22-Dec-2004 -- This is the first in a series of six confluence visits/attempts during a trip to Thailand in December 2004/January 2005.
This was our 2nd attempt at this confluence. During the first one 2 and a half years ago we tried our luck from the west. When we left the area that time we noticed a village located at 102E and Hwy 211 along the Mekong, but we did not have the time to check out any roads going south.
This time we drove south through the village on what appeared to be the main road. Just past the village pavement ended and we found ourselves on a well graded dirt road. We continued on this road past the village for about 12km until we were south of the confluence. The distance to the confluence never went below 8km as the road took us too far east. So we decided to turn around.
On the way we talked to local people to find out if there were any roads in the direction we wanted to go. They knew of none. We also stopped at a road construction site and talked to an engineer studying blue prints of the road. Turns out he was in charge of converting the road into a paved road. Unfortunately he didn't have any information about roads that might have helped us.
Before resigning to call this one an attempt we tried one other road south of the village. About 7km from the confluence the road became to rough and narrow for our 2WD Hilux truck. We parked and followed a road/trail for about 1km. At this point we were in a little canyon with a stream with only a very faint trail visible. The whole area is very hilly and covered with dense vegetation. A 12km hike in this area may well take a full day. We were not prepared for this kind of adventure. Also, it would probably be better to start from our closest approach in attempt one since that got us closer to the spot.
The track on the satellite picture shows just how far off we really were and that there are fewer hills to cross coming from the west.
There are more roads and trails in the area that can be explored. A good map or some high resolution satellite pictures would help. If we get to the area again before this confluence has been visited we'll try to reserve more time and come prepared for a longer hike.
Next: 17N 101E