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Tales from The Ho Chi Minh Trail – Disappearing Trails Dong-Muang Nong

Dong to Maung Nong-Savannakhet

Location ; N16° 41.989′ E106° 12.455′

Turn by the museum at Ban Dong-Nong

I guess it’s what we call progress. Laos cannot stay still as much as us off roaders would like it to. Infrastructure is needed for the country to develop. The locals are pleased, I’m sure, no more dusty houses in the dry season and no axle deep in mud in the wet season. These parts of the Ho Chi Minh Trail will disappear forever. Leaving Ban dong it’s a quick run down to the old Russian built suspension bridge.

Old sign
Old sign showing the location of the battle of Lam Son 719.Pic;Tom Harvey 1999.

The old suspension bridge still stands, but a new one sits next to it now.  Along with the new paving, is a new name which of course is fitting with what it once was, part of the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos. Muang Nong was a key part of the trail network.

Old Bridge
Old Russian Suspension Bridge. Pic; Tom Harvey 1999
Crossing the suspension bridge. 2009.
Motorcycle on suspension bridge with cows.
New Bridge being Built.
New bridge completed old one left for the locals. April 2021
The Old road after the bridge to Nong, It’s paved now.
Paved all the way

Trail Preservation

The road next to the Lam Son 719 Museum on route 9 goes to Muang Nong about 35 kilometers. The most interesting part is the fenced off section of trail, which was preserved by a NGO road builder, I believe. Basically they left a section of the old Ho Chi Minh Trail and fenced it off to preserve the history. Well done those folks, as you can see in the pictures it’s quiet intact along with its time in history.

Fenced of Section of the old trail. 2009
Old ho chi minh trail fenced section 2021
Close up of fenced section.

The rest of the road is easy, a few small mountains to climb, but nothing too difficult, but some nice views, small villages along the sides of what was the trail, and bomb craters are present along the route, it used to look like this…

Paved all the way now.
Used to be a big plie of war scrap in Nong.
War Scrap At Muang Nong, removed now.

Now, after many years of work it’s about finished, an easy ride down to Muang Nong. There are a few newer guest houses in the area. There is also a new section of the old trail, which has been saved. The old section is in disrepair, I don’t see it being there much longer unless somebody saves it.

The old fenced of section, looking neglected.

Updated Oct 2021


Enjoy this post? Find the rest of our Ho Chi Minh Trail Tales here. Interested in riding in Laos, but looking for  more areas in Laos to ride? Check out our Laos ADV Tours page.

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