Laos Border Problem Getting Across

David Race

Ol'Timer
Mar 4, 2011
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0
The crossing from Mukdahan in Thailand to Savannkhet over the friendship bridge for a motorcycle is still not possible.

I was there September 28 and was told the only way to get my bike across would be in the back of a pick up.

Mukdahan in Thailand has an agreement with Savannkhet in Laos not to let motorcycles across the friendship bridge this was told to me by customs when I tried to go across the bridge on my Kawasaki Z800.

To do the visa in Savannkhet I had to catch the bus across the bridge and get a Tut tut into Savannkhet.

After visiting the embassy which is open 9am to 11 am you leave your passport there and you can pick it up with your new visa the next day between 2pm and 4pm.

After a nights stay in Savannkhet at a nice hotel called Hunghueng Hotel and a good look around this old town which is a French styled town it was back to the Thai Embassy.

Then a tut tut back to the bridge and a bus back over the friendship bridge and back to the hotel where I left my bike.

It's Ashame you cannot cross the bridge at this stage but there is no plans at present to let motorcycles across this bridge at the present time.
 

Goran Phuket

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Apr 2, 2008
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Actually it is possible to cross the Friendship Bridge 2 between Mukdahan and Savannakhet on motorcycle. However, you need to apply for permit from Laos side. It is bit complicated but can be done. Once Thai authorities see the permit, they will let you through.

I managed to take across group of 16 motorcycles back in December 2013 on our way to Vietnam. Here are few pics....

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brian_bkk

Ol'Timer
Mar 30, 2010
2,139
278
83
Just to add to this thread.

Crossing the other way. Lao to Thai is not a problem at the moment.

A couple of friends have done this successfully.  Though if on a tight schedule you might want to plan on a safer bet.. Be a pain to have to ride to vang tao / chong mek or back up to paxsan.

Early in the year a bunch of Thai riders turned up in the square at thakek. Just crossed the bridge.. They seemed surprised why we were so interested.. No prior permission and just crossed.  believe rex tried also around that time and was refused..

Cheers

Brian
 

DavidFL

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Jan 16, 2003
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If it was me & I'd try some sweet talk & considering I pay 500 baht to ride across at Chiang Khong I'd be quite happy to pay 500 to ride across there too, although preferably without being in the back of a pickup.

BTW thanks for the tip off David, & all you guys preparing to cross at Mukdahan / Savannakhet please note it could be a problematic just rocking up crossing as experienced by David.

In 2009 I rode out from Savan after some heavy sweet talk on the Lao side

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Savannakhet - Mukdahan Mekong river border crossing

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Savannakhet - Mukdahan Mekong river border crossing

But when I got to the Thai side I was told I could not do that & the smart immigration officer  & told me to ride back across the bridge, because you weren't allowed to ride over. I held my ground & asked for the boss. eventually they relented & let me in.

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Savannakhet - Mukdahan Mekong river border crossing

Life goes on, we ride & try to be happy. The Mekong "Friendship Bridges" are not all that friendly at times.
 

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Russ McDermid

Active Member
Sep 25, 2009
41
9
8
Chiang Mai
A group of three of us tried to cross here last week (Oct 29th) from Laos, into Thailand....

Leaving Laos was not much of a problem ... a few raised eyebrows from the Officials but passport were duly stamped, and as we approached the bridge, were simply ushered around the barrier via a slip road.

Entering Thailand was more problematic ... at the first booth, they would not stamp me into the country as I was on a motorbike, but sent me to the immigration office.  I was told its not allowed to cross with a bike here, but they will do it on this occasion.  So back to the Immigration booth with a more senior officer and they stamp me in, and give me the photocopied White "Information of Conveyance" form, with just a few scant details hand written on it.

So I head to customs, where they check the documents and relieve me of 200 baht (I get a receipt).  But then the problems start ... I'm on a UK reg bike, so I'm sure I need a formal "Temporary Import Certificate", and to be logged into the Customs computer.   The officer says I don't need one !!

I insist I do, and stated I was given one at the Nueng/Nan crossing 4 weeks earlier.  We go the big office where they all seem confused but the head honcho seems to agree with me... then back to the booth, where despite some dialogue between them, I still cant get one.  The information is totally confusing ranging from I should have put the bike in a pick-up, to its OK as long as I dont ride outside Mukdohan !

So, here I am, with a UK bike in Thailand, that through no fault of my own, seems to be illegally here.... but yet, its not on any customs computer, so do they even know ?  And how do I go about exporting it again ?

Anyone else been in this situation ?

My other two comrades on Thai registered bikes were allowed to enter Thai, but with the warning not to do it again here !
 

DavidFL

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Russ

Bloody hell pretty silly the Thai customs not wanting to issue you with a temporary import.

Surely the bike must be in the computer already from when you first came in & then exited again.

When you leave it will be problematic, but show them your passport with the earlier entry & departure dates so they can track the bike down & see it in the computer. Eventually they are going to let you go, maybe for a small fee.

As I said I had trouble there in 2009, the Thais didnt want to let me in because I had ridden across the bridge from Laos after the Lao let me out. Thai immigration wanted me to "illegally" ride back across the bridge to Laos. All a bit dumb, especially when the Thai customs had accepted my re-entry papers. I stood my ground & asked for the boss & we eventually sorted it out.

Good Luck & please let us know how you go when you leave.
 

Oddvar

Ol'Timer
Mar 18, 2013
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It seams that Ban Huai Kon border crossing in Nan is the only one not giving anyone a hard time.
The local Thais has started to travel to Laos and some slow processing time can be expected weekends and public holidays.
 

Goran Phuket

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Apr 2, 2008
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Russ McDermid wrote:

A group of three of us tried to cross here last week (Oct 29th) from Laos, into Thailand…. Leaving Laos was not much of a problem … a few raised eyebrows from the Officials but passport were duly stamped, and as we approached the bridge, were simply ushered around the barrier via a slip road. Entering Thailand was more problematic … at the first booth, they would not stamp me into the country as I was on a motorbike, but sent me to the immigration office. I was told its not allowed to cross with a bike here, but they will do it on this occasion. So back to the Immigration booth with a more senior officer and they stamp me in, and give me the photocopied White “Information of Conveyance” form, with just a few scant details hand written on it. So I head to customs, where they check the documents and relieve me of 200 baht (I get a receipt). But then the problems start … I’m on a UK reg bike, so I’m sure I need a formal “Temporary Import Certificate”, and to be logged into the Customs computer. The officer says I don’t need one !! I insist I do, and stated I was given one at the Nueng/Nan crossing 4 weeks earlier. We go the big office where they all seem confused but the head honcho seems to agree with me… then back to the booth, where despite some dialogue between them, I still cant get one. The information is totally confusing ranging from I should have put the bike in a pick-up, to its OK as long as I dont ride outside Mukdohan ! So, here I am, with a UK bike in Thailand, that through no fault of my own, seems to be illegally here…. but yet, its not on any customs computer, so do they even know ? And how do I go about exporting it again ? Anyone else been in this situation ? My other two comrades on Thai registered bikes were allowed to enter Thai, but with the warning not to do it again here !
Best solution to export the bike and avoid customs problems is to cross into Malaysia.

You see, at Sadao/Bukit Kayu Hitam border post, Thais will never ask you for any motorcycle documents. It is entirely up to you to report to customs counter or not. Since your bike details are not in customs database, there is no point talking to customs at all.

Just go to immigration counter, obtain exist stamp and be on your way down to Malaysian customs. Over there buy compulsory coverage from "Zurich Insurance" and they will give you round sticker (International Circulation permit) valid for 4 weeks.

Now, if you want to return to Thailand through same border crossing, simply go back to (Thai) customs counter and ask for temporary importation form. Fill it up and submit and they will give you 4 weeks permit which can be extended at any customs office in Thailand.