Laos Bike Entry Difficulties. Chiang Khong - Houei Xai.

Discussion in 'Laos - General Discussion Forum' started by DavidFL, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    As reported & with the rumour mill in over gear with confusing misinformation, I recently spent a night in Houei Xai to ascertain the real situation & probable causes of the problems.

    From what I can gather, taking directly to police, the tourist office, tour operators processing the paperwork - the current Laos bike import difficulties come from accidents with motorcycle caravans.
    Accidents have occurred, including the death of one local , & the police are not happy about it all.
    Negotiations for satisfactory compensation have been unpleasant & stressful & not always amicable.

    SO bike groups 6 & over need a police escort, or a police man in the group, to control speed & assist negotiate compensation in accident situations.
    5 riders may be ok.
    4 riders is ok, as long as you don't look like a tour group.

    CUSTOMS at the border aren't worried how many bikes come in - provided your paperwork is correct.
    IMMIGRATION don't care either, as long as you have a passport & visa.

    TOUR GROUP with paying customers - you need to go through the proper channels - get your bike import approved, get your route approved, use an official guide, notify the police & use an escort.
    That is the law; & always has been. Things have been slack for many years now; but because of the spate of recent accidents the rule book has been dusted off & the rules are being enforced.

    MUANG NGERN / HUAY KON is still a no-no: from the police. So we can assume the most serious accidents have occurred in Xayaboury province. How long it remains like this who knows.

    A KLX 250 ridden by a Thai was written off in a head on collision near Luang Nam Tha very recently. The riders was a Thai & is ok. He was very lucky - forgetting what side of the road he should be riding on.
    A bike caravan coming back from Vietnam was involved in a collision a few months ago & the compensation negotiations were not at all satisfactory according to the Lao.
    What happened to Lung Guichard I don;t know yet, but am checking.
    The boat skippers at Houei Xai say every time a big bike caravan comes back there are broken bikes & riders. They are a headache.

    So the popularity of big bike rides & caravans in Laos would seem to be a victim of it's own success at the moment.

    Customs & Immigration at Chiang Khong & Customs at Houei Xai both know about the "shutters up" at Muang Ngern & don't understand why they say. Complaining strongly to them does not make the border officials any happier.

    In Houei Xai for a tour group I was quoted
    1,500 per bike + US$20 a head for paperwork.

    Enter in small numbers as friends, preferably no more than 4 bikes & you should be ok.
    Otherwise there is an official channel for you to negotiate & use.

    I hope this helps riders understand the situation a bit better.
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  3. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Thanks for the update David! [​IMG]
  4. monty1412

    monty1412 Ol'Timer

    Thank Dave, good information. Lets hope it stays here on this site
  5. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    Don't worry Rob.The fox news version is on another site...
  6. monty1412

    monty1412 Ol'Timer

    Very disspointed with Fox News Brian.. I watched it for a whole hour and not one story on foxes....
  7. Jurgen

    Jurgen Ol'Timer

    Thank you David for posting the results of your research and for your professionals advices. I was of course also worried about crossing difficulty stories, particularly in Muang Ngern, my favorite passage. Finally, I am happy to see that, for me, nothing has changed (for the time being).
  8. Gary D

    Gary D Ol'Timer

    Many a time big bike caravans end up with accidents. I met up with a big group of topline bikes from Bangkok near Chiang Kham a couple of days ago. BMW1400's, Ducati Diavels, etc etc, a group who trucked their bikes BKK to Chiang Mai for the ride and there were many with signs of spills. Look at me i can go faster than you but no distance between riders, i can see why they fall.

  9. anitayusof

    anitayusof Member

    I wonder if there will be any problem entering Laos via Nong Khai (the friendship bridge)? I am a solo rider, and I will do this crossing on Feb 8. A friend recently drove to Laos told me that the police there didnt allow motorbike to enter via the bridge. Plz advise. Thanks.
  10. burnjr

    burnjr Ol'Timer

    anita i things u can try your best..heh.but personally i not advise u cross the bridge from thai to laos or frm laos to thai..this happen during our..trip from vietnam we try to entre thailand at thakek - laos say ok but until nakorn phanom the bosss is ladies says no two wheel on bridge..if u wanna to cross u need to put ur bike at 4x4 or truck. so we hv to come back to laos again (Thakek) and cencel our laos import permit..we overnight at tommorrow morning try our luck cross at savanaketh/mukdahan is fine..i dont what law their are using..good luck friend..
  11. yychow0812

    yychow0812 Ol'Timer

    I was at the Nong Khai Friendship Bridge last month and was told that bikes are not allowed to cross over to Laos. Coming back from Laos is fine.

    I think your best bet is to cross over from Chiang Khong to Huay Xai with the ferry. Bonus is that the ride from Nong Khai to Chiang Khong is fantastic, with great views around Phu Chi Fa.

    Anita, kau ni perempuan kah? Menunggang motorsikal persendirian, berani sangat :)
  12. anitayusof

    anitayusof Member

    Thanks bro Din Burnjr for the answer. Has anyone done this crossing more recently? May be someone out there has better luck?
  13. anitayusof

    anitayusof Member

    HAHAHA....u made me laugh....of course I'm a female. This coming ride will be my 5th solo ride, bro. Anyway, I hv own reason why I wanted to enter via Nong Khai. I hv done the Chiang Khong - Huay Xai crossing last time, so wanna try a new route this time...
    Anyway, how many bikes were u then? May be if I am only 1 bike, and being female, they will be a bit lenient on me :wink:
  14. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    No disrespect mate, but have you ever ridden in Laos?

    The roads there are not conducive to road racing one bit. I doubt very much any of the bike accidents in Laos were due to speed. If you think Thai roads are hazardous, Laotian roads makes Thailand look positively civilized! ;)

    A friendly reminder from race legend Mick Doohan- The Road Is No Place to Race!
  15. bsacbob

    bsacbob Ol'Timer

    Thanks for the detailed info David i plan to cross back mid Feb at CK now, Tony not sure about the lack of race tracks, route 3 heading to Luang Namtha from Houei Xai is in my opinion a better road than the 1148, better surface and faster corners that could catch the unwary rider or you could end up wearing a truck for head gear cutting the corner..
  16. yychow0812

    yychow0812 Ol'Timer

    I could be wrong but I was led to believe that one is not allowed to cross over to Laos by bike ON the Friendship bridges. Maybe some others would correct me?

    p/s: it was just one bike, solo ride.
  17. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    The situation is quite fluid, but if look at the GT Rider forum a little more you will see that the Nong Khai Friendship Bridge is usually ok nowadays, the other two bridges usually don't work (but there have been exceptions.)
    I personally have ridden across the bridge at Nong Khai numerous times.

    Take a look at these GT Rider links for some info
  18. yychow0812

    yychow0812 Ol'Timer

    Thanks for that. When I was there, the guard at the bridge entrance won't let me pass, saying that it was forbidden for motorbikes. I guess it all depends on who's on duty on that day and maybe they would be more lenient for a solo female rider :)
  19. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    I think that often if you rock up looking like you don't know what to do & ask can you go, then they say no.
    My experience is just walk up to the customs & immigration & ask for the forms; say your going to Laos by motorbike & want to fill out the forms, & they generally give them to you.
  20. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    I understand that there has also been an entry problem at Tha Li / Nam Hueng too. Nam Hueng is also in Xayaboury province, so maybe this too suggests something.
  21. burnjr

    burnjr Ol'Timer

    safety ride anita but dont ride night time in laos..
  22. yempaul

    yempaul Ol'Timer

    Good work David. This would be useful for many of us. Thank you
  23. burnjr

    burnjr Ol'Timer

    david thanks for good info
  24. saxonator

    saxonator Ol'Timer

    Thanks David, great info, you remain SE Asia's No.1 motorcycle tour guru....
  25. angkor1

    angkor1 Ol'Timer

    At first its right now many crazy "rider s " in Laos on tour. Some are more dangerous as local people. No expirence but fast ...

    Yesterday, we came back from a Thai Laos Tip nearly 3700 km. ( report coming soon ) with 2 bikes. We came to Thakek border. When we arrived at the border the Lao officers told us no way to go back to Thailand. Ok, I read this before in GT rider. I m asking why and what can we do. Put the bikes on a truck or pick up than its possible. Lao side has no problems but the Thaiside dont want it.
    So I m looking for a pickup but there was no one. After 15 minutes 1 officer talk to me you can go. But the Thaiside ???? Maybe or maybe not.

    We clear the ceremony with the stamps in the passports and gave the green paper to them. They told us when we get problems on the Thaiside ,we can come and they will cancel the stamp and we can stay in Laos for more days.

    Ok, we start over the bridge with a strange feeling in my stomage. But when we arrived on the Thaiside everybody was so friendly. I talk with them in Thai language about our trip, the weather, Thaifood and I m so happy to be back in the beautiful "land of smiling " oh my buddha ..... !!!!!????
    They are very kind and they want to know something about the trip and our motorbikes and where we come from. All papers were finished in a very very short time.
    They wish us a good trip and we ride to Nongkai for 2 nights.

    PS: Moin RUDI

    Thats all. Sorry for my low english.

    Over the bridge


    importend when you aririved... you have good protectors in your clothes ... when not go back !!!!




    Only once speake Thai with them some - jokes and be friendly the door is open.... sometimes ?????
  26. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    Well done Angkor1..

    Persistence pays off.. Have to keep trying and just may be.....

    Hopefully a few more try too while they are letting people cross.

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