Thursday, 11 December 2014


Capp was up early the next morning and our friends, Gar and Bua,  drove him up to Nong Khai, the town that sits just on the Thai border and is a gateway to the Friendship bridge that crosses in to Laos, one of a few exit/entry points into both countries.  

Noi and I enjoyed a decent sleep-in after all the early starts, and on waking up decided it was time to hit the road again!

After a quick repack, we were off on the scooter again, heading to Nong Khai also, with no definitive plan other than to ride until we felt like stopping!  I decided to take the ‘scenic route’ though and after a brief look at Google maps, picked out a rough course (that changed at least 50 times during the course of the day!)

What a crazy day out on the bike - we spent most of it way out in the sticks, in the bush, through rice paddies, rivers and lakes, people’s farms and on tiny goat tracks.  We did hit ‘civilization’ at one point in the town of Phen, where we stopped for an iced coffee, even in the smallest towns you will always find a coffee shop. 

Another time during the ride we were navigating our way through a labyrinth of tiny tracks in the absolute middle of nowhere, then suddenly we stumbled onto a fairly nice looking golf course?!  Victory Park was the course, but other than that we were soon back in the bush, eventually making it to Nong Khai. 

What could have been a 45 minute ride up the bitumen highway, ended up taking us over 3 hours - but no matter, it was such a fun day and a unique way to get there.

After a quick stop for cold beer and food in Nong Khai we decided to push on, heading west along the Mekong River to no place in particular, just enjoying a section of yet another of Thailand’s most amazing rides.  It is very rural along there, no major cities, a handful of small towns randomly interspersed along the way, mostly nestled on the banks of the mighty Mekong.

We stopped at one place to take in the views and before even getting off the bikes we heard the squeals and cries of ‘farang, farang’, then in Thai (quick, come up here, there is a farang here!) was shouted down to the workers putting in crops by the river’s edge.  We were soon surrounded by a bunch of old ladies who wanted to know pretty much everything, especially when they learned I could converse with them in Thai a bit.

Eventually we escaped the ladies, and their insistence that Noi and I be married soon, then kept following the scenic winding rode along the river until almost sunset and found a place to stay for the night, Banmai Rimkong.  It was a beautiful little 'hotel', perched right atop the river bank, not a thing blocking our view of the river.

We paid 600 baht for the night, which included a decent free breakfast, the room was really nice and modern with a great balcony to relax on overlooking the Mekong River.  It was such a nice place, friendly staff and great value, I wouldn’t hesitate to go back again, though the dinner we had was pretty average.  There were cheaper rooms available, but why would you miss out on those awesome river views.

 This was in Sangkhom, not to be confused with Sang Khom which is the other side of Nong Khai to the east!   A couple of well earned cold beers on our balcony finished the night out, as we sat, looked at the night sky and just soaked it all in, what an amazing spot to pull up for the night.

Scenery along the way 

Now that is a HUGE highway marker!

Rice paddies

Wat entrance

Lake ... somewhere..??

No idea what these were for..

Out on some of our ridiculous tracks

This is the way to Nong Khai ...  right?!

Along the banks of the Mekong

Looking across at Laos

Banmai Rimkong Resort

Breakfast with a view

Our balcony, does it get any better?