Pak lay-Vientiane direct road?

Discussion in 'Laos Road Trip Reports' started by tools4fools, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. Just got back from a trip to Laos and was down at Pak Lay. Took the boat down to Vientiane but now the question is, is there a direct (new) road via Xanamkhan?

    Here the facts:
    - saw the bus to Pak Lay on the way out of Vientiane at north bus station. Thought this thing does a real detour going almost to LP, was surprised there is a direct bus.
    - In Pak Lay when telling tuk-tuk driver he's asking me if I would take bus or boat to Vientiane.
    - talked to other tuk-tuk driver while waiting for boat. He mentioned song thaews to Namheung Thai border, Thnongmixay. Then he mentioned 'we even have songthaew to... (think he said Xamnamkhan, but not 100% sure).
    - had talked to a civil ingeneer day before who mentioned that hydro plant near Pak Lay is in the pipeline and infrastructure is being build.

    Now as soon as we left by boat, about 5 minutes downriver at the most, there were two car ferries (similar to those at Tha Deua near Sayabuli, but looked newer, brand new paint job at least). And trucks and cars lining up on the Pak Lay side, about half a dozen of them. (Bus was supposed to leave bus station around 09.00 but wasn't there...yet maybe; thought they might start the first ferry run across with that bus and whatever other vehicles are there by then).

    Now did a search but found nothing so far; does anybody know of a new/improved road link via Xannamkhan to Vientiane?

    It seemed no sense to have those two large ferries there just to serve a few small villages across the river and I think that that fellow tuk-tuk driver said 'xannamkhan'...

    Any info appreciated!

    Cheers all!
  2. Yes, there is a new road (asphalt for as far as I know) from Paklay to Xanakham. From Xanakham to Vientiane is still dirt but there has been some upgrading going on and from Xanakham up to Namhi and from Thanasa to Vientiane should be no problem.

    Don't know about the section from Namhi (which was supposed to become an international crossing to Thailand at the end of last year) to Thanasa. However, from Namhi you can go north to Hin Heup which is partly asphalt and then down south to Vientiane. Don't know what route the bus takes.
  3. Auke wrote: "Namhi (which was supposed to become an international crossing to Thailand at the end of last year)".
    Has anyone tackled the Namhi border crossing yet?
    I have tried the Tha Li/Namheung bordercrossing, further west, closer to Pak Lay. On the Thai side officials said one needs to apply for a special authorization.
    Otherwise I can't tell about buses but I tried the link Pak Lay Vientiane via Xanamkhan 2 or 3 years ago. Section Pak Lay-Xanamkhan was under construction full of sand. It looked like they were doing a big road. Then Xanamkhan - Vientiane is very much worth riding: along the Mekong.
  4. Thanks a lot for the info. Yep, I can imagine they are doing all the upgrade on the infrastructure in connection with the hydro power station planned near Pak Lay.

    Pee, have you gone all the way along the Mekong river to Vientiane (ie the part from Nahi to Vientiane) or just partly (Xannamkhan-Nahi and then inland like Auke did)?

    That Nahi border thing might exist, at least for Thais, as I saw another car ferry somewhere on the river trip, think it was around Nahi, will have to check my GPS track. As the car ferry was parked on the Thai side I concluded it can't be a Lao ferry from elsewhere being transferred for repairs or whatever, but it actually must run back and for to Laos.

    Doubt it being open for other nationalities than Thai and Lao however.

    Thanks a lot guys, great info!
  5. See ... html#15861 for some more information. I asked last year on the Thai side and the immigration said that they would be ready to make it an international crossing on 1 October but they had doubts that the Lao side would be ready. Can ask the next time I pass by over there (probably middle of May)
  6. Link doesn't work for me, get 404 error all times, but thanks for the additional info; yep, thinks tend to take a little longer in Laos...

    Was a good trip down to Pak Lay, even for a pedestrian like me.. :D
  7. Sorry, part of the link was not copied - should work now.
  8. I went all the way along the Mekong and it's a nice way to reach Vientiane.
    My info is 2 or 3 years old and conditions might have changed now.
    There were a few of these bridges. The only "tricky" bits as far as I can remember.

    I reckon it could also be a pleasant trip on a mountain bike(bicycle).
    One should try to reach the temple (about 20km from Vientiane) for sunset.
    Enjoy, cheers
  9. Is it the temple along the river with another one at the Thai side? That looked indeed like an interesting spot.

    Kind of like that Pak Lay-Vientiane road link as it gives an opportunity for a loop for those who rent a moto in Vientiane.
  10. Yes.
    From the Thai side one can hardly see the Lao temple. From the Lao side the Thaï temple is overwhelming.
    Loops are interesting. However doing the same track twice, x3,x4 etc is always a different experience.
    Wish you fun
  11. I just did the Vientianne-sanakham -paklay road and it is indeed nice. the VT- Sanakham section is still dirt, but it looks like they are not done with it yet and maybe paving it soon. Lots of construction. None of the log bridges pictured above. the Sanakham section is very nicely paved (too good of a road for me), but did get me a break from the bumps and a fast way to paklay. Arriving before dark is always good. More time for beer Lao.
  12. Sorry, I don't know where these places are, but I assume you are talking about a road along the Mekong on the Lao side. We just cruised down the 211 in Thailand from Chiang Khan to Nong Khai. I noticed lots of road construction on the other side, but what little I could see of the road was definitely dirt. There is a new-looking ferry tied up diagonally opposite Chiang Khan, but it didn't move in the 3 days we were there. The guest house owners told me the crossing is locals only (no surprises there).

    I also checked out the signposted crossing at Baan Khok Phai (37 km East of CK) and was told it's locals only. There was a somewhat rickety looking ferry berthed there at a dirt ramp.

    Incidentally, the 211 was in bad condition for 30 km East of CK, after that it is OK or very good. It splits just West of Nong Khai, but the turnoff is not signposted, so we ended up on the Southern section, away from the river, but made our way back to the river via some smaller roads.


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