Route 18B Attapeu Officially Opened


Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong
060506 - VNA - Road project built by Vietnamese inaugurated in Laos ... _ID=202077

Road project built by Vietnamese inaugurated in Laos
06/05/2006 -- 19:44(GMT+7)

Vientiane (VNA) - Road 18B from Laos' southern Attopeu city to the Viet Nam-Laos border, built at a cost of 48 million USD in soft loans provided by the Vietnamese Government to the Lao Government, was inaugurated on June 5.

At the inaugural ceremony held in Attopeu city of the Lao southern province of the same name, the 111km-long road linking Attopeu city and Bo Y border gate in the Vietnamese province of Kon Tum was handed over to Laos and opened to traffic by the project contractor, the Vietnamese Construction Joint Venture Corporation 18 (CEI-18).

The construction of the project, including three major bridges and 16 small and medium bridges, began in December 2001 and was completed on April 15, 2006.

Speaking at the ceremony, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Vu Khoan said that the Road 18B project would help promote cooperation between Laos and Viet Nam, facilitate the transport of Lao goods to Vietnamese sea ports, and also form part of the East-West corridor within the cooperation programmes of the Mekong Sub-region and the development triangle of Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia.

Deputy PM Khoan said he believed that Road 18B will help develop the great potential of Laos' southern region as well as Viet Nam's Central Highlands and central region, contributing to poverty reduction and improving the living conditions of the local people.

Lao Deputy Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulit thanked the Vietnamese Party, Government and people for their financial assistance in construction of the road, which, he added, would help facilitate Laos' socio-economic development, and increase transport, trade, tourism and exchange between the people of Laos and Viet Nam.

Deputy PM Sisoulit said that over the past five years, Viet Nam has provided Laos with 590 billion VND grant aid. The two governments have also mapped out a cooperation strategy for the next five years, worth 900 billion VND, for the implementation of six action plans on economic, cultural scientific and technical cooperation between the two countries in the 2006-2010 period.

The Lao Deputy PM said that Attapeu and other southern provinces of Laos gain opportunities for development as they benefit from new infrastructure facilities, including roads to the East Sea such as Road 18B.-Enditem

Keep The Power On
Aug 18, 2004
Incredibly, satellite pictures of this road as it nears the border with Vietnam are already on

The satellites must have gone over this area recently. Using Google Earth, find the old "tri border" area, which is where the borders of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam meet. The road crosses into Vietnam immediately to the north of this old "tri border" area. The photos are so new, even the new bridges and the trucks on the road can be seen. Cheers,
Aug 18, 2004
An overhead picture of the last bridge on this road before the border crossing with Vietnam at Bo Y is now on ... 18&l=0&m=a

Use the -> and <- buttons in the very top left hand corner of this picture to move around and follow the road to the east. The border crossing station itself is clearly visible. The imagery maps to the west have not yet been updated. Maybe soon.

For new readers, somewhere to the north of this newly rebuilt road is the nice lake at Nong Fa. For info about it, see

Link removed

Enjoy your visit.
Aug 18, 2004
Newly rebuilt Lao Road 18B is looking more interesting. The following is from "siempang" on some other newsgroup.


Yes, I drove to the Lao-Viet frontier in Route 18B on New Year's Eve 2005 when it was still being built (a colleague went there in July or Sept? and said its paved right through). I hired a 100cc Honda Wave from the guesthouse ($10/day not including fuel) where I was staying in Attapeu town (Samakhixay). It took 8 hours there and back. I left a little late, about 10am. I suggest getting out at 6 or 7 am. I think it would be much quicker now since not all the bridges were completed when I passed through and I had to make at least 3 stream crossings (one was a complete submersion on the way back, but luckily some Viet workers helped me resuscitate my bike to life; tribal women misunderstood me when I asked for directions when crossing). The road rises up into the hills about 20kms out from Xaisettha district (very nice bridge over the Xe Kaman in Xaisettha now). Here there are some fantastic views south (Kantuay Neak) and west (Say Phu Luang). I was searching the hills for where the former SOG radio site "Leghorn" was situated (think I spotted it but didn't have time to confirm). Along the way you pass a few resettlement villages with mostly Brao people. They are very basic, so bring along your own food and drinks. You also have to top up your bike with fuel since there are big gaps between petrol stops. There are several road plant camps along the highway, which are supposed to maintain the road (however, near Xaisettha they succeeded trashing a natural rock formation area, which is similar to the national park in Mukdahan). It will certainly suffer from landslides in the future because the embankments are crudely made in sections. I saw nearly every box culvert that had been built in early 2005 filled with rubble and timber from the slippage in the previous wet season. Large sections of the forest have been cleared for "construction purposes" and whole mountainsides have been blasted for this simple two lane road. When I reached the frontier I asked the officials if it was okay to take a picture of the crossing but they said no. I think it would be okay now. I didn't cross over into Vietnam. There was nothing in the way of markets to be seen from the ridge where the Lao border officials are posted. In fact it was just jungle/forest with a winding cutting going through the hills in the distance. There is heaps of bamboo forest in these parts so sadly the Vietnamese will probably come and harvest this in the near future as stocks are dwindling elsewhere. Poaching also goes on without any policing. I had to pass through a Lao police checkpoint about halfway along the highway. They just wanted to check I had my bike papers and know what I was doing. My spoken Lao and name dropping had me proceeding along quickly. I spoke to some Lao friends in Attapeu who said they expect the crossing to become an international one, but while things are still fairly restricted in Kontum for tourists I'd doubt it becoming open to foreigners until late 2007. In the meantime there'll be heaps of Lao and Viet traffic going along the road. Logging continues quite strongly in Attapeu so this will lead to the rapid deterioration of the road. According to an inside source the ADB spent an obscene amount funding this project which went way over budget. Anyhow I strongly recommend it as a great Laotian highway ride with stunning views, cool fresh air and for the moment a fairly smooth road.

Aug 18, 2004
In the following article, there is no mention of foreigners in the group of motorcycle riders that recently (late December) crossed the border at Bo Y on new Lao Road 18B, but maybe soon? The direct run from the new bridge over the Mekong would be Mukdahan to Savannakhet to Pakse to Attapeu to Bo Y to Kontum or vice versa.

In Ho Chi Minh City, the company that apparently organized the trip for Vietnamese riders is V.Y.C Travel. See their page on

Anyone know the tour operator in Thailand that arranged this trip for Thai riders? This organization would also have news about when foreigners will be able to use this road.
==================================== ... 44&SoTT=11

Tourism authority seeks to capitalize on new bridge


(SGT-HCMC) Vietnam’s tourism authority will carry out plans to promote overland tourism after the opening today of the second bridge across the Mekong River linking Thailand and Laos, a tourism official said.

Vu The Binh, head of the travel department of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, told the Daily that the administration would organize a promotion program, and support provinces to organize events on the occasion.

A group of 31 cars and 26 motorcycles from the three countries will travel from Thailand to Vietnam and Laos, he said. “Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has allowed 26 motorcycles of more than 170cc from Thailand to enter the country.”

Tomorrow these motorcycles will enter Vietnam via Lao Bao border gate in Quang Tri, visit Hue, Danang, Hoi An and Kontum, and leave for Laos via Bo Y border gate next Monday before returning to Thailand.

This is the first group of cars and motorcycles to travel via Bo Y border gate since the Government gave the green light to open the border gate to transnational caravans.

Prime Minister Dung will join the opening ceremony for the Mekong Bridge as part of his tour of three neighboring countries – Laos, Cambodia and Thailand – from December 18 to 21.

Quang Tri Province will take the occasion to put Lao Bao border gate’s station into service, and stage music and sport activities to celebrate the event.

The 1.6-kilometer-long, two-lane bridge is part of the integrated East-West Economic Corridor project, which is connecting Lao’s Savannakhet and Thailand’s Mukdahan.

The new bridge will play an important role in developing trade and tourism in the three countries.

Official figures show that over 80,000 Thais have traveled to Vietnam via the central region’s border gates in the year to date. With the opening of the bridge and Bo Y border gate, more Thais and other tourists will visit the country.

Travel companies see good business opportunities to be brought by the new bridge opens. In HCMC, a group of 30 caravan tourists of V.Y.C Travel on Monday started a trip to Laos and Thailand on the route. The company also arranges a trip for 26 motorcyclists from Thailand.
Aug 18, 2004
In the VNS article below, there is no mention of Lao Road 18B, or about motorcycles, but the article is a good indication about what is happening these days in southern Laos after the opening of the Mukdahan / Savannakhet Bridge. Foreign motorcycle riders here might find that southern Laos is more interesting than northern Laos.

It's just a thought. >grin< ... 6ECO190107

January 21, 2007

New bridge brings swell of Thai tourists


by Le Duc Duc

QUANG TRI — The new Second Friendship Bridge linking Thailand and Laos has provided for a swell of tourists entering Viet Nam on the Trans-Asia Highway.

The new bridge across the Mekong River has connected the central coast of Viet Nam with Thailand via the Trans-Asia Highway, which runs from central Viet Nam through Laos and Thailand to Myanmar.

Between 1999-2003, only 1,300 Thai visitors crossed into Viet Nam at the highway’s Lao Bao border gate in the central province of Quang Tri.

But thanks to the bridge’s opening on December 20, more than 1,500 Thai tourists entered Viet Nam via Lao Bao on the first day of the new year (January 1, 2007), according to the provincial tourism authority.

Recent policies to waive visas between Thailand, Laos and Viet Nam have also supported the boom.

The bridge is part of the Trans-Asia highway or the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC) initiative which aims to boost trade, tourism and transportation along the highway.

Established at a Greater Mekong Sub-Region (GMS) group meeting in 1998, EWEC aims to integrate the region’s economies by renovating sections of the highway and strengthening its cross-border links.

Yood, a Thai driver who has transported goods between Laos and Thailand for ten years said the new bridge takes two hours off his journey by cutting out a tedious ferry queue.

The Friendship Bridge now offers north-eastern Thai residents much easier access to central Laos and Viet Nam where they can visit shopping centres or tour the Laotian countryside and Vietnamese coast.

EWEC tourism development aims to bring Laotians and Thais who live inland to central Viet Nam’s beaches.

Director of the Quang Tri-based DMZ (De-militarised Zone) travel agency Le Van Tham said that tours of central Viet Nam target high-income Thais at US$300 for an average four-day trip.

He added that World Heritage Road tours to the Central Highlands have also become increasingly popular with Thais and Laotians.

Bringing tourists to Laos

The bridge also makes it easier for Vietnamese tourists to visit Laos and Thailand.

Savanakhet, Lao’s second largest city, boasts tourist attractions such as the Ing Hang Tower, Huan Hine stone house, Phone Temple, and the Hortai Pitok ancient library.

The Noong Lom and Don Deang districts on the outskirts of Savanakhet attract travellers interested in visiting primitive forests.

Many Vietnamese tourists may also choose to visit the overseas Vietnamese community in northeastern Thailand. Large groups of overseas Vietnamese live in Mukhdahan, Nakhon Phnom, Sakhon Nakhon, Kalasin, Khonkaen, and other Thai towns.

Tham said these Viet Kieu signal a potential market for "Back Home" tours recently launched by travel agencies in Quang Tri. — VNS
Aug 18, 2004
The Bo Y crossing looks to be open even to foreigners. Who will be the first motorcycle across?

From travelfish on another group:


This border crossing has been open for a little while, and here's a
crossing report from yesterday for anyone who is thinking of crossing

Bo Y border crossing
Despite what you might hear elsewhere (especially from Vietnamese
embassy officials) the border at Bo Y is wide open to foreigners, and
now provides an interesting, if somewhat challenging, way to enter
Vietnam. Of course, as ever, you'll need to have obtained a valid
Vietnamese visa before hitting the border.

This entry point makes the most sense if you are winding up your Laos
visit in the southeastern provinces of Salavan, Sekong and Attapeu,
and you don't fancy making the ridiculously circuitous trip to the Lao
Bao border via Savannakhet. You can also get to Attapeu from Pakse --
show up at the Southern Bus Terminal at the 8-kilometre market any
time before 09:00 and something will be leaving eventually, usually
before 10:30 -- price 30,000 kip. In that case, you probably won't be
able to make it to Attapeu and cross the border in the same day, and
you'll have to overnight in Attapeu. Better yet, plan several days --
Attapeu is a good little town and there are a number of interesting
things to do.

In Attapeu, mini-buses for Bo Y leave in the morning from in front Thi
Thi Restaurant -- the Vietnamese place near Thanh Nga Guesthouse,
which the locals call "Ban Pak Khun Viet". Makes sense to spend the
night there because mini-vans leave in the morning -- the first
departure is at 07:00. There should be departures until 10:00, but
don't count on it and arrive early. It's all very loosey goosey right
now since the service is primarily used by Vietnamese migrant workers
and everybody knows the drill. They also leave packed to the gills:
there were 15 people in the ten-passenger van when we made the trip.

The price to Bo Y is 80,000 kip. It's 119km from Attapeu to Bo Y -- a
nail-biting ride on incredibly twisty mountain roads which the drivers
like to take as fast as they can. The scenery is beautiful, but if
you're prone to motion sickness, take something for it. Two of the
Vietnamese passangers lost their lunch on our trip (out the windows,

The border process is fairly straightforward, and there are no regular
fees levied on either side. Once everyone is processed (which can take
forever) the vans continue on to the town of Ngoc Hoi, 18km on the
other side of the border. The entire process from Attapeu takes about
three hours. Transport options are available from in Ngoc Hoi to just
about anywhere you want to go, but many morning departures will
require another overnight stay. There are plenty of places to stay
right near the bus station, with very acceptable double rooms for US
$10. Internet is located 300m west of the bus station on the right.

The nearest spot on the tourist trail is Kon Tum, 68km east of Ngoc
Hoi -- there's only one bus in the afternoon, and it leaves at 17:00,
30,000 dong, takes 2 hours. It drops off in Kon Tum at the bus
terminal 2km from the centre of town. This same bus continues to
Saigon (150,000 dong).

------------------------- - your online guide to Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.
Aug 18, 2004
It seems that caravans are definitely on the move via Bo Y. ... wsid=24850

Vietnam Oks pilot motorcade tours from Malaysia, China

The Vietnamese government has given the go-ahead for a trial plan allowing groups of cars from Malaysia and China to enter Vietnam, setting the stage more land-based tourism in the country.

A source from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) – the country’s tourism watchdog – told Thanh Nien a Malaysian group, with tourists driving their own cars in a motorcade would begin to tour Vietnam from March 28 to April 3.

They were set to arrive in Vietnam via the Bo Y and Lao Bao border gates in central highlands province of Kon Tum and central Quang Tri province respectively.

The Tan Hong Tourism Company based in Da Nang central city will receive the Malaysian convoy.

Earlier, Chinese motorcade tourists had also called on Vietnam for the first time via the Moc Bai border gate in Tay Ninh southern province, 100km northwest of Ho Chi Minh City.

They paid a visit to HCMC, Da Lat highland resort, world heritage town of Hoi An, and former capital of Hue and left Vietnam Wednesday.

Vietnam was also slated to welcome other convoys coming from Singapore in the near future.

Motorcade tourism now has a conduit to flourish after the inauguration of the 2nd Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge last December, which opens up a new corridor of highway travel to Vietnam.

Reported by Dang Ngoc Khoa – Translated by An Dien


Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong