South Laos January 2011 Part 1

Lone Rider

Blokes Who Can
Jan 29, 2011
4 Wheels
South Laos January 2011 - Part 1

The route: Vangtao, Pakse, Champasack, Don Kong, Attapeu, Sekong, Tad Lo, Saravan, Pakse and Savannakhet

Entered the country at the Chongmek - Vangtao border crossing and went to Pakse. Along the road (according to the km. markers it was Rd 10 although on most maps it is shown as Rd 16) the kids were growing vegetables in the school grounds using plastic bags as watering cans.


Spent the first night in Pakse in the Lao Chaleun Hotel. Good rooms but a bit overpriced at 12 USD per night (hot water and satellite TV). Next day of to the south along the new road on the west side of the Mekong.


Here also a lot of vegetable growing along the banks of the Mekong.


The asphalt road to Champasack should be ready in a month or 2 and will shorten the travel time to Wat Phou considerable as there is no longer the need to wait for the Mekong ferry.


Buddha along the road to Wat Phou (N14 52.215 E105 52.379)

The asphalt part of the road will continue to a bit east of Ban Nongsa/Wat Phou. From here the road (Rd 14) continues as unpaved to the Soukhuma (N14 38.357 E105 47.702) and Moonlapamok (N14 22.251 E105 51.714) districts and ultimately to the border with Cambodia.



In Moonlapamok there is a car ferry to cross the Mekong to Ban Thapho and Rd 13 (N14 23.199 E105 54.057) but traffic is light so waiting times can be long. Had to wait about an hour with only 2 cars on the ferry and they were in no hurry to cross the Mekong.


Luckily the ferry from the other side was full so "our ferry captain" had to make way and move to the other side for another "waiting game".


After a quick visit was made to the Khone Phapeang Falls it was off to have a look at the new Laos-Cambodia border crossing (Nong Nok Khien-Dong Kralor) on the new Chinese built road which goes to Stung Treng.


The immigration buildings at the Nong Nok Khien border are not yet finished and for the time being they are located in temporary buildings along the road.



From the Lao side to the Cambodia side is only about 40 meter or so

No-mans land in between the barriers

The customs office is still located just before the turnoff to Veunkham (the old border crossing at the river which is now closed) and is at N13 56.610 E106 01.000

Off to Don Khong where I spent the night at the Pon's Riverside Guesthouse (got the last room for 150000 Kip (hot water, satellite TV)) and spent a quiet evening in their restaurant on the Kong enjoying an ice-cold Beer Lao and a very special "Pons's style Garlic Bread".

Pon's Riverside Guesthouse - Photo by MarHas
View from Pon's restaurant of the sunset over Wat Ban Hatsaykhoun on the other side of the Mekong - Photo by MarHas

Spent the next morning updating the GPS map for Don Khong before setting off again to Champasack after having checked on the status of Rd 18B (unpaved road from Rd 13 to Attapeu). The people at the road construction camp indicated that the river was still quite high and that I most probably would have problems crossing it as there is no ferry.



The "noodle factory" at Ban Huay


The primary school of Ban Hat Noy


Sign (N14°08.087' E105°51.249') at the start of the 1st Circuit Trek on the east side of the island to a.o. the Buddha Cave

To be continued soon
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