Laos Friendship Bridge No Entry

Discussion in 'Laos - General Discussion Forum' started by filip-gsa, Feb 10, 2006.

  1. jimoi

    jimoi Ol'Timer

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    BKK Teacher, he wouldn't be riding a big ass Yamaha and like to hang out in Vang Vieng and smoke lots of pot, more joint per hour than I smoke cigs??

    I have had 5 meetings on the wonderful side of my days at Rm. 6 with Ms. Khampean and if anyone gave her a verbal bashing, I send them several flat tires in the rain. at night.

    Ride Safe
     
  2. harrythefinn

    harrythefinn Ol'Timer

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    Not the done thing to harass the people at the pointy end. It just makes it that much more difficult for the next guy. Everyone has had dream border crossings and most of the time it was due to the people going before being polite/considerate. Definite loss of face in Asia to get upset. GT rider has been working behind the scenes to resolve the problem and is probably pretty pissed that some "biker" has harassed his lady at the border.
    Read the board and contribute info.
    Harri . XR650R.
     
  3. 2Up Chiang Khong

    2Up Chiang Khong Ol'Timer

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    To the "Teacher"

    I hope that you are better in the class room then you are in public dealings. Possibly you've never heard the one about, "you never shoot the messenger". Forget about "face" and all the Asian stuff for a moment - did you accomplish anything Positive for anyone? Did you feel better at the end of your dealings? Will those that follow behind you benifit? Will the good-will shown by those that came before you be undone?

    My wife and I have used this point of entry a couple of times and the Lady in Room 6 absolutly went out of her way to help us - especially the first time we entered when all our paper work was not as it should have been in that our bike is Thai owned and at that time without a proper Thai exit book.

    My wife gives you two thumbs down. Possibly a nice ride back to the border with some flowers could be in order?? It's time consuming, but Songkran holliday is near and possilby you owe it to her and also to your peers....

    David and Mai
    Chiang Khong
     
  4. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

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    Well I was about to add my opinion, but David and Mai probably said it better. "Don't shoot the messenger" is EXACTLY the point. I have been helped with my entry many times by our friend Miss Khampean and she is not only polite and friendly but usually loves hearing of our adventures and travels. David's map and our travel stickers are posted on her wall. She is genuinely on our side.

    Hopefully this entry situation will remedy itself soon and we can all try to make up for what may have transpired by a definate NON GT-Rider. If currently entering from a different point and passing through Vientiane maybe David and Mai's suggestion may be extended to everyone dropping off some flowers or (as the true GT-Riders know) her favorite chocolates.

    Dave Early

    Ever notice that "What the Heck!" is usually the right answer?
     
  5. scotty007

    scotty007 Ol'Timer

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    I was at the Lao Vietianne border with David FL and Bob B in January and I have to say Miss Khampean was extremely helpful and polite.

    Something that I always find amazing is how many expatriate people who live and work in Asia never quite work out how to deal with the local systems and people!
     
  6. bkkteacherandrew

    bkkteacherandrew New Member

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    Thanks for emailling Davidfl,

    1) I have never met Ms Khampean.

    2) Anything I posted was a report. I too am a messenger. I have received a considerable amount of feedback much of which shows people have not read my post. I wasn't there. To quote me '. . . regretably my friend . . . ' and 'will register a firm but more Asian style complaint with tourism authority tomorrrow in Vientiane' This would indicate that I fully appreciate the counterproductive nature of voices raised, arm waving episodes by visitors. And it's boorish rudeness. ironically I have received a number borish and rude emails advocating not being boorish and rude! A puzzle.

    3) Having now been introduced to the story of the legendary Ms Khampaeng, my friend also sings her praises, I will tomorrow on behalf of everyone do what I had intended to do today: take her a gift. And apologise on behalf on anyway who may have spoken to her in boorish, rude or illconsidered manner. The circumstances are trying for everyone.

    4) I am not optimistic, but what can be done to effect the root of the problem. It would be really great to get back to what I understand was a straightforward process eased a long by the wonderful Lao staff in the famous room six. I am quite looking forward to seeing this 'room six'. Sounds amazing!
     
  7. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    Andrew
    Nice reply mate with a proper understanding of the situation & the serious concern of the GT Riders.
    It's a bit of a shame that you have indeed taken a bit of flak because of your mate, but a message was needed to get across.
    It could even be that we are barking up the wrong tree a little, but we DONT want the Lao staff on the Friendship Bridge upset.

    To repeat some background
    In Feb 2006 the Bridge Director got a phone call from the Ministry of Transport in Vte advising NO more bikes across the bridge.
    The BD & Khampean (the Bridge Director’s Secretary who fills out all the motorcycle & car import papers) were both unhappy about this, & actually wrote to the MoT querying them, asking for written confirmation & a reason why. We did not ask them to do this. They did it to help us, as they knew we would be unhappy & that we both would miss our regular crossings & super friendly chit chat meetings.
    Therefore we see NO reason to harass the bridge staff, in particular Miss Khampean in room # 6.

    I’m still a little confused by the whole issue, as is the bridge staff even.
    It real weird, as you can still ride out across the bridge.
    The Thais will let you out onto the bridge & to enter Laos.
    So that suggests it could just be a local Lao problem at the MoT?
    Jimoi entered Laos at Paxan a week ago without any trouble & the officials there had NO idea about the NO bikes rule.

    Another unofficial translation of the MoT letter reads like this

    Apparently, according to international agreements held between Laos and its neighbours individually owned motorbikes are not one of the "controlled" forms of transport in the agreements, therefore can not be authorized to enter-exit. However, in if they are part of a "caravan tour" (this can mean a regular group or individual moto tour (own interpretation, not what the letter says]) that is brought in by an authorized tour company (pre approved by the LNTA) they may cross the borders.

    This week they also had an “International Convention on Transportation Between Countries “at the MoT in Vte. Whether we will get any positive news from this conference I don’t know yet. But I do have some contacts checking to see what is going on.

    Davidfl
    Keep The Power On
     
  8. Digby

    Digby Member

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    Two weeks ago two of us on Minsks tried to get into Laos from Vietnam at Lao Bao. We were turned back by the Vietnamese customs officers. As of Jan 1, new regulations came into place in Vietnam that require you to get a kind of passport for any vehicle leaving the country. This passport is issued by the Ministry of Transport after loads of paperwork. I suspect this is related to the Friendship bridge problem and boils down to some kind of ASEAN agreement where they decided to control the import/export/transit of cars and bikes throughout the region. Rather than opting for a carnet bond system, they have opted for the "loads of paperwork linking a particular bike/car with a particular person/company" option. This is where I think the caravan issue arrises because it is much easier to blame/track down a tour company than an individual. I think they do want us to be able to travel uninhibited but are scared about the prospect of all those smuggled cars/bikes moving around. Vietnam for the first time is about to allow the import of used cars so they are twitchy. When tracked down, the Ministry of Transport said no passports were going to be issued to bikes because there were too many smuggled bikes already. Who knows yet if they are just lazy, shy or following orders. New regulations always spell a lengthy wait as all the various offices decide on what jobs are for who. No doubt customs has lost some lucrative power in this change over and are pissed. I suspect you can still drive a Minsk over at Na Meo and Cau Treo as those two are infinitely more laid back than the officious guys at Lao Bao, but I can’t confirm. Damn shame as we were planning to drive from Dong (near Sepon) all the way down to that crater lake at Nong Fa via Ta Oi and Kaleum and then return back to Phin via roads 11, 16 and 23.
     
  9. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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  10. ozzyboy

    ozzyboy Active Member

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    I have been reading the problems here taking a bike across the Friendship Bridge, and just thought I would mention the 'bike passport' I used, after being told it was the easiest way, although I assume it will no longer work. Back in early 2004, I obtained this passport from Loei Motor Rego office, (they only issue these at provinces near borders I was told) and I was living in Chiang Khan at the time. I can't remember the cost now but 100/200 baht I think, and used this for the 3 times I went across the F. Bridge. As my bike is now in Chiang Mai for sale, I have never renewed the passport, it is valid for 1 year.

    64385029-S. 64385030-S.
    64385032-S. 64385031-S.

    This is it.
     
  11. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

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    bkkteacherandrew-

    Realize you are catching some of the fallout from your friends actions. Sometimes I just scan these reports and it is too easy to miss some of the details. I think the same happens for others. I thought it was pretty up front of you to post about your friends encounter and I realize you too are a messenger. Sometimes what would be construed as "constructive criticism" in a person to person conversation does not come across the same when put in print. We all just want to try and keep a good thing going and get the situation cleared up.

    Please don't take any of the comments personal, a lot people have been "flamed" on the board lately. Seems to be the new thing to do. That should also stop.

    Good post, keep them coming.

    Dave Early

    Ever notice that "What the Heck!" is usually the right answer?
     
  12. pee

    pee Ol'Timer

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    Following "Ozzyboy" input I wish to correct a detail about the "International Transport Permit". You wrote "they only issue these at provinces near borders I was told"... This is not true, mate.
    The simplest way to get it is to contact the "Land and Transport Office" where one goes to pay the annual vehicle tax. It is linked with one's official address in Thailand. Mine being in Bangkok, Ratchatewi district, I had to go to the Chatuchak Land & Transport Office. Cost = 60 Bahts. It's valid for one year. Easy to renew when the vehicle tax is due.
    I felt to add this minor info to display some optimism about the "Friendship Bridge" issue. Keep the optimism on... And throw away personnal prejudices... Following "bkk teacher room number 6 story" some general prejudices have surfaced on this site. Against teachers, against Yamaha riders...I don't mean to add some flames but it's a bit disappointing...
    Quite hot in the area these days, isn't it... However it's certainly not a good idea to abuse our friends in room n°6 nor anyone in this part of the world, (make an exception for some obnuxious taxi or bus drivers in Bkk)...
    Anyway, good ride to all of you
    [:p]

    eric
     
  13. ozzyboy

    ozzyboy Active Member

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    Yes . it's fuuny how information is not always given clearly, I mentioned the 'it's only issued at border provinces', as I tried to renew mine here in Sakon Nakhon, before I took my bike to Chiang Mai to sell, so the future new owner would have it, but they told me they don't issue them here, and I had to go to a border province, however Nakom Pranom would issue them as they have a Ferry crossing the Mekong there, about 90k's from here.
    Sorry about the oversize pix, I am not sure how to get them smaller, as I had again a fair bit of trouble getting them on here, and I had thought they were all the same size. Comps' are a hassle at times.
     
  14. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    Eric
    Thanks for the tip re the International Transport Permit.
    This "vehicle passport" has been previously mentioned in a post by BobS at
    http://board.gt-rider.com/topic.asp?TOP ... hTerms=gps

    Re the ITP being the key to getting into Laos at the Friendship Bridge I don’t think so, as I specifically asked about this at the MoT & the answer was NO.
    I am in weekly phone contact with Miss Khampean & until they get a clearance from the MoT in Vte, they will not be allowed to let motorbikes in at the bridge.
    The Bridge Director has again approached the MoT in Vte, asking them to re-confirm the ruling, as it is causing trouble at the bridge. So even the bridge officials are on our side & batting for us.
    If any disgruntled bikers personally visit the MoT in Vte, please be diplomatic, as you will only hamper our case by being undiplomatic / rude.
    Meanwhile use another border crossing - Pakxan / Bung Kan is the closest to Vte / Nong Khai & still seems to be working ok.

    Davidfl
    Keep The Power On
     
  15. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    News from the Vientiane office of the ADB – Asian Development Bank - who "sponsored" the Greater Mekong Sub Region Cross-Border Transport Agreement is that the problem is the “bi-lateral agreement” between Laos and Thailand on the use of the Friendship bridge.
    This was one of my original guesses – “dusting off of the old rule book.”

    So the next question is can you take a bike across the bridge in the back of a pick-up like everyone used to have to do? Stay tuned.

    FYI the ADB reply was

    Thank you for your e-mail. I have discussed with concerned staff and MCTPC.
    The CBTA provides a facilitation regime for the movement of goods and people across borders. It is not a prohibitive regime and as you point out motorcycles are not covered specifically by the facilitation regime of the CBTA. However, the CBTA does not affect the rights and obligations of other agreements that may be in place. MCTPC have advised that the issue you have raised relates to the bi-lateral agreement between Laos and Thailand on the use of the Friendship Bridge. For further clarification and discussion you may wish to contact
    Mr. Math Sounmala, at MCTPC. He is responsible for the Bridge Management Committee. He may be contacted at tel. 412265.


    Davidfl
    Keep The Power On
     
  16. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    UPDATE 19 May 2006
    News in is that the Lao Bridge administrator has had another meeting with the MOT in Vte & they now advise that it is only Thai & Lao registered bikes that are banned from using the bridge. 3rd party - other country registered bikes - are allowed to use the bridge and enter Laos.

    If you try at the bridge and it still does not work, then don't despair - all you have to do is ride downstream 135 kms from Nong Khai to the international port of Bung Kan & enter Laos at Pakxan, then ride 150 kms back upstream to Vientiane.

    Still no news on whether it is possible to put your Thai registered bike in the back of a pick up to cross the bridge and enter that way.

    Davidfl
    Keep The Power On
     
  17. rhiekel

    rhiekel Ol'Timer

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    So no problem on my Alaska plated bike???
     
  18. Craypot

    Craypot Ol'Timer

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    I met with some other officials recently and their opinion on the reason for the ban on Thai and Lao bikes was due to the increase in smuggling of Thai bikes into Laos and subsequent tax avoidance. There is an increase in the numbers of larger capacity bikes (mostly cruisers) on the streets of VTE (I saw an R1 the other day with a yellow plate!)

    Mike
     
  19. funkyferret

    funkyferret Member

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    Hi guys, I haven't posted for awhile, but I am about to drive from Bangkok back to the UK in a Thai registered tuk tuk. We are leaving this sunday and will be entering Loas, before crossing into China at Boten. I know about the current restrictions at the Friendship Bridge, but this is the route that we want to enter Laos. We are trying to orgnaise prior permiassion so that we can cross at the Fridship Bridge. I visited the Laos embassy in BKK but they siad they were unable to offer any assistance. Does anyone have any contacts that we can use to try and get prior permission so that we can cross at this entry? We are on a very tight schedule and cannot afford to be late to cross into China. It would be a huge weight of our minds to sort this out before we try and enter Laos. Cheers, Jo www.tuktotheroad.com
     
  20. HIKO

    HIKO Ol'Timer

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    SO IF YOU ARE IN A HURRY WHY DON`T YOU CROSS SOME OTHER BORDER I`VE DONE PAKSE AND SAVANAKETH AS WELL AS THE "CHIANG RAI BORDER" AND MOST OF THE KHMER BORDERS WITHOUT PROBLEMS AFTER THE "BOYCOTT" OF FRIENSHIPO BRIDGE HIKO PS IF YOU TRAVEL BY MOTORBIKE NEVER HAVE A TIGHT SCHEDULE BUY A BUSINESSCLASS FLIGHT TICKET....

    hiko
     
  21. funkyferret

    funkyferret Member

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    Yeah sure we could cross at another border, but then we cannot take the route we intended to which would be a shame. because this trip is for charity we want it to run as smoothly as possible and ideally would like to pass through vietiene to generate some media interest and then travel route 13 via luang prabang etc....we are trying to raise awareness about mental health issues as well as generate money for our charity and the more coverage the better. business class flights would be nice, but seeing as the aim is to drive a tuk tuk (3 wheels) back to the uk to raise 50,000 pounds for charity that would sort of defeat the object and mean that we cannot attempt a guiness world record. all i am asking is if someone has any contacts with important-ish people in Laos who we could liase with to try and get prior permission and therefore avoid the worry of problems at any Laos border crossings. this would just ease the strain and keep us on target to arrive at boten on time. our vehicle (bright pink and driven by two 27 year old girls) is unlikely to slip through any border crossing unnoticed and i am a little concerned that this may not work in our favour. cheers, jo
    www.tuktotheroad.com
     
  22. Enduroreisende

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    Hi Folks!

    One week ago (22.05.), we crossed the Friendship-Bridge (near Vientaine) from Thailand to Laos. We don't have real trouble! [:eek:)]Everything was pretty easy, cheap und fast as well. We entered into Laos in less than a hour!!![:D]

    We travelling on one german registered bike, a Honda Africa Twin.[8)]When we come to the border of Thailand we don't have any import papers, because at the border from Malaysia to Thailand (near Penang), they forgot to give the import papers to us. And we don't have any idea that we would need it![xx(]

    First we tried to go "around" [;)]the thailand customs, but that doesn't work. No way! The immigration man will advice you directly to the customs, before they look for your passports.

    So we go there with a lot of nervousity! He asked directly for our import paper, we play "stupid farangs".[;)] We show him our german register papers and an old insurance paper. He give that all back. Then he asked for a carnet. We show him this, but we know that isn't stamped. The last and finished stamps are from Malaysia. Then he give it all back to us and asked where we crossed the border. We told him, from Malaysia near Penang. He looks tired then and give us back all the paper and say: "Ahhaaaa, okay! Bye-bye!"

    Thai-Immigration: No questions, some stamps in the passports. Nothing to pay. GO!![:eek:)]

    On the other side of the Bridge: The staff at the information desk adviced us directly through to room Nr. 8 (1. floor, left hand building), get some stamps on our Carnet. (It is not necessary to have a Carnet, but we heard that it makes bordercrossing faster. So we used this.) No questions, friendly Customs Man. "Enjoy your stay!"[:D]

    At the immigration: We have had a visa in our passports for Laos. So, no questions about this. The only trouble we had: One of the immigration staff took all our paperwork, brought it to an office and the friendly staff there wants to see some money!!! They told us to pay 1000Baht "Entrance Fee" for the bike and 200Baht each per person! We really get angry and we tried hard to go through without paying money. But they have the papers.[:(] They don't give it back to us![:(][:(][:(]In the end we dropped the price down to 200Baht the bike and 10Baht each. 220Baht all together.[B)] We get some papers for the "entrance fee", but still not sure that this was the official way. But,.....anyway! It was cheap and easy.

    There wasn't any sign, that is forbitten to cross particularly this border by bike! Nobody looks very interested or so. Everything very normal.[?]

    Safe trips to everybody
    Tanja & Christian - the german "Enduroreisende".

    [DLMURL]http://www.enduroreisende.de[/DLMURL]
     
  23. funkyferret

    funkyferret Member

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    Hi guys,
    Thanks for your reply. Fingers crossed we will be OK. I am going to take all of the press cuttings from the thai papers this week, which clearly show our tuktuk and explain that we are travelling back to the UK for charity. We are going to attempt to cross tomorrow afternoon and I had a good chat with one of the diplomats at the laos embassy in bkk. He gave me his personal number and I hope I won't have to bother him. So, if anyone is currently in Laos and sees a bright pink tuktuk travelling up route 13 during the next week, it will be us.[:)]
     
  24. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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  25. 2Up Chiang Khong

    2Up Chiang Khong Ol'Timer

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    Hi Funkyferret,

    Is there another website where we can watch your progress from here to the finish assuming that you will be writing more as you venture away??

    And it would be fun to see if anyone buys your tuktuk for a return trip. There are a couple of them now in the EU, but no word reaches here as to what has happend to them.

    Safe & Fun travels.

    Cheers,
    David and Mai
     
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