A new sealed road from the Thai border to the Lao province of Luang Prabang has opened to traffic, reducing travel time from Nan province to Luang Prabang from nine to five hours.

The new 114-kilometre road from the Thai-Lao border to Luang Prabang is now open to traffic. (Photo by Thodsapol Hongtong)

Perames Vudthitornetiraks, president of the Neighbouring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency, said on Thursday that the new 114-kilometre road runs from Hongsa district in northwestern Laos to Luang Prabang, extending the road network from the Huai Kon border checkpoint in Nan province to Luang Prabang.

The two-lane road shortens the trip from Nan to Luang Prabang from nine to five hours. It is expected to draw 10-20% more visitors to the two Thai and Lao provinces, especially from China, Vietnam and Europe, he said.

Construction cost 1.98 billion baht. Thailand contributed 395.4 million baht towards it and provided a soft loan of 1.58 billion baht, accounting for 80% of the cost.

Pheng Douangngeun, director-general of the Lao Department of Roads, said local communities had long wanted the new road, which made for more convenient transport and gave access to natural tourist attractions along the route