Laos Border Crossings

Chantony

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Oct 21, 2016
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Hey Matt,

I'm thinking about crossing over at the Nong Khai border into Lao in mid December (on my Thai registered bike) and going by what you said, it is doable but a bit of a hassle. Is it generally ok to cross there now? Last year I heard via GT that it was not and crossed over from Chiang Rai to Huay Xai instead with no problem. You say that Thai officers kept rejecting you but you got through eventually; is there any way I can prepare to make it easier?
I entered at Nong Khai a couple of weeks ago with no problems, 1 bike and 1 pillion, see this thread,
Vang Vieng Via Nong Khai
 

DavidFL

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Nakhon Phanom - Tha Khek
22 November 2019
upload_2019-12-2_10-35-19.png

I was able to exit from Thailand to Laos.
This was all made easier by my records being in the computer on both sides.
On the Thai side, I was at first told you're not supposed to cross the bridge but.....
Then on the Lao side it could not have been easier, zero questions asked, plus with my info in the computer the customs form was printed out & in five minutes, signed, stamped & I was on my way.

Savannakhet - Mukdahan
24 November 2019. Another shit fight exiting Laos.
4 months ago I had a battle to exit from Savan. Lao immigration & customs said ok, but police said no. However after 40 minutes I wore them down & was let go.
This time immigration said ok. Police at first said no. Took away my passport, had a meeting in the office, came back & an extremely polite female officer asked a few questions in good English & then said OK you can go. All good I thought. Then a stern Lao customs officer, looking to exercise his authority said no & refused to budge.
A lengthy conversation followed. Its dangerous for you to ride on the bridge. 55. I asked him if he had been to Phongsali, Xam Neua or Attapeu, because I had already & did not think that riding across a simple well constructed the bridge was dangerous. Stalemate.
I persisted. Eventually he agreed to escort me across the bridge with his pickup, if I followed closely. So off we went at a pace that was too fast for me. 80KPH across the bridge! I like to dawdle over at 40kph enjoying the view. Once on the other side he stopped as soon as we reached the end of the bridge, wound down his window, called out goodbye, turned around & wet straight back across the bridge. Not even an escort to the Thai border facilities.

 
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Reddo

Member
Nov 10, 2018
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Nakhon Phanom - Tha Khek
22 November 2019
View attachment 133576
I was able to exit from Thailand to Laos.
This was all made easier by my records being in the computer on both sides.
On the Thai side, at first told you're not supposed to cross the bridge but.....
Then on the Lao side it could not have been easier, zero questions asked, plus with my info in the computer the customs form was printed out & in five minutes, signed, stamped & I was on my way.

Savannakhet - Mukdahan
24 November 2019. Another shit fight exiting Laos.
4 months I had a battle to exit from Savan. Lao immigration & customs said ok, but police said no. However after 40 minutes I wore them down & was let go.
This time immigration said ok. Police at first said no. Took away my passport, had a meeting in the office, came back & an extremely polite female officer asked a few questions in good English & then said OK you can go. All good I thought. Then a stern Lao customs officer, looking to exercise his authority said no & refused to budge.
A lengthy conversation followed. Its dangerous for you to ride on the bridge. 55. I asked him if he had been to Phongsali, Xam Neua or Attapeu, because I had already & did not think that riding across a simple well constructed the bridge was dangerous. Stalemate.
I persisted. Eventually he agreed to escort me across the bridge with his pickup, if I followed closely. So off we went at a pace that was too fast for me. 80KPH across the bridge! I like to dawdle over at 40kph enjoying the view. Once on the other side he stopped as soon as we reached the end of the bridge, wound down his window, called out goodbye, turned around & wet straight back across the bridge. Not even an escort to the Thai border facilities.

If puzzling behaviour was not so common in these circumstances it really would be puzzling! It seems like your regularity at crossing borders is starting to pay dividends..
 

DavidFL

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If puzzling behaviour was not so common in these circumstances it really would be puzzling! It seems like your regularity at crossing borders is starting to pay dividends..

That's the issue, they can't even agree themselves on what the policy is & how to enforce it.
But being in the computer definitely helps & I've been at it for a few decades.
Speaking the language is also a huge bonus, as good as being in the computer almost. However it doesn't always work.
And if you're doing it for the first time it is a mistake to rock up & ask if you can cross the bridge, because the answer will be no!
Just hand in your papers and ask for the forms, saying you are going to Laos. Don't ask if you can go, you must assume it is OK & a done thing.

Border Crossings

Entering Laos - Some History
 

DavidFL

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Chiang Khong / Houei Xai - January 2019
A recent report suggests that the police are requesting "tour fees" for 4 bikes & up.

Huay Kon / Muang Ngern
from the 1st January 2020 there is no VoA, Visa on Arrival, at Muang Ngern to enter Laos.
It probably applies to all the other border crossings listed here earlier

Laos Smaller Border Crossings To Stop Issuing Visa-on-arrival?
 

DavidFL

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Huak - Pangmon / M Khop (Laos)

The Huak border is scheduled to be operational on the Laos side from 1st February 2020.
However don't expect any VoA, Visa on Arrival, or easy bike entry.
Exit should be ok.
Thais & ASEAN & Swiss citizens should get 2 weeks entry on arrival if I understand correctly.

Once this is fully operational that will make 5 land border crossings between Thailand & Laos.
1. Huay Kon / M Ngern
2. Huak / Pangmon
3. Phu Du / Phu Du (Pak Lay)
4. Nakraseng (Tha Li) / Nam Heuang (Kenthao)
5. Chong Mek / Vang Tao.

Source: Laos to Upgrade Pangmon Border Crossing in Xayaboury - The Laotian Times

Laos is set to upgrade the Pangmon border crossing that links the country to Thailand, in a move to attract more tourists and facilitate the transport of goods.

The border crossing, located in Khop District, Xayaboury Province, is expected to come into service as an international crossing point on February 1, according to Vientiane Times. If the Pangmon border crossing is upgraded to international status, it will be the fourth in the province.

Xayaboury, which is located in northern Laos and is about 300 km from Vientiane, is home to more elephants than any other province in Laos. It will host the Elephant Festival from February 22 to 28.

More than 140,600 have visited Xayaboury province this year so far, the province attracted over 160,400 visitors in 2018, according to the province’s Information, Culture and Tourism Department.

The border currently remains a temporary checkpoint linking Khop District, Xayaboury, Laos, and Ban Huak, in Phu Sang District, Phayao Province, Thailand
See also:
On the road with Destination Thailand TV part 8

Huak had an interesting bi-monthly talad nut market, that has featured on GTR here:
Weekly Markets - Talad Nut - In North Thailand
 

Niklas Blume

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Jan 31, 2019
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Huak - Pangmon / M Khop (Laos)

The Huak border is scheduled to be operational on the Laos side from 1st February 2020.
However don't expect any VoA, Visa on Arrival, or easy bike entry.
Exit should be ok.
Thais & ASEAN & Swiss citizens should get 2 weeks entry on arrival if I understand correctly.

Once this is fully operational that will make 5 land border crossings between Thailand & Laos.
1. Huay Kon / M Ngern
2. Huak / Pangmon
3. Phu Du / Phu Du (Pak Lay)
4. Nakraseng (Tha Li) / Nam Heuang (Kenthao)
5. Chong Mek / Vang Tao.

Source: Laos to Upgrade Pangmon Border Crossing in Xayaboury - The Laotian Times

Laos is set to upgrade the Pangmon border crossing that links the country to Thailand, in a move to attract more tourists and facilitate the transport of goods.

The border crossing, located in Khop District, Xayaboury Province, is expected to come into service as an international crossing point on February 1, according to Vientiane Times. If the Pangmon border crossing is upgraded to international status, it will be the fourth in the province.

Xayaboury, which is located in northern Laos and is about 300 km from Vientiane, is home to more elephants than any other province in Laos. It will host the Elephant Festival from February 22 to 28.

More than 140,600 have visited Xayaboury province this year so far, the province attracted over 160,400 visitors in 2018, according to the province’s Information, Culture and Tourism Department.

The border currently remains a temporary checkpoint linking Khop District, Xayaboury, Laos, and Ban Huak, in Phu Sang District, Phayao Province, Thailand
See also:
On the road with Destination Thailand TV part 8

Huak had an interesting bi-monthly talad nut market, that has featured on GTR here:
Weekly Markets - Talad Nut - In North Thailand
Hello. now i read as much as everything and am very confused. am in CM and intend to go trough Lao to Cambodia . enter Huay Xai. and exit Veun Kham. should there be any issues. bout VOA or anything? Thai reg Bike in my name.
 

DavidFL

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Hello. now i read as much as everything and am very confused. am in CM and intend to go trough Lao to Cambodia . enter Huay Xai. and exit Veun Kham. should there be any issues. bout VOA or anything? Thai reg Bike in my name.

Visa on arrival you can get at Houei Xai.

Entering Cambodia from Veun Kham in Laos probably does not work. The Cambodians more than likely won't let you in on a Thai registered bike.

Laos - Cambodia border crossing informaton needed

You can try to enter Cambodia from Veun Kham, but if you get refused, come back into Thailand and cross into Cambodia as ZCM did here
Ride To Angkor Wat – Khmer Temple Trail – Chiang Mai To Siem Reap Loop

At Houei Xai there's a naughty tourist policeman who tries to scam you for a 2000 baht tour permit.
Try to stand you ground and don't let him bluff you into paying.
As a solo rider you don't need it.
Get his name and a photo and a receipt if you lose out. He will be reported to Vientiane again.
 
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DavidFL

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Huak - Pangmon / M Khop (Laos)

The Huak border is scheduled to be operational on the Laos side from 1st February 2020.
However don't expect any VoA, Visa on Arrival, or easy bike entry.
Exit should be ok.
Thais & ASEAN & Swiss citizens should get 2 weeks entry on arrival if I understand correctly.

Once this is fully operational that will make 5 land border crossings between Thailand & Laos.
1. Huay Kon / M Ngern
2. Huak / Pangmon
3. Phu Du / Phu Du (Pak Lay)
4. Nakraseng (Tha Li) / Nam Heuang (Kenthao)
5. Chong Mek / Vang Tao.

Source: Laos to Upgrade Pangmon Border Crossing in Xayaboury - The Laotian Times

Laos is set to upgrade the Pangmon border crossing that links the country to Thailand, in a move to attract more tourists and facilitate the transport of goods.

The border crossing, located in Khop District, Xayaboury Province, is expected to come into service as an international crossing point on February 1, according to Vientiane Times. If the Pangmon border crossing is upgraded to international status, it will be the fourth in the province.

Xayaboury, which is located in northern Laos and is about 300 km from Vientiane, is home to more elephants than any other province in Laos. It will host the Elephant Festival from February 22 to 28.

More than 140,600 have visited Xayaboury province this year so far, the province attracted over 160,400 visitors in 2018, according to the province’s Information, Culture and Tourism Department.

The border currently remains a temporary checkpoint linking Khop District, Xayaboury, Laos, and Ban Huak, in Phu Sang District, Phayao Province, Thailand
See also:
On the road with Destination Thailand TV part 8

Huak had an interesting bi-monthly talad nut market, that has featured on GTR here:
Weekly Markets - Talad Nut - In North Thailand


The border crossing at Pangmon was officially opened on 1st February 2020 and is full international, supposedly with a Lao Visa on Arrival.
Entry by motorcycle without a tour permit is still unclear - probably negative, because it is Xayaboury.

Some photos of the official opening, courtesy of a border contact.

On the Laos side
GT-Pangmonm-_1.jpg


GT-Pangmonm-_2.jpg


GT-Pangmonm-_5.jpg


GT-Pangmonm-_4.jpg



On the Thai side
GT-Pangmonm-_3.jpg
 

DavidFL

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Visa on arrival you can get at Houei Xai.

Entering Cambodia from Veun Kham in Laos probably does not work. The Cambodians more than likely won't let you in on a Thai registered bike.

Laos - Cambodia border crossing informaton needed

You can try to enter Cambodia from Veun Kham, but if you get refused, come back into Thailand and cross into Cambodia as ZCM did here
Ride To Angkor Wat – Khmer Temple Trail – Chiang Mai To Siem Reap Loop

At Houei Xai there's a naughty tourist policeman who tries to scam you for a 2000 baht tour permit.
Try to stand you ground and don't let him bluff you into paying.
As a solo rider you don't need it.
Get his name and a photo and a receipt if you lose out. He will be reported to Vientiane again.

Houei Xai Update 8th February 2020
The ever friendly policeman at the bridge in Houei Xai is still offering his services for 2,000 baht a bike.
He struck again today, for 2 riders.
He also tried with Kurt, riding solo, a week ago but Kurt was able to stand his ground.
 

DavidFL

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The border crossing at Pangmon was officially opened on 1st February 2020 and is full international, supposedly with a Lao Visa on Arrival.
Entry by motorcycle without a tour permit is still unclear - probably negative, because it is Xayaboury.

Some photos of the official opening, courtesy of a border contact.

On the Laos side
View attachment 134321

View attachment 134322

View attachment 134325

View attachment 134324


On the Thai side
View attachment 134323

Confirmed Visa on Arrival is available @ Pangmone, but the Lao customs computers are not yet set up & running so no vehicles across the border at an international level.
Locals can cross with a vehicle & stay within a limited area - the next town, Muang Khop, & no further.
Supposedly in a few more weeks the Lao customs computers maybe operating and vehicles maybe able to use the border crossing.
But I would not be optimistic if you're on two wheels.

Information provided from 2 very experienced Thai riders, who attempted to enter with their bikes today.
 
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DavidFL

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Update Houei Xai 15 February

Exiting Thailand
upload_2020-2-20_0-11-44.png


The Lao Tourist Police Touch-up
Yes indeed the super friendly Lao tourist police delight in asking private riders for a tour permit & then a fee of 2,000 baht to be allowed to go on your merry way.
He tried it with but failed.
I stood my ground. I am not on a tour or a tour group. I don't pay. Read on.....

Riding across the bridge towards HX
upload_2020-2-20_0-18-31.png


The efficient policeman repeatedly advised me I should have a tour permit, because it was the law. And if you break the law, the fine is US$2,000 for not having a tour permit.
I refused to budge & said I'm not a tour & I'm not paying.
They try to tie you up for hours if possible & hope that eventually you will weaken and assist his personal welfare fund by 2,000 baht.

Good luck to any riders encountering this.
3 other riders I met on the bridge paid the 2,000 baht each = 6,000 baht in his pocket!
But not me, not one baht. I was prepared to ask him help me get my visa money back. 55
In my favour was the fact I was only staying in Houei Xai for 3 night, but this was not mentioned at the start, only at the finish of the negotiations.

My police interview experience was 16 minutes & I have a sound recording of the conversation. One policeman noticed I was recording and asked to look at my phone He told him this is my phone, leave it alone & continued to record.
A copy of the recording has been sent to Vientiane, along with a copy of the receipt for the 3 other guys who paid.
He is being reported again.
Eventually we hope their little game may stop & riders maybe welcomed properly into Laos & spend their money as they go, helping the rural people.

New QR Code Process
There is a new two fold QR Code system in place at the bridge on the Laos side.
One is for the visa fee and two is for the vehicle permit.
For the visa fee you need to apply for your visa the same, then walk through immigration & pay the money at the Lao Development Bank, get a QR code & then walk through the barrier using your QR code.Then walk over to the other side where your bike is parked, show your QR Code receipt & get stamped by immigration & start the vehicle import process. This involves tapping all your vehicle info onto a computer screen.
upload_2020-2-20_0-25-32.png

If your engine & frame numbers are long, it takes time & you don't want to make a mistake. I had trouble getting the right Suzuki Vstrom 650 model to come up on the screen, but eventually we got it right V strom 650 XT Adventure!
Next time I hope your record & the info just pops up on the screen automatically.

Once you've done this it is onto Laos customs for them to print out another form. and then the super star police pull you aside & invite you into their office for a private chat.
But before the police chat I got another 2 months AGL Insurance for 1600 baht. The AGL guy was slow & this caused the policeman to show his impatience at trying to collect a fee, because he came into the AGL office you check what was happening & how long it wold be. Slime bag I thought.
Welcome to Laos.
 

Oddvar

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Mar 18, 2013
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Returned from Laos today at Ngeune, Laos side / Ban Huai Kon, Thai side.
No problem at all. Crossed together with an Aussie RTW rider on Oz plates. He was a bit worried prior to coming to the border. I crossed just to se if it was possible at all.
Hopefully we can soon enter Laos and Xayaburi just as easy.:joy:
 

DavidFL

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Laos to open new international checkpoint with Vietnam

Dakta-ok-Nam Giang border


16 February 2021

VIENTIANE (Xinhua): Laos plans to open a new international border crossing with Vietnam in March to ease the movement of goods and people between the two countries.

According to local daily Vientiane Times on Monday (Feb 15), southern Laos' Sekong province will open its first international border crossing with Vietnam on March 24.

The province's governor Leklai Sivilay said the Lao and Vietnamese governments had agreed to upgrade the existing Dakta-ok-Nam Giang border crossing between Sekong province, some 530km southeast of Lao capital Vientiane and Quang Nam provinces to international status.

"We have agreed with Vietnam on the date to officially upgrade the status of this border crossing, which is slated for March 24," the governor said.

The upgrade was originally scheduled for the end of 2020 but was postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

All provinces in Laos, with the exception of Sekong, that share borders with Vietnam, have international crossing points to the neighbouring country.

Leklai said the upgrade of the border crossing in Sekong would shorten the distance between Thailand and Vietnam through southern Laos by more than 100km.

Although the pandemic is widespread in the region, trade between Laos and Vietnam is continuing through the Dakta-ok-Nam Giang border crossing.

Laos mainly exports agricultural produce to Vietnam while importing construction equipment needed for hydropower development and other mega projects.

The upgrade of the border crossing will create more accessible links with Vietnam and Thailand and enable more Vietnamese investors and visitors to enter Laos when the pandemic is subsided.

The expected surge in trade and the movement of goods should encourage local people to grow more crops for export so they can improve their living standards.

One of the main challenges for Laos now is how to improve tourist sites and provide transit services to benefit more from regional connectivity, according to the report.

Source: The Star News Malaysia