Laos Friendship Bridge No Entry

danwhite

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Oct 1, 2005
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Has anyone done the southern Laos Thailand-Laos, (Chong Mek and on to Pakse) crossing recently on a Thai registered bike? I am planning to do it soon and any info would be much appreciated.... Once I have done it (if its possible) I will. of course be posting an update here.
 
I've already posted this in another topic, but repeat it here for your convenience:

Thai reg. bikes under 150cc can not enter Laos at this border. I got this from the customs people on both sides of the border. If you can talk your way past the Thai post I guess you may be able to sneak in by parking your bike inconspicuously while seeing immigration, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Small bikes can go the other way and there are no restrictions on big bikes here.

To answer the previous Q: yes, there is VOA in Huay Xay.
 

danwhite

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Oct 1, 2005
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Hi..... Can you clarify?..... Bikes under 150cc can not enter?..... Bikes over 150cc can go through both ways?
 

danwhite

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Oct 1, 2005
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Great. Thanks for that. Very helpful indeed. I will be posting any relevant info here in a few weeks if I come across anything new.
 

DavidFL

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beddhist wrote: Yes to both.

The only restriction is: Thai bikes under 150cc can't enter Laos. Everything else is OK.

Cheers,
Peter.
Peter
Not really sure about the 150cc rule for Laos applying "everywhere," Captain Bob did a Laos run on a Thai Suzuki 110 Smash
0309phoukoun111b.jpg

a few months ago & did not seem to have any trouble.

https://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorc ... html#32607

Perhaps he can enlighten us a bit more with some info & a brief trip report?
 
I'm only talking about the Pakxe border, as that is where we were told this. I'm not aware of this restriction applying anywhere else. Note I wrote 'everything', not 'everywhere', meaning other bikes, etc. at this border.

Sorry if I wasn't clear.

Cheers,
Peter.

Off to Sumatra tomorrow, the bikes are already there (we hope!).
 

DavidFL

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beddhist wrote: I'm only talking about the Pakxe border, as that is where we were told this. I'm not aware of this restriction applying anywhere else. Note I wrote 'everything', not 'everywhere', meaning other bikes, etc. at this border.

Sorry if I wasn't clear.

Cheers,
Peter.

Off to Sumatra tomorrow, the bikes are already there (we hope!).
OK, gotcha re the 150cc port entry restrictions.
Off to Sumatra tomorrow, good luck. Sounds like you're having a good time still & everything is generally going ok.
 

danwhite

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Oct 1, 2005
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Crossing from Chong Mek to Laos..... No problem on the Laos side.... Could have come in with a 50cc Puch Maxi if I wanted. They were not even interested in looking.

On the Thai side the usual labrynth of paper work including the request for a 'vehicle passport'..... This is new to me. Normally the green book is enough. I managed to get them off that track.....

I filmed the whole thing (without them being aware) and it will get edited When time allows. Will post when its done.
 
Hi,

This couple just crossed FB1 in both directions: http://somemustard.blogspot.com/2010_03_01_archive.html

I don't know whether that changes anything...

Their attempt to ride from Phonsavan to Pakxe is quite entertaining, apart from some American supposedly having been shot near the former CIA base. I have to admit that we chickened out a lot sooner than they did when the going got tough, like in Indonesia.

Cheers,
Peter.
 

DavidFL

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I think that a few guys have succeeded in riding in at the bridge this year.
BUT according to the boss & Miss Khampean in Room # 6 it is still officially no.

The Friendship Bridge at Savannakhet / Mukdahan is still a definite no. no.

If the Nong Khai Friendship Bridge does not work then use Bun Khan / Pakxan downstream from Nong Khai.
This works on regular working days Monday - Friday.
Note that Visa On Arrival may still not be available at Pakxan, but my guess it is is now; however one one tested the waters there of late.

Another option is the Tha Li / Kenthao land crossing , with a small bridge over the Nam Heung River.
Backdoorphil entered Laos here recently & got a visa on arrival, plus a temporary motorcycle import at the border.
 

DavidFL

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Latest news - Feb 2011 - from the bridge is that the Ministry of Transport in Vientiane is no longer involved with issuing permits for the temporary import of motorcycles at the Friendship Bridge at Vientiane.
All you need is the regular green customs import docs you get at all the ports
In practice just rock up at the border, ride across the bridge (if the Thais let you) complete the green customs temporary import forms on the Laos side, & you are allowed into Laos.
Who wants to give it a go?

What happens at Mukdahan / Savannakhet is supposedly not the same I was told = still no entry.
 

Andaman

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Jul 25, 2007
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Davidfl;265504 wrote: In practice just rock up at the border, ride across the bridge (if the Thais let you) complete the green customs temporary import forms on the Laos side, & you are allowed into Laos.
Who wants to give it a go?
My experience mid-Feb 2011: No problem taking a bike across the bridge from Nong Khai, except that you can't physically RIDE it across. Instead, I was advised to negotiate with some pickup drivers to load the bike in the back to be driven across to the Lao side. When the pickup lads saw the Versys, I didn't like the turn the negotiating took (~800baht), so went downriver to Beung Gan. There I was told I'd probably have no problem riding back across the bridge from the Lao side, since by the time you get to Thai Immigration, you've already crossed the bridge.

They were right. I'd always wanted to ride that x-shaped crossover intersection.
 

Fatlad

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Nov 27, 2010
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Andaman;265553 wrote: My experience mid-Feb 2011: No problem taking a bike across the bridge from Nong Khai, except that you can't physically RIDE it across. Instead, I was advised to negotiate with some pickup drivers to load the bike in the back to be driven across to the Lao side. When the pickup lads saw the Versys, I didn't like the turn the negotiating took (~800baht), so went downriver to Beung Gan. There I was told I'd probably have no problem riding back across the bridge from the Lao side, since by the time you get to Thai Immigration, you've already crossed the bridge.

They were right. I'd always wanted to ride that x-shaped crossover intersection.

Yes same applies here at Mukdahan, called into Customs yesterday on the bridge, basically said the same you need to transport the bike across on a pickup on offload at the Laos side, seems very strange as you can ride across in the opposite direction??:!:
 

Severi

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Sep 15, 2005
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Friday 18th Nov 2011 I drove my brand new Kawasaki KLX 250 S over the Frienship bridge from Nong Khai to Vientianne without any problems. Both borders took some extra time as my bike went over the first time and it was not in their databases. Perhaps I was just lucky?
They also forgot to sell me insurance, so I have to buy one on Monday morning.
 

DavidFL

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2wheels;273334 wrote:
I restate my suggestion, which has been totally ignored, as per post #141 above.

It was done a few years ago Ron - personal complaints & requests & nothing happened. In fact at the time it did not help the cause & the gentleman concerned most definitely did not appreciate our efforts "rocking the boat."
Since then there has been a realigment of departments & staff in Vientiane, such that quite often bridge entry requests at the border are met with approval on a case by case basis & I see no more need for rocking the boat. Go with the flow is what I reckon.
 

TonyBKK

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Dec 27, 2007
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Davidfl;273337 wrote: It was done a few years ago Ron - personal complaints & requests & nothing happened. In fact at the time it did not help the cause & the gentleman concerned most definitely did not appreciate our efforts "rocking the boat."
Since then there has been a realigment of departments & staff in Vientiane, such that quite often bridge entry requests at the border are met with approval on a case by case basis & I see no more need for rocking the boat. Go with the flow is what I reckon.

Yeah, in my humble opinion a "formal submission" aka shoving a petition in their face is generally not a terribly effective way of getting things done in SE Asia. You're more likely to do more harm than good with such an "aggressive" strategy. Just my two satang.
 

DavidFL

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2wheels;273366 wrote: David, how was the submission presented?
Was it a letter? To whom?
A phone call? To whom?

The bottom line is; we usually cant cross into Laos via that bridge (that Aussies $ paid for).
Why not?

If there is a reason; what is it?

If the 'reason' is dubious; why not argue our case?

We should be able to ride our bikes across that f'n bridge!
2wheels please read
# 5
# 6
# 15
# 19
# 33
# 41
It has been & is confusing; & if you're looking for the inside line with a definitive answer I don't think you will find one.

To summarize: the Lao came up with a ban on bikes entering the country via the Friendship Bridges, enquiries / protests were made by the Lao Director of the Bridge, the Lao tourism office, the Australian consul & the husband of the American ambassador, plus myself in person with the head of the then department of transport in Vte. His response to everyone was NO MOTORBIKES, end of story.

Note that this all started in 2006 & it is now 2011. A lot of water has now gone under the bridge & since then things have relaxed somewhat & bikes are getting across the bridge into Laos at Nong Khai.
Sometimes it works & sometimes it does not.

But you don’t tell the Lao what to do. They always do their own Lao thing.
 

brian_bkk

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Mar 30, 2010
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Just out of interest.. If you cross and the insurance place is closed.. How do you get insurance further on ?
eg.. You don't want to burn half a day waiting for insurance.. Can you buy it at other locations.. like Luang Prabang or other 'major' towns?
or do you just have to sit and wait even if it means over night ?

Cheers
Brian
 

Severi

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Sep 15, 2005
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brian_bkk;273423 wrote: Just out of interest.. If you cross and the insurance place is closed.. How do you get insurance further on ?
eg.. You don't want to burn half a day waiting for insurance.. Can you buy it at other locations.. like Luang Prabang or other 'major' towns?
or do you just have to sit and wait even if it means over night ?
From the border I drove to Vientianne to rent some bikes for my customers and Thierry asked about my insurance. Then I realized I did not buy it. But it was too late already. So I waited until Monday and bought 3 weeks insurance (about 70000 kip). The company is almt opposite to Jules rental. It took perhaps 15 minutes.
So I was driving 3 days "illegally" without insurance.
 

awabms

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Jan 8, 2006
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Hi guys

I was at savannakhet on January 24th 2012 trying to cross the second friendship bridge to Mukdahan.I was stop at the Lao immigration for a while and finally the officer do let me cross the bridge by my Malaysia registered motorcycle but he keep reminding me that motorcycle/bicycle/pedestrian do not allow on the bridge,he told me to pass his message to the bikers out there .

Once I passed the custom, a man at the booth(bridge entrance) stop me and asking me to turn back.I told him I”ve got a clearance from the police/immigration to cross the bridge.Even though he refused to open the gate, he directed me to shift to another booth(a lane for vehicle coming from Mukdahan) and finally I was on the bridge.

The information from Thai immigration office located at the pier in Nakhon Phanom is the ferry service between Nakhon Phanom and Savannakhet is just for a Thai and Lao(indo china) people only,other nationality please take a bus service.The suggestion from the Thai immigration for motorcyclist to cross the friendship bridge( in Nakhon Phanom and Mukdahan) into Laos is to bring the bike on the truck/pickup.
 

harrythefinn

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Aug 7, 2003
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If denied entry at Friendship Bridge 1 or 2 , use the ferry at Bueng Kan approx 140 kms East of Nong Kai . It only operates on weekdays, it is for trucks mainly. Immigration and customs on the Thai side in one building, Laos side also one building. Both sides keep asking for the motorcycle passport, I just keep saying don't have one, and eventually they do the paperwork without it, all the vehicles crossing have one. The ferry is located approx 10kms west of Bueng Kan, if coming from town there is a passanger ferry first, keep going for another 4 or 5kms to the vehicle ferry. They charge me B200 to cross, a bit steep, they open at 8AM, first ferry at 9.
 

DavidFL

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Just a thumbs up to say the "Bridge is open."

I ride into Laos across the Friendship Bridge at Nong Khai on 24th April without any problems.

On the Thai side I filled out the immigration forms TM2 & 4, got stamped out of Thailand, then at the Thai customs booth handed over my green rego book for the customs to put the data in their computer (& see my previous entries / departures), print out the form & I was away. NO questions asked about it being a motorcycle - it was just another vehicle.

AND on the Laos side, just the same.
Visa on arrival issued.
Bike papers presented to Laos customs, data put in the computer & temporary import form printed out.
AGL Insurance right by the customs booth cost 110 baht for a week.
 

TonyBKK

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Dec 27, 2007
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Davidfl;278742 wrote: Just a thumbs up to say the "Bridge is open."

I ride into Laos across the Friendship Bridge at Nong Khai on 24th April without any problems.

On the Thai side I filled out the immigration forms TM2 & 4, got stamped out of Thailand, then at the Thai customs booth handed over my green rego book for the customs to put the data in their computer (& see my previous entries / departures), print out the form & I was away. NO questions asked about it being a motorcycle - it was just another vehicle.

AND on the Laos side, just the same.
Visa on arrival issued.
Bike papers presented to Laos customs, data put in the computer & temporary import form printed out.
AGL Insurance right by the customs booth cost 110 baht for a week.
That's fantastic news!!! :clap: