Jimoi Spills information on Laos - Southern Laos


Nov 17, 2004
- In Progress -

Stating out of Vientiane.

Day 1: Vientiane - Na Hin
All highway 13 until the connection at Highway 8. There are few places worth stopping but the temple near Thabok is a good stop out of Vientiane for a drink and stretch. There is good fuel along Hwy 13 until you reach Hwy 8, 240 KM. I usually stop at KM 139 as it is a construction pit for the highway and a good place to practice dirt/mud/sand skills as it is a large area. It is 9 KM from Paksan and when you heat up the bike, go to Paksan and let it cool down. Lunch in Paksan 10 meters from the BK guesthouse(after the main bridge in town, turn right, go 1.5 KM). From here it's 90 KM to the turn and I fuel later in Pakading. When you make the turn, you are changing elevations and headed over a small ridge. Be careful on the road as trucks get stuck and leave wheel blocks on the road instead of clearing them after they leave. When you are 35 KM done the road, you come to the pass near Na Hin and there is an excellent viewpoint here of the valley


Continue into Na Hin, 6 KM more on tight downhill turns that are scenic but tricky. When you arrive in Na Hin, the first guesthouse you come across on the right is Mithuna. Lots has been written about it and it's up to you to decide. Food comes SLOW, beds are a bit hard but a secure place for the bike. There is another few guesthouses in town, Joy is also good and it's across from main market in town. If you wish to extend your stay a day here, you can ride to Klong Lor Cave the following morning, do the cave tour (7 km long cave) and return to either Na Hin or overnight further down the road at Lak Xao.

Riding Time: 6 - 8 hours
Road Conditions: Paved
KM: 290


Day 2: Na Hin - Thakek

Departing east on the main road, Lak Xao is about 1.5 hours ride over the small passes and flat land. At the main intersection roundabout in Lak Xao, turn Right, this is the way to Nakai/Gnommolat. If you opt to stay the night here, the guesthouse 400 meters on the right after the roundabout is the best gig in town, Suriya Hotel but watch the reception boy, he may pinch your ass - ask Robert.

Headed down the road, it gets to be Swiss-Cheese holed paved and finally ends in plain old dirt roads. There is considerable traffic on this stretch and the dust in dry season is bad.

As you get 70 KM from Lak Xao, you enter the Nakai Plateau region. This is where the new hydro dam is located and you'll pass the bridges and once in Nakai proper, you start a descent to Gnommolat. There is fuel and descent food in Gnommolat and food is better at the joints on the road to Vietnam - you'll see the sign. Continue on and you are about 60 KM from Thakek. You will return this way the next day and look for a large billboard for Number One Condoms, on the left side of the road but facing the oncoming traffic. There is a Shell Fuel Station on the left after the billboard - note this as you will pass it the next day and turn here
When you are about 6 KM from Thakek, you will see a small sign for the Buddha Cave (Tam Pa Fa) on the right. I suggest skipping it. After you clear the small hills you are in the flat. When you are there, look for a left off the main road and follow the ridgeline south. You'll come across a better buddha cave with more interesting images and no tourists. After the cave, cross the little stream due west of it and when you meet up with a small road, turn right and follow it to Thakek. As you enter, you cross Hwy 13, go straight. My option for hotel here is the Mekong on the river. Rooms are descent, bikes are secure. To eat in Thakek is limited. Thakek Lodge food used to be good and not it's passable. There is a hotel near the Mekong called Inthira and I've not sampled the food but the general notion is that it's good.

Riding Time: 6 Hours
Road Conditions: Paved Na Hin - Lak Xao, dirt Lak Xao - Gnommolat, Paved(ish) to Thakek.
KM 220












Mar 29, 2004
Hi Jimoi
Thanks for starting this thread.
Southern Laos info is very pertinent for those of us living in Cambodia .
Access to the Laos border Nth of Stung Treng is a nice day ride from Phnom Penh or an overnighter at Kratie can be included.
Look fwd to your updates/trip suggestions for this area.
Planning trip for this dry season.


Jun 27, 2007
Yep. thanks a lot. Come Jan will be doing the same sort of thing in reverse as Bill said not to far from Cambodia


May 14, 2007
I Nakai there is a chalet style restaurant owned by a Lao/Belgium couple; he's working on the hydro power project, she's runnning the resto. Lao food and quite good western dishes as well plus a real bar including Gin Tonics...of which I had a few, no probs as I was overnighting there in Nakai, no more driving that day. There are two good guesthouses in town, turn left on the main intersection in Nakai (instead of right for Thakhek) and go down that road for about 1km.
Own trip report will follow in a separate topic, albeit my going was much slower being on a little 100cc Suzuki 'Smash'.


Nov 10, 2003
Yes, the Pa Pao Gh is quite OK. It is located at N17 42'26.9" E105 09'39.0" for those who have a GPS and it is close to the Intake Tunnel of the Hydro Power project. Also reasonable good lao food at the Houaphou restaurant (located at N17 42'43.8" E105 08'55.0").