Approx. 10 months in SE Asia visiting majority of countries on motorbikes, camping & backpacking style. Photos taken by iPhone 4s + iDry. You can reach me on blogs /at/ davss /dot/ com.
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May 1, 2012   Day 181-208
Laos
181
Laos Customs
Laos Customs
Veun Kham, Laos
After a few reminders they eventually only charge $2 for stamping out our passports & let us go. Another $2 stamp in at Laos border then 2km further we stop at customs to get all paperwork done for our motorbikes. Hopefully no mistakes this time.
May 1, 2012 11:23AM
Khonphapheng Waterfall Food Stalls
Khonphapheng Waterfall Food Stalls
Champassack, Laos
This is the only food available in Laos - only joking! About 10 minutes ride from Laos customs there is a left turn to Asia's biggest cascade waterfall. We pay admission & walk along stalls / restaurants to get to the waterfall.
May 1, 2012 12:13PM
Khonphapheng Waterfall
Khonphapheng Waterfall
Champassack, Laos
First time I see such waterfalls. It's not that tall but very beautiful indeed. Cascades stretch out for about 1km with very strong currents. Three viewpoints available with one located very close to the falls.
May 1, 2012 12:26PM
Khonphapheng Waterfall
Khonphapheng Waterfall
Champassack, Laos
May 1, 2012 12:43PM
Don Det, 4000 Islands, Laos
Don Det, 4000 Islands, Laos
Khon Tai, Laos
Our first sunset at the famous 4000 islands. Don Det is a smaller island visited by many backpackers. It's quite developed although mainly in the north area. It's a perfect place to chill in a hammock as there are not many things to do here.
May 1, 2012 5:54PM
182
Away from development, Don Det
Away from development, Don Det
Khon Tai, Laos
Going further down to the south are located many villages with slotted in guesthouses that are looking like deserted. All is surprisingly well maintained by locals so a very nice place for a walk or cycle.
May 2, 2012 4:10PM
183
Don Det
Don Det
Khon Tai, Laos
Some bungalows with a river view.
May 3, 2012 12:57PM
Don Det
Don Det
Khon Tai, Laos
A road leading to Don Khon island that is less developed with waterfalls & other things like Irrawaddy dolphins. There is a bridge linking both islands. 1 day admission to Don Khon 20k. I might take a kayaking tour to see all attractions on one day.
May 3, 2012 1:03PM
184
Don Det
Don Det
Khon Tai, Laos
Start at 8.30AM & kayaking along Mekong river towards Cambodia's border. We go under a bridge used for transportation between two islands then see a waterfall & go further down the river to see dolphins.
May 4, 2012 9:25AM
Don Det - Don Khon Bridge
Don Det - Don Khon Bridge
Khon Tai, Laos
May 4, 2012 9:54AM
Lhi Phi Waterfall
Lhi Phi Waterfall
Khon Tai, Laos
May 4, 2012 10:36AM
Don Khone
Don Khone
Khon Tai, Laos
Our kayaks are carried over to this nice beach & we carry on towards dolphins.
May 4, 2012 10:50AM
Khon Tai, Laos
The bent trees show how heigh water gets during wet season.
May 4, 2012 11:29AM
Spotting Dolphins
Spotting Dolphins
Khon Tai, Laos
We didn't see as many as in Kratie/Cambodia but at least we're able to do some individual chasing.
May 4, 2012 11:29AM
Irrawaddy Dolphin's Pool
Irrawaddy Dolphin's Pool
Champassack, Laos
A quick lunch combined with swim in the river. Incidentally, we illegally crossed Laos-Cambodia border in this place but no one really cares & locals even go for lunch to the other side without any immigration :) I really enjoyed this tour (160k).
May 4, 2012 1:18PM
185
Pakse
Pakse
Road 13 connecting the south with north has plenty of good sights at life in Laos. We are going to spend some time here to sort out our Yamaha service that is due & prepare for off-road trips in the mountains in the south-east.
May 5, 2012 2:09PM
186
Pakse
Pakse
Pakse, Laos
Just for the record 12k Yamaha service. There is one bike shop selling genuine Yamalube oils & parts imported from Thailand. It's very difficult to service this model particularly in Cambodia where they have to wait for Nouvo. Laos is much better.
May 6, 2012 10:24AM
Tat Fan Waterfall
Tat Fan Waterfall
Champassack, Laos
One of the tallest waterfalls in SE Asia. The sound of splashing water is loud & hearable from the other side. At the bottom is a small pool. Trekking options available but we didn't go as it would take half day.
May 6, 2012 2:30PM
Tad Yuang Waterfall Resort
Tad Yuang Waterfall Resort
Champassack, Laos
At the entrance there is a resort which used to belong to Thai owner but was shut down & taken away from him because Lao government deemed their activities as doing harm to the natural environment.
May 6, 2012 3:18PM
Tad Yuang Waterfall
Tad Yuang Waterfall
Champassack, Laos
May 6, 2012 3:21PM
Tad Yuang Waterfall
Tad Yuang Waterfall
Champassack, Laos
This is a must see. We were sitting in a pool with our feet dipped in cool water admiring the scenery reluctant to leave this place. The sound of laughing kids enjoying nature & appearing multiple rainbows on the fall.Very hard to describe its beauty
May 6, 2012 3:48PM
Dao Plantations
Dao Plantations
Champassack, Laos
There is a plantation at the entrance to the fall. The owner's happy to give us a tour proudly explaining processes used for growing variety of plants & fruit (jackfruit on the picture). They also run a stylish caffe serving food & fresh coffee.
May 6, 2012 4:12PM
Dragon Skin Plant, Dao Plantations
Dragon Skin Plant, Dao Plantations
Champassack, Laos
First time I see/hear about this plant. It's used for decoration only.
May 6, 2012 4:14PM
Coffee, Dao Plantations
Coffee, Dao Plantations
Champassack, Laos
Arabica coffee beans on trees. They wait until beans get red colour then harvest, filter using water by separating floating beans (bad) from sunk (good) & then further process. There many more interesting plants here including for medical purposes.
May 6, 2012 4:28PM
187
Pakse-Sekong
Pakse-Sekong
Champassack, Laos
After fixing a flat tyre (for the 4th time) early morning we head towards Sekong via Houay Kong to see some more waterfalls along the way. The road is very bumpy dirt & under construction after getting off paved no 16.
May 7, 2012 11:51AM
Champassack, Laos
Local people burn down a lot of trees to convert land into plantations (mainly coffee).
May 7, 2012 12:15PM
Champassack, Laos
May 7, 2012 12:28PM
name?
name?
Champassack, Laos
We didn't anticipate to reach this waterfall from the other side by accidentally taking a wrong turn. This was a good mistake as the fall turned out to be very nice surrounded by pristine nature with only few bamboo bridges allowing to cross water.
May 7, 2012 12:47PM
Name?
Name?
Champassack, Laos
It's quite heigh but pictures don't reflect it well. We swam in one of the pools atop with a perfect view down the valley to refresh & get a hydro-massage from a smaller fall nearby.
May 7, 2012 12:48PM
Champassack, Laos
A smaller cascade just before the big fall.
May 7, 2012 1:27PM
Champassack, Laos
The big fall from the front side. It's hard to say which waterfall is best now because they all are magnificent & differ from each other.
May 7, 2012 2:12PM
Champassack, Laos
This one is a 100m wide waterfall. It's dry season & low waters still worth a visit.
May 7, 2012 3:40PM
Laos Villages
Laos Villages
Champassack, Laos
Presume the small houses are also built by young girls to separate from her family.
May 7, 2012 3:54PM
Tad Faek Waterfall
Tad Faek Waterfall
Champassack, Laos
Last one today & not as good as all previous waterfalls = least recommended. There was plenty of rubbish around & in the water. Along the river are many picnic places maybe that's why. Also, there is admission fee.
May 7, 2012 4:52PM
188
Sekong Market
Sekong Market
Sekong, Laos
This unforgettable smell... :)
May 8, 2012 9:05AM
Salavan, Laos
On our way to see Tad Lo & Soung waterfalls.
May 8, 2012 11:43AM
Salavan, Laos
Many colourful trees that it's hard to focus on the road where at any time a cow, goat or any other animal can unexpectedly jump out in front of your motorbike.
May 8, 2012 12:07PM
Tad Hang Waterfall
Tad Hang Waterfall
Salavan, Laos
May 8, 2012 12:41PM
Tad Lo Waterfall
Tad Lo Waterfall
Salavan, Laos
A bridge to cross to get to Tad Lo. This is one of two paths available next to a resort.
May 8, 2012 12:59PM
Tad Lo Waterfall
Tad Lo Waterfall
Salavan, Laos
May 8, 2012 1:01PM
Tad Soung Waterfall
Tad Soung Waterfall
Salavan, Laos
It would have been better to come back here in rainy season when there is more water.
May 8, 2012 3:24PM
190
Lao Lao Distillery, Salavan
Lao Lao Distillery, Salavan
Salavan, Laos
This mornig I & few other guys met at Mama guesthouse (really cool place with superb food) went to check out Lao Lao alcohol distillery. They are making over 95% alcohol here. We sampled some & it taste similar to what my parents used to make at home
May 10, 2012 10:19AM
Lao Lao Distillery
Lao Lao Distillery
Salavan, Laos
which was also very strong. After a small sip I could already feel my head spinning a bit & a warm feeling in my stomach. Some bought 1L for $0.60 - the cheapest spirit ever! Hehe
May 10, 2012 10:19AM
Lao Lao Distillery, Salavan
Lao Lao Distillery, Salavan
Salavan, Laos
Drop by drop, litre by litre :)
May 10, 2012 10:20AM
Lao Lao Distillery
Lao Lao Distillery
Salavan, Laos
Two of these rice buckets produce about 5L container of alcohol. They are first left to ferment then put through distillation.
May 10, 2012 10:21AM
Lao Lao Distillery
Lao Lao Distillery
Salavan, Laos
This would probably be sufficient for 400 years of my alcohol drinking.
May 10, 2012 10:27AM
Salavan, Laos
Salavan, Laos
Salavan, Laos
I decided to go to Salavan to gather some more information about route via road no 23. Apparently, it's extreme & adventures leading through a broken bridge bombed by the US to cut off Viet Nam supplies. I got a message it's not passable May-Nov.
May 10, 2012 11:22AM
Salavan-Napong, Route 15, Laos
Salavan-Napong, Route 15, Laos
Salavan, Laos
I took road 15 from Salavan to Napong. My bum is sore again from a bumpy ride. The paved road vanished & now only dirt with occasional paved patches. Many small wooden bridges for cars, bikes & big under construction.
May 10, 2012 1:22PM
Salavan, Laos
There are many food stalls, small shops & restaurants along this road so it's not that uncivilised. People are very friendly & willing to test out their English. Fantastic villages sights & did not see any other tourists.
May 10, 2012 1:51PM
Salavan, Laos
Pigs, water buffalos & other animals cooling down wherever possible. They are hardly disturbed by passing by vehicles minding their own business.
May 10, 2012 2:22PM
Salavan-Napong
Salavan-Napong
Salavan, Laos
My sore back allowed me to ride up to Khonsay village on road 13 so am going to sleep over here then go up further north where will reunite with Antek & Aga who decided to ride route 23 when we split in Tad Lo. I hope they didn't have to turn around.
May 10, 2012 2:29PM
Salavan, Laos
Some more of these beautiful trees. I clearly can't resist taking photos of them :)
May 10, 2012 2:30PM
Bridges
Bridges
Salavan, Laos
These must be easy to maintain during wet seasons when water flows over making you guess if still going on the bridge or already floating like a boat - how do I paddle in my car???
May 10, 2012 2:49PM
Salavan, Laos
I was wondering if these houses serve the same purpose as Cambodians but apparently, after talking to my friend working at a tourist information office, he said there is no sexual intercourse taking place before marriage - interesting & so different.
May 10, 2012 2:59PM
191
Savannakhet, Laos
On road 13 I saw two signs one pointing to That Oumong 9km away. The road was as most dirt & lead to a Lahanam Village. The temple complex wasn't as nice as the village itself. It's famous from rice, animals, weaving & dying cloths using indigo.
May 11, 2012 11:56AM
Savannakhet, Laos
A view at Mekong river from the village.
May 11, 2012 12:06PM
That Oumong
That Oumong
Savannakhet, Laos
Another attraction nearby.
May 11, 2012 12:38PM
13-The Stone House
13-The Stone House
Savannakhet, Laos
A road to a stone house. It's 30km west from road no 13. After 16km of doing 40-50km/h decided it might not be worth going there & possibly dropping my bike as the road deteriorated quickly so I turned around.Another turn was 20km further up rd 13.
May 11, 2012 1:24PM
Savannakhet, Laos
At last some green rice pads. I am hoping to see more of these as we go further up north because so far most of them were just brown soil with no water.
May 11, 2012 3:27PM
Reunited at Savannakhet
Reunited at Savannakhet
Savannakhet, Laos
There was no communication between us for nearly 3 days & I was beginning to think about organising a rescue party for AiA who decided to go via Route 23 from Salavan to Phin. They said it was a horror & super extreme. Exhausted slept in the jungle.
May 11, 2012 5:47PM
Savannakhet Grocery Shop
Savannakhet Grocery Shop
Savannakhet, Laos
I was just getting some basic stuff like a can of coke & icecream at a local store. Like in Myanmar once you change $s into LAK (kip) you become a millionaire.
May 11, 2012 6:59PM
192
Thakhek
Thakhek
Thakhèk, Laos
Arrived at Tahkhet & are staying overnight here before doing a loop by roads 1E & 8 tomorrow. It's a nice place with French architecture, river bank view & Thailand on the other side.
May 12, 2012 6:40PM
Thakhek Streets
Thakhek Streets
Thakhèk, Laos
May 12, 2012 6:52PM
193
Road 12 - 1E Views
Road 12 - 1E Views
Thakhèk, Laos
May 13, 2012 11:24AM
Loop via Roads 12 -> 1E -> 8
Loop via Roads 12 -> 1E -> 8
Khammouane, Laos
This machine gets rice out of plants.
May 13, 2012 12:30PM
Road 1E, Laos
Road 1E, Laos
Khammouane, Laos
It was paved at the beginning but then slow & bumpy ride on dirt.
May 13, 2012 1:29PM
Road 1E, Laos
Road 1E, Laos
Khammouane, Laos
May 13, 2012 2:07PM
Road 1E, Laos
Road 1E, Laos
Bolikhamsai, Laos
The 1E route is a bit challenging but sights worth the effort in particular hills at the beginning & villages in parks. We'll sleep over in a small town located on 1E & 8 (AH15) junction. Then, will go along 8 to see a cave & straight to the capital.
May 13, 2012 2:40PM
194
Road 8 Views, Laos
Road 8 Views, Laos
Bolikhamsai, Laos
Quite impressive rocks formations along this road resembling those famous in Krabi/Thailand.
May 14, 2012 10:35AM
Kong lor Cave
Kong lor Cave
Khammouane, Laos
About 7km long, passable by narrow long-tale boats only. It's an impressive cave that takes some time & effort to get to the other side. The boats often get stuck on the bottom. I got my sandals dipped in water many times while pushing it over.
May 14, 2012 1:20PM
Khammouane, Laos
We left our boat for a short walk in the cave. It's pitch black but lights can be turned on for a moment to see more of its beauty. A proper torch is required otherwise we could only relay on our guide's light mainly used for finding the way.
May 14, 2012 1:38PM
Khammouane, Laos
Welcome to the other side! We stopped for a short break at a shop, got some snacks then went back.
May 14, 2012 2:17PM
198
Wind West Pub, Vientiane
Wind West Pub, Vientiane
Vientiane, Laos
What a nice gig tonight & songs in english ;) I left room late & only had 1.5 hours to experience a bit of this town. After arriving two days ago was working straight for two days on my company's accounts. Such a shame cause wanted to see more of it.
May 18, 2012 12:12AM
Vientiane-Vang Vieng
Vientiane-Vang Vieng
Tha Heua, Laos
The road no 13 is half paved & half dirt the more you go up north so we had ridden longer than anticipated. There wasn't much to see until we reached Vang Vieng with fantastic rocks formations surrounding the city almost from all sides.
May 18, 2012 3:13PM
199
Vang Vieng
Vang Vieng
Vang Vieng, Laos
There are different opinions about this place but I quite like it even though it's a touristy & westernised. That's exactly how I was picturing & expecting it to see after reading some guides.
May 19, 2012 1:53PM
Vang Vieng
Vang Vieng
Vang Vieng, Laos
I went to have a closer look at the rock formation today but after walking through rice pads in deep water eventually had to give up. Apparently there is a path to climb up & get to view both sides but I didn't find it.
May 19, 2012 1:56PM
Vang Vieng
Vang Vieng
Vang Vieng, Laos
View at Vang Vieng from rocks formations. Once you leave the touristy area it's like another world and presume real ie. non-westernised Laos.
May 19, 2012 2:33PM
Vang Vieng Streets
Vang Vieng Streets
Vang Vieng, Laos
May 19, 2012 8:49PM
200
Vang Vieng tubing
Vang Vieng tubing
Vang Vieng, Laos
We are doing it! I was a bit sceptical about tubing at the beginning but we decided to stay one extra day to give it a try. After hiring tubes in town a Tuk-Tuk took us up the Mekong river where the start is.
May 20, 2012 12:29PM
Vang Vieng tubing
Vang Vieng tubing
Vang Vieng, Laos
A stop at a bar across the river to have intro shots :)
May 20, 2012 12:31PM
Vang Vieng, Laos
With bums dipped in water we are cruising at elephant's speed along the river.
May 20, 2012 1:17PM
Vang Vieng tubing
Vang Vieng tubing
Vang Vieng, Laos
At the second & third bars we had the most fun.
May 20, 2012 1:49PM
Vang Vieng tubing
Vang Vieng tubing
Vang Vieng, Laos
May 20, 2012 2:55PM
Vang Vieng tubing
Vang Vieng tubing
Vang Vieng, Laos
May 20, 2012 3:10PM
Vang Vieng tubing
Vang Vieng tubing
Vientiane, Laos
A stop at the last bar where we get a complimentary joint :)
May 20, 2012 3:53PM
Vang Vieng tubing
Vang Vieng tubing
Vientiane, Laos
May 20, 2012 4:02PM
Vang Vieng tubing
Vang Vieng tubing
Vientiane, Laos
Playing local checkers. Now try to be Pepsi & win over LBC ;)
May 20, 2012 4:14PM
Vang Vieng Partying
Vang Vieng Partying
Vang Vieng, Laos
After a good start of the day we are celebrating a 200th day of the trip at a local bar & stay the next day at Vang Vieng.
May 20, 2012 8:46PM
202
Vang Vieng-Plain of Jars
Vang Vieng-Plain of Jars
Vientiane, Laos
On our way to plain of jars site. The roads improve but it's quite chilly in the mountains & frequently rains. Really cool riding with impressive mountain sights on both road 13 & 7.
May 22, 2012 10:23AM
203
Plain of Jars - Site 1
Plain of Jars - Site 1
Phonsavan, Laos
These megalithic jars are scattered in Xieng Khouang plateau. They were supposedly used for prehistoric burial practices but local stories mention wine storage to celebrate king's victory and I prefer this version :)
May 23, 2012 8:41AM
Plain of Jars - Site 1
Plain of Jars - Site 1
Xiangkhouang, Laos
May 23, 2012 9:02AM
Phonsavan, Laos
A view from the last hill with a 360 degree view at the area.
May 23, 2012 9:12AM
Plain Of Jars Site 3
Plain Of Jars Site 3
Phonsavan, Laos
Getting to site 3 can be tricky during rain. After a walk through some rice pads & fields we eventually get there. I like the surroundings that are bringing back all good memories from my time spent in country side as a child.
May 23, 2012 10:40AM
Plain Of Jars Site 3
Plain Of Jars Site 3
Phonsavan, Laos
May 23, 2012 10:48AM
Plain Of Jars Site 3
Plain Of Jars Site 3
Phonsavan, Laos
May 23, 2012 10:48AM
Plain Of Jars Site 3
Plain Of Jars Site 3
Phonsavan, Laos
May 23, 2012 10:49AM
Plain Of Jars Site 3
Plain Of Jars Site 3
Phonsavan, Laos
Site 2 is apparently less interesting so we give it a pass. It also started raining and mud on roads was very slippery so no point riding an extra 3km to see it.
May 23, 2012 11:01AM
Plains of Jars-Luang Prabang
Plains of Jars-Luang Prabang
Muang Souy, Laos
The next day while riding in sipping rain we come across people planting rice. We stopped & befriended over the fence with them. I really wanted to experience their work but unfortunately there was not enough time as it was going to get dark soon.
May 23, 2012 3:34PM
Xiangkhouang, Laos
May 23, 2012 4:52PM
Louangphabang, Laos
May 23, 2012 5:40PM
204
Phou Khoun, Laos
Finally arrived soaked & cold back to a junction with road 13 where we stay overnight before going to Luang Prabang. Not much to do here but a nice experience of an elevated town with not many tourists.
May 24, 2012 9:20AM
Louangphabang, Laos
May 24, 2012 9:35AM
Louangphabang, Laos
May 24, 2012 10:35AM
Luang Prabang City
Luang Prabang City
Luang Prabang, Laos
I just had a quick pop out to have late lunch & came across a night market that was just opening. Nearby is a passage with cheap & delicious food stalls. I saw this smiley pig's face & couldn't resist not to take a photo.
May 24, 2012 5:53PM
Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang
A sunset - I think this is the best you can get as there are mountains on the west side obscuring the sun when setting. Or I shall climb up to take a better shot :)
May 24, 2012 6:12PM
205
Luang Prabang Night Market
Luang Prabang Night Market
Luang Prabang, Laos
Last place to buy souvenirs before exiting Laos via north borders. The market starts at around 5pm with people emerging from their homes with bags full of stuff for sale. They set up stands on a main street which is impassable for vehicles.
May 25, 2012 7:31PM
Luang Prabang Night Market
Luang Prabang Night Market
Luang Prabang, Laos
May 25, 2012 7:33PM
Luang Prabang, Laos
May 25, 2012 7:42PM
Luang Prabang Night Life
Luang Prabang Night Life
Luang Prabang, Laos
There are plenty of restaurants along river's bank as well as parallel streets. Quiet, good food & nice atmosphere let us enjoy evenings. There is also a cheap but nice food market as an alternative as we thought some restaurants were overpriced.
May 25, 2012 8:05PM
206
Luang Prabang River View
Luang Prabang River View
Luang Prabang, Laos
May 26, 2012 4:49PM
Luang Prabang Streets View
Luang Prabang Streets View
Luang Prabang, Laos
Guesthouses & hotels seem to occupy every building by the river.
May 26, 2012 5:16PM
207
Boat, Luang Prabang-Ta Suang
Boat, Luang Prabang-Ta Suang
Luang Prabang, Laos
On our third day we decide to catch a boat taking us to Ta Suang instead of riding very bad condition roads or those that go around & take up twice the time. Getting our bikes onto the boat was a mission but we didn't know yet what's ahead of us.
May 27, 2012 8:24AM
Slow Boat
Slow Boat
Oudomxay, Laos
The boat ride was quite enjoyable with some good views at rocks that partly look like there was gold on them. Some parts of the river had many rocks sticking out of the water hence speed boats are considered dangerous & for extreme adventure seekers.
May 27, 2012 10:03AM
Slow Boat Views
Slow Boat Views
Oudomxay, Laos
May 27, 2012 1:27PM
Xaignabouli, Laos
Here we are. The driver almost forgot about us & motorbikes. There was four of us physically taking off motorbikes by lifting them up and putting on the ground or rather sandy beach quite far away from the closest road.
May 27, 2012 4:59PM
Xaignabouli, Laos
May 27, 2012 5:08PM
Xaignabouli, Laos
See the top left corner? That's where we started pushing our motorbikes through sand. After about 40 minutes of hard work we eventually got them to a road but were completely exhausted. I got a flavour of what camel trophy feels like.
May 27, 2012 5:37PM
Xaignabouli, Laos
May 27, 2012 6:23PM
208
Laos-Thailand Border
Laos-Thailand Border
Xaignabouli, Laos
May 28, 2012 10:03AM