"The Loop" 4 days bike tour in Laos
Well it wasn’t just me and the road, I did have some of the Travellers or Anarchy with me. I jump a little ahead myself again and I want to show you the amazing bus Bas was able to get for us... it had fairies on the side of it and was all pink inside! It was the best bus Ive been on yet, well done Bas! Though I could of done without the karaoke for over half the way :/ The karaoke is constant on these busses and that is the hardest part of keeping sane on the long trips... it's difficult...
Anyhow, we arrive in Tha Khaek. We had heard of a couple good places to get bikes, one being near the bus station but we actually ended up hiring our bikes from more centrally in the city from Mr. Wang Wang for $4 p/day. The bikes were not Japanese like I had wanted but the Chinese ones we got held up really well and I did punish mine quite a bit being a novice rider.
So the ride is a well-known route called "The loop" ingeniously. It is 475km long and takes 4 days approx to ride for the main roads but added up with all the side treks more like 600km+. Here is the route map
Most of the roads are something you would consider to be a road but there is still much to be desired and it's a good idea to keep an eye on the road at all times as even on the nicest roads you have potholes come up out of nowhere randomly.
The first day went well and we visited a few sites and had a swim, Soon it became apparent that we had not timed our visits and the time it would take to get to our first destination. But there was good reason, here are some of the pics from our visits, Now throughout this cave the guide kept showing me these rock formation that looked like Elephants, well they did kind of but not as much as a formation I discovered...see if you can see it in this picture... it's carrying a tree in its trunk. Don't see it? It's layered so first layer is the head then the other layers of body come behind. The head is looking straight on with trunk in the middle holding a trunk..well...anyhow I claimed the discovery so if you go..you know.
This picture looks like Australia huh! When we were leaving there were locals being strange in the bushes, upon further inspection we found that they had a bag of snakes and lizards with them as we ran when they released them haha Next stop was this strange holy cave which had carved stairways looking much like that famous picture or type of picture with endless cycles or stairs. When we were leaving we spotted some monks for some amazing pictures and a great chat. This Gem supplied by the great Bas.
We found ourselves well short of reaching our first sleeping stop when dark came and the road had deteriorated to a dusty dirt road with lots of potholes. Having a constant dust cloud ahead of me and the occasional car or truck going past making it impossible to see anything in the pitch black jungle...no lights here! Finally after a few hours we came across a town that we believed to be the right place... we were greeted with smiles and laughing from our hostel manage as we rode in weary and dirty, best greeting ever. We celebrated our survival with spring rolls! from there we continued on to the next destination. The road along this section of the ride was the worst with wet muddy slippery dusty roads for hours. By the end of it with muddy bikes and legs we had the road start to form into something rideable again. After this haul we decided we were due for a stop, finding a local shop in the town we stopped off. They were busy removing shells from peanuts for the day it seemed. we stayed for a while getting coffee and lollies (sharing with the collection of kids around) and chatting/laughing.
On our last stop we did fairly well arriving in town before dark. Once reaching the edges of town we stopped and asked some people where we were...before we knew it we were in a party of some sort having drinks poured down our throats and dancing. The kids were a crackup Soon we head off before we can't drive anymore, they even offer us to sleep there haha the hostel we found was not short of beer or views...
Next day was nice roads but a long drive with a waterfall in between... That’s the Frenchy we picked up along the way. but 20km's out my tyre decides now is a good time to go flat. Luckily there was two bikes and we go find the next town and a mechanic, we ride a km or so to get help. After a while of speaking with multiple people I am told I need to bring the bike here, so I get dropped off and start the walk back with the bike. Finally get there and get it all fixed after hours of waiting ..though entertained by the locals helping us out the time passes quickly. Then it's a night ride to town which is hard with bugs in your teeth and no lights on the streets but we make it.
In the end it was a great ride and well worth doing.