laos roads: now with 50% more asphalt

Discussion in 'Laos Road Trip Reports' started by choudoufu, May 30, 2015.

  1. choudoufu

    choudoufu Member

    Jan 8, 2010
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    did some bicycling last july (2014) and again this feb (2015).

    beginning in the south. the road (hwy 23?) from hwy 15 near salavan
    to the broken bridge was just about ready for paving. widened and
    scraped and flattened with lotsa new pipes and culverts.

    nothing going on at the bridge then, road north to toumlan was still
    a single lane dirt affair with rough plank bridges. toumlan west to
    hwy 13 was all dirt.

    hwy 23 from phin south to the 2nd broken bridge was just about ready
    for paving. new bridge pylons are currently being built. there's a new
    gas station at tadhai just completed. no pumps yet....coming soon.

    nabo to vilabury is paved, some sections crumbly and potholed, but
    pretty easy overall.

    vilabury to na phoe is an easy day's ride (on bicycle). good packed
    gravel/dirt roads with a few small water crossings (dry season).
    final 10km coming into bualapha is ready for paving, as is the
    road west to mahaxay. i continued north on dirt road. no bridge
    at the saang river. there's a good ford, water about a meter deep.
    there are small boats to ferry you across, which i noticed AFTER
    portaging my bike across about 150m river. i suspect a bridge
    will be coming soon, as there are new smaller bridges being
    built between the river and na phoe. last few km before the
    junction with hwy 12 are very rough cobblestones. there's a
    small overpriced karaoke guesthouse a couple km from the
    junction in the direction of vietnam.

    hwy 12 between na phoe and gnommolath is nicely paved, kool
    ride along the karsts.

    hwy 1E (8S on gt rider map) is nicely paved. reports of 12% grades?
    seems the road was redone at the hydropower plant, easy ride on a
    bicycle, didn't seem like more than 8%. couple km north of natai
    is a new dirt trail that allegedly goes to the village at the south
    end of kong lor cave. pavement continues until about 31km south
    of lak sao. if dry no problem. if rain, then the red clay is very gooey
    and will clog up your gears and chain, and at the same time is
    very slippery. several dirtbikers said they dropped their bikes here.
    one cyclist could not make it, had to flag down a pickup.
    construction underway, will be paved soon.

    nice pavement on hwy 8 to the junction with hwy 1D, which is now
    nicely paved to phonsavan. light traffic, hills and curves. great
    scenery and 10% grades. so-so guesthouse at vieng thong.

    continued on to crappy guesthouse at thasi. good pavement but
    very tough on a bicycle. endless series of 10-12% grades and
    nice scenery.

    at thasi is the junction with hwy 5101 to pakxan. first 15 km is
    evil! a few crumbling remnants of ashphalt, but mostly dust
    and cobbles....and five 18% grades to climb.

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