"Fear can keep us up all nigt long, but faith makes one fine pillow..."
KEMBARA QURBAN 2
DAY 8 (18 OKT 2013 – FRIDAY)
LUANG NAMTHA – CHIANG KONG - CHIANG SAEN
DISTANCE : 255KM
There was a blackout in our room early in the morning. But surprisingly the other rooms were not affected. Luckily there was hot water dispenser in the room so we had hot Milo and power bar for breakfast.
(Freshened by the cool mountain air)
(Another briefing session to start the day)
(Riding on the right side of the road out of Luang Namtha)
(Waiting in line, last refueling in Laos)
(Prices of petrol in Laos)
After refueling, we started riding out of Luang Namtha and headed towards Chiang Khong. It was smooth riding the same road yesterday when the weather was good and the road was dry and safe. But it was different situation this morning as it was raining quite heavily when we started riding the mountain terrain.
(Normal local scene on the road , a Kubota)
(Riding towards the border, crossing the mountain)
(Curious on-lookers watching the riders passed by)
(Riding the wet slippery curves in the rain)
(Laotian ladies walking bare-footed to work)
(The snaking road, still climbing)
(Stopping for photo opportunity)
(Taking a snap shot by the paddy fields)
(The road not so busy early in the morning)
(Villagers by the road side, waiting for their transport)
(A local scene of a daily chore)
The road was slippery and there were quite a number of dangerous corners and unfortunate for us, even though we were riding cautiously, the Vulcan slipped at one sharp corner. We were lucky that we escaped unscathed as we were riding slow. With the assistance of others, we managed to get the Vulcan up and running in no time.
(The mist was coming our way)
(Riding with poor visibility in the thick fog)
(Riding high on the mountain, nice view of the valley)
(A lone hut verged on the hill slope)
(Small huts or travelers' lodge)
(Drenched wet, watchful of obstacles)
(Disciplined riders, keeping a safe distance)
(A small mishap on a slippery road)
(The Vulcan being rescued)
We reached Huey Xai early noon and it was raining heavily still. At first we planned to straight away board the barge and cross the border quickly. But unfortunately, on reaching Huey Xai, the Tenere had a flat tire and we waited for the tire to be repaired at a nearby workshop. While waiting, the rest of the gang went to a nearby restaurant to have refreshments and sandwiches for lunch.
(Waiting for the ferry in the heavy rain)
(A long wait before the next ferry)
(Slow boats for rental parked along the river bank)
The border clearance was smooth but we missed an earlier barge. While waiting for the next barge, we were again hassled by the officials until they were given some money only then they stopped bothering us. We had to wait for more than two hours for the barge to bring us and our motorbikes across.
(What a relief, once the ferry was boarded)
(Motorbikes and bikers cramped among huge trailers)
(The exit road from the ferry was in a better condition)
We finally boarded the barge at 1600. The border clearance at chiang Khong was smooth but again there were different procedures and we had to pay B200 to Customs Officials and another B200 to the Immigration Officials.
(Happy faces after immigration clearance)
(Waiting for the rest to complete paper works)
(Free WIFI secured by padlock)
(Motorbikes cooling off before onward journey)
It was already late when everything was settled but we decided to push on to Mae Sai. The road to Mae Sai was a small trunk road winding along the river and the condition was alright at first but later the road became worst with gravels and pot holes. Once we passed the small villages, the road became muddy and to make condition worst it was raining heavily.
(Bad condition of the paved road along the river)
(The road is small and winding)
(Beware of potholes and gravels)
It was already dark when we rode the slippery dangerous road. Although we rode cautiously and slowly, one of the Versys slipped, breaking wind shield and one of the side box. Luckily the rider was not hurt but was soaked in mud. We had a difficult time to park our bikes and walked on the muddy slippery road to get to the fallen vehicle and rider.
(The road condition is not getting any better)
(The start of a muddy slippery road)
We stopped and rested for a while at a small coffee shop to calm jittery nerves and managed to strap back the side box of the Versys. One group already passed the muddy road safely and waited anxiously a distance away. While another group in front managed to locate a resort hotel in Chiang Saen. We decided to stay for the night at Golden Land Resort as it was not advisable to ride soaked wet with mud on this bad road condition.
(Spraying water to get rid of the mud)
(The rider taking a rest while nursing injured back)
After cleaning up mud from our riding suits, we took a hot shower, had tuna sandwich for dinner and slept soundly and pray that the weather and road condition would be better tomorrow.