Pak Mong is the first stop after leaving Luang Prabang to the northern Laos areas. It's not an easy ride although the maps seem to suggest that most is reasonable flat. The first 60 km or so is following the river, but stream upwards so you will slowly go up.
There's a few little hills but nothing special to mention. You will pass small villages where people are friendly and there's little shops where you can a drink or some basic food.
In no time you will be surrounded by little kids who are amazed someone like you will have a stop here.
Although the road is reasonable flat there's one serious climb in the day. The climb starts after about 55 km and is around 5 km long.
It's not a steep climb from both sides though going down when you go north is nice. It's a hairpin curved road which goes straight to Ban Namnga, a village where there's a few restaurants.
From here on the road becomes a bit more hilly. Every once in a while there's short climbs. You will follow mostly a long stretched valley that connects the hills you have just passed with the mountains north of Pak Mong.
The last 10 km to Pak Mong go on and off, passing many little and busy villages. None of them have guesthouses but you find plenty of food and drinks at the markets.
The Lao people will explain this is a busy part of Laos, plenty of traffic on the road but in fact, the traffic is very limited to every once in a while a truck, car or bus.
Pak Mong is the last village right at the junction. The existence of this little village has everything to do with the junction. Busses from Luang Prabang, Oudomxai and Nong Kiaw which is another 30km or so east.
Pak Mong has a few basic guesthouses. The best i found (I have tried 3 different ones) was the first on the right side if you come from Luang Prabang. The few restaurants offer mostly the same so you won't starve.
Pak Mong is literally a village on the road. The village is spread out over the road in all directions but it's still very small. The village contains a few hundred houses. It's a reasonable good overnight stay here.
If you consider going east, Nong Kiaw is probably too far for a day ride from either Oudomxai or Luang Prabang. And if you want to go to either Oudomxai or Luang Prabang, you have to stay here too. It justifies the few guesthouses.
Once you leave Pakmong the next morning on your way to Oudomxai you will find a beautiful road in good condition but it goes all the way up for about 50 km.
Here and there you will go down a bit and you will be tricked by the scenery as sometimes you will expect the top at a certain point. Then you find out it's another few kilometers further. However, it's not a difficult climb.
Going east to Nong Kiaw, Sam Nua and Phonsavan
I am very sorry to say, but it was many years since I was on this road. The messages I get from this road however are mixed. There are few places to stay and some of the road condition is still poor. When I did the road in 1999 it was acceptable. It probably takes you 4 days at least to cycle to Phonsavan. During the ride there are villages where you may be able to find a place to stay.
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