Thursday, January 31, 2013

First few days of Laos.

ok, we use the usual border crossing just like any bikers do...

exiting thailand side, the immigration collects 200B for some extra paperwork to be filled. Pay 500B for  the ferry ride for Hope 2.0.

guess who we met on the ferry?!

they are super season travellers. they do not have a blog, do not carry phone or lap top. have ridden africa to Magadan (russia) and shipped to Alaska and ride americas in late 90s. Andy and Julia from Germany. no advertisement or pictures or facebook. they truly enjoyed their life on 2 wheels.

Rejected at border entry, 180 minutes north of Nan.

on the way to Huai Kon border @ Thailand.

At the Thailand side, the official had advised us that it is not possible for us to cross using motorcycle. that was the instruction from the Laos border. But we managed to convinced him that we want to try. he said ok, if Laos say ok, then u come back and i will stamp the exit for you.

we went to this gate. figuring out who to look for. the guard see that i do not have any exit stamp from the thai side, rejected us straight away. I told him we want to get info here if we can cross with our motorbike.

then, there comes a well english spoken man. he said, last time not possible, now it is possible. now you go and get all your documents done.

we were so happy. went back to thailand and the officer gave us the exit stamp.

we went back to this gate and park.

went into the office and the uniformed officials said no. we tried to convince him with all methods, even told him that his guy said we are able to cross, thats why we came.

we went to look for that guy. ended up, knowing more, he is just a shipping agent that knows nothing.

we have to go back to thailand and get our exit stamp cancelled.

will have to travel another 7 hours to the next border.

Nan province is one of the nicest route that Thailand has. Not as polluted as Mae Hong Song, as every biker wants to go. Nan is fresh, tourist free, beautiful landscape, nice curvy roads, chilling mountains and interesting people. It was an adventure even we were being rejected, we got some other rewards.

Recommended! i mean the province, not the border.

By chance, we managed to stay in this cottage. About S$14.28 with WIFI.
N19 33.827 E100 18.110

And found a very good place to eat local food. 
N19 32.274 E100 17.961

thats it for a night. it was first time that Samantha would visit Laos tomorrow, if we are allowed to enter.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Made some new friends.

Leaving Luang Prabang after 1 night was a right choice. the atmosphere was too holiday mood and we might need to stay for a week. Anyway, Luang Prabang is just a tourist rest stop for us to see the touristy stuff. Not our type of travel.

We wanted to head to Phosavan. Locals told us that it will take about 10 hours. we tried our best to reach before dark. On a main turnoff, a place called Phou Khoun/Phu Khun, we asked the local about the time to reach Phosavan. Note that we asked in time, not distance. 

Counting forward, we will only be at Phosavan after dark. 

#1 Rule: no riding in the dark.

We decide to stay in this humble little town, in this humble little room overlooking the Laos Mountain.

Room with shared bathroom: S$7.50

Location: N19.43925, E102.42741.

Parking in the 'lobby' for 1 big bike only.

We decided to visit local market for food near the main junction of the town after seeing some foreigners hanging out at a local eatery/restaurant.

After a walk, we met some locals having a gathering. they invited us for a beer and some food. After dark, they invited us to a friend's place for private party and a taste of Laos Karaoke.

Ah Dah, our new friend, could speak good Mandarine. He is a Lao - Chinese translator working for the road department. He told us that normal salary of a local is US$50. His revealed his pay to be much higher than the rest. Much. 

We escaped deadly Lao Sticky Rice wine. Ah Dah showed us the trick on the escape plan.

 Interesting night, indeed. They taught us the Lao dance, we taught them the Gangnam dance.

Plain of Jars at Phosavan is just plain of jars. It was one of Sam Leong's dream to ride to this place. Yes, we brought him here.

Time is a little tight for us. we are not able to make it to cambodia anymore. will try some interesting route tomorrow and see what will happen.

Hope 2.0 might be too heavy for Laos.

We plan to leave Phosavan via Muang Khoun, taking route 10 to Paksan. in between, on the map, it says:

Attention! In rainy season, the road close. No bridge or boat.

we might exit Laos from Paksan, Thakhek, Savannakhet or Pakse (last chance).

We are at N19.45062 E103.21877 but heart is in Singapore.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Uttaradit to Chiangmai

Lazy morning, waking up late at Uttaradit, we had a great adventure visiting this untouristy town. We head that the 'Khao Phan' is very authentic in Uttaradit. Gladly, the sweet hotel receptionist felt great because she is finally able to practice her English by speaking to us. She recommended us to this Khao Phan place:

N17 37.422 E100 05.263

nice food, nice owner. we enjoyed the host. 

 and again, M-Technik provided Hope 2.0 technical support. Thank you.

 It was cooling on highway 11 to Chiang Mai. The road cuts thro mountain and green. not much traffic.

 Group of cyclist from China, Nanjing, tried to stop us by shouting, to ask for direction. We stopped because we thought someone was injured and they were crying and shouting. They just want to ask for direction to Chiang Mai's old city. We could witness many Chinese traveller in Chiangmai.

The only reason for us to come here is to meet Andrea and Thomas, Dr Greg Fraizer, and also for the Horizonsunlimited mini meeting at Rider's Corner.

This time, we were invited to do a presentation for our 2 and half years round the world trip but we did not want to do it. Anyway, we enjoyed more of the friend's company and the beer, and making new friends. We were the only Asian biker in this meeting.