The Thakhek loop, why you should..
So today i had an off day from work, and i got into the thoughts about my travels. My mind stopped on Laos today, on the Thakhek loop (3-4 days motorbike loop) particularly, i will explain what is that all about now.
Laos – Lao people’s democratic republic, a country ruled by a marxist government, ex French protectorate, a country scaled very low on the human development index (the situation is getting better and better), and corruption, lots of corruption. The people of Laos come from many backgrounds, it is a multi-ethnic country, around 60% of the people are Lao people. Laos is beautiful, yep it is. The people are nice, helpful, pleasant, everything positive you can think of. I have spent a whole month in Laos, going from the north to the south, I have great memories from Laos and today I will share my 4 days motorbike loop story.
So After spending two crazy days in Vientiane (the capital of Laos, a crazy local flag and shoring story) I went to Thakhek. Thakhek is a small city in the southern part of Laos, there is not much to do in the city itself, the travelers mostly come there to rent a motorbike and do the amazing 3-4 days loop.
I came at night-time to Thakhek, I had no idea where to stay and luckily I met a guy with whom I have traveled in my first days in Laos, he told me where to get a motorbike and suggested me going to a nice guesthouse called “Thakhek Travel Lodge”. So after getting an automatic motorbike in “Wang Wang” for 80000 kip (10 dollars), i went to the guesthouse and took a basic room for 40000 kip (5 dollars).
I went out to socialize and find travel buddies for the loop. In the chill out area I met Alex, Travis and Mike. Alex and Travis guys were Americans and Mike was a girl from Holland. They asked me wether i was interested in going with them to the thakhek loop, and I was happy to join. Later on two German guys had decided on joining us too. So we had a few joints, drank beer and later on we agreed on meeting in the morning, having breakfast and starting the thakhek loop early.
The thakhek loop begins!
In the morning we all met for breakfast and the Germans went out to rent a bike for both of them. I had an automatic scooty ZoomerX, nice wheels in my opinion. So we left our big backpacks in the guesthouse, packed the small ones with basic stuff and went on the way! In the city we filled our tanks full with fuel, bought some munchies for the road and headed outta town. The first day was clear and sunny, we were going around 70-90km\hr on the highway, wow, the views.. Well check a few of them out:
So.. Caves, dirt roads, more caves, more dirt roads, and some nice highway too! Most of the places have an entrance fee, not too much but it adds up, be ready. Fuel vise, i think we had enough but we were kinda concerned about it, so we fueled while having like 3/4 of the tank, why not:)?
Local restaurants are scattered along the way, just keep going on the main road and you will see stuff. We were supposed to arrive early to our first gueshouse (“Sabaidee guesthouse“), but we were kinda late because we have tried covering all the possible locations before getting there, driving at night-time was pretty nice and safe, we were going 40km\hr. At the guesthouse we joined a dorm room with some other bikers. We had a nice Western food meal, a few beers and I ofcourse had some good weed to get our moral even higher for the next day!
The Germans left earlier on day number two because they wanted to finish the thakhek loop faster, gute reise! Again, the day was full of nice scenery, amazing dirt roads, small villages, rivers, and other bikers passing by. So the highlight for me was the blue lagoon (or the cold springs). At the evening we arrived to a guesthouse somewhere near the turn to Konglor cave, the name was “Xok Xui guesthouse“. At the evening we were playing “Yaniv“, an Israeli card game that i tought to my friends, and we were drinking cheap local booze. We had a room for 4 there which was great for the price.
Pics from day 2:
Good morning squad, move up. So we started that day from a trip to “Na Sanam waterfall” not far from our guesthouse, the road was screwed up and i was surprised that we actually made it with no problems at all. At the waterfall area we had to trek about an hour to get to the waterfall itself, while trekking we turned to a wrong direction while missing the sign and we quickly found ourselves getting into a deep forest and finding a hidden local tribe. No we did not, but what we did find was a dried up river which we trekked along with, soon we understood that it is not the right way and turned back. After a while we actually made it to the waterfall, it was worth it, we took a waterfall shower, some pics and went back.
From there the plan was to see the highlight of the whole trip, the Konglor cave, the thing was that we were short on time and we had decided on staying in a guesthouse not far from Konglor and exploring the cave in the morning. The way to the cave was pretty good and on the way we saw a local wedding. At night we saw “The Dictator” movie in the guesthouse lobby (Chantha House guesthouse). I was sharing a room with Mike and she told me some crazy stories of her adventures in Africa, running away from gorillas, getting stuck in the middle of nowhere without fuel and many more.
Pics from day 3:
The Konglor cave is amazing! Taking a 7km ride on a boat through a huge cave, armed with a flashlight to explore was for sure an unforgettable experience. After the cave we were riding back to Tha Khaek on a pretty straight road, we got there pretty fast and finished the four days thakhek loop. From there i went with the Americans to Don Det, one of the four thousand islands in Southern Laos.