A Laos off road/ Laos dirt trail motorcycle tour on The Ho Chi Minh Trail is one of the most unusual and interesting offroad motorcycle tours you can do.
A quick poke around west of Villabouri on the trails
We come across the “HALO” NGO doing some UXO detonation
Bomb vests and goggles are always worn near the UXO
Everyone is cleared 400 meters, including us to detonate the UXO
Iron buffalo will have to wait
They showed us all the things they clear
“Fire in the hold” – Bang!!
We’re seeing lots of war scrap on this trip – Bob seems to spot more than I do
South a Villabouri, we’re starting to see a higher concentration of bomb shell casings now. They are mostly used for window boxes, pig feeding troughs and stilt legs for houses
Poking around SW of Villabouri, there’s some nice trails
South of Villabouri, we’ve never seen one of these signs before? Very formal?
It turned out to be the MMG gold and copper mine, the biggest in Laos, 90% owned by MMG Lane & 10% owned by the Laos Govt.
In 2014, hundreds were laid off as it become un-economic to produce gold here anymore and basically became a copper mine
About 400 of 4,000 workers at the MMG Lane Xang Minerals Limited Sepon mine in Savannakhet province were let go last week and paid compensation, a company officer told RFA’s Lao Service last week.
The continued production of gold at Sepon would have proved “uneconomic” due to falling gold prices and rising costs of production, the company said in its statement.
“[But] we appreciate the significance of the Sepon gold and copper operation to our people, their families and the broader community.”
“Copper production, which generates about 92 percent of total revenue at Sepon, will continue,” the company said.
Copper is now the most commonly mined commodity in Laos, “making it probable that copper will remain as the top export commodity in Laos over the years to come,” Laos’s Vientiane Times said on Monday.
The country’s second-largest mining investment is in iron ore, with gold coming in third, the paper said.
South we go and into the Xepon/ Sepon region, this is a great area to visit on a Laos motorcycle tour
Lots of bomb casings litter the sides of the road
They make strong fence posts
One behind the market in Xepon
This is the only bunker (left) we’ve seen on the whole trip so far
There’s some unusual war memorials down there you wont see anywhere else
The old bridge near Xepon that had been bombarded with artillery shells, fun to look close at the bridge leg and imagine what it was like at the time
One of the coolest things about this area is the shot-up-Wat!
You dont see this every day, riddled with combat fire, they’ve managed to keep the battered wall in tact, maybe the aggressors get hit by lightning ?
Its quite spectacular’
Bomb craters in the Wat grounds
Lots of daylight left, plenty of time to visit the crashed U.S Helicopter thats riddled with bullets
Some big shell casings lying around there too
On the way back, some war scrap at the HALO HQ
Then to the war museum
This is a must stop, we’ll put all the pictures in a different thread but here’s a few to wet your appetite
Looks like it came down pretty hard
Back to Xepon and some war era fuel tanks along the side of the road
Treated ourselves to a fancy hotel, which also does the best food in town. When the U.S Army bone-diggers come looking for remains, they are hired to do all their catering
One of the most interesting Ho Chi Minh Trail motorcycle tours regions in Laos.
If you are interested in joining one of our motorcycle tours into Laos, there are 2 links below with available Laos tour offerings: