Entering Laos - Some History

GS1200Rider

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I was talking with a guest house owner in Pak Beng today and he told me the boarder is open for "big bikes" his words, not mine, at Nam Ngeun / Huai Kon. At least for bikes departing Lao., as he was suggesting I go this route as opposed to crossing at Pang Mon / Ban Huak. Told him is was heading North so would stick to my original plan.

I cannot confirm this, it's just second hand info, but I'll be driving by there on the Lao side on Dec 23ed and will call in and check in case anyone wants to get into Nan by this route

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DavidFL

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I was talking with a guest house owner in Pak Beng today and he told me the boarder is open for "big bikes" his words, not mine, at Nam Ngeun / Huai Kon. At least for bikes departing Lao., as he was suggesting I go this route as opposed to crossing at Pang Mon / Ban Huak. Told him is was heading North so would stick to my original plan.

I cannot confirm this, it's just second hand info, but I'll be driving by there on the Lao side on Dec 23ed and will call in and check in case anyone wants to get into Nan by this route

View attachment 150242
The issue i believe is NO Visa on Arrival for foreigners. Thais are ok. The same as at Huak / Pangmone. No Visa on Arrival- get one in Bangkok first.
 

DavidFL

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Chong Mek / Vang Tao is scheduled to open on 23 May 2022.

Chiang Saen / Golden Triangle was open on 18th May 2022.
View attachment 147900

Mae Sai / Tachilek is still closed as of 21st May 2022. Supposedly there will be a meeeting next week, in another attempt to thrash out an agreement on how to manage the thousands of daily border crossers.
View attachment 147899
Mae Sai is scheduled to open on 22 January.

Confirmed again at Chiang Saen immigration VoA is available in Laos at the GT if you want to do a visa run.
20230119_134801.jpg
 
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DavidFL

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FB4 Update 26 January 2023
Sandy from Chiang Khong on a CRF sent in this report

Hi David - - Good eve from Pak Tha !
Well: a 2023 update for your Gt Rider forum from sandy::
Chiang Khong / Huayxai border was a quite easy 90 minutes crossing !
Out from Thailand no problem, got all papers to fill out on spot.
Lao side: Got to "private car" lane, 3pm, just 2 cars before me.
Parked the bike, got to immigration for visa, 1800.thb,
Foto I had, but they make one at the immigration window, then 200 THB for what do I know?
And more 100.-thb for the vehicle insurance sticker.
All in all 2100 thb - - - and you are in Lao on the 25th jan 2023 took 90 minutes, 1.5 hours .... Easy as that pls put it into the gt rider forum if you wish so.
Cheers from Pak Tha on the Mekong at present .... The road ca 15 km after huayxai to here pretty rough, shaking dirt road I'm happy to be with the 250crf baby and NOT the cb 500x
good eve to you ch khong sandy
 

Dodraugen

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Great! Thanks for sharing….

So now at Chiang Khong its a hit and miss if they try to extort you, mostly they do, sometimes not.

At Nong Khai - its no way getting in without using an agent and pay 2000-2500 baht. But smooth if you have contacted an agent and paid the price

Nakhon Phanom - smooth sailing

Mukdahan - no chance at all to cross with a bike!

How is at at Chong Mek nowadays?
 
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DavidFL

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Great! Thanks for sharing….

So now at Chiang Khong its a hit and miss if they try to extort you, mostly they do, sometimes not.

At Nong Khai - its no way getting in without using an agent and pay 2000-2500 baht. But smooth if you have contacted an agent and paid the price

Nakhon Phanom - smooth sailing

Mukdahan - no chance at all to cross with a bike!

How is at at Chong Mek nowadays?

Not sure 200% about Chong Mek, but I think it maybe ok still.
 

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Update @ Nakhon Phanom / Tha Khek Sunday 26th March 2023
Info from Frank Mueller

Hello David, we have now arrived in Vientiane.
This morning at 7.45am we were at Friendship Bridge 3 in NKP. We were almost alone.

The people at Thai Immi were very friendly and helpful.
First it was checked whether we could go to Laos without an agent. After a short time we got the go. The Thais helped us with everything.
It was also not a problem that I only had a copy of the Green Book with me and not the original.

On the Lao side it was actually quite easy. The people there were also very friendly and helpful.
At some point someone else in uniform came along and said we needed an agent. But he only ever spoke to one colleague and my wife. Eventually he stopped talking and moved on and we would be processed further.
When we were almost done, one of our colleagues came back and said we had to pay a fine because we didn't have an agent. She then talked to my wife and filled out some things. I then had to pay 500 THB. But I also got a receipt. The 500.- THB weren't worth discussing for me. I paid and no one wanted to know anything from an agency anymore.

The border crossing took 2 hours.
After 6 hours drive we are now in the hotel in Vientiane.
The road from Thakhek to VTE is badly damaged and is currently under construction.
Wasn't fun with the Big Bike.
I haven't seen any big bikes on the whole route and also here in VTE.
 
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DavidFL

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Finally, changes are underway in Laos.
1705646017980.jpeg


At a meeting in Vientiane on 10th January 2024 it was agreed that there needs to be a policy / rule change, especially in Visit Laos Year 2024.

1705646048914.jpeg

Multiple government departments are involved in issuing permits for temporary motorcycle import into Laos.
They have all agreed there needs to be a change, & that motorcycles can enter without going via a tour company.
The exact new rules & policy need to be agreed on & an official announcement made.
It may take a bit more time, but it will happen.
The ministry of Public Works & Transportation should make the official announcement of the new rules & policy.
No doubt some people will be unhappy at a loss of income. 55
 
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DavidFL

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Finally, changes are underway in Laos.
View attachment 153610

At a meeting in Vientiane on 10th January 2024 it was agreed that there needs to be a policy / rule change, especially in Visit Laos Year 2024.

View attachment 153611
Multiple government departments are involved in issuing permits for temporary motorcycle import into Laos.
They have all agreed there needs to be a change, & that motorcycles can enter without going via a tour company.
The exact new rules & policy need to be agreed on & an official announcement made.
It may take a bit more time, but it will happen.
The ministry of Public Works & Transportation should make the official announcement of the new rules & policy.
No doubt some people will be unhappy at a loss of income. 55

I will have a certified English language translation of this document early next week, so we know exactly what is going on.
 

DavidFL

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A translation of the minutes of the Lao Tourism meeting with the relevant government departments concerned with temporary big bike import into Laos.
1705984214528.jpeg




1705984252043.jpeg


1705984276753.jpeg




Not a great translation perhaps, but a couple of things to note

The number of government departments involved at the meeting.
  • Tourism
  • Land Transport
  • Customs
  • Finance
  • Tourist Police
  • Vientiane Public Works & Transport
  • Dept of Information, Culture & Tourism
  • Big Bike Club Laos
  • Lao Tourist Business Association
  • Lao Tourist Guide Association
  • Total 15 attendees, including 4 women.
Currently temporary import requires
  • Lao Tour Company
  • Dept of Public Security
  • Public Works & Transport
  • Customs Dept
The recommendation
  • Standard universal policy directive to be issued.
  • One month entry
  • 350CC (?) cc & up
  • Tour company not compulsory
  • Public Works & Transport to issue a directive
  • Information, Culture & Tourism to agree
  • One fee to charged for entry.
Let's see wait & see what eventually happens in practice, but it is more promising.
 
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Dodraugen

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Dont they have quite clear and transparent rules of today?

The problems are that each and every bordercrossing interpret (read: make up their own rules) laws and rules as they like. Does anybody really think its gonna change???

And whats up with the 350 cc rule? A 200-300 cc bike would be the most sensible option for Laos’ road standards and structure anyway….
 
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DavidFL

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Dont they have quite clear and transparent rules of today?

The problems are that each and every bordercrossing interpret (read: make up their own rules) laws and rules as they like. Does anybody really think its gonna change???

And whats up with the 350 cc rule? A 200-300 cc bike would be the most sensible option for Laos’ road standards and structure anyway….
Yes we can only wonder.
I will query the 350cc rule.
Maybe it was a typo in the original Lào minutes. Very strange imho how they arrived at those two figures 350-1600cc.
 

DavidFL

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There was a meeting with the Minister of Public Works in Vte this morning and the rumour is next month - March- there will be an official confirmed policy change.
Please stand by for hopefully the "final good news chapter."
 
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