I had used another bit if gear I’ve been carrying, my sleeping bag, in the last couple of nights. It wasn’t cold, but cozy with the sleeping bag though.

I was up at 6 and at hong nothing to eat and a promise of a village 9 km away, we hit the road. It was strange to see he signs on the road to all the towns south but no mention of luang Namtha. After a while the sighs “disappeared” ( they were reprinting the mike stones). I felt it strange that we were heading south and east all the time when we should be heading west. After a bit of studying the gps, I realized we might be heading towards a road to odomxai which we planned to bypass by this 3 day detour. Ah well, we were descending hard and fast and I didn’t have the heart to go back up.

At 9 km, there was nothing. Dang, my stomach is starting to feel the lack of food. We rode on looking for a store or a small noodle shop, nothing in sight. The road went up and down and though the descent was fun, the up hills were hard work on an empty stomach. At km 23, we hit the small village of Namly. We stopped at the first sight of a store and got some drink. The lady had hot water and I figured I’d eat my noodles. She was nice and gave us some sticky rice and some onion things, which might have been leftovers from dinner. It was nice though and I had my fill.

Just down the road the village was much bigger with many stores and restaurants. Bummer. We got some supplies and hit the road with a sign saying 99 km to odomxai. Our best bet was to get to the town tonight and find a bus to luang Namtha so we can leave the country before visa expires.

The ride from Namly followed a river. That means ups and downs and sliding into the valley often. It was a good ride, though the sun was pretty warm. I got to the junction town of Ban —–, where the highway to odomxai intersected. I realized we had joined the road to Moung Khoua which was 35 km away and we rode for 3 days to get here. Dang. It was a worthy excursion and very beautiful and un-touristed part of the country.

I waited for Chris who showed up 20 minutes later after an excursion into a ditch trying to get water, heh. I had a big soda and Chris dozed off, effects of too much sticky rice. We were about to leave at 1 pm when a couple of buses showed up going to odomxai. We figured we’d as well take the bus and try our luck for a evening bus to luang Namtha. On the bus were atul and Vinny who had gone to Pongsaly. Seems like that place is not a quiet retreat anymore, guess it worked out alright for us with this excursion.

Got our tickets (25,000 kip) bikes on the roof and headed to odomxai. It was a short 2 hr, dusty bus ride and we got into town at 3:30. The bus to luang Namtha was at 3 and we had missed that. So an overnighter at odomxai was called for. We hunted around for a place but couldn’t find any thing cheap. Our plan was to check out the temple and see if we are lucky to get a place to pitch camp. The main temple was unlikely, but since it was closest, we rode up the hill. Initially they were reluctant, but when we mentioned we could pitch tent, they let us into a open space and a shed where we decided to spend the night. Reminded me of the place myself and Andres slept in at Si racha, but this one didn’t have tin roof nor it was raining.

After setting up camp and a long overdue shower, we walked around town and caught up with our friends for dinner. We met a Swedish couple too who were riding a motorbike around the world! So many ways to see the planet really eh!

Good dinner and company and we headed out to our tents for sleep. Tomorrow, it’s an early morning bus to luang Namtha!

Route: Ban Aya to Paknamnoi
Distance: 59 km
Ascent: 2950 ft
Descent: 5800 ft
Time in saddle: 6:00 hrs
Expenses: Sg$ 14.25
Comments: Highway route is sweet as. Nice route along the river and rolling hills. Got to watch out for mystery potholes on some turns.

Track Notes