December 14, 2004 GMT
Size IS Important

Spent the last two nights at Phonsavan, which is in the middle of the Plain of Jars, which is also more or less in the middle of the saturation bombing by the US during their rather better publicised exercise next door in Vietnam.

While there I decided to have a go at getting through the border to Vietnam - the closest crossing was only 140km away at Nan Cam. So off I went yesterday morning and arrived at around 11am. The Lao border chap said there was no point doing me until around 1:30 as Vietnam didn't open until 2. So I was duly done at 1:30 and pootled off to Vietnam. Great fun where the trucks had churned everything in the rainy season and it's now hardened into - well, use your imagination. *I* got into Vietnam OK, but unfortunately the bike's too big. They've reinstated the requirement for a special permit for a bike over 150cc, which is only obtainable in Hanoi. Bugger. So I retrieved my passport and motocrossed back to the Lao border to throw myself on their mercy (exit stamp in passport and single-entry visa cancelled). No probs - exit stamp annulled and visa uncancelled (shades of Bulgaria in 1996).

Did think I might be able to have a go at one or both of the other possible border crossings, but today I bumped into Paolo and Massi (Italians) on an R1100GS who'd tried the same thing and had no luck. They're doing RTW in the opposite direction to me, and say I'll love Bolivia.

So, it's on to Plan C; can't get to Cambodia from Laos with the bike (the only crossing is pedestrians only), so I have to go back into Thailand and take the only possible crossing from there, then back into Thailand again. Heigh-ho.

Road Hazards
Old ladies
Half a banana tree
Eight-year-old monk on a day-glo pink fairy cycle

Road Kill
Lunch, I imagine, as I've seen none (in Japan it was mostly chipmunks with the occasional monkey).

* Enormous poinsettia bushes rampaging over the mountains.

* The little chef where they'd poured me a small glass of cold beer before I'd even got off the bike.

* Christmas tree and tinsel in the bar on the verandah overlooking the Mekong river.

* Wonderful log fire in the hotel at Phonsavan (bloody cold up in the mountains).

* Taking care where I go behind a tree by the road due to the prevalence of UXO (unexploded ordnance - a child a week is killed by it around here).

* Met Fred the Dutchman again in Luang Prabang as well as a nice young couple I'd met at the youth hostel in Phitsanulok.

Posted by Cynthia Milton at December 14, 2004 05:44 PM GMT

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.

Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!