Entering Laos Through Amphur Tha Li then trip north


Senior member
Jan 11, 2011
Chiang Mai, Thailand
2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
Entering Laos Through Amphur Tha Li, Loei then trip north

Many people are unaware of a number of new border crossings from Thailand into Laos, that can now be used by motorbikes. A friend is currently researching them and I'll have an informative list of the new ones in a few days.

Most of us were unaware that you can enter Laos, from Thailand (on a motorbike) through Amphur Tha Li in Loei (17 deg 25'N / 101 deg 25' E). A friend said to me "give it a shot", so I did.

This is Thai Customs and immigration in Tha Li, Loei (more to come)


I'm not quite sure how many motorbikes have entered Laos at this checkpoint but the bike got a lot of attention by Laos Govt. officials. Also it became obvious that there was confusion with how to check a foreign registered motorcycle into Laos, lots of talking and phone calls!

When I asked the Thai Customs officer if I could check out of Thailand with the bike here, he said he didn't know and told me to drive across the bridge to talk with the Laos Soldier, stationed on the bridge.
On approaching the Laos soldier, he became very excited at my presence, jumping out and waving his arms in the air.

He seemed to understand that I wanted to proceed and check into Laos and made a 3 minute phone call then said "ok". So turn around and back to Thai Customs and Immigration. FYI Thai Customs and Immigration at Tha Li, Loei are super nice.

I was the only person checking out of Thailand there at the time, so 15 minutes everything was finished and I was off to Laos.
This is Nam Heung, Laos, Customs and Immigration checkpoint.

I don't know how many bikes have entered Laos here, but all the Laos Govt. officials came out looking at what was going on. Lot's of confusion as to how to issue me a Laos temporary import, but within 45 minutes or so, everything was figured out.

One of the Laos officials spoke a little english and said "the road to Xayaboury is no good". I laughed and said "perfect"! (little did I know).

I think this is kind of what he was referring to: (why does it never look as bad as it really is in photo's)

-and 1KM up the road, a pertol tanker sunk in the mud (it was much worse than this the photo's don't give it justice)

By the way, this is route 4 north in Laos! a major highway on the 10th October, 2010.

It took 2 1/2 hrs to drive the 60km tp Park Lie (this is how it is pronounced), on a 1,000 cc bike with pirelli scorpions that clogged with mud on their 1st rotation was not fun.

Got to Park lie, managed to find this nice guest house for 400BHT (would like some feedback if people think this is inappropriate promoting as we're trying to be super careful keeping it community, please PM me)

Rooms were clean and the aircon worked good

Bumped into my friend Jim, who lives in Laos. He was out scouting some trails on his DRZ in the area, turned into a very pleasant evening.

The next day was a ride north and then north west to Hongsa. The road improved considerably and was a very fun 4-5 hour ride, hard stone and some tarmac here and there made it very enjoyable.

I have always liked Hongsa in laos. Not ruined by tourists, fantastic morning market for photo's, now several guest houses, & a decent restaurant.

See Page 2
Tha Li is the easiest (friendly, fast paper work) border crossing to go into and out of North Laos to Thailand. The Thai customs and immigration are huge motorcycle fans. We have used this crossing a lot coming from Laos to Thailand it makes Loei in Thailand a great night stop over from here.
Here are some videos showing how big of fans of motorcycling the Thai immigration are.
They ask us if it were possible for us to do a wheel stand for them. I agreed to try but if I could make the point from the gateways of Thailand to the draw gate (70m) they had to give me a year visa entry stamp.
It was very funny situation, we asked them to lift the draw gate as I felt I may go longer (70m). Then we asked if they could get the army guys to stop cars crossing the crossroad(100m) as I think I may make it to here on the back wheel.
I will let the video do the rest of the talking. What a great bunch of guys at Tha Li.

Wheelying for a year visa

Coming back to collect

Map of Tha Li, Thailand to Park Lay, Laos now an international border crossing for motorcycles

Copyright GT Mapper
great stuff, a couple of years ago I dont think you could cross here.
In Paklai, I ate at the Sandee restaurant, and stayed at the hotel almost opposite.
It has badminton courts there if you fancy a game, and I'd stay there next time.
I tried to go west of there in the morning, but the river seemed too deep
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