Warning - Friendship Bridges closed to bikes

Discussion in 'Laos - General Discussion Forum' started by beddhist, Dec 11, 2007.

  1. Today I went to the Lao border post at the Savannakhet "Friendship Bridge" to enquire whether I had to pay any fees to leave. To my great consternation I was told that (motor)bikes are not allowed on the bridge. They suggested this may be because the boss thinks there may be accidents and to load the bike onto a bus!

    The passenger ferries don't take bikes - I asked. They suggested I leave via Vientiane or Pakse.

    Tomorrow I'll try to cross the bridge anyway, seeing the first officer I spoke to didn't seem to know about the restriction. Failing that I'll try to hitch a ride on a pickup. Plan C is to ride down to Pakse, a 250 km detour. I was supposed to be on Koh Samui in 3 days' time...

    I know that you can't enter Laos via either of the two bridges, but wasn't aware that you can't leave, either.

    I'll keep you posted.

    There is no limit to the stupidity of unaccountable bureauprats. QED.
  2. Bad Luck.

    You can go to 100 km north to Thakhek and take a car ferry to Nakhom Phanom.

  3. Yeah yeah it's all a bit stupid & my guess in the coming years with more bridges they will all be the same!
    But I also note that you said you only went & asked in advance. You did not actually try to leave, so they gave you the official line. I reckon that if you had just rolled up on your bike ready to go, they would have let you go as you were leaving. Try it next time, it should work going out, but definitely not in.
  4. OK, here is what happened today:

    I thought I haven't got much to loose to try anyway. After a few minutes I was called into the main building, then the director of immigration took me into his office where he explained to me that according to an agreement between the two govts. only cars, trucks and buses are allowed onto the bridge. He then proceeded to call his counterpart in Thailand and they agreed to exceptionally let me cross.

    After that processing was quick. Nobody asked for any bike documentation, which I didn't have anyway, only had to show the rego.

    Approaching the toll booth I was stopped again. They had a problem with me crossing and wanted me to go to the police, which I didn't, obviously. I think their problem was that the toll system is automated and they don't have a rate for bikes, but there are induction loops in the road. After 10 or 15 mins they indicated that I could go, but I had to leave via the wrong way, where there was no barrier or loop.

    So, I made it in the end, but I would advise against others trying it, because if it doesn't work you have a long detour ahead.

    The previous day I went to ask about any fees involved in leaving, not whether I would be allowed to leave, as I was under the impression that leaving wasn't a problem and apparently in Vientiane you still can.

    And I'm afraid I agree with you, as they build more bridges crossing with bikes will become a mission.

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