Salavan - Lalay the Vietnamese border R5

Discussion in 'Laos Road Trip Reports' started by DavidFL, Feb 6, 2016.

  1. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    Jan 16, 2003
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    Lalay is an international border crossing from Salavan in Laos to Quang Tri in Vietnam.

    Salavan-Lalay-GTR-IMG_2562GTR-IMG_0001. The start & turn off from Salavan. Napong anchors R5 at the west R13S end, between Tha Khek & Savannakhet.

    At one end of R 15, it is 141 kms from Salavan to Lalay.

    GTR-Salavan-Lalay-Data. Travel data Salavan - Lalay

    In 1998 it was opened as a local border crossing & then on 25th June 2014 it was upgraded to a full international.

    The start at the Salavan end is basically flat for the first 50 kms, with a few minor patches of road repair.

    Salavan-Lalay-GTR-IMG_2563GTR-IMG_0002. Some ratty asphalt at the start, but only a few sections.

    Right out of the way, not many people go out that way to Lalay, unless they are riding parts of the old Ho Chi Minh trail.

    R5 to Lalay is generally good asphalt road all the way & about the only traffic you see is Vietnamese mini buses & tour buses.


    Then just before Ta Oi, the road soars up into the mountains & down again to Ta Oi, onto a bit of a plateau before rising again to the border at Lalay.


    GTR-GPSProfile-Salavan-LaLay. Elevation profile Salavan - Lalay


    Ta Oi is about 78 - 80 kms out of Salavan.



    Salavan-Lalay-GTR-IMG_2584GTR-IMG_0011. Riding the plateau Ta Oi - Samouay

    Old bridges & rivers




    Salavan-Lalay-GTR-IMG_2588GTR-IMG_0012. Riding the plateau Ta Oi - Samouay

    The last village just 1 kms before the border is called Lahang, & the last main town is Muang Samouay 7.5 kms from the border.


    Approaching the border & Lahang



    Salavan-Lalay-GTR-IMG_2596GTR-IMG_0016. The Salavan border gate

    I came up to a boom gate across the road, stopped, got off my bike & asked how far was it to the border checkpoint & Vietnam, expecting there to be some large buildings for Customs & Immigration like at most of the other international border crossings, & was told this is it. Go no further. Oh sorry, this is it. No big buildings or checkpoint. No! We chat away a bit & I ask about border  traffic & how long the border has been open. The policeman then asks for my passport, which I produce & he flips through the pages. He finishes & I ask for my passport back so I can ride back to Salavan.No you cannot. You have to see my boss over there. No I don't want to cross the border, I want to go back to Salavan now. No please go & see my boss first. I get directed to the buildings a couple of hundred metres further on & are met by 3 immigration police. Friendly enough they are, but they area bit concerned about what I am doing out there. Just out for the ride is the reason. Every page of my passport is examined & there are a lot of Laos visa stamps in there. I get politely grilled for the next 15 minutes, who I am & what I'm doing. Finally we are all cool, everybody is laughing & its ok to go back to Salavan now. I ask if it is ok to take a photo there with my bike & the answer is a very firm NO. NO photos. You can go back to Salavan now.

    And so I did....but not before sneaking the one photo above at the gate, but not at the office buildings.
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