"Most of our problems are because we act without thinking or we keep thinking without acting..."
KEMBARA QURBAN 2
DAY 6 (16 OKT 2013 – WEDNESDAY)
CHIANG MAI - CHIANG KHONG - HUEY XAI
DISTANCE : 474 KM
After breakfast the gang got ready to start the journey to Chiang Khong, the border town of Thailand and Laos.
(A group photo in front of Pornping Hotel)
(Serviced and sparkling clean, ready to roll...)
(Families having a last minute photo sessions)
(Taufik and Ussana, saying goodbye to love ones)
(Looking forward for more challenging rides)
For some, it was sad to leave their family behind. After saying goodbye to the family who will be flying back to KL tomorrow, we rode to Kawasaki Service Center to purchase some basic accessories. Later we rode on Highway 118, heading towards the border.
(A final visit to Kawasaki Service Center)
Local scenes - a tuk-tuk and side saddle pillion rider)
(Ancient City Wall of Chiang Mai)
(Taking the correct route to Laos border)
(Riding on the Super Highway)
(Long winding sweeping corners)
The ride was leisurely and we stopped at the Hot Spring Chiang Rai for a short rest. There were many souvenir shops and coffee shops in the rest area but the place was quite empty.
(Rest area at Chiang Rai Hot Spring)
(Having poached eggs from the hot spring)
(A basket of poached eggs)
(A decorative wood carving)
(Coffee and smoke break for some)
(Looking for souvenirs)
(An intricate and unique design of the pagodas)
(Thailand, the land of the elephants)
We rode passed Chiang Rai town and rode the trunk road passing through paddy fields and corn fields. On the way we stopped at a small town to refuel as our fuel tanks were running dry. To our surprise the petrol pumps worked like a vending machine, coin and banknote operated and could only filled a few bikes. The rest of us rode on and stopped to refuel at the nearest fuel pump we could find on the way.
(Riding on the deserted trunk road)
(Scenic view along the way)
(Serenity of the paddy fields)
(A windmill in the middle of nowhere)
(Coin-operated petrol pumps)
(A lone petrol station by the paddy fields)
We then took Highway AH3 and reached the border town of Chiang Khong early and decided to cross the Mekong River to Laos. Chiang Khong is a town in Chiang Rai Province, Northern Thailand. It is mainly visited as a stop-off point en-route to the ferry crossing to Laos. Chiang Khong is the Thai counterpart to the Laos border town of Huay Xai, just across the Mekong River. The interesting thing to note about Chiang Khong is ethnic diversity of the local Laotian, Thai and Hill tribes, which results in three separate calenders and a variety of festivals held throughout the year.
(Good road entering the town)
(Young cheerful monks walking the streets)
(The border town of Chiang Khong, Thailand)
After a swift border and immigration process in Chiang Khong, we boarded the open barge to cross the Mekong River. The path leading to the barge was unpaved and in bad condition. The motor bikes need to be pushed over stones and gravels and puddles of water. But it was a fun ride on the open barge with large lorries and containers. The open barge is somewhat similar to the barge of Koh Lanta but larger. Next year the barge will no longer be popular as the Friendship Bridge situated a few kilometers away will be completed and opened to public.
(Custom and Immigration border clearance)
(The entrance to the ferry loading area)
(Bad conditions of road leading to the ferry)
(Long overloaded lorries being loaded on the barge)
(On the open barge crossing Mekong River)
(Children playing by the river bank)
(The Immigration Complex in Chiang Khong)
(Cafe in Love, Huay Xai)
The border clearance at Huay Xai, the border town of Laos took a little longer as we had to buy insurance and declared our motorbikes. Huey Xai is known as the starting point for taking a slow boat down the Mekong River to Luang Prabang, the ancient royal capital of Laos.
(A long wait for Laos border clearance)
(Motobikes parked at the back of the hotel)
We rested at a nearby coffee shop while waiting for our passports to be stamped. The clearance process was a little smoother and faster when we offered the officials a little token for their hard work.
(With Juma, tired but happy...)
(Having dinner by the river side)
We checked in Terminal 1 Hotel in Huay Xai for the night. This small Laos border town is quiet at night and short of activities. Except for a few pubs crowded with foreigners, the rest of the small shops closed quite early.
(One of the many pubs and eateries)
(Huey Xai on this side, Chiang Khong on the other)
Our dinner was at the river side with tom yam, fish and vegetables. And it was also time to bring out our bekal of sambal ikan bilis kacang brought from home.