Crossing Borders Vietnam - Prayers help


Nov 17, 2004
The problem in Laos has migrated to Vietnam and Digby's post under the Lao - Thai Friendship Bridge closure is copied below.

According to the Vietnam Customs Department officials, all private transportation out of Vietnam has been suspended as of 01.01.06. What seems to be happening is an action on the Thai/Lao/Cambo/Vietnam transportation agreement and our brothers in the Vietnam Customs have gone a bit too far. According to a fairly high man in customs, the law forbids exit of VN owned private vehicles defined as bus, car, truck but motorbike/motorcycle is not listed. The border officials have just taken it too far. The customs man admitted(to our amazement) that the law enacted on 01.01.06 is flawed and needs changed but this is VN and will take a long, long time.

I argued my case with him and showed him documents on over 40 border crossings I have done in Asia on bikes and explained the Thai way of paperwork and verification as well as the half ass Lao way. I explained that there are numerous tourists and expats that have bikes and want to exit to Laos and Cambodia from time to time.

He agreed to recieve an official letter from me requestion Customs to allow me to exit with my bike. Three days later he responded saying it was a Ministry of Transportation issue but we already had information from them that it was a Ministry of Customs issue and he agreed. Later that afternoon, he called and said my request was aproved and paperwork would be issued within two days. It's been a week now and I was promised them by 16.06.06. What these papers are is a mystery and if they hold any validity at the border is also in question.

During my 8+ months of crossing borders, I was only rejected to leave VN into Cambodia but allowed access to Laos. Strange as this was well before 01.01.06 but on a return to VN on my VN registered[;)] 250 Degree, was told I could not return because of the new law and I needed a bike passport. I was eventually allowed back in since I exited the country 45 days earlier and slipped them a small amount of money.

What is happening now is most borders in Asia are getting tighter. Sad but staying current with the official line is difficult as news isn't published and it's like pulling teeth.

I will update this upon getting my paperwork and will scan and post it as well. When I have it, I will include the process of who/what/where/how for Hanoi. HCM, don't know.



7 Posts
Posted - 06 Apr 2006 : 15:32:51

Two weeks ago two of us on Minsks tried to get into Laos from Vietnam at Lao Bao. We were turned back by the Vietnamese customs officers. As of Jan 1, new regulations came into place in Vietnam that require you to get a kind of passport for any vehicle leaving the country. This passport is issued by the Ministry of Transport after loads of paperwork. I suspect this is related to the Friendship bridge problem and boils down to some kind of ASEAN agreement where they decided to control the import/export/transit of cars and bikes throughout the region. Rather than opting for a carnet bond system, they have opted for the "loads of paperwork linking a particular bike/car with a particular person/company" option. This is where I think the caravan issue arrises because it is much easier to blame/track down a tour company than an individual. I think they do want us to be able to travel uninhibited but are scared about the prospect of all those smuggled cars/bikes moving around. Vietnam for the first time is about to allow the import of used cars so they are twitchy. When tracked down, the Ministry of Transport said no passports were going to be issued to bikes because there were too many smuggled bikes already. Who knows yet if they are just lazy, shy or following orders. New regulations always spell a lengthy wait as all the various offices decide on what jobs are for who. No doubt customs has lost some lucrative power in this change over and are pissed. I suspect you can still drive a Minsk over at Na Meo and Cau Treo as those two are infinitely more laid back than the officious guys at Lao Bao, but I can’t confirm. Damn shame as we were planning to drive from Dong (near Sepon) all the way down to that crater lake at Nong Fa via Ta Oi and Kaleum and then return back to Phin via roads 11, 16 and 23

Ride Safe