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HELP - DRIVING IN LAOS

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Hubby and I with 2 kids (14 & 10) will be travelling to Laos in early July for 2 weeks.

When we travel we would rather drive, as it gives us more flexibility and we like to go "off the beaten track" a bit.

Our itinery is not quite set yet, but basically...
We fly into Chiang Mai, stay a few days then drive to Houei Say. Do a 2 day cruise down to Luang Prabang. Stay 3 - 4 days. Drive to Vientane, stay 1 or 2 nights. Catch a flight to Savannakhet. We are thinking of driving from Savannakhet down to Pakse, then through the Bolaven Plateau doing a loop and down to Don Khon. Then we need to get to Ubon Ratchathani to catch our flight home to Melbourne, via Bangkok.

Just wondering if anybody has driven in Southern Laos? Would love to get any advice re: car hire, road conditions, rainy season issues, security, aor anything else that may be helpful.

Thanx...Leonie

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