The Thakhek Loop
After our brief stop in Vientiane, which we think isn't really worth a visit, we traveled south to Thakek. The town in itself isn't that appealing. The center is so small you already passed it while looking. However, drinking a beer in the local stalls looking onto the Mekong is the best sunset spot! The main draw of Thakek is the Konglor Cave, a 7 km long cave you can visit with a boat on the river that runs through it. It is one of the sights on the motorbike circuit you can do here. Enjoying our short trip in Vang Vieng it didn't took long to decide to hire a scooter and hit the road again.
The loop is remote, you wont see many tourists and you should be careful, being the road that links Thailand with Vietnam, you encounter some huge transports. The first part of the loop is a long stretch of good road, passing by a lot of caves, some swimming spots and beautiful karst. We headed to Mahaxai for lunch with only a short stop at Tha Falang, a former picnic spot for colonials and still a nice place to take a dip and rest before continuing your way. After lunch drove through a haunted looking place, dead trees standing in big pools of water, this is the result of the flooding of the Nam Theun Dam. The contrast between the other side of the road with lush jungle couldn't be bigger. To see such an ecological disaster is an eyeopener.
We spent the night at Phosy guesthouse in Ban Tha Lang where we arrived at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Just in time to get in the hammock and relax, for the next day it would be a rough ride.
The piece of road between Ban Tha Lang and Lak Sao is... Well it's shit. Its the kind of dirt road that most of the time allows you to go walking speed. But it can be fun, you drive through nice remote villages and some beautiful jungle. Just take enough breaks to massage your bum! You'll never be happier when you arrive in Lak Sao and see tarmac!
Our second and third night we would spent in Ban Na Hin, allowing us enough time to visit Konglor Cave and relax a bit. There is plenty accommodation available in this village.
The last day we woke up early to ride the 150 km back to Thakek. Until Vieng Kham it's a pretty steep windy road with a viewpoint that's worth stopping. The scenery was one of the best on this loop.
The last part is just one straight ride back. I think we are in to motorbiking now!