From Khon Kaen to Nan via Laos

Discussion in 'Laos Road Trip Reports' started by Changnoi1, Apr 26, 2015.

  1. Although only 3 days of the all trip were in Laos, the most riding information is about Laos. I left Khon Kaen and did ride via Chumphae and Wang Saphung to Thali.

    I entered Laos via Thali. The border is open 7 days a week and Visa On Arrival for Laos is available. There is a small boot where an older guy sells AGL insurance, but at 11:30 he thought "What the heck" and went home. So no insurance. In Kenthao I could not find anyone selling the insurance, in Paklay they stopped doing so and in Sayaboury they only had 1 year insurance. I should have done that as I will be back in Laos a few times more (and have only 1 motorbike). The all process of entering Laos took me about 30min.

    I did ride route 4 Kenthao, Paklay, Sayaboury and then route 4a to Hongsa. About 10 km before Hongsa there are 2 options to get to Hongsa. I took what I call the 4B option. All brand new road and bridges. From Hongsa I did ride to the border of Thailand at Huai Kon. The road between Hongsa and the border is brand new like a racing track.

    Actually all roads were good, although in the mountains between Sayaboury and Hongsa some parts are very steep and some parts are in bad condition. And although all roads in Laos were now good, a good rainy season could change that dramatically. During the all trip I had to by-pass the building of a new bridge thru a pit in the river. No problem at all.

    Exiting Laos was also very easy and took me about 30min. Be aware that there is actually no left-to-right crossing point. Be also aware that some Lao driver ... drive at the wrong side of the road in Thailand. I experienced this when a few km into Thailand and suddenly an Landcruiser came full and straight in my direction on my part of the road.

    Riding in Laos was easy, not much problems. Only once I was almost killed by a opposite coming bus that was overtaking a motorbike and used my part of the road to do that. Luckily I do not carry a RPG otherwise ....

    From Huai Kon I did ride to Nan, where I stayed for 3 days and made a day-trip to Mae Charim. From Nan via Phrae, Den Chai, Uttaradit, Nakhon Thai to Dan Sai. The from Dan Sai via Phu Ruae, Chiang Khan, Songkham to Udon Thani. Total trip distance 1.575 km.

    For a full report read my travel blog at

  2. Thanks for the update Chang Noi.
    Funny how it goes about the insurance - never there when you need it.
    But I do the same take out 12 months at a time, the cost is inexpensive & each time you go in you can save a lot of time at the border - no delay or messing around trying to find the agent.

    If I'm right the pic below is the new bridge being built just south of Pak Lay.
    How many more months do you think it will be before it is finished.

  3. Well I was at the being build bridge in Paklay about 4 months ago and to me it did look like there was not much progress .... so I would think it is not going to be ready this year. But TIL so you never know.
  4. In Paklay they sell insurance at the agricultural bank. Just did so in late March. But you have to be able to find the bank first! It's located near the riverfront and in fact, if you hunt through this forum (or was it, can't remember now) you'll find someone who mentions the GPS co-ordinates. I took out the 1-year insurance. It was quite cheap (starting at 308,000 Kip for the lowest coverage) and that was for a car. Obviously you can't buy insurance on the weekend as the banks won't be open then. I also spotted a second bank on the same road that looked like it would be able to sell car insurance.
  5. There is a left to right crossing point, clearly indicated at the Phu Du crossing between the Thai and Lao checkpoints. At the Tha Li checkpoint the crossover is on the Lao side just after the bridge and consists of two traffic islands you have to negotiate. There is no sign though but for anyone crossing there who knows that Thailand and Laos drive on opposite sides of the road from each other, it would be clear where you cross to the other side.

    It sounds to me like the Nan crossing is where it gets confusing. I've never been there, but from the sounds of it that's where you mention there's no indication of left to right crossing (and vice versa, if coming in the opposite direction). If this is so, I would urge the Thai and Lao governments to put some signs in place.
  6. Arh so this is not a current bridge photo from last week, but 4 months ago?
    Above (& below :mad:) is mine from 1st March 2015.
    Look the same eh - not much progress then.
  7. David the photo from me in this original post is made while on this trip ... so made in April 2015.

    The photo in this reply is made on 2 Jan 2015. So the progress is that now on both sides is 1 pylon, and it looks like 2 more in the river have to be made. And a all road covering the 4 pylon's and access roads to it.
    Would highly surprise me if the manage to get that done this year.

  8. Thanks Changnoi1 - you had me confused. Now I understand.

    Seems like Im too easily confused some people say.

    BTW thanks for replying & keeping GTR up to date.

    Most appreciated.
  9. June 26 and all four pylons were more or less ready. The superstructure of the bridge is pre-fabricated so yes, the bridge may be ready in December this year
  10. Thanks for the information ChangNoi1, I’m sure it will be of help many riders heading to Laos.

    Also thanks Javawa, for the update on the bridge progress...things are certainly changing in a hurry. I personally liked the small ferry’s.

    Heres a few photos of crossing the river at Pak Lay on a 2010 trip.




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