Laos Friendship Bridge No Entry

funkyferret

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Mar 5, 2006
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Hi everyone, sorry for not replying for ages, but we have on the road and very busy updating blogs whenever we get internet access.
We successfully crossed into Laos at the Friendship Bridge. The Thai side was fine as they had seen our story in the Thai newspapers. This seemed to help too when we arrived at customs in Laos. I was taken upto room 6 and met the lovely Ms Khampean. She had a GT rider picture on the wall and I told her how there are many wondeful things written about her on this site. The decision to let us enter was taken by her supervisor, who informed us that technically we shouldn't have been allowed to enter, but they were giving us special permission. I cannot tell you the relief. The only small hitch was that we were only given permission to drive to Vientiane only and had to wait over the weekend until monday to get them extended for the rest of Laos. This was easily arranged despite the language barrier.
Laos is a wonderful country and route 13 from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang was such a beautiful journey. The road then deteriorated till Udomxai, with potholes and poor road conditions. The worst road (we don't call them that in England) was between Udomxai and Boten- really bad, although I am sure easier on 2 wheels than three. The last 20km to the border was smooth tarmac and we hoped that this would be a taster of the roads in China.
The border guard on the Laos side was obviosuly bored and fined us $3 for going over a stop line by three metres. We haggled down from 10m over the line.
Unfortunately the roads in Yunnan are worse than anything route 13 threw at us and we averaged under 30km/hour. China is very much a developing country under construction.
If you want to follow our progress back to England we are writing regular blogs and our website is www.tuktotheroad.com
This website has been an absolutely brilliant souce of info for the preparation for our trip. Thanks.
Best wishes, Jo xo[:)]
 

DavidFL

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UPDATE 4 JULY 2006

Not the Friendship Bridge, because you still cant get in with a Thai registered bike - even in the back of a pick up according to Miss Khampean in room # 6.

So Bung Kan (Thailand) & Pakxan (Laos) is still the alternative & it works.
Bung Kan Thai Customs were super friendly - processing the paperwork ran into lunch time & I was offered a bottle of cold water plus 1 chocolate brownie from the staff fridge for lunch, so you cant complain about the service. Fees were 100 baht with a receipt issued.

Now the trick with Bung Kan Thai immigration is to do the Crew & Pax list forms at the Immigration post behind the Customs office at the passenger ferry landing,

80078804-S.jpg

Above: Bung Kan Immigration check point behind the Customs office.

because at the car ferry post they dont have the forms. Unbelievable! And of course I only found out about this when I went down to the car ferry checkpoint to complete the forms & wait for the ferry. So I had to ride back 4 kms in heavy rain to the Immigration post at the Customs office & complete the forms there, then ride back to the car ferry & cross over in pouring rain.

80078802-S.jpg
80078803-S.jpg

Pix above: Bung Kan car ferry landing. Currently a bit of a mess while new offices are being built.

The ferry cost 300 baht, up 100% from the last time, so I complained bitterly & made them issue me with a receipt, just to get the point across.

Laos Immigration & Customs were polite & simple. I had my visa from Bkk in advance so no delays, just get stamped in.
Laos Customs cost appprox 200 baht with a receipt sisued for a 1 week stay.

Then it rained heavily (speed was often down to 50 kph) most of the way from Pakxan to Vientiane to ensure it was an "enjoyable" end to the day - a 300 kms loop from Nong Khai & the Friendship Bridge just to enter Laos.
No doubt I will have a chuckle leaving Laos at the Friendship Bridge in a few days....just another day at the office you might say.

Davidfl
Keep The Power On
 

Rhodie

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Mar 5, 2006
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David
Very useful update as I should be coming through Thakhek and heading south on Saturday.
Just to clarify a point - even though I have a 30 day Lao visa Lao Customs on give a week's permit for the bike?
If you exceed this week is it a matter of paying a fine? Based on a daily rate?
ATB
Rhodie
 

DavidFL

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quote:

Originally posted by Rhodie

David
Very useful update as I should be coming through Thakhek and heading south on Saturday.
Just to clarify a point - even though I have a 30 day Lao visa Lao Customs on give a week's permit for the bike?
If you exceed this week is it a matter of paying a fine? Based on a daily rate?
ATB
Rhodie







Rhodie
Good news you too are going to ride in Laos at last - it's good!
Re your temporary bike import permit - you never quite know. Over the years Ive had a month, 2 weeks, but mostly 1 week is what you get. All you can do is ask at the time & take what you get. Overstaying does not seem to be a problem with a small negotiable fine sometimes applying.
Good news too is that it seems from the 1st July everyone gets 1 month visa on arrival - there is no more "two week visa."
Enjoy Laos.

Davidfl
Keep The Power On
 

Craypot

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Aug 31, 2005
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quote:

Originally posted by Davidfl

quote:

Originally posted by Rhodie

David
Very useful update as I should be coming through Thakhek and heading south on Saturday.
Just to clarify a point - even though I have a 30 day Lao visa Lao Customs on give a week's permit for the bike?
If you exceed this week is it a matter of paying a fine? Based on a daily rate?
ATB
Rhodie











Official information I got is that the 15 day visa on arrival has now been changed to 30 days. Cost is USD30 for everyone except for a couple of countries where it is USD20. Extention provisions still apply.
Rhodie
Good news you too are going to ride in Laos at last - it's good!
Re your temporary bike import permit - you never quite know. Over the years Ive had a month, 2 weeks, but mostly 1 week is what you get. All you can do is ask at the time & take what you get. Overstaying does not seem to be a problem with a small negotiable fine sometimes applying.
Good news too is that it seems from the 1st July everyone gets 1 month visa on arrival - there is no more "two week visa."
Enjoy Laos.

Davidfl
Keep The Power On








Mike
 

Craypot

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Aug 31, 2005
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I had the most frustrating bridge crossing so far this Saturday. Crossed from Thailand into Laos and the Lao Immi and Customs crowd would not accept the Thai departure stamp. The Thai guy had stamped with the 13th instead of the 12th. There was nothing I could do to get these officials in Laos to realise it was just a mistake by the Thai guy. I mean you see a stamp for tomorrow and can't understand its just a slip up. I had to go back to Thailand and get the stamp fixed. I was wondering what do they do at the airport. Send people back to Bangkok........ I think I'm going to use whatever power I have to make some people pay...

Mike.

Mike
 

DavidFL

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quote:

Originally posted by Craypot

I had the most frustrating bridge crossing so far this Saturday. Crossed from Thailand into Laos and the Lao Immi and Customs crowd would not accept the Thai departure stamp. The Thai guy had stamped with the 13th instead of the 12th. There was nothing I could do to get these officials in Laos to realise it was just a mistake by the Thai guy. I mean you see a stamp for tomorrow and can't understand its just a slip up. I had to go back to Thailand and get the stamp fixed. I was wondering what do they do at the airport. Send people back to Bangkok........ I think I'm going to use whatever power I have to make some people pay...

Mike.

Mike







That's the way Craypot -make 'em pay for stuffing up your weekend. But don't upset Miss Khampean in room # 6, "we've" got a dinner date at the family house next time, remember.
You have to wonder though - how many other people got the wrong stamp from the Thai side? And did they have to go back to Thailand the same as you?

Davidfl
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Craypot

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Aug 31, 2005
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Mike
That's the way Craypot -make 'em pay for stuffing up your weekend. But don't upset Miss Khampean in room # 6, "we've" got a dinner date at the family house next time, remember.
You have to wonder though - how many other people got the wrong stamp from the Thai side? And did they have to go back to Thailand the same as you?

Davidfl
Keep The Power On

Everyone with the wrong stamp had to go back, Lao and others. I'm over it, but i won't forget it.

Mike
 

DavidFL

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quote:

Originally posted by Craypot

Mike







Everyone with the wrong stamp had to go back, Lao and others. I'm over it, but i won't forget it.

Mike

Craypot
Sounds like someone on the Thai side should have been lynched &/or thrown into the Mekong river. Meanwhile I hope you enjoyed reading last week's AMCN safely at home in Vte. How's the bike & riding & Lao wet season going ?

Davidfl
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Craypot

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Aug 31, 2005
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Have heard that the roads are pretty muddy. I'm stuck in town until Sept and then will head to Phillip Island for the MotoGP. A mate is lending me a R100 to ride down from Sydney. Life's tough.

Managed to read this weeks AMCN. Good comparo of the R1200GS, R1200GSA and KTM990. The journo drowned one the the BMs and destroyed the engine. If you want to read it you will have to visit.

Mike
 

FB666Y

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Sep 15, 2005
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Made it through the Friendship Bridge on 8 Aug 2006 (Tuesday).
No problems at all.

border1.jpg


Note obligatory box of chocolates on table. Unfortunately she was not around. I dealt with her assistant who was just as helpful.
I gave her a box of chocolate as well.
choc.jpg


There was a border guard that could speak some English that was very helpful as well.
I cant remember his name but he had me sorted out will all the paperwork and made sure I had the proper stamps and signatures.
 

Woody

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Feb 22, 2006
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Today I managed to get my Thai registered bike across the friendship bridge. I also got agreement (verbally) from all parties involved that this process will work for other riders that want to get across.

1/ On the Thai side tell customs that have have got permission to take your bike into Laos, they took a bit of convincing. I did not have permission at this time but the bluff worked ok.

2/ When you get to the Laos side get all you immigration stuff done, they gave me a 1 month on arrival visa (tourist).

3/ Tell customs that you want to park your bike and go into Vientiane, bike parking is past Laos customs on the right hand side. At this point I pretended to park up and then rode to Vientiane, but maybe it would be better to get a bus.

4/ Go to the tourist police in Vientiane, Th Lan Xang, 3rd floor, turn right at the top of the stairs and go to the office at the end of the hall. The tourist police are in the same building as the tourist office.
Tell then you need a letter for customs allowing you to bring your bike into Laos, they will want to see your green book and your passport, they will also want to know a brief itinerary and timeframes. This is also the time to tell them if you are planning on going to Longchen, the letter will stop you getting any hassle only the way.
I had to return to the Tourist police office three hours later to pick up the letter, enough time for some lunch and a few of those beer Lao's that I love.

5/ Take the letter back to Laos customs at the border and take to room 6. Mioss Khampean (what a very helpful lady) will sort you out from there. They issued me a 30 day import, to match my visa.

6/ Buy me a beer next time you see me.

Total Cost.
Processing Fee (room 6) : 10,000 kip
Laos Insurance : 800 baht
Letter from Tourist Police : Free

Visa on arrival : 31 USD
Entry Fee : 10 Baht

Miss Khampean (her boss, who had to approve) and the tourist police all agreed that they saw no reason that other riders could not use this same process for Thai regestered bikes. My only comment would be to be patient with the tourist police as this is something new for them and they may stop doing it if people are pissing them off.

Good luck and hopefully this process will remain for a long time.
Let me know if any firther information is needed on how I got across, I think I have told everything.

]thanks
Woody[8D]
 

danwhite

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Oct 1, 2005
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No problems crossing from Mukdahan a couple of days back with a Thai registered bike. They didn't even look at the bike.
 

bill

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Mar 29, 2004
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3 of us are at Nong Khai now on Cambodian registered bikes.
We were told today at Thai customs and immigration that no motorbikes are allowed into Laos, order from Laos.
So far, we cannot find out the reason, or if/when the ban will be lifted.
Apparently 2 Danish motorcyclists were let thru yesterday, accidently.
Would appreciate any info on this issue.
Is it something to do with the motor vehicle accident reported on the "trouble in laos " thread.
We are now considering another border crossing that gives Laos visa's on arrival and hopefully lets bikes thru.
Any suggestions.
This new ban seems only to have been in force the last few days.
 

DavidFL

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quote:

Originally posted by bill

3 of us are at Nong Khai now on Cambodian registered bikes.
We were told today at Thai customs and immigration that no motorbikes are allowed into Laos, order from Laos.
So far, we cannot find out the reason, or if/when the ban will be lifted.
Apparently 2 Danish motorcyclists were let thru yesterday, accidently.
Would appreciate any info on this issue.
Is it something to do with the motor vehicle accident reported on the "trouble in laos " thread.
We are now considering another border crossing that gives Laos visa's on arrival and hopefully lets bikes thru.
Any suggestions.
This new ban seems only to have been in force the last few days.








A total ban because of an incident in LPQ would surprise me, but you never know, as the problem in Luang Prabang has yet to be resolved.
I think that today was Lao National day, so it could be that everyone is in holiday mode & no officials are around to sign temporary import papers. I'll phone the bridge on Monday & see what I can find out for you.
If the bridge is out, there are plenty of other border crossings to use.
Next week I will also have a clearer picture of the situation in Luang Prabang.
Meanwhile make sure you get 3rd party insurance for your bikes as you go in & ride carefully!
I hope you guys have a good trip report coming.
 

Auke

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Nov 10, 2003
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Unlikely, that there were no people on the Lao side to sign temporary import papers as a friend came in yesterday with a Thai registered car and he had no problems crossing and have his papers signed.
 

flyingkiwi

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sorry david..have i done somethig wrong......putting that post in here about the teacher..just one of my lifes expriances.....get back to me please ..and i wont write any more silly stories....
 

DavidFL

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quote:

Originally posted by flyingkiwi

sorry david..have i done somethig wrong......putting that post in here about the teacher..just one of my lifes expriances.....get back to me please ..and i wont write any more silly stories....








Kev cant see what your on about here, but I think that it might be time for you to back off a bit & forget about the shit jokes & bullshit you're cluttering up the board with. This is a rider's board. We like to see road & trip reports plus bike info related to Thailand / S E Asia. Not photos of sheep or coastal roads in NZ taken from cars. So do us a favour will ya: hold off a bit longer, wait until you get here, buy a bike & start riding in Thai then make some worthwhile posts.
 

bill

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Mar 29, 2004
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David
thanks for the reply.
I am still in Nong khai but my 2 friends have pushed on to Mukdahan to try their luck there.
I will probably do the same myself tomorrow.
I assume Laos visa and motorcycle insurance are available on arrival at that particular crossing ?
I am thinking of following the Mekong from Nong khai to Mukdahan.
How's the road conditions on that route
Is it good scenery
Thanks
Bill
 

DavidFL

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Bill
It might even just be a communication problem & the Thais could not bother to differentiate between Thai / non-Thai registered bikes. So it's easier to just say no bikes. Note that the Danish bikes never came back, so they are in.
Try again tomorrow & see what happens.
 

DavidFL

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quote:

Originally posted by bill

3 of us are at Nong Khai now on Cambodian registered bikes.
We were told today at Thai customs and immigration that no motorbikes are allowed into Laos, order from Laos.
So far, we cannot find out the reason, or if/when the ban will be lifted.
Apparently 2 Danish motorcyclists were let thru yesterday, accidently.
Would appreciate any info on this issue.
Is it something to do with the motor vehicle accident reported on the "trouble in laos " thread.
We are now considering another border crossing that gives Laos visa's on arrival and hopefully lets bikes thru.
Any suggestions.
This new ban seems only to have been in force the last few days.







Bill
Just spoken to Khampean in room # 6 & the official situation is "normal" = no Thai registered bikes allowed in across the bridge. Other foreign registered bikes (Cambodia included) are ok & allowed in. My guess is the Thai officials must have either been confused or lazy.
 

bill

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Mar 29, 2004
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David
Thanks for that info
I tried again today. A very nice Thai lady from Joe Travel translated for me but the Thai immigration are not budging despite my bike being Cambodian registered.
I agree its a lack of understanding and/or laziness on their part.
My friends went thru Nakhon Phanom today without problems on their Cambo bikes.
I plan to depart Nong Khai tomorrow to do the same.
It seems ridiculous that I have to do a 700km detour to get Vientiene when I can see it from my hotel room .
Pity I dont know this Khampean that you mentioned, I would ring her and get her to explain to the Thai immigration official.
 

cysiong

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Jun 24, 2005
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Hi

I'm now stuck in NongKai Border, Thai immigration don't allow our bike to go in Lao Friendship Bridge. We try to call Singapore Embassy in Lao, they can't do any thing about this. We are travel via singapore register Bike.

Thai Immigration claim that Lao side don't allow any Bike go in, so the Lao authority fax a letter to Thai border to stop every bike to go in...
 

DavidFL

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Interesting reports, guys. Can't help much from Chiang Mai right now.
I'll try to get the phone number of the Lao bridge director & see what is going on, but as I say I spoke to the boss' secretary a few days ago & she says that situation is "normal" = non Thai bikes are allowed in.
Can you get a copy of the supposed Lao fax - where is it from?
If the Laos boss agrees I will post their phone / fax numbers here.
If it does not work, then Bung Kan / Pakxan is only 140 kms downstream, but you need a Lao visa in advance.
Good luck & sorry about the confusion at the bridge right now.
 

DavidFL

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Cysiong
Haven't been able to get through to Khampean yet.
Will try again tomorrow.

Bill
Khampean is well know on this board. She is the secretary to the bridge administrator on the Lao side & actually prepares all the temp bike import papers on the Laos side, for the boss to approve & sign. She is in room # 6 upstairs in the bridge admin office on the Laos side.

If you look at some of the other threads on entering Laos at the bridge you will see photos of her and note how highly the GT Riders always speak of her.

Both Robert H & I will be attempting to enter Laos early next week via the bridge & we'll let you know what the score is.
Heikel has a Cambodian plated bike & I have the trusty old Thai plated Africa Twin. It could be interesting to see who succeeds.

Bill & Cysiong
Please keep us informed on how your'e going & how the trip was when you get back.