First time to Laos- lots of questions...

Discussion in 'Laos - General Discussion Forum' started by rothery, Mar 15, 2009.

  1. rothery

    rothery Member


    So my girlfriend and I are planning a trip in Laos for sometime in August. We live in Taiwan. She only gets one week off from work but, while I have about a month, so I will be in Laos for about a week or two before she arrives. I am planning on getting a bike and checking out the country by myself before she arrives. I have checked Lonely Planet, this forum and other resources but still need clear answers to some questions. So...

    * Exactly which roads are paved? Aside from short detours, I want to stick to paved, relatively easy roads. In a perfect world I would like to travel from Vientiane to Huay Xai or as much of this as possible.
    * Just how bad of a choice is August, as far as a time to go is? Will the rain make this impossible?
    * Along this basic route, how far are stretches without somewhere to get my bike fixed/gas/etc.? I've been in Taiwan for a while. It is so small that even on pretty out of the way roads there will usually be somewhere to get help within a few kms.

    Anything else you think is important I would love to know- but the info about what is and is not paved is the most important.

    I really appreciate any help you guys might be able to give me. Judging by some of the reports I've read users here seem to get a lot deeper into the country than I intend to, so I hope these are easy to answer. Any links or other suggestions would also be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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  3. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer


    The entire "loop" from Vientiane to Huay Xai is paved. There are some sections of pothole old road and usually some areas of construction, but it should not be a problem on almost any bike.

    As for distances, fuel and repairs; why don't you order David"s Laos map from this site? In general I can say it is not a problem. Many dirt bikes with small fuel capacities make this run. You really shouldn't need much in the way of repair, hopefully, as the trip is not difficult of that long.

    As for the weather, I have not been there in August. But even with rain these roads should be pretty much OK.

    Now, you say you "plan on getting a bike". That is more problematic. There is no one way rentals from Vientiane to Huay Xai. You would have to arrange rental in Thailand, most likely Chiang Mai and do the round trip from there. If you spend some time searching the forum you should find most of the info you need.

    I did a trip report Laos the EZ Way in 2007 and the info is still pretty much up to date. It will give you some idea of the route (you may bypass Muang Sing and Nong Kiew). There are many other very good ride reports in the Laos Forum.
  4. rothery

    rothery Member

    Just read your report- very helpful, but the pictures of the dog is still making me a little queezy!

    Are round-trips the only possibility? There are no companies that operate branches where I could pick one up in Laos and drop it off in Thailand (or vice versa)? Alternatively is it possible to just buy one then resell it? I know I would lose a bit, but perhaps it would be worth it considering the time I'd save (not to mention the cost of the tickets back to Thailand where I will be meeting my GF).

    Thank you so much for your help, though. Knowing it is all paved is the deciding factor, the rest are just details... Albeit important, unclear details, lol.
  5. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

  6. rothery

    rothery Member

    Okay so can someone tell me if this is correct?

    1) Beginning in Vientiane, follow route 13 to Luang Prabang.
    2) Continue to Pak Mong.
    3) Turn left onto route 1 until reaching Muang Xai.
    4) Road becomes Route 13 again and follow for a while before bearing left (road 138?) and eventually becoming Route 3, which will take me to Huay Xai.

    If so, these are all paved?

    I will definitely get a better map soon enough, but I want to make sure this really is possible before knowing 100% I'm going to do it- and it is difficult to plan anything if I don't know which roads I will be on and in what area I will be.

    Thank you for the two links for the bike rental places as well- I have checked them both out and they will be very handy.
  7. Auke

    Auke Ol'Timer

    Yes, it definitely will be be handy to get a better map. All the roads you mention are paved although the parts between Pak Mong to Muang Xai (Udomxai) and then onward to the junction to Boten are badly potholed and in many cases have been 'repaired" with rough rocks so it will be a bit bumpy.

    The road from Luang Phrabang to Pak Mong is now almost completely repaired and in good condition while to road from Luang Namtha to Huayxai is generally in very good condition although in places it is being repaired as overloaded trucks have caused quite a bit of damage.
  8. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    How was it?

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