There has been a recent hiccup at the Muang Ngerrn border entering Laos. Complaints have been made & the Vientiane Times has investigated. The story which appears tomorrow in the Vientiane Times. Thai motorbike tour group experiences border issues A touring caravan of bigger bikes from neighbouring Thailand was recently refused entry at the Nam Ngeun-Houai Kon International border between Laos and Thailand in Xayaboury province upon arrival at the Lao side of the border. The immigration police at Nam Nguen border checkpoint initially refused entry to the small Thai touring group because they did not have the required permission documents before they were finally allowed to pass. Deputy Director of the Xayaboury Information, Culture and Tourism Department Mr Khampiew Phommahane, told Vientiane Times on Tuesday that he called the provincial governor to ask him to talk with the border police and request that they allow the group to enter the country. He said the Thai group of riders organised to tour in Laos through a local tour company. Now some tour companies, especially in Luang Prabang province, are quite concerned about complications at the Nam Ngeun border in Xayaboury province . This is because most caravans for bicycles and motorbikes via this border are being arranged with local companies in neighbouring Luang Prabang, not with the authorities in Xayaboury. “Previously, group tours of bicycles and motorcycles could pass this border and is just now that we have seen Nam Ngeun border officials not allow the touring caravans for big bikes to cross,” Mr Khampiew said. It is only the Nam Ngeun international border in Xayaboury province where problems with big bike caravans have been reported while no problems have been reported at any other international borders. Nowadays, the immigration police at this border are prohibiting the caravans for big bikes unless they possess permission documents from the Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Public Works and Transport and Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism. However some police officers at the border checkpoint admitted they have only received such orders by word of mouth but not in writing so the situation remains unclear. Mr Khampiew explained that the provincial governor will soon hold a consultation meeting with relevant officials from the provincial Public Works and Transport Department and Department of Information, Culture and Tourism. As per his suggestion, Xayaboury has three international border crossings with Thailand, so caravans of motorcycles from Thailand wanting to tour in Laos via the companies have other border crossing options. These include the Nam Heuang-Nakaxeng International border between Laos and Thailand in the south of Xayaboury with Loei province and also the Phoudou border. However the Phoudou border is an international border only on the Lao side while the Thai side has yet to be upgraded. The owner of one tour company in Luang Prabang province, who asked not to be named, told Vientiane Times that he will have to answer questions from his partners in Europe and tell them that the authorities are working on this problem. In the meantime, he will advise tour groups from Thailand wishing to come to Luang Prabang province from Thailand to cross at the Nam Heuang-Nakaxeng International border, where no problems are known to have been experienced. I understand that part of the complaint from the local officials was a derogatory Facebook post (since deleted) by one of the dissatisfied Thai riders, that caused the caused the nasty knee jerk reaction from the Ministry Of Public Security. For the time being Muang Ngern maybe a no go for entry & I understand there is a 10 bike group planning to exit there in the coming days. Stay tuned. All other international border crossings are operating as normal for entry into Laos.