Salavan - Lalay the Vietnamese border R5

DavidFL

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Lalay is an international border crossing from Salavan in Laos to Quang Tri in Vietnam.

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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.

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Travel data Salavan - Lalay

In 1998 it was opened as a local border crossing & then on 25[sup]th[/sup] 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.

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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.

A Cool Laos Ride. Salavan - Pajudone - Dong - Xepon - Plin - Xethamouak - Vilabury.

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

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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.

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Elevation profile Salavan - Lalay

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

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Riding the plateau Ta Oi - Samouay

Old bridges & rivers
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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.
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Approaching the border & Lahang
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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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