomb dropped by the United States. Most people don’t know about what was going on in Laos during the Vietnam war. People were blinded from the publicity that was going on in Vietnam being broadcasted around the world. Made me really think more when visiting these sites.
Day 3- 17 sept 2016- Left Phonsavan, Laos to Viangxai, Laos Early in the morning. Not long after leaving Phonsavan Greg’s throttle cable broke. So I pushed his bike Lao style (Pushing his bike with my foot on the back peg of the bike while riding my bike) to the nearest repair shop. Simple fix only about a 15 minute fix. About an hour later Sergio went around a sharp corner and went over some oil in the road and crashed. Just a few scrap, a broken light and broken signal light. Sergio also later on had 3 flat tires. Two to do with a pice of metal in the tire and the other one due to the mechanic blowing up the inner tube. We got hit by some rain during this time but not to bad. It was getting dark out at this time we were refueling up. We were 56KM to Viangxai, Sergio’s front light was not working and we looked across the road and in a small village in the middle of no where locals invited us to come join them for some home-made LaoLao (Local Lao whisky that resembles Sake). We talked about our plan before heading over to them. If we were able to have a homestay we would join them. They offered us to stay with using body language that we both understand. The invited us to stay with them. We drank homemade LaoLao out of a clay pot which fermented almost instantly when they poured water into the pot as we drank out of long skinny bamboo rods. Tehy cooked us more food then we can hadle. First was something like tamales out of banana leafs, then roasted sweat potatoes, and cucumbers while we were drinking LaoLao. After that we thought we were heading to bead but they brought us to another room.Then they cooked us some more food. At this time I thought my stomach was about to explode before this point. I felt rude not to eat the food that was given to me at this point though. They cooked us some eggs with veggies, some kind of meat, and rice. It was really good but it was very difficult to eat from all of the food they were serving us before. Next we headed up stairs and hung out before we went to bed. Greg gave the guy who let us stay with him a head lamp. He was very happy with the gift he gave him. The room we stayed in was very basic. Which makes me feel very humble for everything I have in life. From the traveling I have done I noticed the people with very little have more to offer than people who have a lot. After a good night sleep we packed and was ready to leave and say good-by to everyone. Little did we know they offered us breakfast before we set off on the road. Not sure of everything we had that morning but it was delicious!
day 4- 18 Sept 2016 Leaving the village this morning and went to my bike and sadly I found out that my water bottle was gone. This water bottle has been with me throughout almost all of my travels. RIP blue nalgene water bottle. Anyone who has owned one before knows the pain of losing such a great water bottle with so much history and stickers from around the world. Anyways day 4 were leaving the small village and Sergio’s bike will not start. When we were in another small village getting sergio’s tire changed we noticed smoke coming out from his bike. The wires were burnt but the bike still worked at the time so we continued on. So that morning we tried to start his bike and it wouldn’t start. so we pushed his bike to the local garage in the town to see what was wrong with it. Found out we needed to change the whole wiring harness. About 4 hours later the bike was fixed and ready to go. Onwards we went traveling through the wind, pot holes, and missing roads of northern part of Laos.Later on Greg almost flipped his bike going up on a steep sloop. Over all this was a good dy of riding with not minimum damage.
day 5 19 Sept 2016 Viangxai in english means victory. 45 minute drive to Viangxai was the shortest drive that we’ve had so far. No problems on this journey. We had an amazing breakfast with 7 eggs, bock chouy, soup, and a tofu mixed with tomato. Our dinner was just as amazing ast the same place Duck, bamboo shoots, bock choy, and soup. The caves called Viengxay Caves Sites cost us only 60,000 Kip. The caves were quite functional. from factories, hospitals, presidential areas, military meeting areas, and places for locals to stay to protect themselves from bombings that the United states brought upon the Lao people. The Lao people would only go outside of the caves during the evening and night so they wouldn’t be spotted by the American’s aircrafts.
day 6 20 sept 2016 Leaving Viangxai heading to the border at Nameo. We heard roomers that it may be hard to cross this boarder with motorcycles. We got to the boarder just a little before 12PM and all of the boarder crossing officials was at lunch until 1330. When we brought the bikes the guys who owned the bikes gave us a green paper that they received when the crossed from Vietnam to Laos. This paper will make crossing the boarder with a breeze. Greg did not have the papers and the guy at customs said, ” You know I can fuck you and not let you pass. I feel nice today and will only charge you 5USD.” When we crossed the boarder our plan was to stay in the first town (Nameo). We soon found out that there was no ATM’s in this town at all. We then found out the closest ATM was 150KM from the boarder. We finally found a bank but they didn’t exchange money so they told us to go down the street to the gold shop to exchange some money. At this point we were really happy to have some Dong (Vietnam currency). This allowed us to finally eat. Sergio had a flat yet that was the only thing that happened to our bikes. 12 hours after our journey started we finally reached Cam Thuy.
day 7 21 Sept 2016 Walking around Cam Thuy we quickly realized we were the only westerners here. I have never received so many hello’s, smiles, and stares. I have never meet so many kind people in one place. No one here speaks english but body language and a smile is all you really need. I went to get my watch wrist band replaced here they guy gave it to me for free.That made me quite happy since I’ve been looking for a place to fix it since Lauang Prabang. Not much to do here. It’s more of a cross-road and people living there day-to-day life.