New border crossing in Nan province

Discussion in 'Laos - General Discussion Forum' started by beddhist, Nov 20, 2008.

  1. beddhist

    beddhist Ol'Timer

    As we were trundling along the Lao border in Nan province today we checked out a couple of the local-only border crossings. Ban Huak (Phayao province), the only one marked on my Berndtson map as a border crossing, is still locals only.

    However, a customs officer at the western Huai Kon crossing told us that it will operate as an international crossing from 19th December. He couldn't tell us about visa on arrival in Laos, though. I got the impression, however, that the Lao side might not be international. To be checked out by somebody else later. (My entry expires a few days before the magic date.)

    Does anybody know about the state of the roads on the other side?
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  3. mactbkk

    mactbkk Ol'Timer

    Following from an American friend who's been to the Hong Sa area with 4-wheelers. He didn't say what month(s) he's traveled there.

    I have been to the border several times. The town on the Lao side is Mouang Ngeun. The road between M. Ngeun and Hongsa is very good; recently upgraded; paved.

    The road from Hongsa to Xayaboury is hell; or at least it was in September 2007, when I was last on it. To my knowledge it has not yet been upgraded. Also, there is a road from Hongsa to LP, but it is not recommended to use it during the wet season; totally impassable. May be usable during the dry season; but you would need a 4 wheel drive.

    The border is problematic. Suggest that Mac call to the Governor's office in Changwat Nan and ask to be sure. The crossing was scheduled for upgrading to international status, but the Lao may not have gotten around to it just yet. The amphoe on the Thai side is Amphoe Chalermphrakiat, not Amphoe Tha Chang. The border on the Thai side is very developed, but the Lao side is lagging.........please don't rush. There were two guest houses in M. Ngeun; both bad. There is an excellent hotel in Hongsa run by a French touring agency; called the Elephant Lodge. Will try to find out more. I stayed there in September 2007, while on assignment for the World Bank

    The road out of M. Ngeun north to the Mekong is passable; great drive. It reaches the Mekong about 10-15 km up river from Pak Beng. It is a dead end. No crossing except by boat. No ferry to Pak Beng where Lao Route 2 is an excellent road. Had Dr. Thaksin remained on as PM, the bridge here would have been completed by now. It is part of the shortest route between Bangkok and Hanoi, following Lao route 2.

    The roads from M. Ngeun to M. Xieng Lom and M. Kod are not good, but passable during the dry season.
  4. jimoi

    jimoi Ol'Timer

  5. mactbkk

    mactbkk Ol'Timer

  6. beddhist

    beddhist Ol'Timer

    Ah yes, I seemed to remember reading something about this, but couldn't find it, because in the other posts it was spelt 'Huay Kon' with a 'y'. The customs man did say that tour groups were using this crossing.

    Interestingly, there is another crossing only a very few km further East. One can tell that the Thais feel easy about Laos: no checkpoints anywhere. By contrast, on the Burma border I had to line up my bike with a camera connected to a laptop and show my passport several times.
  7. mactbkk

    mactbkk Ol'Timer

    I asked a Thai friend to phone Immigration in Nan, tel: 054-750-039 with a Q about the magical 19 December event.

    He did so, answer, Thai and Lao only, no farangs....

    Do hope that's mistaken.

  8. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Yes indeed, Nan immig yesterday said no farang & not fully open on the 19th.
    My other Nan contact said 3 more months - maybe March open, when the Lao are ready. "Teething" problems on the Lao side still - been going for 13 years too. :roll:
  9. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

  10. mactbkk

    mactbkk Ol'Timer

    Of note, tho:

    -- Apparently Visa On Arrival not available at Moung Nguen so need to get a Lao visa prior to arrival at the border. Bangkok, Khon Kaen, or a Consulate in another country;

    -- Still need to check if Thai and Lao Customs authorities at the Huei Khon/Moung Nguen border crossing are set up to handle the paperwork for vehicles, two or four wheels entering FROM Thailand.

    Glad to hear of this opening, tho, want to check out both Xieng Lom/Xieng Hon and Hong Sa in the near future, prior to the rains.


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