We learnt in our first bike trip that Chineese made bike are easier and cheaper to repair. In Thakek, we don’t have much choice anyway (apart the $35 a day 250cc Honda): the few bike shops only offer the Chinese bikes. And they rented all their bikes already! We get brand new bikes by 11 am: the Chinese guy just bought them and is removing the plastic protection to let us go for 6€ a day.
Mark from Hawai joins us for the 3 days tour. We met him in the bus terminal. He gets unlucky with his bike: his new bike makes very strange noise after only 50km: we have to go back to a mechanics. He dismounts the bike completely and changes the piston! Chinese quality…
This issue shifts all our tour, but we manage to see what we wanted within 3 days (read 3*24 hours). The scenery is stunning in this loop: the karst mountains hiding impressive caves, old trees flooded in the water, etc. The East part of the loop is quite a difficult dirt road, but anyway easier than the wet trail in Luang Nam Tha!
The Konglor cave is actually a 7km river path under the mountain: very impressive, up to 100m wide and high! On an illuminated part, you can see the beautiful stalagmites.
30km before Thakek, we drove 18km on a dirt road to reach the Khoun Kong Leng aka the Blue Lagoon. We were said that the road is very difficult, but it is now almost completely enhanced and leveled: only 1km is quite though. The lagoon is very impressive: I never saw such clear blue water before!