Road Conditions in Laos?

by Ken Hill
(Chiang Mai, Thailand)


I am a farang (New Zealand) 73 years of age, with a Thai partner. We wish to drive to Vientiane - and possibly on to Luang Prabang - in our Mazda BT-50 truck. The truck is farang owned but Thai registered.

Arriving in Laos (from Nong Khai) as two tourists, we just want to know about driving and road conditions. Frequency of fuel-filling stations (diesel) and anything you think might be of helpful guidance - including other websites re private car touring in Laos? What might you suggest as the best time of year for road-touring?

Would you foresee any difficulties for Visa Upon Arrival (New Zealand Passport & Thai Passport) plus vehicle documentation.

Very many thanks. Your time is appreciated.

Kind regards,

Ken Hill & Jarin Inta

Comments for Road Conditions in Laos?

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Apr 30, 2014
Driving in Vientiane and to Luang Prabang
by: D.

Hello Ken and Jarin,

Thanks for your message.
Driving in Laos is on the right, opposite from that of Thailand, you may need to remind yourself from time to time to keep right, that's it.

If you've never driven in Laos especially in Vientiane where number of vehicles is increasing everyday and most roads are narrow. There are also many one-way roads that makes it confusing if you're new to the place, plus many drivers here don't obey traffic rules, you might find it challenging. But don't be scared off, it just needs a little get-use-to it.

Road conditions? most roads in Vientiane are in good condition although quite dusty. The road to Luang Prabang is also in good condition but it winds through hills which makes driving slow and a bit challenging.

If you're driving to the north (Luang Prabang), I would recommend you to avoid rainy season (from late June to September or early October). During rainy season, there are often falling rocks, and some parts of the road may be slippery and deteriorated due to rain water that can be dangerous, apart from that there is not much worries.

As for your visa, there will be no problems for New Zealand Passport. You can get it at the Friendship Bridge on your arrival. Thai Passport holders don't need a visa to enter Laos. Both you and your partner will have a 30-day permit, but your truck will only have 15 day. You can ask at the check point to have more days for your car if you plan to travel in Laos longer. A visitor to my website reported that she successfully ask for more days for her car at the check point, not sure if she has to pay extra though.

Hope this is helpful.

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