Laos - we entered without bike docs

I met three other bikers in Pakistan and Ladakh, so we shared the horrendous cost of the mandatory organised tour through Tibet and China. 45 days, most of it in Tibet, which was great, although rather cold at times. We scraped over the last passes, riding on snow and ice, even pushing the bikes a few m. Yunnan is nice and warm, similar to N Laos, but the tour company misjudged the state of the roads and we lost so much time in road works, etc., we had no time to enjoy Yunnan any more, just had to ride through.

The others ride BMW R1150GS, R100GS and I have a Suzi DR650SE.

There is a new toll highway 213 under construction in Yunnan which should make travel much faster, though it may be off-limits to bikes, who knows? Alternatively, it will make riding on the old good highway even more pleasant, without trucks and buses spilling water all over the road from their water cooled brakes.

There is also a toll gate in Laos just South of the border, marked with a sign "no entry for bikes", but there was nobody home as we passed. My take is that bikes will pass on the side for free, as there is no alternative road there.

I'm in Luang Namtha right now, putting my feet up to recover from weeks of almost non-stop riding. But, having read here and in the LP guide that I need some kind of temp import docs for the bike I'm worried I may have probs when leaving Laos.

Border crossing info will be posted on HorizonsUnlimited, the trip report should appear soon on my web page

I'm planning to be at the HU meeting in Chiang Mai.

Nov 23, 2005

I had the same problem almost two years ago when entering Laos from Cambodia.
The Lao side didn' t want to do any paper (even we requested for them).
When we left Laos at the Vietiane bridge, custom asked about the paper. We just tell them that the Custon didn' t want to do it.
so no problem. I guess if you go out of Laos by a smaller border post, it may even be easier.

Good luck


Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong
beddhist wrote: Hi,

We crossed into Loas from China today via Boten. Visa at the border no problem, but we twice asked for customs and were more or less fobbed off. So, we now have no import documentation for our bikes.

Will this be a problem when leaving? Should we return to the border and insist?

So did you get some new docs? I see you tried to get out at Savannakhet across the bridge, but no luck.
But do you have any docs now?
Nope, the immigration man asked for something which I didn't understand, but he pointed to some thick blue book with lots of stamps that a car driver was carrying. I tried to explain several times that I didn't get any docs at Boten, but I don't now whether they understood what I was saying. They then asked for the "bike's passport", took one look at my French rego and they waved me on.

In the end the missing docs posed no problem, which has been corroborated by at least two other emails I have received from people who had the same experience.

Trip report will be coming once I can put my feet up on Koh Samui.