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Our Route in Laos.
Pratical informations, informations pratiques, notre route et points gps
Tuesday 30 March 2010
Our route through Laos [60 days]
1st Journey, February 12 - Mars 12, 2010
2nd Journey, Mars 13 - April 22, 2010
From Houay Xay (North West) to Vientiane.
2. Changing money, ATMs,Visa card
It’s best to bring both US dollars and Thai baths, they can be exchanged everywhere and you can pay with either. If you are still in Cambodia remember that ATM provide Dollars. Euros are exchanged in main towns. You can find ATM’s providing Kip only, in main towns, Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, Oudoxai, HouaiSay.
3. Financial summary
The rate was at that time 11000 kip to a euro and 8500 kip to a dollar. On average we spent 15 Euros per day without gasoil.
4. Third-party insurance:
In Laos we didn’t buy third-party insurance.
5. Carnet de Passage:
All border crossings were a piece of cake. The Carnet de Passage which is well none, was completed each time within a few minutes.
We crossed the following borders:
Get into Laos: At the border you get a 30 days visa for 30 US dollars. Extending your visa, which costs 3 US dollars per day, is not a deal, it’s cheaper to check out to Thailand, as "run visa" or 2 months visas in Embassy, is actually free and get back to Laos later.
Check out Laos: Easy to stamp out. Enter in ThaÃ¯lande, 15 days run visa free, or you have to applie a 2 months (20$) Visa at the ThaÃ¯ embassy in Vientiane.
7.Car, diesel, petrol stations, roadmap
Diesel and petrol stations: The diesel price is rising at a shocking rate, and varying a lot in the country. We found GO every where, even in small villages in 200 liters tanks.
During 60 days of travelling in Laos we covered XXXX kilometres [an average of XX kilometres per day]. We had no car maintenance in this country, except the basic one I done my self.
Driving in Laos is no problem. People are relaxed, also when driving. There are no rules, like nowhere in Asia, but as in the rest of Asia, people drive very slowly, so there is no problem. Moreover, there is little traffic on the roads. In Laos people drive on the right side of the road.
10.Roads and road maps:
There are tool gates on all major roads; we paid 5000 kip (which is less than our category!) National Highway 13 from south to north is good. A lot of the national are asphalted, mainly the one going to China or Vietnam. The one from Boten (China Border) to Oudonxai is on work, it takes 6hours to us to us to do it. Once off the National Highways youâ€™re right away on laterite roads which vary from good to terribly bad.
The Rough Guide map [Laos] was all right for the regular roads. For our jungle adventure fron Paksan to Phonsavan, the map was utterly inadequate. We also used the Rotweiller Map  for Garmin GPS, which is really a basic one, as you have very few in formations on. The GT Ridersmap is a good alternative or even better, to have as a supplement to the Nelles map. Each map shows different roads and villages, which can be handy.
In Laos we took the car ferry to cross the Mekong River [1000 baths per crossing].
12.Paid accommodation and bush camping
Of the 60 nights we spent:
Bush camping on the road are few, take the one you see, next one can be very far... Bush camping is easy in Laos since there is so much space and few people. Apart from that, people leave you very much to yourself, which makes camping very peaceful and quiet, and safe.
In Champasak, Savannaketh, Vientiane, Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang, Oudomxai youâ€™ll have no problems. It is more difficult fareaway. Connections are reasonable to good. It’s no problem to find internet cafÃ©s where you can connect your laptop.
We hadn’t cooked in South East Asia. So far, we haven’t buy food.
Laos has no spicy food. You can find cheap food stalls along the road with fried rice, noodles or noodle soup. It’s more difficult in the north. The towns have restaurants with a larger variety of dishes. Beer Lao tastes very good (Lao Beer). Laos restaurant are the most expensive in South East Asia, for less good food.
We still filter our water, which works just fine. For those who doesn’t have filter, the best way is to refill with pure drinking water available in 20 litres tank.
There is no gas or LPG in Laos, no way to refill. I see only one factory on the main road 20 kms north of Luang Prabang.