Current procedure for motorcycles crossing from Chiang Khong, Thailand into Laos

KTMphil

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The current information we're getting today from Chiang Khong biker residents (as of 26th December, 2013), is that motorcycles are still prohibited from using the new Friendship Bridge to exit Thailand at Chiang Khong into Houay Xai, Laos.


"This is not definitive but, the lady that can clear bikes out of here (Chiang Khong, Thailand) and into there (Houay Xai. Laos), whose office is just north of Ann Tours directly across the street from Bamboo restaurant told us yesterday and we saw it being done today for a touring Ducati and BMW...

Park your bike in front if her office (in Chiang Khong "old town").
Fill out the paperwork.
Ride your bike down to the ferry and park them. She will sit there and make sure they are ok.
Get into a tuk tuk and go to the bridge.
Clear out and then take the bus or mini van across to Laos.
Clear into Laos.
Call the lady and tell her you are cleared into Laos.
The lady now has ferry staff load your bike onto the ferry.
Ferry goes across river.
You take Laos tuk tuk to the ferry dock and retrieve your bike.

Ferry issues: you either pay for the entire ferry or wait until there are enough vehicles to fill it.
You could find yourself cleared into Laos and then sitting over there a long time before a ferry is filled up.
Or you can just go to the bridge and hunt around for a pickup truck that will load your bike into the back and drive it across for you.
Probably it should be suggested that a nice ride to the Nan border crossing is easier."
 

Gnasher328

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I rode to CK today and stopped off at the bridge where they confirmed the m/c ban, and said I should do immigration and customs there, then go to the ferry. I timed the trip and it was only 9k / 10 mins, no real problem. I went to the dock where they said they could put my bike (CRF 250) on a longboat for 700Bht, then a lady came up and asked if I wanted to tie in with her group. I told her I was only researching at present, and she said that groups of three or more could use the larger ferry for 1k But each.
Have to do a visa run soon so will weigh up whether to go CK for the hell of it or Nan.
But we may get more local lowdown in the bars tonight!
 

brake034

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I still think a pick up truck shuttle over the bridge would be a more simple solution?
 

Gnasher328

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I expected to see the usual border chaos and touting but it was very quiet, a large que of trucks and a hand full of busses and cars.
Got the impression that bikes wanting to cross are too few to bother with, even for the ferries they are just an odd extra few Baht.
 

LivinLOS

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I had a chat with them last week also..

The customs office (outbound) is moving to the bridge soon.. Tho currently and for the near term bikes wont cross there.

The inbound customs will run 2 points.. One at the ferry (where Mr Lee will stay 100% of the time.. and all current 'procedures' can continue) and one at the bridge. The 'big boss' who was currently at the ferry point will operate at both ferry and bridge intermittently.

For those of us visa running vehicles, the bridge not being open to bikes is actually a good thing, if it was fully open we might end up forced to check out and customs and fully check out. The fact we check and then have to go to the bridge works in our favor for the lazy option.

Was also confirmed, many times and without any doubt at all.. That they are 100% happy to process cars the same as bikes up there.
 

Gnasher328

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Extra Problem
It turns out that although the Thai immigration & customs will let you turn round and head back to the ferry, the Laos side is not so accommodating. This means sending the bike over on it's own, then going back to the bridge and the taxi/tuk-tuk runaround.
Stuff that, I'm taking my tourist cash to Nan. If we keep paying the extras at CK the situation will probably not change.
 

crs

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Has anyone taken a bike over in the back of a pickup yet? Or just crossed over the bridge (either way) at all? Wondering what the procedure is.
 

LivinLOS

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Everyone tried Chiang Kong.. Why does no one try Chiang Sean.. Closer to Chiang Rai also..
 

Gnasher328

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Don't Bother

Weighing up the runing around and extre expense at CK I figured they could stick their nice new bridge - as long as we continue to pay for the extra transport & ferry there will be no incentive to change.
I decided to try the Nan-Nguen border, mentioned by Phil and a Google translated French blog on here.

Location: OpenStreetMap
http://download.osmand.net/go?lat=19.596241&lon=101.08602&z=13

It was a comparative doddle, fantastic ride there, middle of nowhere and just a bunch of trucks to compete with. Seems to have been created for the new power station being built. Two hours all in, quite user friendly.
Just don't stop in Pakbeng, God forsaken tourist trap s**t hole, even got food poisoning there.
 

crs

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Yeh, if you're heading from CM then the Nan crossing is going to be the same sort of distance so makes sense to go there. I'm in CR though so Nan's a bit further and I'll be taking the bike in the back of a pickup anyway. (If i was doing this with a street bike, I'd be happy to ride the roads down to Nan - some good ones I've not done for years.)

Guess crossing by bridge at Chiang Khong in a car will be straightforward enough - I'll just have to get an ITP.
 

KTMphil

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Chiang Mai, Thailand
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2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
Latest on crossing into Laos from Chiang Khong from David Bailey in CK today....10 bikes or more CAN USE THE BRIDGE.


Read below:


The latest on bridge crossing rules.
10 or more bikes can use the bridge going either way and must have a police escort to insure no stopping in the middle of the bridge for site seeing. Individual bikes can join together to make ten.

9 bikes or less must use the ferry. When using the ferry All paper work must still be done at the bridge.

Fees on Thai side are as posted. Fees on the Laos side can be interpreted at the time and can Greatly vary.

Paper work. Difficult to do Lao paper work ahead of time due to buerocracy. On Thai side Mai had it all completed Plus immigration fee payment recipes made out ahead of time so riders only had to stop on Thai side long enough to sign the completed forms pay fee and recieve pre filled out recipe.
Cheers
 

KTMphil

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David Bailey, the Chiang Khong resident & guru, had a friend try come back across from Houay Xai, Laos into Chiang Khong, Thailand via the new Friendship Bridge and was refused, it was a Sunday, which made things more complicated. David asked me to pass the following along to other potential motorcycle crossers at Chiang Khong:




"Please pass along that riders should not try ck for going either direction across the Mekong. Geoff just tried from the Laos side. He cleared out OK at the bridge but No Riding across the bridge. So they sent him to the old ferry crossing and of course zero boats on Laos side due to it being a Sunday so we went down and got a boat to go across to pick him up..."




& regarding the Chiang Khong bridge "fixers":


"She can arrange here to there. From that (Laos) side to this side is not so easy but supposedly doable each time. But you need to know how to contact her... You need to contact her well ahead of time... And she costs money...
Nan is always a sure deal cheap and easy."







FlickrDroid Upload by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr
Photo: David Bailey





I think this was the boat that was sent to get Geoff


FlickrDroid Upload by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr
Photo: David Bailey
 

bsacbob

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Using a fixer is the easy option if you lack imagination, as i reported in my first day we managed the crossing in a pickup and assume it would be the same crossing back into Thailand form the Laos side.

Was told a group of three or more could cross the bridge with an escort, but like all things it all depends on the day.
 

brake034

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The problem with a collection at Laos side with a pickup is the fact that someone needs to cross from CK to Laos, turn around after Laos immigrations.
Go though Laos immigrations again to pick up the rider and cross into Thailand again.

Especially if it needs to be organized "ad-hoc" because someone is refused to cross the bridge from Laos to Thailand, vice versa is a bit easier......
 

laser2000

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Joined
Apr 30, 2014
Latest update from crossing the bridge from Chiang Khong to Laos last Sunday morning.
I elected to take the easy option, and use the services of Na, who has a cafe in Chiang Khong. Handed my papers to Na on Saturday afternoon, and arranged to meet her at the border at 0800 on Sunday morning.

On arrival at the newly constructed bridge & border buildings, Na was waiting, paperwork in hand. The border was very quiet, with only one other car waiting to cross.
The immigration officer swiftly stamped my passport out of Thailand, checked out the bike (curiosity) and said with a smile “now you follow the ice-cream car”. By which he meant, the blue and white immigration car with flashing lights, that was to be my escort over the bridge. A quick photo with Na, and I handed over 2000 baht for all her work.

I then proceeded to follow the immigration car, with the two officers inside, across the bridge. We never went faster than 40kmh, despite there being no other traffic on the bridge. On reaching the Laos side, the Thai immigration car turned around and drove back to Thailand, and I parked at Lao immigration. It took about 10 minutes to obtain the visa on arrival, I was then stamped into Laos and sent to customs. The customs guy knew exactly what to do, and filled in the forms quickly. After paying him 100 baht, all the documents were stamped and I drove out into Laos on the other side of the road, again. Total time at both borders was less than 40 minutes.


Now, a further update... Since I arrived in Luang Namtha, I met another guy who crossed the bridge twice, once in each direction, and didn't use a fixer. He just rocked up at the border and tried his luck, it worked.

From Lao -> Thailand, he was told the price was 1000 baht, but the escort car never stopped at the Thai side, so he never handed over any money.

From Thailand -> Lao, he was asked for and paid 500 baht, and had the same Thai escort ute across the bridge.

So it looks like things are easing up. If I was planning to cross again, I would probably just rock up and give it a try.
 

LivinLOS

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Thanks.. Going to have to do this in the next couple of weeks..

Can you stamp out at the bridge and then go and use the boats ?? Even tho the boats are hard to get ??
 

KTMphil

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Had a friend cross at Chiang Khong a week ago on a Honda XR 400. He used the ferry/ ferry ramp to cross the Mekong River. There were both Thai Customs & Thai Immigration at the ferry checking bikes and passports and making phone calls back to the bridge making sure clearance had been done (at the bridge).
 

warrimurf

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Must be old news. Turn up at Chaing Khong fill in papers pay money and drive over the bridge, enter Laos get insurance at the entry and go. Easy done it twice this year.
 
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