Forthcoming Laos Bike Entry Difficulties

Discussion in 'Laos - General Discussion Forum' started by DavidFL, Nov 5, 2013.

  1. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Information just received suggests that there will big difficulties for Thai registered (& foreign ASEAN?) bikes entering Laos.

    Laos authorities are not happy about some recent border crossings by Thai riders - not doing the required paperwork & just riding off.
    The problems from earlier this year are also clearer - a death involving a BMW group & the rider(s) doing another runner. This occurred in Sayabouly province.

    A letter is being issued in Vientiane & being sent to all border crossings - NO ITP International Transport Permit passport = NO entry.
    The fact that ITPs for motorbikes are no longer issued does not seem to matter - NO motorbikes.

    Perhaps the idea is to simply force all bike entries to go via a legal registered tour company in Laos - that provides insurance & covers you for any accidents.

    Whether this also applies to Non-Thai registered bikes I am not sure as yet.

    The Lao / Vietnam border crossing that was being used to exit Laos & enter Vietnam plus return the same way is also being told to stop the bikes!

    The latest complaint is from 2 Thai riders crossing from Thailand to Laos at Bun Kan / Pakxan. On the Pakxan side they simply rode off refusing to do any paperwork for the bikes. They then exited via Muang Ngern to Hua Kon (Nan) & ran the border, refusing to stop for Lao Customs. All very stupid & the word moron springs to mind.

    Stay tuned....
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  3. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Wow, that's disturbing news! I was really looking forward to spending some time riding Laos in the winter months. Guess it might be a safer option to just fly into Vientiane and rent from Fuark? Would suck to ride a bike all the way from Bangkok or Chiang Mai only to be refused at the border... :crazy:
  4. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    I would still be tempted to try the border in Chong Mek..
    They have never had any issues with Bikes when all the nonsense was going on up north.

    Worse case scenario.. Go exploring along the Thai / Lao border to Emerald Triangle.. Good and untouched in there..

  5. Rod Page

    Rod Page Ol'Timer

    This is the worst possible news.

    One of the MAJOR advantages in living in northern Thailand was the ready access one had to Laos - crossing by sanpan at Chiang Khong is one of those rare delights too few of which still exist today. And the horizon was looking even brighter with access to Vietnam starting to appear to be closer at hand.

    I've had many great adventures in northern Thailand, many of them documented on this forum, but my travels in Laos & in particular Vietnam are amongst the fondest memories of all. Laos & Vietnam are SE Asia of yesteryear. Packed with history they are amongst the most beautiful, stimulating & culturally enriching places on earth.

    Let's hope the authorities find a way to provide sufficient security so that such 'runnings of the border' can no longer occur & that law abiding citizens can continue to cross & be mesmorised by all these countries have to offer.
  6. kchow24

    kchow24 Ol'Timer

    what a bad news!! Look like my trip have to cancel then!!! so sad!!
  7. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Dont cancel. It is NOT 100% confirmed yet;
  8. Gary D

    Gary D Ol'Timer

    David what is an ITP is that a Carnet. Laos were not a Carnet signatory, hope my Aus rego can still give me passage.

  9. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Some info on he ITP International Transport Permit is here
    International Transport Permit

    but note that
    1. the ITP is no longer issued for motorbikes in Thailand
    2. the Vehicle Registration Certificate that replaced the ITP is also no longer issued, except maybe in Bangkok at DMV
    3. the ITP / VRC was only for Thai registered vehicles

    Some Thai guys got a ITP passport issued in Phitsanulok very recently, the guys in Khon Kaen tried in KK, could not, so they rang BkK saying Phitsanulok can do, what is the problem; then Bkk rang Phitsanulok & told them to cancel the ITP issued.
    No ITPs for motorbikes.

    But please note that all of this could be a false alarm re the border - until we hear someone is refused entry we don't know for sure.
    More than likely the problems will be at Pakxan & Muang Ngern first.
    However we do believe a letter from the Lao police has gone out to some, if not all border crossings.
    As of yesterday the bridge at Vientiane & Chiang Khong were still ok - situation normal.
    If you're on a non-Thai registered bike you are probably going to be ok.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2016
  10. Rafiq The Kid

    Rafiq The Kid Member

    Hiii David..
    My name is Rafiq from Malaysia...we are planned to enter Laos via Chiang Kong and entered Thailand via Pakse....we are planned on 24 January 2014...we have 4 motorbike is that true you mention before no motorbike going through laos..our bike is Malaysian register....please advise...thank you
  11. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    1. Nothing has happened yet that I am aware of, so it could all be wrong
    2. I think it will only be Thai registered bikes that have trouble.
    all you will be doing when you leave Thailand is handing in the Customs temporary import document that you got when you entered at the Malaysia - Thailand border.
    Then on the Laos side you just complete another new in-going set for Laos.
    When I crossed at Chong Mek / Vang Tao in August it was one of the easiest quickest crossings I have ever done. Officials on both the Thai & Laos side were incredibly friendly & helpful.

    Now worth mentioning a little story, a Thai guy & 2 farang riders entered ok at Houei Xai 2 weeks ago without trouble.
    Unfortunately the Thai guy did not check his passport when he got it back from immigration - no entry stamp?
    So 7-10 days later when he tried to exit at Muang Ngern (where most of the trouble has been) he had no entry stamp.
    Naturally Lao immigration were not impressed, refused to let him exit at Muang Ngern & sent him back to Houei Xai, but the two farang riders with entry stamps were ok & allowed to exit.
  12. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    In Houei Xai neither Lao customs or the police ask for any more documentation. As far as they are concerned the situation is normal.
    So apologies for any confusion - my info came from Nan by another person (Thai) in the motorcycle touring business.
    If any Thai registered riders are concerned you could get a Certificate of Registration - English translation of your rego book. This costs 25 baht & is available from your local DMV rego office. I got mine in 2 days in Cnx pleading for express service. But in the end I was never asked for it.

    Power On. sent from Sony Xperia AcroS
  13. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Thanks for the clarification David. I used to carry that Certificate of Registration doc but after crossing into Laos and Malaysia several times without ever being asked for it I quit carrying it. Might not be a bad idea to get a new one just in case. They issue them on the spot at Bangkok LTD and cost was, if I remember correctly, 50 baht. :happy1:
  14. Moto-Rex

    Moto-Rex Ol'Timer

    All OK yesterday at Chiang Khong-Houei Xai crossing.

    It only took me 25 minutes, from the time I walked into Chiang Khong immigration, to when I rolled down to the ferry.
    But then there was a 2 hour wait for the ferry to take off.
    I got to the Lao side at 11.50, and was told it was lunch time and 2pm they would be up and running again, so I rode into town a got a room and had something to eat, and went back at when they reopened.
    I don't no if your suppose to do that, but I did it.
    Once they reopened the Lao paper work didn't take long at all.
    I reckon things run a little smother at passport control when your not dressed up in motorcycle gear, so I always book into a room and get change before going there.

  15. kchow24

    kchow24 Ol'Timer

    Hi guys,
    I'm on my way now, trying our luck.
    Wish us good luck, and happily entering Laos without any issue.
  16. kchow24

    kchow24 Ol'Timer

    Too bad, our luck doesn't work out with the new bridge opened.
    Trying with the old way possible, but very troublesome.. Finally the group give up...
  17. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Last edited: Jul 5, 2016
  18. kchow24

    kchow24 Ol'Timer

    Right, don't give up that easily, will try again next year.
    And wish everyone here marry Christmas and Happy New Year..
  19. Maximus

    Maximus Member

    Two of us crossed into Laos at Chong Mek on 1/1/2014 no issues if have greenbook
    My friend had not brought his greenbook but had brought his new bike passport (although they are not supposed to issue anymore and wouldnt give me one?)
    we almosts got across but some guy in uniform turned up and said "no greenbook no entry"
    He found a copy of his main page of greenbook and then after much negotiation we got across, Strangely enough on the Laos side they wanted a passport from me not a green book but papers were all there so they let us through

    Returned via Savannakhet and no issues there
  20. Moto-Rex

    Moto-Rex Ol'Timer

    I also had no problems at Chong Mek a couple of weeks ago.
    Good to hear you had no troubles crossing back at Savannakhet.

    Thanks for the update.

  21. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    Funny you say that about the Lao side..
    Every time I cross at Chong Mek.. Green Book is fine.. Lao side asks for Bike Passport.
    Which isn't issued any more and hasn't been for a long time.

    The Thai side even told me last time.. When Lao ask for your passport..Tell them the Green Book is your bike passport.

    Which I did.. blank look and proceed..

    Does seem strange they keep asking the same question again and again about bike passport after all this time.

  22. Happy to know that status quo applies...and is there any truth that a group of 4bikes and above, entering Laos at any border crossing needs an official 'guide' ala Vietnam?

    Plus when i was last there, I was denied bridge crossing from Thakhet to N.Phanom by the Thais side.
    I rode north & entered Thailand without a hitch at Vientiane Friendship Bridge. So are bikes allowed to cross this latest (3rd?4th?) Friendship bridge at N.Phanom?

    Thanks for any updates.

  23. lipmeng

    lipmeng Ol'Timer

    Yesterday I received an e-mail from my friend Chris (UK) who is riding a M'sian plated D tracker 250 and he attempted to cross to Huay Xai by ferry at Chiang Khong as I've advised him to do so after my futile attempt to cross the bridge mid last month. He was refused by the authorities at the ferry side as it is not for foreigners and was told to go through the bridge. Whilst at the bridge the Thai immi also refused him to cross and informed him that if there need to be 6 bikse and above so that they will allow with an escort. However after some due negotiations Chis managed to cross with an escort at a fee of 1000 baht.

    The said experience truly shows the inconsistency of the Thai authorities and level of corruption at most of the entry and exit points of the kingdom. I was refused despite my appeal and pleas at the immi authorities at the bridge after riding all the way from M'sia and willing to pay for the escort fee.

    I hope that some riders out there will attempt to cross the bridge using the same manner and test those immi authorities and share your experience in this forum as I will attempt again by end of this year.


    Lip Meng
  24. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Getting bikes across seems quite random at the newest Friendship Bridge. If you're lucky you get across for 1000 baht, if unlucky, you've got to cross elsewhere.

    It's worth noting that there are folks in Chiang Khong with connections to immigration and customs who can facilitate the crossing for a small fee.

    I don't know if it's cool for me to share their contact information here?
  25. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    The GTR contact in Chiang Khong for crossing the bridge.



    Na can handle your bike crossings on the bridge. Email your details in advance & she will prepare the paperwork on both sides, excluding the Lao visa.

    If you are only one bike the fee might not be be as cheap as you would like. But if that's the only way to the fee,.....or you ride around to Nan.

    I personally don't like this system - corruption - but don't want to upset the officials because we can still use the bridge to enter & depart Laos. The bridge crossings should be free just like the friendship bridge at Nong Khai.
    However I think it will remain like this - motorbikes have to pay - for awhile because officials on both sides are making money out of it; mickey mouse may it be.

    Power On. sent from Sony Xperia AcroS
  26. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Cheers for that David :thumbup:

    Na is a sweetheart! [​IMG]

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