Leaving Huay Xai

Mar 15, 2003
Exiting Huay Xai-

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We decided to take a boat from Luang Prabang to Huay Xai, laying over in Pak Beng. We were tired and the bikes were pretty beat up so this would take 2 relaxing days instead of 2 days riding to Pak Beng and taking a boat 1 day from there.


We arrived Huay Xai about 4:pM and quickly unloaded the bikes. We rushed and asked at our “friendly” tourism office if we could still check out at customs and get the ferry over to Chiang Khong. We were assured we could.

We hurried into town and stamped out at Immigration and raced back to the ferry crossing. The gate was down and locked but we rode under. No sign of a ferry (well there was, but it was on the other side of the river) and customs was closed. Other boatmen rushed up to us offering to take us to the other side. I asked “What about Customs and the paperwork?” They said we didn’t have to do that as we had already checked out at Immigration. Sorry, wasn’t falling for that story, they just wanted a quick fare.

Finally we were again able to have our young lady from the Tourism Office called from school. She tried to find someone from customs with no luck. After some rather tense discussion amongst us it was decided the best bet was to go back to Immigration and explain our plight and stay the night in Huay Xai. At least this seemed logical and easy to me. Our girl said “no can not do this as you already stamped out”.

We all went to Immigration where there again were a number of boatmen from the small passenger boats willing to TRY and load our bikes and take us across sans paperwork.. When we explained to Immigration what had transpired and that we couldn’t get with Customs or the Ferry, they basically said no problem. They changed our passport stamps and just said come back and check out in the morning.

In the AM we again stamped out at Immigration and went down to the Ferry which came at about 10:00AM. Our “Travel Agent” collected our paperwork and took it to the Customs office along with our window stickers and we were soon on the ferry (500bt) and back to Chiang Khong.


Check your Visa’s and stamps you get from Immigration. They are friendly and try to help, but the agent I had just could not understand my 1 Year Visa and multiple entry permit. Twice they put the wrong stamp in my passport before we got it straightened out and understood. Once before, I didn’t check it, and it later caused me a lot of grief with Immigration in Chiang Mai. You are responsible for what you walk away with in your passport and you should always double check it yourself.

Dave Early

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