I woke up quite early to get on with the longest stretch of the big loop, the way from Pakong to Attapeu. Reading about it people say it's quite a 'difficult and dangerous' road and quite a challenge.
Well, after having a longer breakfast it was already after 10:00 before I actually left Paksong.
With that in mind I set off and found that the first stretch was a well paved new road so I made the most out of it and drove 80 km/h to make up time now before the bad part would start.
Well, I kept going on and the road indeed became a bit worse with some gravel, mud parts and stretches under construction. I ca imagine during the rain t could be more difficult to drive but could easily make in through by driving 30-40 km/h over most parts of it. There were big trucks coming through so the road can never be that bad if a massive truck can make it.
I kept driving and was quite surprised when I found myself at the crossroads towards Attapeu or Sekong before noon. Since the guides all mention heading to Attapeu if you have the time and I clearly had enough time left, I turned right and headed towards Attapeu on another nicely paved new road with little traffic.
To my surprise I made it to Attapeu in just over 1h so decided to get a coffee and a small lunch, I stopped off at a Vietnamese guest house and restaurant. There, I came upon a group of Vietnamese who promptly invited me to join them for lunch and some beers. Afterwards they insisted of even paying for my coffee.
This is why I miss Vietnam already, the people there are fantastic and it's great to socialize even if you don't always fully understand each other.
Since there was not much else to see or do in Attapeu and I had plenty of daylight left, I backtracked and headed for Sekong. Thanks to the great roads I made it to Sekong in great time and with still over 1h of daylight left, I continued onwards for Tat Lo.
Everyone I met and the guides were raving about Tat Lo so I was curious to check it out. Well, it turned out that it as a pretty laid back place next to a few waterfalls but a bit touristy.
After doing some sightseeing, on my bike, I found a guesthouse and went for dinner while still trying to decide if I should stay here a day or two or head on to Pakse tomorrow.
While parking my bike, I also realized that I've done 300km during the day without even noticing or feeling tired. Guess on good and mostly empty roads it's easy to drive and lose track of the distances or maybe I have been on a motorbike too long now to even notice how far I go.