VN Lao Thai post 1


Nov 17, 2004
I recently did another ride into Laoa from VN. I have made a few and this time took notes.
The border crossing at Nam Meo is open but visa for Laos on arrival does not exist. The crossing is straight forward and easy.
Can Treu border crossing is also very easy. What was difficult in some aspect was the lack of paperwork for the Minsk from VN to Lao. The Lao customs official didn't know what to do, stamped my VN re-importation form and gave me a Pepsi.
Mukdahan border crossing both ways is easy. From Lao you take the car/truck ferry 200b per person/bike to the northern customs house on the river. Check in with immigration and then proceed to the large building on the road and inside you will find a slighly agro man in the right side office in the back. He is swamped with truck cargo manifests and does not have much patience for motorbike riders. There was no import duty on the bike and he allowed 30 days no worries. I arrived (2nd time) after they closed and went two days later without the bike and he did all the paperwork in about 10 minutes. The Lao side is a little more confusing. You cross with the trucks on the barge and the exit immigration point is across the road and up about 50 meters. When you return, you see the main immigration at the passenger boat launch about 1 km down the river. Here you check in, present your papers for the bike and they look like they don't have a clue. Again, no entry or exit papers for the bike. Be warned, the ferry for the car/truck does not run on Sunday and is not frequent by any means. To hire a private boat that takes passengers is possible in the main ferry house but cost me $30 and only took me to the passenger terminal on the Thai side, not the vehicle import place. If you have a heavy bike, forget it. There are at least 50 stairs on a heavy angle and it took 6 people to carry the Minsk down the stairs on the Laos side and same on the Thai side.
In Mukdahan, there is a good mechanic on the turn near the Tesco Lotus heading out of town or back into town. He is the only mechanic on the corner- west corner-, speaks Thai and VN. His name in VN is Cuong. He did all he could to fix my bike but sent me to another person 100 km away who did fix my bike in the end.

Border crossing into Laos from Thailand over the Friendship bridge is covered fully in another listing here but try not to arrive at 11 or earlier than 13:30. I have brought my VN registered bike into Laos three times and this is the only place where I got import papers, insurance, stickers and had to pay import. When I left Laos over Nam Cam, the papers were not looked at.
Nam Cam border in VN is a mistake. The bored customs guys took everything off my bike. Thumped tires, poured out my 2 stroke to see if it was oil, ran a wire in my gas tank, and kept me there at least 2 hours. The bigger mistake is the road for 80 km after here is complete crap. Recent landslides will make it difficult for a long time to come and there is little fuel from the border to about 40 km in. What fuel there was was expensive and had a strange look about it.

Ride on.