The mystery of Route 327

Discussion in 'Laos Road Trip Reports' started by beddhist, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. Here is a riddle for you: last year I found this old milestone. Now I remembered to take pictures of it, before it disappears into history. I think it's still in its original position.


    The inscription reads:

    327 km

    Route 327, anyone?

  2. Peter,

    A quick Google shows a "Dong Ha" in Vietnam and also references to "hill 327" named so during the Vietnamese war i assume. Am I close?


  3. Where was it? Maybe it refers to Dong Ha at the Vietnamese end of highway 9?
  4. Depends on where it was. I would guess it is on Hwy 9 somewhere around Seno or near Savanakhet. The markers are all the same, even the older ones you see outside Xam Nua.

    317 km to Dong Ha and I've seen markers in the north with the KM above and below the town name. Looking on the older maps of Laos, the route numbers in the south are low digits, under 100 so I'd have to guess 327 is a km redundant mark.
  5. I don't think any prizes can be awarded for locating Dong Ha in Vietnam, but yes, Savannakhet is close. In fact, the reverse side reads:

    1 km

    My hunch is that this is a French milestone and that the French had a Route (or is that Route National?) 327 going between these two places.

  6. I may be wrong, but I seem to remember that sometimes in Vietnam the markers along a route give a distance to the terminal city/town of the route, as well as info on distance to various towns along the way (ie one marker may have "town X 60km" and the next might have "town Y 80km" but in addition to this there is always the km to the terminal city). I think I remember km to Hanoi was displayed on both sides of the markers for hundreds of kms in addition to various km distances to other towns. Jim would be able to say whether this is a figment of my imagination or not. I thought that the road east of Savannakhet into Vietnam has been called Highway 9 for a long time (originally named by the French?), but I don't really know. The explanation that there was once a 327 route is the simplest, and may be correct, but if so it seems a coincidence that the road name and distance to Dong Ha is the same.

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