I successfully took a bike into Vietnam
Nov 29, 2005
if you havent read the previous topic - clueless in huay xai, read that first then come back to this one.
well, i went back to customs in huay xai the next morning and the guy i saw the second time the day before was sitting at the desk. i just walked up with my paperwork and a smile and told the guy that i wished to temporarily import my motorcycle from thailand. before i could finish the sentence the guy started pulling out the laotian paperwork and looked at my thai paperwork. i mentioned that i was going on the slow boat that morning to pak beng and he seemed to pick up the pace a little. he was done in less than 10 minutes, didnt even look at the motorcycle, and gave me the sticker and paper, all for 10000 kip, $1 US. don't know why the guy was trying to push me off on the tourist agency the day before, guess he had a friend there he wanted to hook up with some business.
paid 500 baht to get me and the bike over from chaing khong. paid a total of 800 baht for me and the motorcycle to get to pak beng on the slow boat. they really crammed the boat full, 110 people and my bike on not that big of a boat. it was quite interesting getting it on the boat, even more so getting it off in pak beng and getting it up the steep hill. ended up giving the 4 guys that helped get it off the boat and up the hill 10000 kip each.

spent the night in a guesthouse in pakbeng for 40000 kip, then up the next day and left around 8:30. COLD riding the first 50 km until fog lifted. the road to udomxai was awesome, guess i averaged about 80-100 km/hr. loved that there is no sign showing the turn to pak mong or luang prubang. got gas in udomxai then found out about the turn 6 km south of town heading east to pak mong. you'll want to keep your speed down on that road due to serious turns, potholes, but the scenery was incredible. rear wheel bearing started to give out in pak mong, got it fixed on the side of the road by a mechanic whose brother in law was in town from upstate new york and did the translating. cost me about 100,000 kip. the road south to LP was fairly good, just some decent sized potholes that MOST of the time you could see well in advance. guess i average about 80 maybe 100 in parts. got to LP about 5 pm, with about 2-3 hours stopped for lunch, gas, bearing and just checking out scenery. good day's ride. dave, do they sell your gt-rider laos map anywhere here in LP? couldn't find it in chiang rai and haven't seen it here in laos yet. also, is anyone sure about crossing the border in at vieng xai into vietnam? hearing some mixed stories here and have been told that the northern most border i can use with the bike is at cau treo. thanks in advance for any help and hope the report is of some use.


I successfully took a bike into Vietnam
Nov 29, 2005
forgot to add, the people with the slow boat didn't ask me for any of my paperwork and i haven't had to stop for a single checkpoint yet.
Mar 15, 2003

Good job on waiting them out and getting through Customs. This is the way it used to be done. Davidfl and I both agree that the tourist agency bit is just a new scam someone is running. It was really cold around Xam Neua when I was there so don't be surprised if you hit some more really cold and foggy bits. Good luck on the rest of your trip and keep us updated.

Dave Early

Ever notice that "What the Heck!" is usually the right answer?


Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong

Originally posted by donvangilder

the people with the slow boat didn't ask me for any of my paperwork.

Yeah well, I'd say that slow boat you went on was the "backpacker's cattle boat".
This would have departed from the bug port, about 80 meters from the customs office / port office where you did the bike import papers.
There would be a full passenger list for all the pax on board, plus any cargo - your bike - before they departed. My guess is that being so close to the office, everyone would have known & seen you load the bike on. They also would have known that you’ve been doing the paperwork for importing the bike. This includes the Customs officials, who sit & watch everything in the port right under their own noses.

I’ve never been on the backpackers cattle boat, or ever want go on it & have always hired a boat to go “alone” or with some mates. This way you get to see the system properly & know what the paperwork is.
The boat always stops at Pak Tha & the police there check the paperwork.
If you were on the cattle boat with the mob, someone from the crew would have gone up the hill to the police / harbour office overlooking the ‘Khong & had the boat’s paperwork checked.
Sometimes they (the police) don’t physically come down onto the boat to check numbers, but sometimes they do. My guess is that this depends on whether the skipper has slipped the officials a few kip not to bother.
Now with the cattle boat I’m sure that official palms are greased every time the boat goes down / up the ‘Khong & so you saw nothing. But don’t think that they aren't watching, as they are monitoring what is going on.

Glad everything worked out ok & you’re now aware that they aren’t clueless (they know what they are doing & what game they are playing!)

If you still have not got a copy of the latest Lao Map, check out
New GT Rider Laos Guide Map
Link removed
You’ll be doing yourself a favour & would clearly see that Pak Mong / Udom Xai / Pak Beng junction is 6.1 kms out of Udom Xai.

In Luang Prabang
1. Don’t forget the Soudephone restaurant in Luang Prabang for the best spring rolls & larb gai on the planet. Say hello to the owners & their daughters from David!
2. Also don’t miss the Tad Xe waterfall, just south of Luang Prabang.
3. Scandinavian Bakery for breakfast.
4. Muang Sua night club.

Enjoy the rest of the trip, Laos is awesome fun in the extreme.

Keep The Power On


I successfully took a bike into Vietnam
Nov 29, 2005
thanks for the info guys. had a blast last night at the hive bar here in luang prubang. will probably head out of here tomorrow towards the plain of jars. will keep you posted. not really familiar with 2 strokes, only getting about 15 km per liter with my 150 nsr, is this normal?