The Loop In Laos: Part 2.
Tha Khek – Nakai – Lak Sao – Ban Na Hin – Konglor – Ban Na Hin – Vieng Kham – Tha Khek
About 450 km – Travel time (suggested) at least 4 to 6 days.
In case you haven’t gotten to reading Part 1 of out motorbiking trip through Laos, please read it beforehand :)
After Thalang, the road started getting really bad so we filled up our motorbikes with petrol, bought some bottles of water and a few bananas – just in case.
Along these 60 km to Lak Sao, the roads lead through pristine rainforest. Nature is still stronger at this part of the world and we doubt that the road will be paved soon since the terrain is simply too difficult. Anyway, so on the roads we sometimes had our little chases with the logging trucks which at some points were a bit harrowing but nobody could drive very fast in this area.
After we passed a couple of real jungle villages (where provisions are really hard to get), we were relieved to arrive in Lak Sao. On that evening it was so chilly and even the locals had little makeshift stoves running to get their hands and feet warm. A hot soup was the only food available (which was perfect anyway) and a tiny little room with a hot shower helped as well. Lak Sao is a town close to the Vietnam border and therefore the market has a lot of activity. All sorts of insects, scorpions and bush meat is for sale. Cockfight along the road (with heavy betting) topped our great impressions of the area. Lak Sao has a lot to offer and it’s a town that should be explored more thoroughly … next time.
To Ban Nahin (the crossing to Konglor cave), the road goes along a beautiful area, with karst-like mountains and rice paddies in between. In Ban Nahin we found a very beautiful lodge called “Somsanhai Resort”, which was a well deserved place after 3 days on the motorbike. The owner knew what foreigners long for; nice soft beds, a superb restaurant and lots of information about the area and Laos itself. Overall it was an absolutely pleasant stay.
The market in Ban Nahin is also very interesting (as pretty much every market has something to offer). Again with lots of bush meat, strange vegetables and an outdoor hairdresser near the bus station. It got a lot of attention while we washed and blow-dried our hair … we obviously we helped him to boost the business.
We were there in January 2012, so things may change during rainy season! As far as we’re concerned, it was a great trip. Laos itself is beautiful but life is very slow there. Other countries and cities are more “action-packed” but it was a good change for once :) There are so many little things to discover, so take your time and you will not regret it.