I arrive 10 min too late to cross the Thai-Lao after my bus Chiang-Rai to Chian Khong so I cross the Mekong on the 27th in the morning when the service opens at 8am. It goes fast on Thai side, as well the boat crossing the Mekong. But the visa preparation on Lao side takes some more minutes.
I meet Aurélien just after getting my Lao Visa, and we take straight a mini bus to Luang Nam Tha. The day after, we rent mountain bikes: I get again the favorite trek 3900, this time only 3€ a day! (I got the same for $20 a day in Yangon or $25 in Ulan-Bator). We first go up to the pagoda and try to go further up hoping getting down in the other side, but after 1h, we have to go all the way back: only 15min down! Back in the town, we bike to some lovely village close to the waterfall and then do quite a big loop from north east towards the south and coming back from the north west.
The next days, we rent each of us a Honda 125cc with a pseudo dirt tire at the back. It proved later that it was not enough. The 56km to Muang Singh through the mountain are lovely on a quite a good road. The next leg to Muang Long is already a little more difficult on a dirt and flat road. But it is nothing compared with the steep and slippery dirt trail through the national park, especially when it rained the night before!
We improvise the first night in a small village in the middle of the way Muang Singh to Muang Long: 15min trying to explain our situation and we get a family willing to host us for the night: a nice and interesting experience! We can exchange a few English words with the 15 years-old brother.
Laos lies in the middle of South-East Asia. After crossing the border from Thailand, we approach the border to Myanmar on the North: the view on the Mekong in Xiengtok is beautiful! The day after, we almost enter into China: this border is less interesting.
The rain killed us: first Aurélien slips in a sharp curve on the wet macadam and breaks the front part of the Honda. We arrive too late in Muang Long to cross the 84km to the park, so that we postpone this leg the day after. But the heavy rain in the evening and all night makes the trial very difficult: maybe 20km on the wet dirt road, I lose the control twice and get my Honda on my leg. The remaining 60km seems too though, we decide to drive all the way back to Luang Nam Tha: 160km that day on quite difficult roads: we arrive exhausted.
The park itself is very beautiful and so green, something we will miss later going to the South.