Border crossing - Laos to Thailand - Vientane

Discussion in 'Laos - General Discussion Forum' started by decook, May 15, 2014.

  1. decook

    decook Member

    Today I attempted to cross the border at Vientane from Laos to Thailand with my Vietnam registered bike (a Honda GL Pro).

    It's suggested that its a bad idea to just rock up with no preparation, so that's just what I did. I turned up at the border crossing at about 11:30 with my 'blue card' (ownership paper) for my bike in someone else's name, a single entry visa for Thailand (which was applied for with 30 days requested), my bike loaded with gear and a few 100k kip.

    On the Laos side of the bridge I was told to fill in a departure card and get my passport stamped, which went without a hitch. I was then told to go to the vehicle export desk to do the paperwork on my bike, the officer there asked for a form which apparently I should have got in Vietnam before leaving, I was then supposed to get this stamped somewhere in Laos (as far as I could work out from the broken English he spoke). I insisted that I didn't understand, asked if there was a translator who could better explain this to me. The officer then guided me to a building where he sat me in front of another officer the two of them talked very fast in Laotian for about 5 minuets the guy at the desk looked at me from me to time as if expecting me to understand something, I just smiled and shrugged apologetically. After a while I was taken back outside and told "OK, you go Thailand now" while he pointed out the road leading to the bridge. From what I could follow (not a lot) I think the problem was I shouldn't have even been allowed in to Laos without this form and I would have had the same problem at any border I tried to leave by so they just wanted shot of me and sod the paper work.

    I then had a nice ride over the bridge its quite a view looking down the Mekong, though I was worried that they just let me out so Thai guards could explain I wasn't allowed.

    I got to the Thai side where I pulled up to a kiosk on my bike. A guard came over and told me to park up while I sorted out my paper work and I actually managed to park my bike on the Thai side of the barriers (not that it helped). He then asked for the vehicle form, here we go I thought, I showed him my blue card and said that's all I had. He then said that I should get my passport stamped for entry first and pointed me to a kiosk where I was to pick up my arrival card. I headed over and after some queuing I handed over my passport and by luck my blue card as well, the guy handed me the arrival card and was about to give back my documents when he noticed the blue card he then kept hold of my docs and started filling in a form I later found out to be a 'Information of conveyance', he then handed back my passport, blue card, an arrival card, and the information of conveyance form. Pointing out two other kiosks he told me to take my arrival card to one and the form to the other. I filled in my card and handed it over at the kiosk as directed where I was asked for 200 baht I tried offering 200k kip which he wouldn't accept, he then asked others in the queue if anyone would exchange some money for me and the cost was quickly resolved at a fraction of the 200k kip I'd offered him. He handed back the passport saying "your visa is valid for 2 months enjoy your travels".

    I then went to the final kiosk I'd been directed to (and the one I had originally pulled up at) with the information of conveyance form, queued a while longer, and finally got my chance to hand over my docs (the information of conveyance form, passport and blue card) the girl behind the desk tapped away at the computer a while then stopped and studied the card a while before asking where the owners name was printed I pointed out Mr Phong's name to her, more tapping on the keyboard produced a form called 'Simplified Customs Declaration Form' which needed signing in triplicate, I signed and was then told I was all done, I mounted up and off I went, job done... and with a whole extra month on my visa than I originally applied for.

    I'm now sitting here looking over my documents and it seems I've guaranteed myself to take the bike out of Thailand by the 13th of June this year of forfeit 300,000 baht... Ouch ... don't breakdown baby.

    My advice for others trying this: Smile, be happy and be humble. Don't get frustrated or angry (if you don't like the way things are going just say you don't understand and continue smiling). Give it a go, this is your trip of a lifetime! Don't listen to 'nay sayers' they probably just want to buy your bike on the cheap.

    In other news I hit 8,500 Km on the Honda today!
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  3. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Well done. I bet that all feels good.

    How's the trip been then - where did you cross from Vietnam into Laos - what border crossing?
  4. decook

    decook Member

    Feels good?!? I was literally singing as I drove off... "Get your motor running, head out on the ...." well yes you can imagine.

    So far my trips been awesome. Hanoi via Da Nang and Kham Doc has some lovely bits of road to ride and many awful bits (avoid the 14c at all costs it will kill all but the sturdiest of crossers and to call it a dirt track would be doing a disfavour to the crappyest of tracks) to Saigon. Then over to Chau Doc border in to Cambodia (I made a post about this border crossing in the Vietnam general discussion). Up to Phnom Penh across to Sihanoukville.

    I left a few days after staying on a wonderful beach on one of the islands to head to Siem Reap using the NH48 and the roads north of that the ride took me about 3 day a was mostly on dirt tracks through the jungle, truly amazing when it wasn't pissing it down. On the second day I passed through a little village where there was a huge crowd gathered in the street celebrating the new year (yes it was only just Cambodian new year) by covering each other in talking powder, I was finally allowed to pass once me and my bike were liberally covered in the stuff too! Day 3 I had my 3rd rear wheel blowout since the trip started managed to keep the bike upright this time but shattered 3 of the 4 locking nuts that hold the rear sprocket in place, a real bitch to replace and in the end I managed to fabricate a simile from a bunch of bicycle spindles. But I finally got to Siem Reap that night.

    Spent a while in Siem Reap looking at temples and drinking beer, It's a pretty cool place to hangout after that I headed pretty much strait for the Lao border had a hard days ride to Stueng Traeng and arrived on the wrong side of the Mekong at about 8pm after all the ferries had ended for the day, but managed to get a local guy who spoke no English to take me and my bike across in a tiny ‘long tail’ (type of boat), very amusing getting my bike on and off a boat that was only 3 foot wide by 15 foot long in the dark! Before Traveling the 1Km across where a tributary meets the Mekong.

    The following day I got over the border pretty hustle free (they were not interested in the bike at all) and all the way to Pause where I hung out for a few days, I took a day to visit Bolivian Plato and a little village called Tad Lo, lots of waterfalls and forest.
    Next I headed to Savannakhet intending to stay 1 night, I tried to leave the following day and had electrical problem with my ignition which was easily resolved by basically permanently hotwiring my bike, day 2. The next day I try and leave for the 2nd time and I throw the cam chain, this in turn causes the piston to hit the valve bending the valve stem somewhat, not so easily resolved and required my mechanic to travel to Thailand for parts ,days 3 and 4. After finally getting her up and running again I got pretty ill and spent the next whole day on the loo ,day 5, where I managed to puke so hard I knocked a filling out. On day 6 I finally got out and headed to Konglor cave which was an amazing ride over the mountains there. stayed there a day before riding to Thakhek (if you get the chance to NOT stop here, take it).​ Finally on to Vientiane where the pervious post starts.
  5. blackwolf

    blackwolf Active Member

    I'm surprised the Thais let you in on a Vietnamese bike or that the Laotians let you exit their country for Thailand with your bike. Vietnamese cars aren't allowed to enter Thailand, neither can Thai cars enter Vietnam. Exceptions may exist only for pre-approved tours with escort. I am surprised to hear about a lone rider allowed to enter Thailand on a Vietnamese bike - perhaps bikes are treated differently to cars because every now and again you hear about Thai motorcycles entering Vietnam, so maybe this is the same in reverse? It could be that cars and motorcycles are treated differently for border crossing purposes if you're heading to Thailand from Vietnam or vice versa.

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