i2 International Institute of Education


Self driving to Luang Prabang

this_is_spinal_tap (3 posts) • 0

I rode my motorbike to L.B back in '08 and had some 麻烦 at the border crossing as a foreigner trying to motorcycle into Lao with the chinese immigration officers and then even more 麻烦 with the corrupt Lao police fining me as soon as they saw the Chinese license plates on my bike.

I heard from different sources (and from personal experience) that the customs and immigration staff at Mohan can be quite uncooperative with foreigners trying to take a vehicle across the border. And also the Lao police will hassle anyone with foreign plates. This was a while ago, so I want to know of anyone's most recent experiences as I plan to drive to LP in'16

bucko (687 posts) • 0

I suggest you read my post on buckchucko.com.

I drove my Chinese plated car there and detailed my experiences.

darcy (14 posts) • 0

I have a experience with this Mohan boarder is no problem if you have all the cars paper work. My Chinese driving licence is good in Lao and Chinese plates on my car no problem I have made this trip 2 times in the past few years. Lao police no problem. mountain road in Lao. is bad and dangerous... never make this trip in a Chinese holiday like spring festival. Chinese drivers and bad roads is extreme danger

Alien (3819 posts) • 0

You have to watch your driving on the mountain roads in Laos, but I wouldn't call the danger extreme. Have done Vientiane to Udomxai, shared driving, Lao plates.

this_is_spinal_tap (3 posts) • 0

@bucko LMAO i read your blog and my experience was so similar to yours! the scumbag wrote a number down on a piece of paper and told me to pay. this was in LP and apparently there was a one way system there despite not one traffic sign saying so. then a friendly passer-by offered to translate for me, she told me he was accusing me of lying when i mentioned no traffic signs and advised i pay up. i havent had luck with thai, vietnamese, khmer, laotian traffic police

bucko (687 posts) • 0

They are tricky b$%tards. When they "decontaminated" my car, I had to pay them extra. All they did was spray my tires with water! I watched them fill the bucket from the tap.

I'll never drive there again.

Tom69 (105 posts) • 0

@bucko, well, you may find that it's not a good idea to drive to Lao in a Chinese car for the time being anyway because Chinese interests are being targeted by shadowy Hmong/Lao insurgents in Luang Prabang, Vientiane and Saisomboon provinces. Earlier this year, a Chinese SUV was shot at and two Chinese tourists inside killed. Just now a Chinese registered bus travelling from Kunming to Vientiane was shot at, injuring 6 and killing 1.

Chinese plates could make you a target anywhere south of Luang Prabang and north of Vang Vieng even if you're not Chinese yourself, but those blue plates with the one Chinese character stand out.

However, even if they are able to stop the shootings and bombings (yes there was also at least one bombing in Saisomboon) questions are being raised about all the Chinese cars entering Laos, particularly during peak periods like CNY.

Neighboring Thailand is putting a stop to them starting in the next few weeks by requiring advance permission through a Thai based travel agency or tour operator 10 business days before arrival, submission of travel itineraries, 3rd party insurance, a special plate that must be inside the vehicle at all times, traffic orientation for one hour and possibly a Thai temporary driver's licences for citizens of countries who don't possess a licence usable in Thailand(especially for Chinese who don't possess international drivers permits since China is not a signatory to the UN convention on international motor traffic). Apart from this, travel will be permitted only in the border province entered (for example Chiang Rai) with further travel permitted only with a Thai guide.

Convoys will require a guide and police escort, though it is unclear how many vehicles constitutes a convoy.

Motorhomes and motorcycles will be banned from Thai roads altogether, only cars and pickup trucks with no more than 9 seats and a GVM of max. 3500kg will be permitted to enter.

Although these rules will not apply in Laos, if Chinese vehicles keep entering Laos in ever increasing numbers the Lao may also impose some restrictions of their own, particularly since it's rather unfair that the Chinese don't allow Lao vehicles beyond Jinghong (except buses, which are permitted to travel up to Kunming), while the Chinese are allowed free reign to roam around Laos.

tigertiger - moderator (5085 posts) • 0

I saw on the news today that there was a shooting in N Laos, targeting Chinese. I also think that the US consulates have an existing travel warning regarding central Laos.

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