Entry proceedure at the Friendship Bridge

Discussion in 'Laos - General Discussion Forum' started by BobS, Jun 18, 2004.

  1. In early June, I took my bike across into Laos via Nong Khai. Still fairly easy to do without an agent. But, my bike is Thai registered in my name.

    On the Thai side, the first stop is the Immigration booth. There, your passport is stamped for exiting Thailand. The officer then fills out 2 copies of the T2 document regarding the temporary export of the bike.

    Next stop is the Customs booth. There, they keep one copy of the T2 form, and fill out a different one - again, for the temporary export.

    The last stop is the booth at the bridge, where they check your passport and papers. Total time - about 10 minutes. No fees are charged.

    The Lao side takes about 90 minutes. You can get visa on arrival at the bridge. Cost is $30 USD, $31 on weekends. You then fill out the entry form and get stamped in.

    Next stop is upstairs to Room 6. There, the girl takes you to Room 5, where the director signs the form giving you permission to enter. He now can give you up to 2 weeks, and gave me 15 days to be safe. Just remember that the day you enter is the first day of the permit. 2 weeks means 13 days later, not 14.

    Then back to Room 6, where the girl fills out the form and their record book. Fee is 2000 kip - about 20 cents US.

    Then you see the Customs officer - either in Room 8, or in his office downstairs. He also has to sign the form and grant permission.

    Then you go to the outside booth, where they enter your bike into the computer. An assortment of small fees here - 200 baht for the vehicle to enter, 10 baht for the driver to enter, an overtime fee of 2500 kip, and 50 baht for the temporary windshield sticker.

    Then, the Customs officer at the outside desk looks at the bike and signs you in.

    Last stop is the insurance office, to buy temporary Lao insurance. Cost was 18,000 kip for 5 days, 34,000 for 10 days. Kip was 10,600 to the US dollar.

    So, now you are in Laos with your bike. But, you only have permission to travel with it in Vientiane Province. To travel legally outside of there, you have to stop at another office in Vientiane for another permit. Cost is 2500 kip, but nobody there speaks English.

    Exit proceedure is similar. In Laos, stop at the Immigration booth for the passport stamp. the Customs booth for the vehicle stamp, and the final signout by the Customs desk officer. No fees to pay, unless you have overstayed.

    On the Thai side, the Immigration booth signs you in, and takes the T2 form. The Customs offricer takes the other form.

  2. Hi Bob, How was the weather? Where all did you go? JOE
  3. HI BOB:
    Thanks for the valuable information.
    Due to your recommendation on Loas, I am planning for a trip to Loas at the end of this year. So your information are very useful.

    By the way, if I would like to ride out of Vientiane Province legally, where is the place to apply for the other permit?

  4. Hi Joe

    It was a short trip, mainly to get the 900 on record as entering Laos, since I just got the plate. Spent 2 nights in Vientiane, and another night in Thalat, near the dam. Weather was on and off showers.

    Have posted the whole trip report under Thailand - Other.

  5. Hi Phuah

    The office in Vientiane is on Setta Thirath. This is a one-way street that runs west to east, parallel to the Mekong River, one block north of the river.

    Go east from town, past the Presidential Palace. You will see a sign on the right for Mahasot Hospital. Keep going east. The office is on the left side, about 100 meters before a crossroad with a large Honda dealer.

    Pull into the courtyard. The office you want is on the building on the left side. Bring an interpreter.

    As far as getting your bike into Laos, you may have a much easier time with your Singapore registration. In April 2003, I went across with my 850. At that time, there was a ban in effect on Thai bikes. I think that too many were being brought over and sold. But I had all the ownership papers, as well as a set of entry papers from a previous trip - so the director made an exception for me. He also explained that the ban was ONLY on Thai bikes. Any other country registration was no problem.

  6. I have yet to be asked for a drivers license anywhere. Passport and valid registration is all that I have needed. AND, patience. The Lao PDR stands for "people don't rush"

    BTW, they require a photo for visa on arrival at the Friendship Bridge. I routinely carry them, so I did not need one taken. I assume that there is a photo place at the bridge, but cannot confirm it.

  7. Went over to Lais again in late January. The entry proceedure at Nong Khai is about the same, but they have some additional costs.

    On the Thai side, they used to fill out the T2 document for you at the first booth. This booth still fills out the form, but charges you 100 baht - under the new signs of "Not Associated With Thai Customs Office" and "Help Stamp Out Corruption". TIT

    At the Customs booth on the Lao side, they now charge 200 baht PER WEEK that is on your bike entry permit. Before it was a flat 200 baht.

    Everything else is about the same. Still easy enough to do without an agent.


    "Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "...holy shit...what a ride!"
  8. Hello Bob,

    I have two Thai registered bikes in my name. My friend and I are planning to do two weeks in Lao later this year. Do you think my friend will have any problems entering on one of my bikes? Thanks.
  9. Since you will be there with him, and the bikes are registered to you, you should be fine.

    If he were entering alone, you would have to get him a permission letter and signed copies of your passport and other documents.


    "The true secret of giving advice is, after you have honestly given it, to be perfectly indifferent whether it is taken or not and never persist in trying to set people right."
  10. Thank you, Sir.
  11. Hi Bob , thanks for the info , will let you know what went on when i get back ,... cheers again

  12. I went over the Friendship bridge today so here is the latest version of what to do:

    On the Thai side you go to the same three instances as mentioned. Only confusing thing is that there are at least three different places that says immigration office. The correct one is the small booth next to the road so just follow the road. The other booths are five meters away. Very easy and took about 20 minutes without any fees.

    On the Lao side I first got a visa for 30 USD which took about 25 mins since it was a bit crowded. Then passed thru customs booths to get passport stamped. Then up to see girl in room 6 and she sorted out all the papers for a fee of 20 Baht. No need to see officer in room 5. Then a quick stop in room 8 to get a signature. Then down to the booths outside where the cars pass by and get a signature by one officer and hand it in at other officer which asked me where I wanted to go. I said I wanted to go to Louangphrabang and then take Route 13 down to Cambodia. He said ok and granted me permission to go there. More specifically he granted me permission to go to the Vientiane, Louangphrabang and Champasak province. This was written on my permission that is on the sticker on my bike (picture: http://bluenine.se/johan/laoperm.jpg) . The provinces are circled in red for those that can read Lao. This seems to be a change from previously where one had to go to an office in Vientiane as mentioned before in this topic. Or am I wrong? I asked three times different people about need to see office in Vientiane and they all said I was ok to go anywhere in Lao. Permission costed 510 baht. After getting permission I took my bike 20 meter to the insurance office. They do insurance for 10 and 20 days. Since my visa is valid 14 days I bought the 20 day insurance for 167 baht. Total time on Lao side was about 2 hours.
  13. Hi Sweede

    My bikes are Thailand registered. Sometimes the proceedure varies depending on where your bike is registered. Yours is...?

    A few years ago, they were not letting any Thai bikes across. The director at the bridge knew me from previous trips, so he made an exception. He told me that any country but Thailand was no problem.


    "The true secret of giving advice is, after you have honestly given it, to be perfectly indifferent whether it is taken or not and never persist in trying to set people right."
  14. Ah yes, "A few years ago, they were not letting any Thai bikes across. The director at the bridge knew me from previous trips, so he made an exception. He told me that any country but Thailand was no problem"

    but now a few years later it's all A OK & Thai bikes aren't a problem. Just one of those "crack down" things at the time & it was lucky who you knew. No doubt this will happen again sometime & if you dont have a good track record it might be difficult at the time. Meanwhile, keep riding & crossing borders while you can.

    Swedish Rider thanks for the report - please keep 'em coming for as long as your riding in the region. A lot of guys are jealous while you're out there doing it & they're sitting at their computer desks dreaming about it. And right now, the weather's absolutely perfect for riding - you lucky guy!

    Oops I forgot - for all your sweet talking bikers, a tip from 30 June 2003
    Link removed
    leave a box of chocolates for the nice lady in room # 6.
    I'll be leaving mine sometime end of next week at a guess.

    Keep The Power On
  15. Hey David

    Now that your bike is finally registered, you will have to learn how to cross borders the legal way!!


    "The true secret of giving advice is, after you have honestly given it, to be perfectly indifferent whether it is taken or not and never persist in trying to set people right."
  16. Very good idea to leave some chocolate for her. She was very helpful. I also noted a gt-rider postcard in room 6 ;) Impressive to get gt-rider info so visible everywhere. Im currently in an internet shop in Vangvieng and in front of me there is a Laos map also with gt-rider ad.

    Ok, here is some more background info for all guys sitting at their computers. I arrived in Bangkok October 15th and went pretty much straight to Siam Superbike to get a bike. Found a fresh Honda 250 XR and made a deal with Jum (one of the Thai guys working in the shop) since Peter was away in Australia. Peters friend Graham set up a repurchase agreement where I paid 170000 baht for the bike and they promised to buy it back for 150000 baht if it came back and was looking good. The price also included them sorting out registration of the bike on me, tax and insurance. Jum said that one cylinder bikes are fairly quick to register and it should take around a week. During the week I got some bike tools at MBK, a tyre repairkit and MX clothes and helmet at Paddoc. I also went down a few days to Pattaya for a technical (Evolution CCR) dive course. No, not for the girls ;)

    After a week the bike was registered in my name as predicted and I came back to Bangkok to get the numberplate. Riding in Bangkok is not so hard if you follow a few basic rules that I learned after being stopped by police three times:
    1. Dont use the intersection fly-overs even though many Thai guys do. Police are more keen to stop falang with brand new gear. I successfully bribed myself out after been taken to the police station.
    2. Dont use motorways (expressways) they are only for cars.
    3. Stay in right most lane cause then police is likely to casually pull you in for example to check why you are riding without numberplate.

    After getting the numberplate and the green registration book I headed up to Khorat. Nice to get out from Bangkok and be able to breathe but after a few hours (250km) on dirtbike on highway makes your lower part hurt a bit. Only nice policemen on the road and at gasstations asking how much boots, helmet or bike is.

    Didnt find Khorat that much fun but the night after I stopped in Khon Kaen which is a university city and a bit more lively. Before crossing Friendship bridge I stopped in Nong Khai which is a nice, small relaxed place.

    After crossing the border to Laos (see earlier in this topic) I stayed the night in Vientiane. Needed to get some air for my tires but it took a while to find a gas station with working compressed air. None of them have pressure gauges so bring your own. I managed to buy one from a tyre shop.

    Today I went up to Vangvieng. Here the roads are much rougher than in Thailand with some pretty big holes. Nice to finally make some use of the bike!! Passing a lot of nice small villages with smiling people and waiving kids. Right after I found a guesthouse here I noted that my battery gone flat. Luckily down the road they had a bikerepair place that charged 5000 kip (20 baht) to charge my battery. Not sure if it will work after looking at the most exotic battery charger I ever seen (picture: http://bluenine.se/johan/batterycharger.jpg ) but I will find out in an hour when I pick it up.

    The plan for the future is to head up to Luangprabang, go back to Vientiane and follow Route 13 thru Laos down to Cambodia in about two weeks time. Then spend around two weeks riding in Cambodia before going back into Thailand and returning the bike in mid December.
  17. Hi

    Good to hear Swedish rider's tales. We bought a TDM 850 from Peter at Siam Superbikes about 2 weeks ago and are presently in Chiang Khong, having ridden to Chiang Mai and Nan. We did the Doi Pukha Loop yesterday great fun. It's a pity that we won't get to meet up with you Swedish rider but we don't plan to enter Laos for at least 2 weeks. We will be heading back to Chiang Mai before then, unless we change our minds. We are pretty felxible and have plenty of time to kill so no rush. Good luck with the trip and let us know how it all goes.

    By coincidence, we have just received a message on the forum to say that David and the other David are meeting for drinks in Chiang Khong tonight at a place right next door to the internet cafe where we are currently sitting! It will be good to meet up for a chat as other travellers don't seem to be that friendly to people on bikes.
    Dave and Helen Kelly
  18. Other travellers are envious of the freedom that a bike gives you. They are stuck taking public transport between towns, and walking in town.

    Welcome to the TDM club. It is a great bike for Thailand travel.


    "The true secret of giving advice is, after you have honestly given it, to be perfectly indifferent whether it is taken or not and never persist in trying to set people right."
  19. Good to hear that other people are out there at the same time. I just came back to Vangvieng after going to Louangprabang for a day. I can strongly recommend any biker to go that part of Route 13. The landscape is absolutely stunning and every 10 minutes you pass thru some small village where kids are coming out waiving and people always smiling. So nice people and view that it is easy to miss the huge potholes that are quite frequent at some places.
  20. Chocs have been delivered & the "new" registered Africa Twin's now legal in the computer on both sides of the bridge.
    The process was as simple as it's ever been - just present your ownership docs (now a real green registration booklet & not invoices) and away you go.

    Now surprisingly enough on the Thai side
    (1) Customs did not want to issue a Simplified Customs Declaration Form (Temporary Export / Import Doc.
    (2) Immigration only wanted to issue a TM2 Notice Of Conveyance & no TM4 Crew List, despite me asking for both forms.
    This was a little slack I thought, but I did not complain & thought that the reason may have been the fact that I was only going to Vte for 3 days & returning at the same port.
    On my return the Thai Customs just kept the TM2 Notice of Conveyance.

    On the Laos side it was
    1. Room 6 to complete the Temp Import Permit with the lovely secretary
    2. The boss then signed the permit in the secretary’s office, so there was no need to go to room 5. The fee for this form is 20 baht.
    3. After room 6 it’s to room 8 for a Laissez-Passer & Customs signature, but the boys were all downstairs so you get this done at the Inward Customs booth. The fee for this was 250 baht for a week. And the advice here was that the Laissez-Passer fee is 250 baht for a week, if you want more just come back & pay another 250 baht. Or get & pay more from the start?

    The Lao Customs secretary's name is Miss Khampean Thavone and it’s her birthday on March 3rd.
    So if you’re in the area around that time, don’t forget to drop off a nice birthday present for Khampean from all us lucky bikers going into Laos. For a “communist” government official Khampean is one of the most wonderful sweet polite persons you could meet!

    Keep The Power On
  21. Hey FL,
    Can't help but advertise your own maps!!! Any idea where I can get a lower connecting rod bearing and thrust washers for a XR650R? Yes, the bike is in bits again, maybe I should retire and buy an Africa Twin.
    Harry the Finn XR650R
  22. Harry
    For XR650 parts, try my mate in Sing Chan Kok Pyng.

    Best not comment about you on an Africa Twin. Actually I think I'll stop recommending the bike now as I might want a 2nd one end of next year, & there's not going to be enough to go around, they are so sort after by all the real riders!

    Re the map advertising, wait till you see the new 3rd edition Lao map - soon to be up on Miss Khampean's office wall! Just remember to be nice & polite, drop off a box of duty free chocolates when you're on the way through next time.

    Keep The Power On
  23. hi bobs last month i got 3 weeks entry from the girl in room number 6.her name is mis Khamphean Thavone
  24. Update 10 Jan 2006

    Check out My Stupidity 11th Jan 2006
    Link removed
    on how easy it was getting out of Thailand.


    Step 1 Customs.
    Get your bike cleared first = rego book / ownership confirmation.

    Step 2 Immigration.
    After customs have checked out your rego / ownership. Immigration issue a TM2 Notice of Conveyance.

    Step 3 Customs
    Back 6 paces to get an export stamp on the Notice of Conveyance from Immigration.

    Step 4 Immigration
    After your bike export is fully approved, back 6 paces to get yourself & passport stamped out.




    Step 1.
    Room 6 with Miss Khampean Thavone & issue of Laissez Passer. Cost 20 baht (+ 1 box chocolates.)

    Step 2
    Room 8 for Customs approval & signature. No fee.

    Step 3
    Downstairs to the customs booth for a signature.

    Step 4
    The private vehicles booth


    for issue of travel permit, 1 sticker, plus entry of details into computer. Pay fees or 510 baht for 2 weeks.


    Could not be easier – wonderful people & all fully co-operative!

    Keep The Power On

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