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Driving times in Laos

  • keebone

    Joined Travelfish
    25th June, 2009
    Posts: 10

    Hi all, new to the forum and hope I can get and maybe even give some advice.

    I'm planning a trip into Laos from Thailand with my Thai GF in her car entering at Nong Khai and leaving at Chong Mek. She's already sorted out the passport for the car and the plan is to stay overnight in Vientiane , head up to Vang Vieng , then onto Luang Prabang and retracing our route before following the course of the Mekhong down to Lakxe and back into Thailand. Looking at the road map it's a shame we'll have to go all the way back to Vientiane from
    Luang Prabang and not go a more direct route to maybe Paksan but I believe the major roads are the only ones to use in Laos especially during the wet season.

    Wondering if I can find out some aproximate driving times from Vientiane - Vang Vieng, Vang Vieng - Luang Prabang and if it's possible/feasable to do Luang Prabang back to Vientiane in 1 day. How many days should I give to the Vientiane - Lakxe part of the journey ? I'm thinking Vientiane - Thakhek day 1, overnighting then onto Pakxe day 2.

    I've driven pretty much all over Thailand and do tend to keep up a rather brisk pace. To me the journey itself is as important as the places I stop at and so tend not to hang about too long in any 1 place.

    Any advice much apreciated for both my queries and anything else you may think will help.

    Btw, yes I do know they drive on the right in Laos :)

    #1 Posted: 26/6/2009 - 00:13

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  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 953

    Vientiane to Vang Vieng, about 3 hours if you don't stop.
    Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang about 4-4 1/2 hours. This is a nasty drive - very windy, and the road is quite narrow at times, so be careful, especially as your steering wheel would be on the other side. personally, I refuse to do that drive these days, even in my car.

    Getting actross the border from Nong Kai may take some time, depending when you arrive. I would suggest as early as possible.

    "How many days should I give to the Vientiane - Lakxe part of the journey ? I'm thinking Vientiane - Thakhek day 1, overnighting then onto Pakxe day 2."

    Yes thats fine. The road to Pakxe is pretty good, even in the wet season.

    #2 Posted: 26/6/2009 - 08:35

  • keebone

    Joined Travelfish
    25th June, 2009
    Posts: 10

    Thanks Rufus.

    Not sure I like the sound of the drive Vang Vieng - Luang Prabang, especially doing it twice in a right hand drive car. Doing it on my preferred form of transport a motorbike sounds better. Any ideas if something of at least 250cc can be rented in Vang Vieng and how much I'd be looking at ?

    #3 Posted: 27/6/2009 - 12:27

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 953

    Vang Vieng? No idea if you can rent a 250CC; personally I doubt it. Vientiane certainly, but I don't know the cost.

    #4 Posted: 27/6/2009 - 17:17

  • HoangDJ

    Click here to learn more about HoangDJ
    Joined Travelfish
    10th July, 2009
    Location Vietnam
    Posts: 19

    keebone,

    Last time I hired a bike here (250cc Honda Hornet - just go around within VTE)

    http://www.bike-rental-laos.com/

    You can rent it anywhere, even in VV or LPB. Can hire a bike from VTE, drop it in VV or even in LPB. Last time, I didn't know this, so I rent a Hornet in VTE for two days, then go to VV by... bus. After going back to Vietnam and check their website carefully, I've found this.

    The price (for last year) is $20/day. This year haven't check yet. Guess that around $25 for a 250cc.

    By the way, I'm going to Laos this Friday (17 Jul 2009 to 20 Jul 2009) from BKK with by gf, by bus. If you wanna join, contact my Thai number +66 86 504 2427.

    #5 Posted: 13/7/2009 - 15:34

  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 953

    Do you know that it is actually illegal to hire a bike in LP? I am not saying that they are not for hire, but it is illegal; if you get stopped by the cops you may have some strife.

    #6 Posted: 13/7/2009 - 18:21

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6267
    Total reviews: 10

    It's illegal to rent a bike in LP??? WTF? And why would that be?

    #7 Posted: 13/7/2009 - 19:32

  • SBE

    Click here to learn more about SBE
    Joined Travelfish
    14th April, 2008
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 1951
    Total reviews: 5
    Places visited:
    At least 2

    Same reason (or lack of reason) that it's illegal to have a Lao GF? Is that true BTW Rufus? I have a friend who's rather smitten with a Lao lady...what kind of strife is he risking from the cops?

    #8 Posted: 13/7/2009 - 19:46

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6267
    Total reviews: 10

    SBE
    Fine, deportation... possible prison. Tell him to take his Laos lady across the border into Thailand until either he's ready to break up with her or ready to marry her or ready to be celibate (at least with her). People actually do get prosecuted for this.

    #9 Posted: 13/7/2009 - 20:33

  • SBE

    Click here to learn more about SBE
    Joined Travelfish
    14th April, 2008
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 1951
    Total reviews: 5
    Places visited:
    At least 2

    That's more or less what I told him but I wasn't sure and he didn't seem to take it very seriously.

    Last time I saw him he was in BKK trying to get a visa to take her back home with him so hopefully that worked out!

    #10 Posted: 14/7/2009 - 06:35

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  • Rufus

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd April, 2007
    Location Laos
    Posts: 953

    The rule about M/cycles is to prevent overcrowding in the town. However there are apparently some places which rent them out anyway.

    The rule regarding cohabiting does not just apply to Lao women and western men; the reverse applies as well. I have a good friend whose brother was hassled by the cops because he was living with a western girl. Mind you this was a few years ago; these days the law is observed more in the breach than in the enforcement. We had the cops come past 4 weeks ago to check that we were legally married; apparently they are doing a crackdown before the SEA Games - buggered if I know why!
    I wonder what they do about the hookers in town?

    #11 Posted: 14/7/2009 - 08:30

  • HoangDJ

    Click here to learn more about HoangDJ
    Joined Travelfish
    10th July, 2009
    Location Vietnam
    Posts: 19

    Lucky me, I'm Asian, so who cares :D

    Not really sure that you can rent it but LPB, but if you are interested, why don't you drop an email to them?

    #12 Posted: 14/7/2009 - 12:12

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6267
    Total reviews: 10

    "I wonder what they do about the hookers in town?"

    Rudus
    It breaks down like this:

    1. This law is applied principally to Laotian women and white men. Legally not true, defacto true.

    2. Thai men still go whoring in Laos all the time. Some of my Thai male friends go across the river to go whoring so they can do so under the radar (i.e. so their wives don't know). Thge law isn't applied to Thais (and probably not Vietnamese either - though I don't know).

    3. Because Laos still wants white man money, they allow Thais and Vietnamese (principally the latter) to hook in Laos. Thus providing an answer to that market place requirement.

    #13 Posted: 14/7/2009 - 12:56

  • julesclassic

    Joined Travelfish
    14th July, 2009
    Posts: 4

    won't be the right person to speak about ladies but I can help with bikes :)
    Thanks Hoang for giving our website address.
    Bike rental in LP is possible and we deliver bikes every week to people who want to start their trip from this place. We never had problems so far and none of our clients was stopped by the police. If the booking is done via internet there is no problem. We also work with Green Discovery who has an agency in LP and they where having 7 of our bikes during the "season" for rent.
    If somebody want to rent a bike in Vientiane and use it later in LP there is no problem at all.
    Dropping in LP is possible as well.
    Hope it helps
    Cheers
    Jules

    #14 Posted: 14/7/2009 - 18:55

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