Trip planner: Laos on paved roads

Discussion in 'Trip Planning - Laos' started by Jurgen, Mar 29, 2012.

  1. Jurgen

    Jurgen Ol'Timer

    Trip planner: Laos on paved roads

    Index:

    1. Introduction
    2. Paved Routes in Laos
    3. Sample itineraries
    4. Destinations
    5. Entry points to Laos
    6. Practicalities
    7. Information resources

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    1. Introduction

    «Where in the hell is Laos?»(1) - As the communist «People Democratic Republic» has opened itself to the World and adopted a «New Economic Mechanism» more people are able to point to it on a map and less politicians question its existence as a «real» nation.

    Grants Evans writes: «… it is I think incontestable that the modern state of Laos only exists because of French colonial occupation. Without this it is almost certain that at least the lowland areas of Laos would have become part of the Thai state, while upland areas such as Houaphan (which only became part of French Laos in the 1930s anyway) would probably have been absorbed by Vietnam.» (2)

    This is history, modern Laos has solid and uncontested boundaries. The borders are less obvious in terms of inhabitants, as the majority is composed of ethnic minorities. The population is divided in three strata, related to their usual living altitudes. In the lowlands the «Lao Loum» are of Tai origin (from Guangxi and Yunnan). The middle altitudes are populated by «Lao Theung», mostly Khmu, a Môn-Khmer ethnic group, indigenous to northern Laos. Altitudes above 1000 meters are the dwellings of «Lao Soung» the «mountain folks». They are of Sino-Tibetan origin, like the Hmong, Akha, Yao, Mien, Lahu and others. Forced resettlements, particularly of highlanders, tend to displace people to a lower altitude and to mix villages along roads.

    Sometimes compared to Switzerland, Laos is a small mountainous country, irrigated by numerous rivers but without access to the sea. Its attempt to be politically neutral failed and powerful neighbours extends their economic and cultural influences far over its frontiers.

    Hydroelectric power is the main export resource of the country and the slow renewal timber commodity might soon dry out, as many hills are already razed to boldness.

    Laos is small only in terms of population; years of war and deportation have kept its demography low. Improvements, in recent times, increased the numbers to 6,5 millions inhabitants. The country's area is four times larger than Switzerland and slightly smaller than the United Kingdom.

    “Visit Laos Year 2012” should again foster tourism, already the fasted growing sector. For bikers, this country is attractive, as it is open and easy going for two wheelers (with the exception of “Friendship Bridges” crossings).

    In the North, the attractions are stunning trails cutting along mountain rims, pristine forests and the ethnic diversity of people dwelling along the roads. For history lovers, archaeological sites, the Royal Luang Prabang, Pathet Laos caves and scares from recent wars are testimonials of the splendour and hardship of the “Kingdom of a Million Elephants”.

    Central and South Laos afford a totally different scenery. The “Annamite Mountain Chain” also marks the border with Vietnam, but the large alluvial Mekong basin occupies the main land area, eventually leaving some space for the elevated Bolaven plateau. It is a region of water, thousands of islands, rivers and spectacular waterfalls. With the Khmer ruins of Wat Phu, the former Kingdom of Champasak and old colonial cities, the region also offers many historical testimonials.

    Vientiane is Laos’ centre of gravity, still an unavoidable link between the North and the South. The recent economic liberalisation (NEM) has hit one of the last sleepy and forgotten Asian capitals. As always, changes are for the best and for the worst, but the city is still a good stop-over place.

    The links to the GT-Rider posts, in the following chapters, are referenced with the newest information on the top. The classification follows the main topic of each write-up, sometimes an arbitrary choice. For readers preparing a trip through the country, it is advisable to extend the research to neighbouring themes, as the information might be scattered over multiple posts.

    (1) In: “Tragedy in Paradise”, Charles Weldon, Asia Books 1999
    (2) In: “Laos: Culture and Society”, Grant Evans, Silkworm Books 1999


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    2. Paved Routes in Laos

    Route 13 Boten - Veun Kham
    Route 13 (North) North of Vientiane
    Route 13 (South) South of Vientiane

    Route 1B Sin Xai (Pak Nam Noi) – Phongsali
    Route 1C Pak Mong - Nong Khiew - Vieng Thong - Phou Lao
    Route 1H Link between Route 20 (Beng) and 16 (Thateng)
    Route 2W Muang Ngeun - Pak Beng - Oudom Xai
    Route 2E Oudom Xai - Muang La - Muang Khua - Sop Hun (Vietnam)
    Route 3 Houei Xai - Vieng Phoukha - Luang Namtha
    Route 4 Xiang Ngeun - Xayaboury (Tha Li, Hongsa)
    Route 6 Muang Kham - Phou Lao - Xam Neua - Na Meo/Nam Xoi (Vietnam)
    Route 7 Phou Khoun - Phonsavan (Plain of Jars) - Muang Kham - Nam Kanh (Vn)
    Route 8 Vieng Kham - Kong Lo caves - Vietnam
    Route 9W Savannakhet
    Route 9E Xeno (Savannakhet) - Phin - Dene Savan (Vietnam )
    Route 10 Phonsavan - Muang Khoune - Thathom - Pakxan
    Route Thalat - Nam Ngum - Vientiane
    Route 12 Thakhek - Na Phao (Vietnam)
    Route 15 Salavan - Napong
    Route 16 W Chong Mek/ Vang Tao - Pakxe
    Route 16 E/ 16 Pakxe - Tad Fane - Pakxong - Thateng - Sekong - Attapeu - Noc Hoi
    Route 17A Luang Namtha - Muang Sing
    Route 18 Attapeu - Thang Beng
    Route 20 Houayhe - Tadlo - Salavan

    Laos’ topography is like an elongated fish, his head touching China's Yunnan and his tail in Cambodia. “Route Colonial 13”, is its backbone, the main artery crossing the whole territory. Connection roads to other countries have been cut, paved and renovated, mostly with foreign funds and to foster foreign interest.

    Route 13 Boten - Veun Kham

    The main highway of Laos drives north-south, from Boten (the Chinese border) down to Veun Kham (the border with Cambodia) at a length of more than 1000 kilometres. In the North, it is cut along mountain rims and, from Vientiane, follows the Mekong in his alluvial plain. This trail is mostly paved but suffered important erosions on some sectors (notably Oudom Xai to Pak Mong). Other portions of Route 13 were recently renovated.

    Route 13 (North) North of Vientiane

    Most Laos northern loops start from Thailand, beginning on Route 3 and driving to the junction with Route 13 in Na Teuy, after a short trip on Route 13B. The actual beginning of Route 13, however, is at the Chinese border, in Boten.

    From Na Teuy to Oudom Xai, the recently renovated pavement is a bikers’ treat. Later on, and till Pak Mong (80 kilometres), the road becomes badly eroded, than heavily potholed, till Luang Prabang.

    From the “Royal City”, the last stretch, toward Vientiane, passes Vang Vieng (a scenic but “mixed-blessing” stop-over). As an alternative, Route 10 (parallel link), can be followed for the last segment before joining the capital.

    Northeast Laos - 3. Epilogue (Sam Nuea, Phonsavan)
    The Luang Prabang Loop
    Northeast Laos - 2. Sam Nuea and a Winding Drive Back
    A meander through the North Dec 2011
    Royal Enfield Roadrunners through Laos Thailand
    Northeast Laos - 1. Luang Prabang and Mountain Roads
    An Easy Road to Laos - 2 The Road to Luang Prabang
    Lucky Route 13. Laos
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...st-visit-(Part-1-Chiang-Mai-to-Luang-Prabang)
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...st-visit-(Part-2-Luang-Prabang-to-Chiang-Mai)
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...6-LAOS-REVISITED-(or-Escape-from-Loy-Kaboom-)

    Route 13 (South) South of Vientiane


    South of Vientiane and down to the Cambodian border, the character of Route 13 changes radically. The narrow and winding mountain link becomes a mostly straight stretch, following the Mekong valley. More space is available for settlements and villages are no longer amalgamated to the highway. The traffic, on many sectors, remains low and the tarmac is often appropriated by cattle walking to their pastures.



    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...ia-Siphandon-(Mekong-4000-Islands)-amp-Return
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...d.php/30933-Route13-South-Vientiane-Don-Khong

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...ead.php/36372-Southern-Laos-Lao-New-Year-2012

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...South-Laos-3-Central-Laos?p=272428#post272428
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/34187-South-Laos-1-Ferry-Tales
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/30908-Bangkok-to-Southern-Laos
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...-HOOPER-s-Message-Part-I-Sisaket-Laos-Sisaket

    Route 1B Sin Xai (Pak Nam Noi) – Phongsali

    Information needed

    Route 1C Pak Mong - Nong Khiew - Vieng Thong - Phou Lao

    This is an enjoyable mountain trail, part of the loop to Sam Nuea and Phonsavan. Narrow, winding and cutting through many hamlets, it is not a high speed link, particularly for picture loving bikers. After Nong Khiew, a recommended stop-over city, the next place to spend a night is Vieng Thong.

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...ortheast-Laos-3-Epilogue-(Sam-Nuea-Phonsavan)
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/36547-Video-Biking-in-Laos
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/36105-Northeast-Laos-2-Sam-Nuea-and-a-Winding-Drive-Back
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...-Mai-Hanoi-amp-Back-Part-6-Xam-Nua-Nong-Khiew

    Route 1H Link between Route 20 (Beng) and 16 (Thateng)

    This short paved itinerary is a junction between route 20 to Salavan and Route 16 to Sekong and Attapeu.

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...ead.php/35164-South-Laos-2-Around-the-Bolevan

    Route 2W Muang Ngeun - Pak Beng - Oudom Xai

    Route 2W is a lovely slow pace link, along the Beng river. It connects border crossing from Thailand (Huay Kon/Muang Ngeun) to Oudom Xai (route 13). The harbour city of Pak Beng offers a relaxed stop-over at the west side of the journey.

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...heast-Laos-1-Luang-Prabang-and-Mountain-Roads
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...280-An-Easy-Road-to-Laos-1-Crosing-the-border

    Route 2E Oudom Xai - Muang La - Muang Khua - Sop Hun (Vietnam)

    Information needed

    Route 3 Houei Xai - Vieng Phoukha - Luang Namtha

    This main connection between North Thailand and North Laos, has recently been renovated and upgraded to a pleasant smooth ride. The distance can be covered in 3 to 4 hours and, if needed, Vieng Phouka offers some rustic accommodation for a stop-over.

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...east-Laos-2-Sam-Nuea-and-a-Winding-Drive-Back
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...hp/35882-A-meander-through-the-North-Dec-2011
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/34069-Chiang-Mai-–-Xam-Nua-amp-Return
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/35288-A-Short-Loop-to-Norwest-Laos
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/31588-Laos-the-first-visit-(Part-2-Luang-Prabang-to-Chiang-Mai)
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...hp/36835-The-Golden-Triangle-on-the-Laos-side

    Route 4 Xiang Ngeun - Xayaboury (Tha Li, Hongsa)

    Route 4 is still under improvement and a dusty story. It is the shortest link between Luang Prabang and Thailand (Nan province) but still mostly used by off-road bikers.

    Hongsa to Xayaboury is now paved

    Information needed

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/36657-Luang-Prabang-TO-Hongsa

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo....php/36178-Around-Northlaos-and-Norththailand
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...Enfield-Roadrunners-through-Laos-amp-Thailand
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/33899-Laos-The-Trip

    Route 6 Muang Kham - Phou Lao - Xam Neua - Na Meo/Nam Xoi (Vietnam)

    A strategic link between Vietnam and the Plain of Jars, route 6 is of historic importance.
    Today it is the main itinerary for a visit to Xam Neua. It is nicely mountainous, narrow and winding. The intersection with Route 1C (from Pak Mong) is in Phou Lao.

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...990-Northeast-Laos-%96-4-Hintang-and-the-Jars

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...east-Laos-2-Sam-Nuea-and-a-Winding-Drive-Back
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...heast-Laos-1-Luang-Prabang-and-Mountain-Roads

    Route 7 Phou Khoun - Phonsavan (Plain of Jars) - Muang Kham - Nam Kanh (Vietnam)

    This is another strategic link between Vietnam, the Plain of Jars and Route 13. It is a segment of the Xiengkouang loop (visit of the jars sites) and is connected to Route 6 (Sam Nuea loop).

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...heast-Laos-1-Luang-Prabang-and-Mountain-Roads
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...hp/33573-An-Easy-Road-to-Laos-3-Plain-of-Jars
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/33776-LAOS-REVISITED-(or-Escape-from-Loy-Kaboom-)
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/35020-Xmas-in-Laos
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/31588-Laos-the-first-visit-(Part-2-Luang-Prabang-to-Chiang-Mai)
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...-HOOPER-s-Message-Part-I-Sisaket-Laos-Sisaket

    Route 8 Vieng Kham - Kong Lo caves - Vietnam

    From Vientiane, the shortest way to Vietnam is through Route 8. It is the way to the Kong Lo caves and offeres an interesting view point toward a karst limestone forest.

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...South-Laos-3-Central-Laos?p=272428#post272428

    Route 9W Savannakhet

    Ringroad linking Savannakhet with Route 13, North of the city (another road connects to Route 13, south of the city)

    Route 9E Xeno (Savannakhet) - Phin - Dene Savan (Vietnam )

    Information needed

    Route 10 Phonsavan - Muang Khoune - Thathom - Pakxan

    This route is under construction and still unpaved on many sectors. It is, already used as a shortcut from Phonsavan to Pakxan

    Information needed

    Route Thalat - Nam Ngum - Vientiane

    This is an alternative itinerary, parallel to Route 13, passing near Nam Ngum artificial lake.

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...3925-An-Easy-Road-to-Laos-4-Back-to-Nong-Khai

    Route 12 Thakhek - Na Phao (Vietnam)

    Information needed

    Route 15 Salavan - Napong

    Information needed

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/34648-Bangkok-to-Laos-(2011)

    Route 16W Chong Mek/ Vang Tao - Pakxe

    This is the main Route between South Isan (Ubon) and Laos. It is a land border crossing, as the bridge over the Mekong river is inside Laos, in Pakxe.

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/34187-South-Laos-1-Ferry-Tales
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/30908-Bangkok-to-Southern-Laos

    Route 16 E/ 16 Pakxe - Tad Fane - Pakxong - Thateng - Sekong - Attapeu - Noc Hoi (Vn)

    This itinerary follows the rim of the Bolaven Plateau, till Sekong, with a junction to Route 20 and later on, the shortcut 1H, also to Salavan. It passes near the majestic twin Tad Fane waterfalls.

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...ead.php/35164-South-Laos-2-Around-the-Bolevan
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/34648-Bangkok-to-Laos-(2011)

    Route 17A Luang Namtha - Muang Sing

    The connection to Northwest Laos, comes to a dead end in Muang Sing (no international crossing to China and no paved road continuing to the West).

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/35288-A-Short-Loop-to-Norwest-Laos

    Route 18 Attapeu - Thang Beng

    Continuation of Route 16 toward Attapeu and eeventually Vietnam.

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...ead.php/35164-South-Laos-2-Around-the-Bolevan
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...ead.php/36372-Southern-Laos-Lao-New-Year-2012

    Route 20 Houayhe - Tadlo - Salavan

    This branchout of Route 16 leads to Salawan (passing the picturesque Tadlo waterfalls).

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/35006-Bolaven-Plateau-Trip-Report
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...ead.php/35164-South-Laos-2-Around-the-Bolevan

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    3. Sample itineraries

    Laos’ elongated shape, with Route 13 as a main and unavoidable link, allows a “modular” planning of promenades through the country. It is appropriate to differentiate itineraries going north or south of Vientiane. Access to the northern loops is usually through north Thailand and through Isan, for the South. Both Thai regions can also be used as starting or ending points, for combined north and south trips. The sample itineraries follow one direction, but most of them can be driven in the reverse sense (at the exception of friendship bridge crossings).

    North of Vientiane

    Luang Prabang loop [Route 3, Route 13]
    Muang Sing loop [Route 17A, 17B]
    Oudom xai - Muang Khua – Phongsali loop [Routes 2E, 1B, 1A]
    Pak Beng link [Route 2W]
    Xam Neua loop [Route 1C, Route 6, Route 7, Route 13]
    Phonsavan (Plain of Jars) loop [Route 7]
    Luang Prabang – Vientiane (Nong Khai) link [Route 13]

    South of Vientiane

    Central Laos, Vientiane to Pakxe [Route 13]
    Vieng kham –Kong Lo caves (Tham Kong Lo) - Lak Sao [Route 8]
    Isan – South-Laos (Pakxe, Champasak, Veun Kham) [Route 16W, Route 13]
    Bolevan plateau loop (Salavan, Sekong, Attapeu) [Routes 16 and 11]
    Pakse – Salavan loop [Route 16E, Route 20]

    North of Vientiane

    Luang Prabang loop [Route 3, Route 13]

    The border crossing is in Chiang Khong/ Huay Xai. It takes about four hours to rally the rim of the Mekong from Chiangmai, and another two hours to be on the road in Laos. Luang Namtha is another three hours away, making a trip from Chiangmai to a full day’s ride.

    After Luang Namtha, Nong Khiew or Luang Prabang can be reached in the the second day. After a stop-over in Nong Khiew, the third day is a short ride to Luang Prabang.

    As an alternative, some bikers spend the first night in Chiang Khong or Houay Xay and start early the second day. This allows them to reach Oudom Xai, or Nong Khiew on the second day. Overnight stops in Luang Namtha and Nong Khiew provide some lead time for visits and pictures.

    The return from Luang Prabang can follow the same Route, or, after Oudom Xai fork in direction of Pak Beng and Huay Kon/Muang Ngeun (Thailand border) border on route 2W.

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/31582-Laos-the-first-visit-(Part-1-Chiang-Mai-to-Luang-Prabang)
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/28617-The-Luang-Prabang-Loop
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/31588-Laos-the-first-visit-(Part-2-Luang-Prabang-to-Chiang-Mai)
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...Easy-Road-to-Laos-2-The-Road-to-Luang-Prabang
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/33776-LAOS-REVISITED-(or-Escape-from-Loy-Kaboom-)
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/34069-Chiang-Mai-–-Xam-Nua-amp-Return

    Chiang-Mai, Pak Beng, Luang Prabang, Vientiane, Non Khai, Chiang-Mai = 2700 km

    Muang Sing loop [Route 17A, 17B]

    The Muang Sing loop (Route 17 A, 17 B) is a one day excursion from Luang Namtha. With a tiny market, a broad ethnic diversity, particularly a large Tai Lue community, this small remote city, is worth a little more time to hang around and discover the neighbourhoods.

    Bikers starting their trip in Chiang Khong / Houei Xai, can reach Muang Sing the same day.

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/35288-A-Short-Loop-to-Norwest-Laos
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/31588-Laos-the-first-visit-(Part-2-Luang-Prabang-to-Chiang-Mai)
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/33776-LAOS-REVISITED-(or-Escape-from-Loy-Kaboom-)

    Oudom xai - Muang Khua – Phongsali loop [Routes 2E, 1B, 1A]

    Information needed

    Itinerary from Oudom Xai on Routes 2E, 1B, 1A

    Pak Beng link [Route 2W]

    Route 2W (“Asian Highway 13” ) is a junction road from Thailand's Nan province (Huay Kon/Muang Ngeun) to Oudom Xai (route 13). It provides an entry or exit point to Laos. This slow pace trail, along the Beng river, is worth the drive for itself. Pak Beng, a harbour city for cruises along the Mekong river, provides a relaxed stop-over at the beginning of the road.

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...280-An-Easy-Road-to-Laos-1-Crosing-the-border
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...-Mai-Hanoi-amp-Back-Part-6-Xam-Nua-Nong-Khiew

    Xam Neua loop [Route 1C, Route 6, Route 7, Route 13]

    Driving clockwise, the actual Sam Neua loop starts in Pak Mong, at the junction of Route 13 and Route 1C. Nong Khiew is only 30 kilometres down the intersection, on a well paved trail. It is a convenient stop-over for a trip starting the same day in Luang Namtha or Muang Sing (and just half day away fom Luang Prabang, in the other direction).

    Vieng Thong is an usual stop-over for the next day. There is not too much to see and to do there, but his remoteness and the permanent electricity breakdowns, make it a lively experience. Route 1C is punctuated with hamlets and it is worth to slow down to observe the life of the mountain people.

    The third day drives through Phou Lao and continues on Route 6, toward Sam Nuea. It is possible to drive straight down to Phonsavan, but it would be a pity to come so close and skip an interesting part of the Houa Phan province.

    A visit to the Vieng Xai caves (Phatet Lao hides) is a one day excursion from Xam Neua. Route 6 drives another 60 kilometres further west, to Na Meo and the Vietnamese border.

    From Sam Nuea, it takes one day (passing near Muang Kham and the Hintang stones) on Route 6 and Route 7, to reach Phonsavan.

    One more day, and the loop is closed in Luang Prabang. This itinerary takes 6 days and can be reduced to five without the Vieng Xai visit. Another day can be added to ramble around Sam Nuea and visit the Hintang stones archaeological park.

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...ortheast-Laos-3-Epilogue-(Sam-Nuea-Phonsavan)
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...east-Laos-2-Sam-Nuea-and-a-Winding-Drive-Back
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...heast-Laos-1-Luang-Prabang-and-Mountain-Roads
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...east-Laos-2-Sam-Nuea-and-a-Winding-Drive-Back
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...-Mai-Hanoi-amp-Back-Part-6-Xam-Nua-Nong-Khiew
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...-Mai-Hanoi-amp-Back-Part-6-Xam-Nua-Nong-Khiew

    Phonsavan (Plain of Jars) loop [Route 7]

    This is a cultural and historic itinerary, leading through one of the fiercest battlegrounds of the second Indochina war. The highlight is a visit to the archlogical parcs of megalithic jars. The promenade can be extended to a “Sam Nuea loop” (Route 6), with a return journey through Viengthong (Route 1C).

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...ortheast-Laos-3-Epilogue-(Sam-Nuea-Phonsavan)
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo....php/36178-Around-Northlaos-and-Norththailand
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/31588-Laos-the-first-visit-(Part-2-Luang-Prabang-to-Chiang-Mai)
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/33776-LAOS-REVISITED-(or-Escape-from-Loy-Kaboom-)

    Luang Prabang – Vientiane (Nong Khai) link [Route 13]

    This is one of the most travelled roads in Laos, as it connects its two main cities and is still an unavoidable (paved) junction between North and South itineraries. A popular stop-over along the trail is Vang Vieng.

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...3925-An-Easy-Road-to-Laos-4-Back-to-Nong-Khai

    South of Vientiane

    Central Laos, Vientiane to Pakxe [Route 13]

    Information needed

    Vieng kham –Kong Lo caves (Tham Kong Lo) - Lak Sao [Route 8]

    "Route 8" ("Asian highway 15") leads to Lak Sao and to the Vietnamese border. It crosses the Khammouane province, nicely winding and climbing the mountain, often shaded by large canopies and punctuated with rugged limestone cliffs. Sala Hin Boun view point offers a panorama over a limestone forest. A newly paved branchout, before Na Hin (Ban Khoun Kham), leads to the Kong Lo caves.

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...South-Laos-3-Central-Laos?p=272428#post272428

    Isan – South-Laos (Pakxe, Champasak, Veun Kham) [Route 16W, Route 13]

    This is the main Itinerary between South Isan (Ubon) and Laos. After a land border crossing in Chong Mek (the bridge over the Mekong river is inside Laos), route 16W leads to Pakxe.
    From there, the loop follows Route 13 toward the South, with a ferry crossing over the Mekong to visit Champasak and Wat Phou.

    A shortcut has recently been opened on the west bank of the Mekong (starting before the bridge in Pakxe). It should now be totally paved, providing an easy access to Champasak.

    Further down Route 13, ferry crossings allow visits to Kong Island and to others of the “Four Thousand Islands” of the Mekong. This itineray also features the Khone Phapheng waterfall, a main attractions of South Laos. The loop ends at the border with Cambodia (crossing by motorcycle is possible).

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/34187-South-Laos-1-Ferry-Tales
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/30908-Bangkok-to-Southern-Laos

    Bolevan plateau loop (Salavan, Sekong, Attapeu) [Routes 16 and 11]

    It is not yet possible to fully circle around the Bolaven Plateau on paved roads, as the southern link, Route 18, is still a difficult trail. The itinerary toward Attapeu on Route 16E passes the Tad Fane twin waterfall and continues on Route 16 to Sekong and then on Route 11, eventually leading to the Vietnamese border.

    Back from Attapeu, an unpaved alternative Route crosses the Bolaven toward Pakxong. It is a practicable forest road, but stony and slippery when humid)

    Another journey back to Pakse is through Route 1H, the sortcut from Thateng to Beng (Route 16).

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...ead.php/35164-South-Laos-2-Around-the-Bolevan

    Pakse – Salavan loop [Route 16E, Route 20]

    The trip begins on Route 16E, as for the Bolaven plateau loop. Combining both itineraries provides diversity and avoids some return trips on the same roads. For bikers heading only to Salavan, it is advisable to continue till « Tad Fane » and have a glimpse to this impressive waterfal. A short drive back and a junction leads to Route 20. The charming « Tad Lo » waterfall is located along this road. It is a small tourist destination with a couple of guesthouses for a stop-over.

    An alternative return itinerary from Salavan, it through Route 1H, a shortcut toward route 16 (heading to Sekong and Attapeu or back to Pakse).

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...ead.php/35164-South-Laos-2-Around-the-Bolevan

    [​IMG]

    4 Destinations

    Vientiane
    Vang Vieng:
    Luang Prabang
    Phonsavan / Plain of Jars:
    Xam Nuea / Vieng Xai:
    Nong Khiew (Nong Khiau) / Muang Ngoi
    Oudom Xai
    Pak Beng
    Luang Namtha
    Muang Sing
    Muang Khua
    Phongsali
    Thakhek
    Savannakhet
    Kong Lo caves
    Pakxe
    Champasak / Wat Phou
    Don Khong (Four Thousand Islands)
    Khone Phapheng (Mekhong waterfalls)
    Bolevan waterfalls (Tad Fane, Tadlo)
    Attapeu

    Vientiane:

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...3925-An-Easy-Road-to-Laos-4-Back-to-Nong-Khai
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/31588-Laos-the-first-visit-(Part-2-Luang-Prabang-to-Chiang-Mai)

    Vang Vieng:


    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...Vieng-News-Article-Tubing-destorying-the-town
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...3925-An-Easy-Road-to-Laos-4-Back-to-Nong-Khai
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/31588-Laos-the-first-visit-(Part-2-Luang-Prabang-to-Chiang-Mai)
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/33776-LAOS-REVISITED-(or-Escape-from-Loy-Kaboom-)
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/33899-Laos-The-Trip

    Luang Prabang:

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/28617-The-Luang-Prabang-Loop
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...heast-Laos-1-Luang-Prabang-and-Mountain-Roads
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...Easy-Road-to-Laos-2-The-Road-to-Luang-Prabang
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/35020-Xmas-in-Laos
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/31582-Laos-the-first-visit-(Part-1-Chiang-Mai-to-Luang-Prabang)
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/28617-The-Luang-Prabang-Loop
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/31588-Laos-the-first-visit-(Part-2-Luang-Prabang-to-Chiang-Mai)

    Phonsavan / Plain of Jars:

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...990-Northeast-Laos-%96-4-Hintang-and-the-Jars

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...ortheast-Laos-3-Epilogue-(Sam-Nuea-Phonsavan)
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...hp/33573-An-Easy-Road-to-Laos-3-Plain-of-Jars
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/31588-Laos-the-first-visit-(Part-2-Luang-Prabang-to-Chiang-Mai)
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/33776-LAOS-REVISITED-(or-Escape-from-Loy-Kaboom-)

    Xam Nuea / Vieng Xai:

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...ortheast-Laos-3-Epilogue-(Sam-Nuea-Phonsavan)
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...Ban-Dan-Check-Point-%96-Muang-Et-%96-Xam-Neua
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...east-Laos-2-Sam-Nuea-and-a-Winding-Drive-Back

    Nong Khiew (Nong Khiau) / Muang Ngoi:


    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...east-Laos-2-Sam-Nuea-and-a-Winding-Drive-Back
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...Enfield-Roadrunners-through-Laos-amp-Thailand
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...Easy-Road-to-Laos-2-The-Road-to-Luang-Prabang

    Oudom Xai:

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...Easy-Road-to-Laos-2-The-Road-to-Luang-Prabang

    Pak Beng:


    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...Easy-Road-to-Laos-2-The-Road-to-Luang-Prabang

    Luang Namtha:

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...hp/35882-A-meander-through-the-North-Dec-2011
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/28617-The-Luang-Prabang-Loop
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/34069-Chiang-Mai-–-Xam-Nua-amp-Return
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/35288-A-Short-Loop-to-Norwest-Laos
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/31588-Laos-the-first-visit-(Part-2-Luang-Prabang-to-Chiang-Mai)

    Muang Sing:

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/35288-A-Short-Loop-to-Norwest-Laos
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/28617-The-Luang-Prabang-Loop
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/31588-Laos-the-first-visit-(Part-2-Luang-Prabang-to-Chiang-Mai)

    Muang Khua:


    Information needed


    Phongsali:

    Information needed

    Thakhek:

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...South-Laos-3-Central-Laos?p=272428#post272428

    Savannakhet:


    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...South-Laos-3-Central-Laos?p=272428#post272428

    Kong Lo caves:

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...South-Laos-3-Central-Laos?p=272428#post272428

    Pakxe:


    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...ead.php/35164-South-Laos-2-Around-the-Bolevan
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/34427-Chiang-Mai-%96-Attapeu-Via-Siphandon-(Mekong-4000-Islands)-amp-Return

    Champasak / Wat Phou:

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/34187-South-Laos-1-Ferry-Tales
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/34427-Chiang-Mai-%96-Attapeu-Via-Siphandon-(Mekong-4000-Islands)-amp-Return
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/30908-Bangkok-to-Southern-Laos

    Don Khong (Four Thousand Islands):


    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...ia-Siphandon-(Mekong-4000-Islands)-amp-Return
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...d.php/30933-Route13-South-Vientiane-Don-Khong

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/34187-South-Laos-1-Ferry-Tales
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/34427-Chiang-Mai-%96-Attapeu-Via-Siphandon-(Mekong-4000-Islands)-amp-Return
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/30908-Bangkok-to-Southern-Laos

    Khone Phapheng (Mekhong waterfalls):


    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/34187-South-Laos-1-Ferry-Tales
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/34427-Chiang-Mai-%96-Attapeu-Via-Siphandon-(Mekong-4000-Islands)-amp-Return

    Bolevan waterfalls (Tad Fane, Tadlo):


    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/35006-Bolaven-Plateau-Trip-Report
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...ead.php/35164-South-Laos-2-Around-the-Bolevan
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/34427-Chiang-Mai-%96-Attapeu-Via-Siphandon-(Mekong-4000-Islands)-amp-Return

    Attapeu:

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...ia-Siphandon-(Mekong-4000-Islands)-amp-Return
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...d.php/30933-Route13-South-Vientiane-Don-Khong
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...ead.php/35164-South-Laos-2-Around-the-Bolevan

    [​IMG]

    5. Entry points to Laos

    General information

    http://www.gt-rider.com/touring-inf...crossings/thailand-laos-border-crossing-notes
    http://www.gt-rider.com/touring-inf...er-crossings/laos-china-border-crossing-notes
    http://www.gt-rider.com/touring-information-overview/s-e-asian-border-crossings/s-e-asia-borders
    http://www.gt-rider.com/images/seasiaborders.JPG
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...d.php/34573-Border-crossings-Thailand-to-Laos

    Crossing Friendship bridges (prohibited in the direction Thailand to Laos):

    Thai registered motorcycles are (usually) not allowed to cross Friendship bridges in the direction from Thailand toward Laos. The return journeys to Thailand are allowed. There are now 3 bridges over the Mekong and one in Nam Heug (Thali/Loei)

    http://www.gt-rider.com/touring-inf...crossings/thailand-laos-border-crossing-notes
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...ead.php/26436-Laos-Friendship-Bridge-No-Entry
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/34390-Another-Bridge-Opens-(wonder-about-motor-bike-access)-From-Lao-Voices-today
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/25838-NEW-BRIDGE-CROSSING-IN-LOEI

    Chiang Khong / Huay Xai

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...hp/35882-A-meander-through-the-North-Dec-2011
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/35288-A-Short-Loop-to-Norwest-Laos
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/28617-The-Luang-Prabang-Loop

    The fourth Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge, is under construction and will span the Mekong before Chiang Khong.

    Huay Kon / Muang Ngeun


    This is a land border crossing (an inland Mekong ferry cruises further down the road, near Pak Beng)

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...heast-Laos-1-Luang-Prabang-and-Mountain-Roads
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...280-An-Easy-Road-to-Laos-1-Crosing-the-border
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/35020-Xmas-in-Laos

    Thali / Namheung (Friendship Bridge over Hua river)

    This crossing connects to Luang Prabang on a dirt road

    Information needed

    Nong Khai / Vientiane (First Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge)

    “Saphan Mittaphap”, the first “Friendship Bridge, spans the Mekong from Than Na Leng to Nong Khai. For thai registered bikes, it can only be used to drive back, as (usually) the entry toward Laos is prohibited. For this reason it is often used as an ending point after a North or South loop.

    Bun Kan / Pakxan

    Information needed

    Nakhon Phanom / Khammuan (Thakaek) (The third Thai-Lao bridge)

    This bridge was inaugurated on 11th November 2011

    Information needed

    Mukdahan / Savannakhet (Second Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge)

    Information needed

    Chong Mek / Vang Tao (Pakse)

    Land crossing. An inland bridge crosses the Mekong in Pakse.

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...php/35873-How-I-cross-the-border-in-Chong-Mek
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/34187-South-Laos-1-Ferry-Tales
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/30908-Bangkok-to-Southern-Laos

    Veun Kham (Cambodia)

    Information needed

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...45-Veun-Kham-crossing-into-Laos-from-Cambodia

    Border crossings to Vietnam

    Na Meo (route 6 to Hanoi)

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo...d.php/36971-**UPDATE**-Na-Meo-Border-Crossing

    [​IMG]

    6. Practicalities

    Laos GPS tracks

    Global access
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/forumdisplay.php/118-Laos-GPS-Tracks

    South Laos
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/forumdisplay.php/119-Laos-Southern-GPS-Tracks

    North Laos
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/forumdisplay.php/121-Laos-Northern-GPS-Tracks

    Other Laos tracks
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/forumdisplay.php/122-Laos-Other-GPS-Tracks

    Lodging and eating

    Accomodations

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/forumdisplay.php/81-Accommodation-Laos

    Restaurants

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/forumdisplay.php/82-Restaurants-Laos

    Motorcycle and various

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/forumdisplay.php/83-Other-Laos

    Various

    Wars in Laos/ UXO

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/34846-Unexploded-Ordinance-Clearance-(UXO)

    [​IMG]

    7. Information resources

    Websites

    Laos in general :


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laos
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Laos
    http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2770.htm
    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/la.html
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-15351898
    http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/latoc.html
    http://rs6.loc.gov/frd/cs/latoc.html
    http://dir.yahoo.com/Regional/Countries/Laos/
    http://www.laoconnection.com/

    Travel guides :

    http://www.lonelyplanet.com/laos
    http://www.travelfish.org/country/laos
    http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g293949-Laos-Vacations.html
    http://wikitravel.org/en/Laos
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tourism_in_Laos
    http://asiatravel.com/laosinfo.html
    http://www.laobumpkin.blogspot.com/
    http://www.muonglao.com/
    http://www.laostravel.info/
    http://www.laostravel.biz/
    http://laomeow.blogspot.com/

    Lao Tourims organisations :


    http://www.tourismlaos.org/web/index.php
    http://www.visit-mekong.com/laos/
    http://www.laotourism.org/khammouane.htm
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tourism_in_Laos

    Destinations :

    http://wikitravel.org/en/Luang_Prabang
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vang_Vieng
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plain_of_Jars

    Maps :

    Latest edition GT-Rider Laos
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/29986-The-Laos-Guide-Map
    http://www.gt-rider.com/maps-of-thailand-laos-maps/gps-maps-laos

    Other interesting maps for Laos and the“Greater Mekong Sub-region”:
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/36850-Mekong-Guide-Maps

    http://maps.google.com/maps?client=...code_result&ct=title&resnum=9&ved=0CHgQ8gEwCA

    News/ newspapers :

    http://www.vientianetimes.org.la/
    http://www.kplnet.net

    Routes :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Route_13_(Laos)
    http://www.country-data.com/cgi-bin/query/r-7834.html
    http://www.discoveryindochina.com/laos/laos_travel_distance.html
    http://www.mongabay.com/history/laos/laos-roads.html
    http://distancecalculator.globefeed.com/Laos_Distance_Calculator.asp

    History and Wars in Laos :


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_colonial_administration_of_Laos
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laotian_Civil_War

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 8, 2016
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