Phongsaly - China International Border Crossing

DavidFL

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I think I may have missed this some how

Laos-China international checkpoint opens in Phongsaly

International tourists can now move between Laos and China through Phongsaly province as the cross-border checkpoint between Lan Toui in the Lao province and Meuang Kham in the Chinese province of Yunnan was opened late last month.
“The tourists holding passports can enter and exit Laos through this border checkpoint as it has been upgraded to the international standard,” an official from the Phonsaly provincial Department of Public Works and Transport said in an interview with Vientiane Times yesterday.
The border checkpoint is on the road linking Gnot-ou, and Bounneua districts in Phongsaly province with Pu' Er City in Yunnan province.
The official said the road in China was asphalt surfaced which facilitated a smooth flow of traffic, while the Lao authority was currently upgrading the sections on its side.
He said the upgrade of the cross-border checkpoint would facilitate the tourism and trade exchange between Laos and China, especially as Yunnan province's city is one of China's growing communities.
This is the second international border checkpoint now operational in Phongsaly. The first, linking the province's Sobhoun-Tay Trang and the Vietnamese province of Dien Bien, has been open for several years.
The official said the opening would also boost the flow of foreign tourists, including Europeans, and noted that the link with Vietnam had already seen more tourism along Road 2E where the checkpoint is situated.
As of May last year, there were 23 international checkpoints, including four at the international airports in Luang Prabang, Vientiane, Savannakhet, and Pakxe. Of those 23, 21 have the capacity to issue visas.
Opened in January 2014 - does anyone know anything?
Got any photos?
 

CraigBKK

Ol'Timer
Jan 4, 2014
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Sounds very interesting. Phongsaly until now had received relatively few visitors as it was a dead end unless you have a Chinese or Lao passport, this will change things.

I visiting the area a few times in 2008/9. Trade was driven by the Chinese then, can't imagine what it's like now. Very picturesque up there, a chance to see a simpler way of life. There was a derelict Chinese casino on the border, nothing else much.

A few resampled stills from a photo gallery I held.

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ntb

Ol'Timer
Aug 18, 2009
69
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okay, with out trying to sound too naive, would it be difficult to ride a bike into Yunnan. Meaning, is it possible with out breaking the bank?
 

CraigBKK

Ol'Timer
Jan 4, 2014
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ntb;302104 wrote: okay, with out trying to sound too naive, would it be difficult to ride a bike into Yunnan. Meaning, is it possible with out breaking the bank?
From all accounts it is expensive, with lots of red tape to navigate to take your own foriegn bike and ride on a foreign driving licence. The easiest way is to go through an agent to organise everything $$$
 

choudoufu

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Jan 8, 2010
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Davidfl;302093 wrote: I think I may have missed this some how

Opened in January 2014 - does anyone know anything?
Got any photos?
yes, i know lots! and i've got a mess o'photos, but no photobucket to post into.

anyway, over the summer, rode my bicycle from bangkok to yunnan province.
had been through mohan/boten several times, wanted to try the new border
crossing into mengkang. did plenty of research, read all those newspaper
articles about the new crossing, and even saw a mention of it being open to
foreigners on one of the lao ministry websites.

some nice riding up until about bon neue, the turn off for phongsaly,
then you head in the mountains. it's construction the rest of the way.
rough gravel, deep mud, potholes a meter wide and a meter deep.
great scenery, as you're up a thousand meters above the surrounding
valleys. you can take a break in ou tai, with several cheap guesthouses
and a bank with ATM. the final 50 km or so is a pure mud bath.

here's what i posted about it on lonely planet:

it was monsoon season, the road was a mess, more like cycling through
chocolate milkshake. there are buses (19 pax) running the entire route
into china, unless they get stuck in the meter deep mud.

so finally made it to the lan tuey border crossing, brand new buildings
with a brand new sign that reads "lan tuey international border check-
point".........yay! i made it! only i didn't. falang cannot cross here.
the border dudes said i could stay overnight at the chinese run
guesthouse on the lao side, but i'd have to go back the way i came,
and then cross at mohan.

the only change since last year is that previously, lao and chinese could
cross the border using their national id cards. now that it's an international
crossing, lao and chinese can now cross using their passports.
 

King of Jars

Ol'Timer
Feb 27, 2008
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Nongprue, Cholburi, Thailand
David; where did you get the info from; looks like a copy/paste hence what is the original source? I was up there a year ago and it was a no-no then (we're talking that border crossing just south of Boun Neua (where the airport of Phongsaly; latter some 40 clicks west from Phongsaly itself is).

Anyhow, what is to be mentioned is, that you need to get the visa for China (like Vietnam if you leave Phongsaly towards Dien Bien Phu) beforehand and the red tape is ferocious (as experienced with my 4x4 at Boten/Luang Namtha) ;-)
 

blackwolf

Active Member
Mar 7, 2014
41
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8
choudoufu;302733 wrote: yes, i know lots! and i've got a mess o'photos, but no photobucket to post into.

anyway, over the summer, rode my bicycle from bangkok to yunnan province.
had been through mohan/boten several times, wanted to try the new border
crossing into mengkang. did plenty of research, read all those newspaper
articles about the new crossing, and even saw a mention of it being open to
foreigners on one of the lao ministry websites.

some nice riding up until about bon neue, the turn off for phongsaly,
then you head in the mountains. it's construction the rest of the way.
rough gravel, deep mud, potholes a meter wide and a meter deep.
great scenery, as you're up a thousand meters above the surrounding
valleys. you can take a break in ou tai, with several cheap guesthouses
and a bank with ATM. the final 50 km or so is a pure mud bath.

here's what i posted about it on lonely planet:

it was monsoon season, the road was a mess, more like cycling through
chocolate milkshake. there are buses (19 pax) running the entire route
into china, unless they get stuck in the meter deep mud.

so finally made it to the lan tuey border crossing, brand new buildings
with a brand new sign that reads "lan tuey international border check-
point".........yay! i made it! only i didn't. falang cannot cross here.
the border dudes said i could stay overnight at the chinese run
guesthouse on the lao side, but i'd have to go back the way i came,
and then cross at mohan.

the only change since last year is that previously, lao and chinese could
cross the border using their national id cards. now that it's an international
crossing, lao and chinese can now cross using their passports.
Choudoufu, when exactly did you go to the border? Sounds like sometime mid last year (2014)? Anyway, if according to the news it's supposed to be an international border, why weren't you allowed across? Did you at least ask when you would be allowed across? As far as I'm aware, some border crossings are local first, then become international later, usually after a few months. Perhaps this is the case at Lanteuy/Mengkang. Although it may not yet be possible to easily take a foreign registered vehicle into China (except Lao, but they are apparently still restricted to the border areas although perhaps they'll be allowed to go all around Yunnan and Guangxi soon as per the GMS agreement on cross-border traffic), but at least we should be able to cross at this border as pedestrians.

I'd like to see an update on this crossing from anyone that has the latest information.
 

bbq

Member
Jul 15, 2013
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looks like you're a chiese,knew the Choudoufu
i've been visit the border(china side),officer of customs told me that border just opening for laos and chinese each orther,but foreign

sorry for my low english
 

blackwolf

Active Member
Mar 7, 2014
41
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bbq;304410 wrote: looks like you're a chiese,knew the Choudoufu
i've been visit the border(china side),officer of customs told me that border just opening for laos and chinese each orther,but foreign

sorry for my low english
Sorry, I didn't quite understand what you're trying to say.

As there is absolutely no information about this border crossing on the web in English, apart from vague references to it's apparent recent opening or possible opening soon to foreigners, even when I did a search in Chinese, it would be good to have some accurate information from someone who's been there so we know what the actual situation is. First hand reports are always best in these kinds of situations.

So please answer the following questions for us:

1. When were you there? Month, year?

2. Did you ask if foreigners from third countries can cross and if so, when?

3. Can cars/motorcycles be taken across? In particular, Lao registered vehicles?

As you appear to be Chinese, let me write these questions in Chinese for you (although my Chinese is not the best):

在江城的边境(中-老口岸):

1. 你最近什么时候去那边?月,年?

2. 你问了没,外国人的旅客可不可以在这个口岸出/入中国吗?如果还不行,什么时候可以的?今年吗?

3. 可不可以开车入中国/老挝吗?如果可以的话,老挝车牌行吗?
 

blackwolf

Active Member
Mar 7, 2014
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Ticino;304247 wrote: David; where did you get the info from; looks like a copy/paste hence what is the original source? I was up there a year ago and it was a no-no then (we're talking that border crossing just south of Boun Neua (where the airport of Phongsaly; latter some 40 clicks west from Phongsaly itself is).

Anyhow, what is to be mentioned is, that you need to get the visa for China (like Vietnam if you leave Phongsaly towards Dien Bien Phu) beforehand and the red tape is ferocious (as experienced with my 4x4 at Boten/Luang Namtha) ;-)
Tell us more about the red tape please.

1. Country of registration of vehicle you used to cross?

2. When did you cross? Month, year?

3. Did you need to go on a tour, or could you just show up and hand over a refundable deposit of something like 350,000 Baht (equivalent) as a guarantee to make sure you don't flee in case of an accident as one Thai person recently claimed (although his sources are unverified and I don't think that guy has actually been to China by car before, or even to China at all). I strongly suspect that you would have needed to make contact with a travel agency in advance, however, let us know your experiences.

4. How long in advance did you make the arrangements? Costs?

5. Did you have to have a guide with you? Did you go by yourself, i.e. not in a convoy?
 

choudoufu

Member
Jan 8, 2010
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blackwolf;304404 wrote: Choudoufu, when exactly did you go to the border? Sounds like sometime mid last year (2014)? Anyway, if according to the news it's supposed to be an international border, why weren't you allowed across? Did you at least ask when you would be allowed across? As far as I'm aware, some border crossings are local first, then become international later, usually after a few months. Perhaps this is the case at Lanteuy/Mengkang. Although it may not yet be possible to easily take a foreign registered vehicle into China ...
sorry, just found this......your forum doesn't send me automated messages....

anyways....i was there july 20 2014. according to the (limited) news, various press releases, and
a notice on one of the lao ministry websites, the checkpoint was open to international travelers
from jan 01 2014. i was not allowed to pass, but there were local 19 pax chinese buses and small
lao trucks as well as private vehicles going through. (traveling alone, by bicycle, very handsome us
dude working in china, with chinese residence permit, likes puppies and rainbows and walks in rain)

the guards knew nothing of the opening to foreigners, despite the sign reading "international
checkpoint," thus could not say when (if ever) this laowai could pass.

i think we've simply got a mistranslation here. the press releases and ministry site said it was
"international." technically, yes. chinese and lao can pass, therefore the checkpoint IS
international.....as in a crossing between two nations.

reference this quote: "The tourists holding passports can enter and exit Laos through this border
checkpoint as it has been upgraded to the international standard,” an official from the Phonsaly
provincial Department of Public Works and Transport said in an interview with Vientiane Times
yesterday."

it's true! CHINESE tourists holding passports and LAO tourists holding passports can enter and exit.
note that the above article also said "the upgrade of the cross-border checkpoint would facilitate
the tourism and trade exchange between Laos and China."

us (well, at least this one) ing-guh-litch native speakers assumed we were included.
 

edh

Member
Apr 19, 2013
24
7
3
blackwolf;304489 wrote:
2. When did you cross? Month, year?
we try to cross this border this year - 9th of january - by car with international number - passport book (purple book) etc. etc.!
the signs telly ou INTERNATIONAL BORDER - but...
this is not open yet - only local border traffic between laos and china and v.v.
so we had to take the same road back
our routing was:
from OUDOM XAI to BOUN TAI - BOUN NEUA - NGAY NUA - OU TAI - XIANG SAO - BORDER and back

160 kms this time was under construction and sometimes in a very bad condition.

i talked with the immigration officer from laos - he explained me, the border will open in the near future, when the road is complete! :idea:

here are some photos - sorry - cannot upload photos...who knows how?
 

bbq

Member
Jul 15, 2013
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edh;305737 wrote: he explained me, the border will open in the near future
I and my wife visited the border china side in may(mid) 2014,chines immigration officer told us only open to laos and chinese.
otherwise,this border can not get the VOA
english so low,I hope you can understand.
 

DavidFL

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Jan 16, 2003
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I suspect that the problem is NO Lao staff from the department of foreign affairs.

Immigration stamp the passports for entry, but the visa is issued by the Dept of Foreign Affairs..
This is the same problem at Phu Du - no staff from the department of foreign affairs that issue visas.

Every time you enter Laos it is a two step process.
1. A visa is issued by the Dept of Foreign Affairs.
2. Immigration police stamp you in / out of the country, once your visa has been issued.
Where there is no visa on arrival is where there are no staff from the Dept of Foreign Affairs to issue visas.
If you have a visa already, then it is ok for the immigration police to stamp you in / out.

So when it has been declared international, that means the immigration police can legally stamp you in / out of the country; but the visa has to come from the dept of foreign staff, who may not yet be stationed at that border crossing.
 

edh

Member
Apr 19, 2013
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david - what they told me at the "internat. border" up there was - no way for farangs to cross the border - with or without visa!
 

blackwolf

Active Member
Mar 7, 2014
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Even once the border opens, don't expect to be able to drive a car or motorcycle across, especially without a bilateral agreement in place. Governments across the region tend to be tightening up regulations on crossing borders with a vehicle rather than liberalizing rules. For example, starting on June 27th, Thailand will stop allowing Chinese vehicles in except those who make their requests to enter at least 10 business days in advance, along with meeting a host of other conditions. They will not be allowed to drive outside the border province entered, unless they seek advance permission 30 business days in advance, on a case-by-case basis. Motorcycles and caravans/campervans will be banned altogether, with exceptions made on an individual basis provided enough advance notice has been given through a licenced tour operator.

Thai vehicles already can't enter China without pre-arrangements and this is even less likely to change now that Thailand has decided to place restrictions on the Chinese coming here. Lao vehicles are restricted to traveling within the border regions of China so even for them Lanteuy isn't of much interest except as mentioned, for local traders.
 

brian_bkk

Ol'Timer
Mar 30, 2010
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Even once the border opens, don't expect to be able to drive a car or motorcycle across, especially without a bilateral agreement in place. Governments across the region tend to be tightening up regulations on crossing borders with a vehicle rather than liberalizing rules. For example, starting on June 27th, Thailand will stop allowing Chinese vehicles in except those who make their requests to enter at least 10 business days in advance, along with meeting a host of other conditions. They will not be allowed to drive outside the border province entered, unless they seek advance permission 30 business days in advance, on a case-by-case basis. Motorcycles and caravans/campervans will be banned altogether, with exceptions made on an individual basis provided enough advance notice has been given through a licenced tour operator.

Thai vehicles already can't enter China without pre-arrangements and this is even less likely to change now that Thailand has decided to place restrictions on the Chinese coming here. Lao vehicles are restricted to traveling within the border regions of China so even for them Lanteuy isn't of much interest except as mentioned, for local traders.

There are some earlier posts about this when it was first introduced..
 

blackwolf

Active Member
Mar 7, 2014
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brian_bkk, what do you mean "first introduced"?

I have seen nothing on this forum about the new Thai rules on foreign registered vehicles, which, given how it will affect many members especially those living in Vietnam and China is quite an important issue. Thailand is about to follow China and Myanmar in this regard. The clock is ticking and in only 8 days the new rules will go into force. Surprised that I'm the first member to point this out. There's been plenty of coverage in the Bangkok Post - in fact, the February 29th edition this year had it as their top story.

My first reply was deleted for some reason. I'll summarize what I wrote, in response to edh and DavidFL:

The Lanteuy international checkpoint will only open once the road has been completed, which according to another website as of mid-2014 would take 54 months. This means, late 2018/early 2019. However, if progress is made and the road is finished ahead of schedule, then perhaps sometime in 2017. Almost certainly it won't be for quite a while though, definitely not this year.

Still, as I alluded to above, don't expect to be allowed to drive across the border even if it does open. Likely only Chinese vehicles will be allowed to cross here, Lao ones are probably limited to driving as far as the nearest town (Jiangcheng) 15km away but no further; Chinese vehicles can travel throughout Laos. China is very unfair when it comes to bilateral agreements. They always have the upper hand.