Chong Mek crossing procedure for first timers

Discussion in 'Laos - General Discussion Forum' started by brian_bkk, Jun 29, 2010.

  1. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer Staff Member

    Hi All,

    Back from Laos yesterday. I thought I would share my experience in and out of Chong Mek.. Just in case any one else is planning a trip and it is your first time.

    Crossing from Thailand to Laos at Chong Mek.

    Go up to the Immigration booth (they will see you looking a bit lost and wave you over)
    Show your green book, passport and complete the departure card.
    You will need three copies of some pages in the green book and your passport (The immigration officer will direct you where to go inside to get the copies made)
    He will keep his copy and you must keep the other copies for when you come back.
    You will be stamped out of Thailand.
    (This is where he made a joke to pay him 300 baht - I laughed back like it was a joke too and paid nothing)
    After you are stamped out of Thailand get on the bike and take it to the customs booth a few metres away.

    At the customs both the officer seemed to be having a learning experience with computers.. Like it was his first time.. I just waited patiently while he entered the details again and again and was prompted to enter more information and eventually stopped getting prompts!
    Only helped him when he was typing KAVA and wondering why Kawasaki would not show on the screen.
    He stepped out side.. took a quick look at the bike and completed the paper work and gave me a print off
    ( This would have been quick if he knew how to use the software)

    Next to Laos

    On the Laos side drive up the little hill to the right and Immigration and customs is in the building on the left.
    Get your visa on arrival. I had no photo, he looked then laughed and continued
    Then when you have the visa, go back around the corner and a bit further down in the same building is the bike paper work office along with insurance agent.
    Show your Green Book and passport and visa etc.. Paid 100 baht, done. Insurance costs 100 baht for 7 days.

    Note:- When I showed the green book etc they asked for the bike passport.. As far as I am aware these have not been required for some time!.. I told them. "The Thai customs said to tell you the Green book is the bike passport" They looked a bit blank and then nodded and processed the paper work.
    The only person that really seemed to know what was going on and helped the Laos customs was the Insurance agent sitting in the same office.
    Then drive down the little hill back on to the main road.. 100 metres of so stop at a check point and your details will be entered in to a book and I think they stamped something.. can't be sure.

    You are in Laos.

    When you leave.
    Stop at the check point and they will take some paper work and look on the list and cross you off (he even remembered my name!)
    At the Laos side, drive up the road as if going to Thailand but turn left to Immigration and customs (the same place you went when you arrived)
    Get stamped out.
    No need to go back to the customs office (i did and was told, not needed. You were cleared at the check point)
    ride back down the little hill turn left and you will pass one last check point right at the edge of the border where they ask if you have been to immigration (Yes)
    You are allowed to go through to Thailand.

    At the Thai side you will be directed to the immigration officer by someone sitting down looking very relaxed.. Passed all the paper work filled out the arrival card.. Some stamps and keeping of documents.
    Then to the next booth. Customs did something else.
    Done.

    You are in Thailand.
     
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  3. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks for the report.
    And what a contrast to this refused Thai departure
    crossing-at-chong-mek-t6788.html

    Makes you wonder doesn't it? Get the wrong guy on the wrong day & "no can do."
    Glad it worked for you ok.

    Where did you go in Laos - Pakxe south or north?
     
  4. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer Staff Member

    Hi David,

    I took my Ninja over and my friend took a taxi to the border.. then we hired him a bike in Pakse.

    In Laos for 6 days.. Planned 7 but he could not change his flight back home.

    Route we took.

    Night train with the bike from BKK to Ubon

    Ubon to Pakse

    Pakse to Pa Suan (Uttayan Bachieng Lodge) for the first night.. love the tree houses there and a nice relaxing first stop after the ride from Ubon. Only 33+ km approx out of Pakse

    Pa Suan to Thad Lo for one night (another lovely relaxing place. They have three elephants there now.. So nice to see them treated properly.. Like they are part of the family. In the afternoon around 5pm they take them down to the river for a bath. They did this last time I was there a year and a half ago.)

    Thad Lo to Attapeu (saw an amazing near hit with a car and bike. car over taking the bike as it turned left - Amazed only a sandle came off and all OK). On the out skirts of Sekong.

    I must say the road to Attapeu is quite good.
    Unfortunetley heavy rain during the night and morning so didn't venture too far as we were advised the roads would not be good to the sights.

    rain cleared by 10am back up the road and asked the locals if the dirt road was OK to Paksong. Told it is very good in Thai / Lao.
    Lets just say it was not bad.. OK.. Interesting in some spots on the Ninja 650. But no real dramas. The Map shows the last 10 or so KM as good road. This is terrible. Full of potholes and only in short strips of tarmac before you are on the dirt again. (The Dutch guy in Paksong told me they are upgrading it and will be paved in the next 4 years by a Japanese company.. We could see the clearing starting at the very beginning of each end.. Long way to go though.

    On to Thad fane. With a quick stop in Paksong to visit the Dutch Coffee guy. He was away in Pakse for the day.

    Back to Pa Suan for the last night with a stop in Paksong to visit the Dutch Coffee guy and pick up my monthly supply.. Save him mailing it to me in BKK.

    Pa Suan to Pakse.. Filled up the tank and back to Ubon and the night train with BKK. (saw a nasty accident 10 mins in to Thailand. I came out of the dip in the road and a bike that was a few hundred metres in front of me was on the ground with the pillion rider pulling out a motionless body from the bike. Looks like the van just pulled right across in front of him!!) I didn't stop as there were people there and it happened right in front of a police station!

    In all the weather was fine and hardly any people.. Only a couple of big storms which were nice and cooled down the evenings. bit of rain in Attapeau
    I would recommend going in June but stay on the plateau. Low season and the resorts to yourself or one or two others.

    Brian
     
  5. UbonFarang

    UbonFarang Member

    Perfect timing to read this thread as I am going over for the first time on Friday. Many thanks.
     
  6. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer Staff Member

    Pleased this was of use to you :) I was looking for something like this myself before going.
    Lot of the posts are dated and as we know things change regularly.
    It would be good if there was a stick with the latest entry rules at the beginning of each country topic.. Just an idea.
     
  7. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer Staff Member

    If you would like to see some picture of the trip to Southern Laos..

    Replaced Facebook link with the pictures further down in the post

    Thanks
    Brian
     
  8. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Brian
    Photo 1
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    Try this..
    From your Facebook album,
    Right click "copy image location"
    Paste into this forum
    Highlight the URL pasted in = http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak- ... 6168_n.jpg
    Click on the yellow "Img" button above & hey presto your photo pops up in preview mode
    Then click on submit if it is all ok.
    :happy2:
     
  9. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer Staff Member

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    Passed immigration and customs.. next stop Laos

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    Pa Suan (Uttayan Bachieng Lodge)

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    Pa Suan (Uttayan Bachieng Lodge)

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    Pa Suan (Uttayan Bachieng Lodge)

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    Pa Suan (Uttayan Bachieng Lodge)

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    Pa Suan (Uttayan Bachieng Lodge)

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    Pa Suan (Uttayan Bachieng Lodge) A tree fell down during a storm in the night. Luckily the bikes were further down the track. They had to cut up the tree so we could get out.

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    Pa Suan (Uttayan Bachieng Lodge) The tree house we stayed in

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    Inside the tree house.. Mosquitoes were not a problem this time of year.. Last time I was here.. It was really bad.. Didn't matter how much or what repellent you used

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    The view from the balcony. Nice to have a few beers and watch the sun go down.. finished off with some duty free Aussie Red wine.

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    Thad Lo

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    Thad Lo
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    Thad Lo lodge.. Every evening they do this bathing routine with the Elephants. It is really nice and the Elephants are treated well.. No yelling, whipping prodding. Plus you will notice they are really healthy..

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    Playing with the local kid. He invited us to a challenge.

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    More stunning scenary. Sat out on the middle of the river at night with a full moon watching the locals fishing. The moon was so bright you didn't need a torch.

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    Petrol station draw stuff with money.. A lesson in hyperinflation...

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    Dinner in Attapue

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    The 70 km dirt road to Paksong. We were a bit worried because of the rain the night before and in the morning in Attapaue.. But it was fine.
    This is a good bit.. There are some lumpy bits.

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    Spot the Aussie flag ;-)

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    Thad Fane. View from my bungalow to the waterfall at dusk

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    The lodge at dusk.

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    Mr coffee.. Dutch guy has been living in Paksong for a few years now. I met him last trip a year and half ago.. If you like coffee and want to know about it.. he is the Man.. he was also giving me weather updates before leaving just in case the rainy season set in.
    Koffie's coffee workshop in Paksong, Southern Laos
    If you visit.. Just tell him Brian said to say hello.
    He also has free Wifi now. The only one in the area unless you go to Pakse.. Handy for confirming tickets etc and saving rushing back to Pakse.

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    Last edited by a moderator: May 15, 2016
  10. Jurgen

    Jurgen Ol'Timer

    Hi! Thank you for the information about Chong Mek and for posting nice pictures (so quickly). I will for sure make use of it very soon for another trip.

    At the beginning of May, I entered through Huay Kon/ Muang Ngeun and it was also a B R E E Z E and a very nice loop. Unfortunately I had to rush to Europe right after and I am still wondering when I will be able to post some information! I will do it, for sure, but a little later. It seems that all (non bridge) entering points to Laos work well for us (Thai registered bikers).

    Regards from Spain!
     
  11. blackb15

    blackb15 Ol'Timer

    Hello from England

    Thanks for the report and great photos. I am back in Chaing Mai(CM) in November and want to travel to Laos hiring a bike in CM. It seem a bit problamatic hiring a bike for the trip any more advice very welcome ? But the border crossing seems Ok and a street bike good for the trip.I cannot wait for the trip as it was a fantasic experince last year but I have more time this year. The new GT Maps have arrived at home the one I bought last year in CM was invaluble.
    Safe riding Paul
     
  12. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    On the Lao side they are still building like crazy

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    Construction at Vang Tao - Laos border crossing from Chong Mek, Thailand.

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    Construction at Vang Tao - Laos border crossing from Chong Mek, Thailand.

    Where the walkers have to cross the border from / to Laos - Thailand.

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    Where the vehicles come through

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    Last edited: May 15, 2016
  13. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    When exiting / entering Laos note that the Lao customs is a small aircon booth 400 metres in from the border & Lao immigration office.

    If you're coming into Laos you get your import papers, from the main building next to immigration, then need to check in gain here to get your form stamped & signed.

    If you're leaving Laos, leave your import papers here.

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    Lao customs checkpoint Vang Tao.

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    Lao Customs - Vang Tao border crossing.

    Its a bit of a lackadaisical checkpoint & easy to ride through without getting stopped

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    Customs checkpoint - Laos - Vang Tao
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2016

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