Lao / Vietnam New Border Crossings

Discussion in 'Laos - General Discussion Forum' started by DavidFL, Apr 8, 2004.

  1. A new international border crossing has been opened between Laos & Vietnam this week.
    The crossing is in Laos' Houa Phan province and is out from Xam Nua.
    The village names either side are
    1. Na Meo, Laos.
    2. Nam Xoi, Vietnam.
    Probably worth checking out sometime?

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  2. Yet another border crossing between Lao / Viet is now open.
    The newest one is the Dien Bien Phu crossing east from Udom Sai (N Laos), which was legally international on Thursday 22nd April 2004.
    The official names are
    1. Na Son on the Laos side
    2. Huoi Puoc on the Vietnam side.
    Now if they'd only let us into Vietnam on motorbikes easily.........

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  3. News in from Watchara at Tam Mi La guesthosue in Chiang khong is that the new border crossing to Dien Bien Phu is still not open. Wat knows from experience as he went out there on his bicycle to give it a try.
    Wat ended up cycling into Hanoi from the Na Meo (L) / Nam Xoi (V) crossing.
    So it looks like we will have to wait a bit longer for the Dien Bien Phu crossing to open.
    The gossip is that problem is on the Laos side with the Viets happy for the border to open to Dien Bien Phu. Stay tuned.....

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  4. More news on the "new" border crossing to Dien Bien Phu.
    The PTO (Provinical Tourist Office) in Luang Prabang say that this new crossing is in Luang Prabang province & not what I wrongly assumed to be the one from Muang Khua in Udom Sai province. They say the new one goes from "Na Son" to Dien Bien Phu, but it is the Vietnamese who are delaying full use of the crossing. From what I could gather, this is a rough new road / track, that is impassable in the wet season, and goes from somewhere "east" of Nong Khiew up to the Lao / Viet border. The LPB PTO say that there are actually 2 crossings to Dien Bien Phu, the one from Muang Khua & the one from LPB province, but none of them are open to foreigners yet. This is despite the LPB crossing being designated international as reported!

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  5. David said:

    Yet another border crossing between Lao / Viet is now open.
    The newest one is the Dien Bien Phu crossing east from Udom Sai (N Laos), which was legally international on Thursday 22nd April 2004.
    The official names are
    1. Na Son on the Laos side
    2. Huoi Puoc on the Vietnam side.

    I DRIVE past this notorious border point monthly - in fact yesterday I spent 2 hours there drinking tea with the guards as two of my fellow workers took our vehicle across the border to get 'stuff.'

    I can guarantee that this point is CLOSED to ANYONE CARRYING A VISA - although citizens from Cambo, Laos and Thailand drive across with impunity - using ID cards.

    Also noted that they had none of the immigration computer equipment seen at the other border crossings - just a telephone. The Dien Bien Phu cell signal didn't reach here either.

    There are many border police (different to immigration types) carrying rifles and m/guns in the area and we were stopped between Tay Trung and the border and permitted to continue only because of my passengers.

  6. Januari the 3 th we tried to cross the border at Dien Bien Phu (to Muang Khua) by bicycle. We were end back at the border after a 2 hours climb uphill. Luckely we tried it on our restday in Dien Bien Phu.
  7. Hi Everyone- any update on the border crossing from Vietnam to Laos near Dien Bien Phu. I am in Hanoi wanting to cycle from DBP to Laos- is the border open to foreigners?
    KC- did you actually get across the border?


  8. No problem now to take Minsks from Vietnam into Laos at either Cau Treo or Na Meo and then back via a different border crossing. Just make sure you have the bike's papers and ensure all the numbers on the frame, engine and number plate are the same as the card.

    Pakse to Ponsovan took us most of the day and was a sweet ride, especially in the middle when it gets a little rougher and passes through extensive forest. We were in the dry season on small dirt bikes so roads not an issue. Also loved the road from Sam Nua to Nam Noen because its about the windiest road I've ever been on (had sweet weather as well). All sealed and very clean. Other great stretches were the Mekong to Cau Treo border crossing, west of Tha Ket in all the karst thats there and of cause LPB to Vang Vien.
    The NTAL - Lao tourist office - claim that there is yet another legal international border crossing between Lao & Vietnam. On the Laos side it comes straight out of Tha kek & runs east to the Vietnam boder.
    Supposedly the port name on the Laos side is Naphao, but what the port name on the Viet side is I dont know & they could not tell me. Might be worth checking out for someone in the area.

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  10. Hello everyone again
    Cos I live vicariously via this website at my home in NZ, I'll just confirm that the border Namphao (L)/Cau Treo (V) was the one we successfully crossed this time last year from Vietnam to Laos on our Minsk.
    Oh I wish I was there!
  11. I am in Laan Prabang at resent and have been promiced by the person who has sold me a visa that the Vieng Xai relativly Northborder is open to foreigners, he even made a cal to the embassy. Now im not sure if hes bullshitting me please has anyone any idea how i can find out
  12. Simon
    If you just take a look at 3 posts above yours, the one from Digby, he says that Na Meo is open. Is this the Vieng Xai, that you mean?
    Best advice really is to suck it & see, then we can all learn from your experience.
    But how's your ride gone so far - any road & trip reports?
    What are you riding & who are you with?
    Who's the agent who delivered your visa?
    Any info / feedback is most appreciated.

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  13. A fairly good article that describes conditions on the Vietnamese side of the border is on ... 7ECO280105

    For those readers who have a lot of time, or who live in Hanoi or Vientiane, see the article on ... 1POL110105

    Note the names of the respective Lao and Vietnamese officials who are in talks with one another about border markers and border crossings and whatnot. The two sides will hold another meeting in the middle of the year and next year’s annual meeting will be held in Viet Nam at the beginning of 2006. Note in particular the name of the Lao official in Vientiane, Phongsavad Boupha, who is the head of the Laos-Viet Nam border board. If there is anyone in Vientiane who knows what goes on along the Lao border with Vietnam, this is the guy. Can any reader here track him down in Vientiane? Most likely, he would be highly amused if a foreigner showed up in his office to ask about the state of the border crossing between Udom Sai in Laos and Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam. Tell him that GT Rider sent you. If you get an interview with him about the border crossings, please upload it here. Cheers,
  14. Just been out to the Lao / Viet border crossing straight east of Tha Khek & the Lao side is called Naphao & supposedly Chalo on the Viet side.


    You can exit Laos from this crossing anytime, and to enter you must have the Laos visa already stamped in your passport = NO visa on arival.
    What happens on the Viet side, I dont know, as we were not permitted to slip over & ask.

    From Tha Khek to Gnommalat is good easy gravel


    & from Gnommalat to 10 kms before the border is good flowing asphalt.


    The last 10 kms before the border are under construction, with the last 6 kms a goat track "under construction." They claim the road will be finished by June / July, but you most certainly would not want to get caught on the goat track section in the wet!

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  15. Pictures of the Vietnamese side of the border to the west of Moc Chai are on ... in10.shtml

    This would be the Moc Chau - Nam Xoi (V) - Na Meo (L) - Sam Neua road. The owner of this site says that he will upload pictures from the Lao side of the border by the end of March. He did not take a motorcycle across. He took the local buses and walked across the border.
  16. Actually, the pictures just above are from Mai Chau, just a bit to the south of Moc Chau. The full story is on ... parentid=0


    sorry i took so long... i ended up in a few laos provinces without internet. and yes, it does take considerably more than 4 hours as i found out the painful way but the area around sam neua is superbly scenic with few tourists (if that's what you, like me, enjoy) and this lessens any chance of backtracking (something i personally hate to do). if you do cross into laos by the other exit points, you will guarantee yourself half of vietnam to backtrack, assuming you've gone the full length of vietnam (n->s or s->n). you will probably have to backtrack in laos as well if you start in vientianne which the hanoi bus package forces you to do. also the breakdowns and unforeseen circumstances that delay the normally 22 hour hanoi -> vientianne bus route seems frequent enough to factor into traveling time. all said, i'd do this crossing again but this time w/o getting ripped off and definitely with added "dong" (as well as some vietnamese currency - yuck yuck).

    there's 2 ways to do this border crossing. the easy way or the way i did it. variable vietnamese bus prices made this journey unpleasant as you don't know what to pay until you ask a local what he paid. easy way first:

    hanoi -> mai chau (24,000 dong, 3.5 hours, many public buses during the day that head to son la... hop off at mai chau junction and take the 3km moto ride to mai chau, sleep in mai chau in ethnic thai houses)
    mai chau -> dong tam (80,000 dong moto ride, 1.5 hours, leave 6am to make 8am connection in dong tam)
    dong tam -> na meo (??? dong - price unknown because i missed the public bus, 3 hours, cross the border and sleep in nam soi, laos. the next nearest major town is vieng xai on reliable songthaew transport at fixed prices)

    the above way is theoretically the best and fastest way to cross into laos from hanoi. the way i did it was a mix of headache, haggling and miscommunication:

    hanoi -> mai chau... this cost me 40,000 dong because i departed on a bus headed for son la. the price to son la is 80,000 dong as i witnessed locals handing over that amount. i figured 1/2 that price was fair. the driver asked for 60,000 and i stayed firm but polite and handed over only 40,000. i met another traveler that paid 24,000 to mai chau from hanoi by public bus.
    mai chau -> cu luong... i hitchhiked this portion of the trip, only 20 km away but paid 20,000 dong for it.
    cu luong -> quan hoa... paid 20,000 for a moto for an hour ride along a river w/ gorgeous scenery. spent the night in quan hoa and left early the next morning on a public bus.
    quan hoa -> dong tam... caught a 7am, 30 minute public bus for 10,000 dong to the junction town of dong tam where in theory there should be a bus direct to na meo. the bus never showed so i caught another public bus to quan son
    dong tam -> quan son... bus costs 20,000 dong for about a 2 hour journey. added bonus was helping to unload pigs being transported to quan son.
    quan son -> na meo... this was the most challenging portion of the journey. all moto drivers wanted 150,000 dong for the 2 hour journey. i simply outwaited them (nearly an hour of waiting and pretending to be in no hurry) and finally one took 100,000 dong for the ride to the border.

    bring enough dong to get you to the border. they exchange dollars at extortionist rates, if at all. pm me if you want any more specific information. happy travels! if you wanna see pics of the crossing. laos pics should come out when i'm finished w/ it, in about 2 weeks.


    Pictures from the Lao side of this border crossing are now on
  17. I am planning to cross from Vietnam into Laos at Dien Bien Phu. Does anyone know if the border is open? any troubles?

    If DBP is not open, where is the next closest border into Laos (from Hanoi)?

  18. A guy name Alex has an update on the Lonely Planet site today about the Sam Neua - Na Meo (L) - Nam Xoi (V) - Mai Chau route. Because of the motor size restriction in Vietnam, only a Honda Daliem or a Minsk is going to be able to use this crossing. Anyone living in Hanoi could easily drive their motocycles to Sam Neua for a weekend visit to test this. Updates are encouraged.

    QUOTE from Alex ... d=0&from=1


    We crossed from Laos to Vietnam via the Na Maew-Nam Xoi border on March25/05,
    here is what we experienced.

    the border is open 7 days a week from 8 am-7pm (so we were told) and you have to
    have your Vietnam visa in advance.

    We journeyed from Louang Prabang to Ponsovan by bus. there is one bus daily at 8:30 am,
    takes 9 hours and cost $6.00. Please note that the new Ponsovan bus terminal is open - so
    you arrive 4 km out of town. The guesthouses all have touts waiting to drive you into town.

    Ponsovan to Sam Neua - bus leaves at 8 am, takes 9 hours and costs $5.00
    In Sam Neua, it is not posted, but the bank will exchange baht or USD to Dong
    at a lousy exchange rate (13000/1 USD)

    One route is to go directly from Sam Neua to the border that leaves at 7 am from
    the bus station - takes 2 hours, not sure of the price.

    Or you can stop in Vieng Xai and see the caves, before going on. Sam Neua to Vieng Xai
    there are frequent morning buses from the station - we left at 10:30 and it took an hour
    for a cost of 7000 Kip. (In Vieng Xai, there seems to be only one functioning guest house at this time - Naxan G.H., 20,000 Kip a night.)

    From Vieng Xai to the border, we caught a truck at 7:00 am, it cost 15000 Kip and took 1.5 hours.

    At the Na Maew - Nam Xoi border, things were very smooth, it took about 1/2 hour to get across,
    they charged us a fee of 2000 Kip for something-or-other. At this border, they seem to routinely check all bags.

    An interpreter at the border told us that there was one bus to Mai Chau from Nam Xoi that left Saturday mornings costing $10.00. We were unable to confirm this.

    He also tried to sell us on a hired vehicle for $100.00 for the same trip.
    We walked up the hill a bit and were offered the same ride by another car and driver.

    The doctor at the border who we had talked to a bit (I am a nurse) came up after us and
    arranged a ride for us in a jeep with driver for $50.00. he insisted we pay up front, and
    we did since it seemed the only option. But it was no problem, the driver spoke no english
    but took us straight to Mai Chau and even drove us around till we found somewhere to stay.
    So look around, I am sure you can find a car for this price or cheaper.

    After a few days in Mai Chau, we borded the public bus at 7 am. There are apparently
    busses at 5 and 6 am also, and one in the afternoon, but we got conflicting info on this.
    The bus charged us 50,000 dong each and 20,000 dong for each pack, and the bus was
    STUFFED with people. It took about 5 hours and dropped us in Ha Dong on the outskirts
    of Hanoi. From there, we caught the #2 city bus just outside the bus terminal for 2500 Dong,
    it dropped us about 2 blocks from Hoan Kien Lake in the old Quarter in Hanoi.

    At both Mai Chau and Ha Dong, the local Xe Om Motorcycle taxis assured us that there were
    no busses, and tried to sell us their services - The busses do exist!

    Anyone who can add to this info, feel free - hope it helps!

  19. hey, despite of the several reports i didn´t understand whether the dien bien phu border is open for tourists now or not ?!?
  20. Ines
    My opinion is that Dien Bien Phu is NOT open to individual travelers.
    I'm also not 100% convinced that the tours (Passion Asia & Visit Mekong) as advertised have actually taken place!

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    Yet another new border crossing (in the south) but not full international if I read between the lines correctly.

    Link removed
    News Bulletin, 20 June 2005

    New Lao-Vietnam border opens
    THE new Sekong-Konetoum border that links Laos and Vietnam officially opened for public use on 14 June.
    The opening ceremony was graced by Sekong Governor Boualeui Chanlangkham, Konetoum Deputy President Haban, as well as representatives from ministries in both countries.
    In his opening speech, Mr Bouleui said that the new border is a gateway to trade and communication between Laos and Vietnam. It offers great potential to propel socio-economic development in both countries.
    The border opened in a significant year, because 2005 is also the 115th birthday anniversary of former Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh, and the 85th birthday anniversary of former Lao President Kaysone Phomnivanh.
    This project symbolises the special solidarity of the governments and peoples of both countries, added Mr Bouleui.

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