Pay Lay - Vientiane - along the Mekong

Discussion in 'Laos - General Discussion Forum' started by Ticino, Oct 14, 2014.

  1. Anyone any clue on the road condition for this stretch from Pak Lay to Vientiane along the Mekong (all on the Lao side); have not found anything sofar ....

    Any input most welcome :D

  2. Last February there was a lot of road construction happening. Very dusty. Might be finished by now.
  3. Hi Ticino,

    I have ridden the stretch from Xanakham to the Mueng Fueng Turn off with Rex..
    Also on another trip all the way to VTE..

    Not recently.. but in the last few years..

    Wide graded dirt road.. dusty as hell.. paved as you get closer to VTE.

    Have not ridden the bit from Pak Lay to Xanakham.
    But hear it is also wide road and dusty.

    The ride / drive south to Xanakham is paved.. but potholed.
    Hope I am not over estimating.. but that bit could be paved 20 km?

    An experienced 4WD driver like you.. No worries.

  4. Just drove this stretch in March. Also drove from Vientiane to Kaenthao to exit for Thailand in April 2013.

    Here are the differences. April 2013. Pretty much all dusty and roadworks starting from the turnoff from route 13N just after the airport to somewhere near Nasa, where I could finally do a decent speed of up to 80km/h for a while. Then back to broken tarmac until Xanakham. I then went directly to Kaenthao, 53km away on a road not even marked on most maps. Yes that's right, it's the "missing link" along the Mekong! You will have to cross the Mekong there on a car ferry (not the same one as near Paklay) and then it's all gravel or even compacted sand in some places until you reach Kaenthao. Took me maybe 90 minutes for those last 50ish km and there was only one sign in Lao, which I can read. Practically no one else was using this road, except one truck I encountered just km out of Kaenthao. At the time I only had my GT Rider map but no GPS. Just before Kaenthao 2 possible roads to follow to get into town; it was starting to get dark and I just assumed going straight would be the right way. I was and it was only like 3-5km further before I was in the suburbs of Kaenthao.

    From Paklay to Vientiane this time in late March, first you take the ferry, which is not well signposted but there is a sign in Lao just before the bridge, which is currently under construction. Once across the other side, there is an OK but narrow paved road variously passing through jungle and agricultural land, though some sections have gravel. A bit hilly in parts but OK - very little traffic though. Once in Xanakham, the road becomes very wide but dusty, then later on more of the same as the earlier stretch from Paklay - a bit narrower, mostly paved but no hard shoulders. Might need to go onto the gravel/dirt shoulder if a large vehicle decides to overtake/pass a smaller vehicle in front of you. Topography starts to become flatter and road less winding. A couple of one way bridges along the way. After the final one way bridge, finally an excellent 62km long and relatively wide road built by a Thai contractor all the way to Vientiane. This was the stretch under construction back in 2013. Presumably the stretch all the way to Xanakham will be upgraded eventually, possibly by the same contractor.

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