3 weeks in Laos


Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong
JAN - FEB 2003

I recently spent three weeks in Laos on a Honda Baja rented from Lek big
Bikes in Chiang Mai. Some info here may be of help to others planing a trip.

1. Lek Big Bike provided a good bike, as promised and on time. I can
recommend them for bike rentals. The charge to get the paperwork done for
entry into Laos was rather expensive, almost $200.00USD, but I had no
problems getting in, and getting out was even easier. I Entered through Huay
Xai and left across the Friendship Bride at Vientiane. If you are planning to
do the same thing, be certain you let the agent (and Big lek) know you will
leave through a different port than you enter. You paperwork must reflect
your exit point. Also, If one wants to fly to vientiane Laos directly, you
can rent the same bike from PVO in Vientiane, (email address is :
[email [email protected]][email protected][/email]) cost from him was $17.00 USD per day.

2. You can make it from Huay Xai to Luang Nam Tha in one day, but ONLY if you
leave very early in the morning. Otherwise it may be wise to stay in Vieng
Phoukha. The first half of the road although dirt, is quit good, the last
have is not. There are several rivers to forge, so bring some dry socks.

3. The half the road from Nam Tha to Muang Sing is under construction, but
you can still make good time. I tried to make it from Muang Sing to the
Burmese boarder on a foot path not shown on some maps. Three hours got me
very close to the Mekong, but the mud got so bad, and the day was getting
late so I gave up and returned to Muang Sing for the night. If you are in
Muang Sing, and want to see (only see not cross) the Chinese boarder, forget
it. The road is terrible dusty, and there is nothing to see. A waste of an
hour or two.

4. I Made it from Luang Nam Tha to Pak Peng in one day, via Oudom Xai. The
road from Oudom Xai to pak beng is brand new for 2/3 of the way. You can
average 70 to 80KMH. The last third takes some time.

5. The next day I tried to put my bike on one of the bigger passenger boats.
Paid the money and got a ticket. But when four folks tried to carry the bike
down the very steep hill to the boat, the pilot and the ticket agent got cold
feet. Me too! They backed out and gave me my money back. I then found a
small speedboat who was able to drive around to the cargo loading pier, and
load the bike, laying flat, on the small boat. We went down the river for a
little less than one Hour, and unloaded the bike at Thaxoang.

6. From there to Hongsa was a very winding up and down dirt road to Hongsa.
Took about one hour. The road was in good condition, although slow travel.

7. Hongsa to Sayabouli is not for the faint of heart. Very bad road, and the
steepest accents and descents I have every been on. Almost all dirt, and some
times rock. Just you and the elephants. Took over three or four hours, and
only past about 4 other vehicles. To steep for the heavy trucks.

8. From Sayabuouli to Luang Prabang, mostly dirt but good surface. Easy
afternoon ride.

9. One can go to Phosavan, on a road that is 21k north of Luang Prabang. Its
clearly marked by a sign, but is not on any of the maps. The road goes east
to Pak Xeng. 62.5 KM from the turnoff on hwy 13 to Pak Xeng. Pak Xeng is NOT
located on hwy one, as shown on most maps, but located on this above
mentioned dirt road. You must continue on this road for an additional 57.3 Km
to get to the intersection with hwy 1. Hwy one continues on to Muang Hiam.
The road out of Muang Hiam is one of the worst I was on. 50K took over 2 1/2
hours.You will be caring your kidneys in your mouth. Hwy 6 to Phonsavan is

10. Hwy 7 to Phou Koun is a paved good road. The part though the mountains is
brand new, but very curvy. Switch backs going up and down the mountains.

11. I was told by several guest houses and the tourists office that one
cannot go from Phonsavan SW to Long Chen and then to Hwy 13 towards
Vientiane. No bridges and Militarily unsecured I think it Is probably doable,
but one risk the chance of being turned back after a hard days drive. It IS
POSSIBLE to go South East To MUang Khun and on to Vientiane. I met two guys
on bajas who did this.

Hope this helps any future adventures. Good luck.

frank hammette
[email [email protected]][email protected][/email]

Keep the power on


Feb 11, 2003
Hiya Frank,
just a quick note to say i managed to complete most ofthe road from phonsavan too long chen.
I carried on from plain of jars (site 3) along fairly bad dirt road that got quite narrow and bumpy, but definately doable.
Decided too turn back from long chen as it was getting late and hadnt realy planned to leave that day.
From vang vieng also went for a fun ride and tried the other ide of the road from rt 13.
This was very dusty/ rocky dirt road with not much to inspire, except the odd village . Carried on here for about 30/40 km and got bored and sore, but it seems the road is manageable(asked a few locals ) , but painful!

Take it easy, sounds like you had a good ride!