Saturday, 2 September 2017

The 622km from Da Nang to Thakek

In another personal record breaking attempt to see how many km I can drive on my Honda Wave in a day, this is my personal best. Sure, it's only 3km more than my last record but more is more.

The idea was to use the Vietnamese Independence Day weekend (Happy Independence Day to my Vietnamese friends!) to get out and go for a road trip to Laos.

Since I (only) like Thakek as a city in Laos it was the obvious destination but I wanted to take the scenic route. This took me from Da nang over road QL14G to Prao, from there on the Ho Chi Minh trail to Khe Sanh via A Luoi, crossing the border at Lao bao and heading across Laos to Thakek.

The journey started off with a lot of holiday traffic, road QL14G leads through a hot springs resort and past quite a few waterfalls and other streams so it's popular with Vietnamese on weekends and holidays.

Once in Prao the traffic disappeared and I had he most scenic part of the journey almost to myself so I could enjoy not only the winding road but also the amazing scenery alongside it. The section between Prao and A Luoi is one of the most scenic ones on the Ho Chi Minh Road.

After a lunch and coffee break in A Luoi, I made good progress on my way to Khe Sanh until the rear of my bike started to feel a bit loose in corners. It didn't take long to find out that there was not enough air in the tire so a top up was needed.

Unfortunately the top up didn't fix the problem so I had to get the tube fixed or replaced, the next mechanics I found were all closed so I had to make it all the way up to Khe Sanh until I found someone to replace the tube.

Another delay occurred at the border crossing where it took longer than expected so this made it unlikely I would get to Thaek before 8pm as planned.

The road in Laos was an easy drive as long as there was still light. It got more difficult once it got dark since not all roads have markings and dogs like to sleep or wander in the middle of the street.

I did make it to Thakek just after 9:30pm so having left Da nang at 8am it wasn't too long of a day overall, although I was very happy once I got some dinner and a big bottle of Beer Lao.

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