Customs issue back into Thailand

Discussion in 'Laos - General Discussion Forum' started by ianyonok, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer

    Hi GTR people,

    Three of us currently having a great time riding in Laos for the first time. More on that in a later post...

    We brought the Thai registered bikes across the border at Chiang Khong into Houay Xai. The Thai Customs import export form we have each, says we should bring the bikes back into Thailand at the same place, in Chiang Khong. We were asked there if we were bringing them back in at Chiang Khong.
    However, we have changed our plan and would like to drive a loop and come back into Thailand at Nong Khai.
    Does anyone know if this will be a problem, bringing the bikes back in at a different place to what is typed on the form?
    It does say on the form, exported from Chiang Khong and import back at Chiang Khong.
    We want to cross over from Vientiane into Nong Khai, so we are going to try this. Then we plan to ride back through Nan and go back to the Customs office in Chiang Khong and give the form back in, before the date required.

    Will this work................? Does anyone know....?

    Also, can you cross over at Vientiane to Nong Khai on the Friendship bridge currently or do you have to use a small boat / ferry.

    Many thanks for your help
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  3. Auke

    Auke Ol'Timer

    Quite sure that it will not cause serious problems. I have never been asked by the Thai side where I would re-enter the country (make about 10 trips per year to Laos) and often leave Laos en enter Thailand again at a different place. On the Lao side they sometimes ask where I plan to leave the country (they have never asked at the bridge near Vientiane but at Savannakhet the customs can be a bit difficult) but here also it never has caused problems.

    Only problem which might happen is that the Chiangkhong side is not processing the paperwork by entering it in the computer. Going back to Thailand has not caused problems but I had now twice a problem when I was going to Laos at Nongkhai a few weeks after I had returned from Laos at Nan that the details had not been entered in the computer and they could not process my departure as, according to the computer, my car was "still in Laos". In both cases they asked that I leave Laos again at Nongkhai as otherwise things might get mixed up along the way.

    By the way, when you leave Laos and re-enter Thailand the customs people keep the forms so you won't have a form to return at Chiangkhong.

  4. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    In my experience, they generally DO ask where you are going to return. In the past they would forward your paperwork to the point of exit if not the same. It doesn't seem as important as they have become more computerized. As most everything goes in SE Asia there is no one answer. I have changed exit points and not had a problem. I have heard of others who were turned away and had to go back to the location on their form. It all depends on the mood of the customs officer on the day :crazy:

    One tip though; always make photocopies of all your forms and keep them separate from your originals. If you lose one set, or form, a copy is better than nothing. Also, the same as Auke, I have attempted to cross and found that my last return was not entered in the computer. This took a few phone calls by Customs and overnight to correct.
  5. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer

    Auke, Silverhawk,

    Guys, Thank you very much indeed for your help. I know both of you are very experienced at Lao - Thai trips. First time for me. Being a classic rider I spend most of my time in the workshop......
    Anyway, we're going to give it try in Nongkhai. It sounds like we wont be able to get into Thailand there, without handing our import / export forms in.
    Hopefully we can talk our way through and p'raps provide a little palm lube to smooth things if required. I'll let you know.
    Currently in Phonsavan. What a ride today.... absolutely brilliant...... Luang Prabang to.... sh*t... haven't got the gtr map with me..... but you know the junction at the top of the mountain for lunch, then left, out east to here.... loooong way but worth it. I've never ridden roads like this before... Lanchang... million elephants and a million road bends..... The Royal Enfield Bullet is a highly underated motorbike..... Full post to follow.

    Thanks again.
  6. Auke

    Auke Ol'Timer


    Don't worry to much. Yes, the customs people in Nongkhai will take the "Temporary Import" form. It will be entered in the computer and in due course it will be matched with your exit in Chiangkhong/Huayxai and that basically should end the whole story/problem as your bike has entered Thailand again. As long as you don't leave Thailand by bike within a week or two there should be no problem as the entry into Thailand by that time should have been matched with the exit.
  7. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer


    Brilliant. Thanks muchly.

    Jars today before heading back west.....
  8. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer

    Crossed over the bridge, Vientiane to Nongkhai, a couple of days ago. There was no lane for bikes, but no problem there.
    After immigration done, I took the three customs import/export forms and the green books for the three bikes, to the customs officer. He gave the three books straight back and asked me to sign the three forms. Then waved us on with a smile. Piece of cake. No checking of forms registrations against bikes or books or import locations. The usual easy going Thailand. Of course he could just have been having a good day........

    Thanks anyway guys, nice to have someone to talk to on the forum about issues like this.

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