User profile: Tom69

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  • RegisteredNovember 17, 2010
  • RegionChina
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  • RegisteredNovember 17, 2010

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Forums > Travel Yunnan > Self driving to Luang Prabang

@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.


Another issue although I think you have given up on the driving to Thailand in one car part is that very soon, Thailand will tighten up the entry of foreign registered vehicles.

Chinese vehicles flooded into Thailand during the recent CNY and they caused lots of accidents, near accidents and plenty of congestion, meanwhile the paranoid and xenophobic Chinese government doesn't allow Thai vehicles to enter except on an expensive tour with guide, deposit of 50,000 Yuan etc.

The Thai government is rightfully putting a stop to freeloading Chinese tourists driving cars without paying anything, while their Thai counterparts, get faced with a host of barriers to drive up to China.

So, given the lack of an agreement between the two countries, the Thai Land Transport Department and related authorities will soon require all foreign vehicles (except from countries with which Thailand shares an existing agreement) to provide advance notice 10 business days before arrival, through a Thai travel agency to seek permission for the car to enter the country. An entry fee of 500 Baht, plus another 500 Baht for a special plate that needs to be visible in the car, itineraries and driver's licences need to be submitted. A one hour orientation on traffic rules will be required, and travel outside the border province will not be permitted unless accompanied by a Thai tour guide. Motorhomes and motorcycles will be banned altogether.

So it's going to be the end of the road for easy entry of Chinese vehicles into Thailand; not much different to Chinese regulations on the entry of foreign vehicles to China and I think the regulations couldn't come soon enough.

Forums > Travel Yunnan > travelling form Yunnan to Myanmar

@lemon lover, the border crossing at Mae Sot/Myawady has always been controlled by the Myanmar government and since Aug 28, 2013 is an official crossing that allows entry/exit with passports and visas to/from Thailand for Thais, Burmese and third country nationals. The previous rule that only day permits were issued and visas weren't recognized is no longer applied. In fact, even though day trips are still possible without a visa, Thai authorities no longer permit them to visa-free travelers in order to prevent visa runners from abusing the Thai visa system. So most foreigners will be entering Myanmar with a visa (and why would anyone bother going to a dusty border town for a day anyway).

Also, while parts of the road between Myawady (opposite Mae Sot) and Kawkareik/Hpa-an used to be Karen rebel territory and off-limits, the main road and townships are firmly in government hands and safe to travel through, hence why travel through the area has been allowed since 2013 with one exception for about 5 days last year.

The Mae Hong Son border at Khun Yuam may soon be upgraded to international status, according to an article from the MMtimes from last year.

Forums > Travel Yunnan > travelling form Yunnan to Myanmar

@Peter99, many foreigners have crossed the India/Myanmar border at Tamu/Moreh recently but a permit is still required.

In terms of Mu-se/Ruili being opened, well, if you check out the mmtimes.com website, there have been updates on this recently. Indications are that there are some internal issues on the Myanmar side including possible border demarcation that need to be resolved but more likely, they've been waiting for the new immigration complex to be completed and the new government to make a ruling on upgrading the crossing to international status. Some recent fighting in areas not too far from the main Mu-se to Lashio highway have probably also delayed matters further.

In any case, bringing a car across is a no-no, except for limited travel up to 10km from the border of Ruili registered vehicles. Occasionally I've seen other Chinese registrations in Mu-se, but for further travel beyond the border, advance permission and a guide is required.

In fact, last July 2 Chinese vehicles, one of which was a motorhome was spotted in Pyin Oo Lwin just north of Mandalay. However, they had a guide with them.

Thai and Malaysian tours regularly enter via Mae Sot, Phu Nam Ron in Kanchanaburi or occasionally Mae Sai, but again, they all have permission except for local travel in the border towns near the Thai/Myanmar border which doesn't require any special permission but is only for Thai cars.

Forums > Travel Yunnan > Tourist Visa's killing me softly

@Alien, yes only for these nationals. For everyone else it's as easy as always and I would expect more visa free agreements to be signed between Laos and some major countries, mostly western countries and possibly even China eventually. Currently Swiss, Russians, Japanese, South Koreans, Luxembourg and ASEAN citizens can enter Laos visa free.


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Globalism is relevant here, because it's the dominant ideology that is being force fed down our throats, at least in the west for the past few decades. Just because the media, popular culture and western governments like to force us to accept that crap doesn't mean it should be considered the 'norm' or 'good', which is why I object to people dissing nationalism, without being objective by also criticizing the left's tactics because to me it is a blatant double standard. You would have made a better point if you had correctly pointed out "ultra-nationalism" as being the problem here, which is quite prevalent amongst a significant proportion of the Chinese population and explains the negative reactions of many Chinese netizens to this student's speech.

From the responses here, I can see many GoKunming posters still have their wits about them, but I can guarantee you back in the west you have to assume everyone is a liberal when they only attack speech that is contrary to their worldview.

This student's speech was a sort of subtle way of dissing her country. While it may be a bit excessive for her countrymen to criticize her for correctly pointing out that China has air pollution problems (which would suggest that a Chinese person can't even slightly criticize their homeland), I think what really got Chinese netizens fuming is the claim that there is complete freedom of speech and freedom in general in America but none in China, which is a typical tactic employed by western propagandists trying to make China look bad. I call complete bull on that. You have freedom of speech in America that is protected by the 1st amendment of the constitution, but in practice, there are many places (such as most universities) or situations where anything other than left-wing, liberal, SJW speech is not welcome. Anything of a conservative or libertarian nature is criticized, ridiculed, taken out of context, dismissed etc. and to pretend there's complete freedom of speech in America in 2017 when you have both active and passive censorship taking place is ludicrous. It's also not true that there is absolutely no freedom of speech in China. Yes there are a few things you have to be very careful talking about - but I find it's possible to talk about the vast majority of topics with Chinese people, many of which I would only carefully raise with a westerner or even avoid altogether unless I knew said individual very well. The other thing is when I talk to Chinese people about these topics, sometimes they even bring them up themselves, nobody gets offended, but they relish in the lively discussion.

Another example are publications like The Shanghaiist, the Global Times etc. all allow unfiltered comments of any type to fill their comments sections - some newspapers in the States like the NY Times will delete unfavorable ones. Let's not forget Facebook, or should I say "censorbook", which is increasingly employing the same kind of tactics. Hmm. Double standard much?

Yes, something like that but I think you've misinterpreted my point. I was trying to say that extreme viewpoints on either side of the spectrum are problematic as evidenced by my examples contrasting two ideological opposites that have resulted in largely the same outcomes (violence, rioting, property damage, vandalism etc.) It's always best to reach a conclusion somewhere in the middle by considering both angles to a story. Being perpetually offended by playing the victim card is stupid, but so too is deliberately antagonizing someone or something else.

So does "internationalism" or "globalism", Alien. It produces the insanity that we have been seeing in many parts of the west, the USA in particular of screaming leftists who have become so insane as to threaten the life of the US president yet strangely haven't been arrested for attempted murder. Even the media takes part, in fact the media is a huge part of the problem and yes, it's completely biased and much of their reporting is fake, distorted inconsistent with the facts or omits the truth.

The Chinese form of nationalism that you are referring to may however also be somewhat exaggerated for effect and yes, ultra-nationalism, as many Chinese practice when there is a stir-up of nationalist sentiment in response to a "threat", particularly from the arch-nemisis nation of Japan or Vietnam, the Philippines etc. can get out of hand and sometimes results in innocent lives being lost when a riot starts, in addition to massive property destruction. The anti-Japanese riots of a few years ago, when Japanese cars, probably made in China and driven by Chinese citizens were destroyed is one example. Similarly, an anti-China protest last year I think in Vietnam resulted in a couple of lives lost and a large amount of property destruction at a Taiwanese owned factory. No mainland Chinese people owned any of the assets that were targeted nor were they amongst the victims of the rioting.

So perhaps the point I'd like to make is the best response is the middle ground.

True, the Chinese do drive relatively slowly and I find it's only in the cities, mainly bigger cities where drivers can be quite aggressive. Out of the highways it's a doodle though, especially compared to Thailand where you generally have higher traffic volumes and drivers who drive at much higher speeds.


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