To Vientiane: by the back door

Posted: June 10, 2010 in Cycle touring Rte 13 Northern Laos 2008
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Tuesday November 18, 2008, 95 km (59 miles) – Total so far: 701 km (436 miles)

School's out near Thalat

I left Thalat still wondering where the mythical lakeside village of Na Nam was. It’s highly possible it was a few kms north east out of the Thalat market, and not across that narrow bridge on Route 10 towards Vientiane. That led to the dam and the crazily steep hill to a single resort, the Longngum View.

*A post trip check on Google Earth, LP’s Cycling Guide and other sources point to the lakeside village of Na Nam, just after the steep 1.8 km climb. Ah, well.

Come to think of it, KG / LHT 3 went out on his own in that direction, I, LHT 1 was too dazzled by the lights of Thalat, and Alvin had sent Team Belguim to the Longngum view, saying that we’ll join them shortly.

Miscommunication all around and complacency setting in from riding together for some time. It happens sometimes, and the 5 of us had a good laugh about it when we regrouped, where else but in the shade of a small eatery 15 kms from Thalat.

Riding south from Phon Hong to Vientiane is a much shorter 70 kms. The detour to Thalat via Route 10 added one nasty hill and about another 25 kms more, but the relatively quiet road up to the Tha Ngon bridge 24 kms from the Lao capital seems to be a favourite among cyclists. The many scenic bridge crossings and guesthouses along the way make this a ‘safe’ road, in case you might want to call it quits early in the day. I cannot vouch for the traffic nor quality of Route 13 from Phon Hong to Vientiane mainly because I’ve not seen, much less ridden it.


Our guest house is close to Chinatown and we ride some more to get there. Fortunately for us we have our rooms booked, and were hoping that there would be at least one more for our Belgian friends. No deal. Sadly we parted ways again as they rode off toward the Mekong riverside to check out some hotels, only to bump into each other during dinner. They’ve got further travels to do, to Southern Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

If we did the same, I suspect the locks to our front doors back home would be changed before our return and all our bikes held hostage.

We arranged to have a farewell dinner the next night.

The finish line in Vientiane



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