Please read the comments at the end of this article for more up-to-date information from other riders who have experience crossing the border with a motorbike in Southeast Asia. Also if you have done this yourself, please leave a comment with your experiences to help other people. Thanks everyone.
Riding a motorbike around Southeast Asia could possibly be one of the greatest adventures you will ever do in the region!
While taking a motorcycle the length of Vietnam has just about become a rite-of-passage for backpackers, the two neighbouring countries of Laos and Cambodia are often ignored.
Whether it is because people don’t have the time, or don’t think about it, is a true shame. Perhaps it is because “motopackers” aren’t aware that crossing the border with a motorbike is legally possible.
We successfully crossed international borders three times – Laos to Vietnam, Vietnam to Cambodia and then back from Cambodia into Vietnam.
We’re going to give our best advice, based on first-hand experience and research, on which borders you can cross at, and what you need to do this.
Table of Contents
- Crossing The Border With A Motorbike Between Vietnam And Laos
- Crossing The Border With A Motorbike Between Vietnam And Cambodia
- Crossing The Border With A Motorbike Between Laos And Cambodia
- Crossing The Border Into Thailand With A Motorbike
Do I Need Travel Insurance?
Legally, no. Intelligently, yes. Accidents do happen every day and, unfortunately, we have had a few friends be seriously injured or worst, killed on the roads in Southeast Asia.
Motorbiking is dangerous, and there is no denying that. You might think that this won’t happen to you, or that if you are injured that medical care is cheap. But not if you end up in a serious condition.
Seriously consider getting travel insurance before you ride a motorbike in Southeast Asia! If you know the right company, you can even buy travel insurance while you are already on the road (in case you have already started your trip).
If you want to learn more, read our page Do I Need Travel Insurance
We recommend World Nomads.
For our riding itineraries and routes we took across Southeast Asia, check out our articles below:
Northern Laos Motorcycle Adventure
Southern Laos Motorcycle Adventure
Southern Vietnam Motorcycle Adventure
Northern Vietnam Motorcycle Adventure
Thakhek Loop Motorcycle Adventure
Note – all information below is based on owning a Vietnamese registered motorbike, unless otherwise stated.
Crossing The Border With A Motorbike Between Vietnam And Laos
You can take a Vietnamese-plated motorbike between the countries of Vietnam and Laos. As far as we know you cannot take a Lao-plated bike into Vietnam unless you are the registered owner of the motorbike. The two countries share 6 international border crossings.
- Sop Hun / Tay Trang
The Northern-most border in between Muang Khua on the Lao side, and Dien Bien Phu in the Vietnamese side, we have been told that this border crossing is either not possible, or expensive, with a motorbike. ]The guys who we bought our motorbikes off of in Luang Prabang tried to cross the border here and were not permitted to exit Vietnam with them. We have also heard from other riders that when they rode to this border crossing the immigration officials tried to extort a large amount of money from them.
- Na Maew (Na Meo) / Nam Xoi
This border crossing near the Lao town of Sam Neua allows for taking Vietnamese-plated bikes in between countries. When exiting Vietnam you are required to pay US$20 for an ‘import form’ which is supposedly meant to be handed back to customs when you leave Laos with your bike. They also charge a very inflated price for a Lao visa (US$45). As of January 2015, the road on the Vietnamese side is in a terrible state, with very thick mud making the journey quite hazardous. Leave yourself plenty of daylight hours if trying to make this crossing.
- Nam Can / Nam Khan
In between the large towns of Phonsavan in Laos and Vinh in Vietnam, the Nam Can border crossing is open to international tourists. We met two guys in January 2015 who took their Vietnamese motorbikes from Laos back into Vietnam at this crossing with no problems.
- Nam Phao / Cau Treo
A convenient crossing point near Vinh and Lak Xao in Laos, we have also heard stories of people successfully crossing at this border. We have not met anyone who has done this personally though.
- Dansavanh / Lao Bao
This border crossing is not too far from the city of Hue in Vietnam. We have no credible information on the possibility of crossing the border with a motorbike at Lao Bao, although we have heard stories that it is possible. Personally we would not hesitate in attempting this border crossing ourselves.
- Bo Y / Ngoc Hoi
This border crossing is between the major towns of Attapeu in Laos and Kon Tum in Vietnam. It is a remote crossing, with the road on the Laos side being a beautiful mountain pass. Watch out for logging trucks on this road. We crossed from Laos into Vietnam at Bo Y with no problems. The border officials in Laos and Vietnam did not ask for any bribes, fees or extra money to cross. No one asked for the import permits that came with our bikes.
Crossing The Border With A Motorbike Between Vietnam And Cambodia
You can take a Vietnamese-plated motorbike into Cambodia and back. We have heard of people taking Cambodian-plated motorbikes into Vietnam, but have no credible sources on this.
The two countries share 5 international road border crossings. They are as follows:
- Bavet / Moc Bai
This is the main border crossing between Vietnam and Cambodia, and buses regularly ply the route. It is the most convenient crossing to go from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh, and can be done in one big day. It is definitely possible to take a Vietnamese-plated motorbike across the border at this international gate, although you may be asked for fees or bribes.
- Phnom Den / Tinh Bien
This border crossing is close to the Vietnamese town of Chau Doc, and can be a convenient place to get to Kampot, or vice versa. We took our Vietnamese-plated bikes into Cambodia at this border crossing in July, 2014 and had no problems doing so. We were not asked for any additional fees.
- Prek Chak / Xa Xia
Otherwise known as the “Ha Tien” crossing, this coastal border between Vietnam and Cambodia is open to international tourists. We have met people who took their motorbikes across the border at this checkpoint and had no problems.
- Le Thanh / O Yadao
The northern-most border crossing links Ban Lung in Cambodia with Pleiku in Vietnam. There are stories online of people having no problems crossing the border with a Vietnamese-plated motorbike at this checkpoint, but the information is dated.
- Trapaing Sre Border Crossing
This border crossing is close to the town of Snoul in Cambodia and Dong Xoai in Vietnam. This is the one we used to cross the border with our bikes back into Vietnam in October 2014 and had no problems at all.
Crossing The Border With A Motorbike Between Laos And Cambodia
While there are no laws that state taking a bike between Cambodia and Laos is illegal, lately this has been difficult for international tourists due to corruption.
There is only one international border crossing between the two countries.
- Veun Kham / Dom Kralor
Due to this being the only legal border crossing between Laos and Cambodia, it is the most popular option. However when we went to do this in June 2014 we were told by locals and expats that a scam was happening at the border. Apparently the officials let you leave Laos or Cambodia with your bike, but deny you when you try to cross into the next country. They then ask for an extortionate fee to give you ‘permission’ to cross. If you don’t agree to this, a tout then appears and offers to buy your bike for peanuts. As you are stuck in no-man’s land, you are left with little choice but to sell your bike. Due to these stories we decided to skip this border crossing and head into Vietnam instead.
Special Note: We met a local man on Don Det, in the 4000 Islands, who made an interesting proposition to us. He offered to ferry us and our bikes across the Mekong River into Cambodia and park them at his friend’s farm, before taking us back to Laos.
We then could cross the border from Laos into Cambodia on foot and hitchhike up to the property to collect our bikes. As tempted as we were, we decided against this. We DO NOT recommend illegally crossing borders between any countries. But if you end up doing this, please let us know how you go!
Crossing The Border Into Thailand With A Motorbike
Yes, it is possible to take a Cambodian or Vietnamese registered bike into Thailand – but it is not easy.
First you will need all the correct registration papers, and bike insurance. Officially you need the bike to be completely registered in your name, although there are ways around this.
If you do manage to take a motorbike into Thailand, you are often given a form stating that you have 30 days to exit, and you have to nominate which border you will exit at.
Our friend Seb found a ‘Power Of Attorney’ form online and had the previous owners of his bike and a Cambodian man co-sign them.
Seb crossed the border first, leaving his friend with the bikes. Seb purchased the mandatory motorbike insurance and showed enough authorities the forms that they eventually let his friend cross the border. This took 3 hours.
This comes from Olli and Wooki, two Germans who crossed from Laos into Thailand:
Yesterday we crossed from Laos to Thailand over the Friendship Bridge No. 4 between Huay Xay and Chiang Khong. All it cost us was one USD for some Photocopies, got 30 days in Thailand for free.
First, they wanted us to pay for the police car escorting us while crossing the bridge, but when we told them we dont want to pay we didn’t have to.
Finishing the paperwork took about one hour. On the papers it says that we have to bring the Bikes out of the country again, so it seems that we cant leave without them.
Extra Tips For Crossing The Border
Cambodian and Lao visa-on-arrivals are available at almost all the border crossings. Vietnamese visas must be obtained ahead of time. However we recommend getting your visa before arriving at the checkpoints.
This way there is one less thing for the authorities to hold over your head in case they decide to be difficult.
Another tip we got told is to park your bike ‘out of sight’ when you check out of one country, and hide it when you check into the next country.
Then once your passport is stamped, jump on the motorbike and ride like hell before the authorities can stop you. Again, we don’t recommend this (but it may work).
Vietnamese-registered motorbikes are the easiest for moving between countries, and we recommend buying one if you can. Make sure it comes with the blue registration form and keep it on you at all times.
Another thing to carry with you is an International Driving Permit, although this means nothing in Vietnam. You may be asked for this at a border crossing though, so it doesn’t hurt to have one on you.
When you are dealing with the customs officials, do not mention your motorbike at all, unless they ask. They might just be turning a blind eye to it, but by you bringing it up may make them consider asking for money for it.
[box type=”info” size=”large” style=”rounded” border=”full”]Do you have experience at crossing the border with a motorbike in Southeast Asia? If so, let us know below about which border crossing you used and how it went. [/box]
412 thoughts on “Crossing The Border With A Motorbike In Southeast Asia”
Today on the 14th of march 2023 I succesfully crossed the taytrang/ pang hok border into laos on my vietnamese plated motorbike I bought in HCMC. However it was not very easy. When I came to the vietnam side of the border I parked my bike and then went to get the exit stamp. But the guy told me to first deal with exporting the bike so I went to another desk. At this screen the man didn’t want to help me and wrote to google translate that ‘people from another country other then Vietnam or Laos cannot export a motorbike and that it is forbidden by law’. Then the guy walked away. So I went to another window and told the guy that I wanted to export my bike, he walked to the window i was before to notice his coworker was not there. Then he sat down himself and I handed over the blue card and buying papers. Then a bunch of questions came but I did put 500k dong already on the desk. Then after half an hour he signed the export and I got my exit stamp after that and could leave. Then I drove down to the Laotian borden which is a couple km’s further. This was the easy part and people were very friendly. I paid 25.000 kip for the bike or so and 10.000 to get an entry stamp. Please be aware that you’ll need to have a visa, which you can get at the embassy in Hanoi, which is also very easy. So I made it although I was very scared I would not, this because the information on the internet says that it is not possible. It is and I am the prove!
what happens if you cross the border from Vietnam to Laos and get a temporary import sheet which means they “marry” the vietnamese plate to your passport number. Then you want to leave the bikes in Vientiane and fly home. Will they ask for the bikes at the airport? Was anybody already in this situation and can tell about his experience?
Hi Alex, we are looking to cross the border from Cambodia to Vietnam by motorcycle, the motorcycle is registered in Vietnam. Can you help please
I have Cambodia registered 400cc motorcycle. Have been taking it into Thailand and Laos for over 10 years. If bike is registered in your name and you have reg. card then it is easy as can be. Once you are in their database then very simple to cross borders. Only border that can be a hassle is Poi Pet. Just stand your ground (with calm and respect but confident) or just use a different crossing.
Can u give a short summary what documents are needed for the crossings with Cambo registerd bike on your name? Thanks a lot!
I found your article very helpful, thank you so much for your content.
Two of my buddies roads their motorcycles up to the Friendship bridge to cross over from Nong Khai Thailand into Laos and for some reason the Laos government told them no way. They had to turn around and drive 5 hours back down to Khon Kaen for nothing. I have since heard the story repeated many times that louse will not allow you to enter like that.
Hello ! I Am currently in Cambodia and when the border of Laos or Vietnam will open again I would like to cross them with my bike. IT has vietnamese numberplate so IT should be possible.
I know I will have to fill a form for me with passeport number, name, nationaly… But do I have to write down another form just for the bike as well ? Do I need to write down the number plate somewhere when I leave the country ?
I’m talking about the Checkout point from Cambodia to Laos or Cambodia to Vietnam border but any other information of your Own expérience would be much appreciated !
Crossing Border from Laos to Cambodia (Veun Kham – Stueng Traeng)
with Vietnam registered motorbike
The guy behind the desk was asking for my Arrival and Departure forms. But when I came in from Hanoi / Na Meo the woman on the Laos Desk gave me only the Arrival Form to fill in and I left it with them. No one told me there’s a departure form and that I would have to bring them with to the departure. Maybe he just made that up to charge me 5$. Well I gave him 2$ and he was still sad. So I made my final offer and put 20,000 kip on top. That made him happy and within a few seconds I was through.
Another guy (probably customs) spotted my Motorbike and was already happy when I gave him the green import form (which you get while entering Laos, valid 30 days, 3$ fee). I didn’t ask further and went off to the Cambodia side.
A guy behind a gate pointed out where I have to drive. I went straight to the Arrival Building, as there was no point in hiding my Bike, because 3 policemen already spotted me and waved me to them. One of them (in his tiny booth outside the arrival building) gave me the standard form for everyone arriving. For that service he wanted me to pay 1$. I ask what for and if I get a receipt. He said no. Well, I could’ve just went off but I had still kip over and he was satisfied happy 10,000 kip. Karma points for me.
So I went into the arrival building with said form and my passport (which already hat the Visa in it). No questions ask, fingerprints and photo taken, for my passport back with a “Used” stamp on the Visa and entry/exit date stamp on the form.
When I went outside the same guy as before pointed me to customs. I just said “yes, okay” and drove off without looking back –—because I read in many other comments that they don’t provide any import papers whatsoever. Furthermore, when I go back into Vietnam, there are Border (like Ha Tien) which even don’t blink at bikes (many more comments about that, hopefully true ).
So in total I payed for the crossing 2$ and 30,000 kip and was done in 25 minutes.
Fellow travellers: Having read all the stories about how complicated the border crossing with a motorbike can be, admittedly we were a bit worried.
Here is how we crossed the Lao-Cambodian border (South of the 4000 islands) on December 31 2019 with our two vietnamese plated Detech Win with blue cards:
– We arrived at the Laos border at around 8:30am, asked the Laos official if we can go to the Cambodian side to ask if we are allowed to enter with our motorbikes. He said ‘yes’.
– On the Cambodian side we asked the customs officer. We suggested $20 for both bikes. He said “$20 per bike”. We agreed.
– We went back to the Laos side, paid $2 for the stamp.
– Back on the Cambodian side we paid next to the $20 (each) another $2 for the stamp.
– We left the border-crossing at 9:15am.
= Easy peasy. Don’t believe all cock-and-bull stories & best of luck!
I did the Laos-Cambodia crossing by motorbike today!
Here’s what happened we pulled up on laos side and went to get our stamp to get out of Laos the guy tried charging my partner and I 2 US dollars each.
We argued and said never had we had to pay a stamp before. Then said we would pay if he give us a receipt.
He refused and got angry and closed the window on us and told us we have to wait till Monday.
We was then stood outside and he came out and said to us you may be better off going asking Cambodia if you can bring your bike over and come back for your stamp.
So we biked over to Cambodia side and hid our motorbike at the back before going around to the desk, we walked in and was going to try get away with not having a laos stamp to get out .
This didn’t work the guy started screaming at people saying if you ain’t got a lao departure stamp your not getting a cambodia one.
So we basically just said what so if we go get a stamp we can get our visa he said yes
So we walked back to Laos leaving our motorbike hidden and got back to the window the same guy when we got back only made us pay 1 dollar each for the stamp and then we returned to Cambodia side, we got there walked in and got our visa for 35 US dollars and our stamp didn’t mention the motorbike once, we then left the building and went and got on our motorbike and drove out in Cambodia!!! I
So throughout all of it on a motorbike we only had to pay 1 dollar each Laos side and that was the full costs!!
Today, JANUARY 15, 2020, I have successfully crossed with my motorbike (Honda Winner 150CC manual) from Vietnam to Laos at the Na Maew (Na Meo) / Nam Xoi (Nam Souy) border. The border crossing paperwork took 20 minutes total (about 10 min on Vietnam exit side, and about 10 min on the Laos side). No bribes and all costs were exactly as expected. COSTS: 200,000 Dong for Vietnam Export motorbike fee (you’ll get a white paper with red stamp). And over at Laos border control, I paid 70,000 Dong for Laos motorbike import document fee (actual fee is 25,000 Lao Kip, but I didn’t have Kip with me and the border control agent accepted VN Dong). The Vietnam Border Agent asked for my Blue Card (not in my name, but it didn’t matter, which I presented), I paid him 200,000 Dong and he gave me Export paperwork . I then walked into the next room and my US Passport was Stamped out of Vietnam. Then you drive about 500 meters and do Laos paperwork. NOTE: I had the LAOS Visa already (issued in HANOI for $50 USD – for US citizen) the week prior. All I had to pay after getting Stamped into Laos was the 25,000 KIP motorbike import fee (you’ll get a Blue paper). ROAD CONDITIONS: Vietnam side were excellent (9 out of 10 if I had to score it). Beautiful ride. Also, it should be noted that Vietnam Route 217 (QL217) is OPEN AND CLEAR. I rode the QL 15 South from Hoa Binh, Vietnam, and then West on the QL 217 all the way to the border at Na Mèo – No issues, even though Google Maps at the time of this post was not direct routing me along the QL 2017 when searching driving directions to Na Mèo border. ROAD CONDITIONS: Laos side were above average* (7 out of 10 if I had to score it). Laos side was way better than I expected based on everything I had read… *It should be noted I had absolutely perfect weather today (It was dry, 80 degrees, and zero mud). There was small loose travel and rough road patches, but you get this all over. If I had to travel this same route in the RAINY SEASON, I could see how there are many reports of the road being shit without a proper bike. In dry season, it’s nearly a piece of cake. The roads on Laos side is a mix of newly constructed perfect road, to gravel, to hard packed dirt (however, it would be mud in the rain). This border crossing region (on both sides: Vietnam and Laos) suffers from land slides, so I could see how travel in rainy season could be a challenge. Good luck!
I crossed one day behind you, January 16 and had the same experience. No problems, same fees. Easy border crossing with the Moto. I tried to cross the northern border at Tay Trang a few days before and was denied.
Hello! We are looking to cross the same border in a week or so…is anyone still in northern Laos now? We are wondering about the burning in Feb and March. We are very open with our travel and schedule and don’t want to go if we will encounter a lot of smoke and ruin our experience there. We have read that it can change from year to year and different months so we would love some info if someone is there now! We plan to stay in northern Laos for three weeks or so.
I tried to cross into Na Meo with my bike today however a visa needs to be obtained from the Laos embassy before crossing as they no longer issue visas on arrival. E-visas will not be accepted. Cau Treo/Nam Phao is my next port of call and have heard visa on arrival are still working at this gate as of last week.The road to Na Meo is in great condition and is a stunning drive.
This is an awesome article . And I would like to ask for your permission to share something like that. Thank you so much.
We are all connected by a love for travel. And if you are heading and planning on driving a motorbike through Vietnam, do not miss out our talking. You and my backpacker friends can gossip about amazing travelling experiences.
– The top motorcycle routes that you should discover and guide you the least-visited local places where you’ll find gorgeous natural beauty, culture and history without pushing through a thicket of selfie sticks.
– I make some bilingual flashcards by Vietnamese and English to give you (just a small gift with the hope it’s useful for you to mingle with the local at each destination that you drop by).
– Accommodation suits your budget
– Vietnam’s traffic and law you should learn
– Mechanical issues you may have during the ride
– Guide you where to buy motorbike and more importantly, if you worry about Vietnam’s traffic, we have available motorbike for you to try.
Riding across the whole length of Vietnam will be one of the best adventures of your life, so it’s pleasure to share with you and wish you can get some tips as well as might be helpful for your trip.
Add: Harry Homestay – 38/1, Street 19, Hiep Binh Chanh, Thu Duc Dist, HCMc.
Phone number: 093 277 3305
Hi guys, thanks so much for the info!
I will be visiting Vietnam for 5 weeks in December. I have 30-day visa free entry to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. The problem now is I can’t get a visa for longer than 1 month for Vietnam so I am thinking of doing a border hop into either Laos or Cambodia and back into Vietnam to renew my visa. I will be buying a motorbike in Hanoi and riding north to south. Is there any recommended checkpoint to go into Laos/Cambodia and back into Vietnam? I don’t mind spending a few days in either if there is a nearby town (to sleep in) or something to see or do near the border before heading back into Vietnam.
Hi everyone !
Just to let you know my partner and I have crossed the border from Vietnam to Cambodia with our motorbikes a few days ago (18/09/2019) and it was way easier than I expected ! We crossed from Le Than border (VN) and we were on the road in Cambodia in 45 minutes.
We paid 30US$ for the Cambodian visa, parked our bikes in front of the office and had no trouble at all (Maybe because it is not really a touristic area?). We even had no passport photos and they didn’t ask for one. And the guy delivering the visas had a hat with weed drawings on it (just so you know how chill they are aha!)
One tip before you go: make sure you change all your dongs in USD in Pleiku (in a jewellery) because you cannot do it after and you have to pay for your visa in USD. Also the road on the Cambodian side has a few holes so drive carefully.
That’s pretty much it! Enjoy!
I crossed with a friend and our two motorbikes in Na Meo. We had to pay 200 000 dong each for the bikes.
I think at Lao side they asked also for a little fee for the motorbike importpapers.
The importpaper you get in Laos is a bit tricky. If you overstay it you need to pay 5-10 $ a day. We extended it once for a month in Vientiane at the Laos border next to the friendship bridge. You have to pay 25’000 kip for. A friend told me, that some traveler also just say that they lost the paper if they overstay to much. So in this case, sometimes you need to pay them about 10 $ and sometimes they just let you go.
We also crossed the border from Laos to Cambodia succesfully. My friend did it 3 days before me and told me he had to pay 20 $ for the bike.
When I came to the border by myself, I first needed a ticket for the bike. The guy showed me 20 on his calculator. Maybe he was asking for 20 000 kip but I endet up to give him 20 dollar. When I realised that this was Laos departure border and the cambodian border would ask me again for money, I got scared, as I only had the money left for my Visa.
So the moment came, that the policeman asked me to come to his office at Cambodian side. He told me, that the cambodian gouvernement officially do not allow viatnamese bikes entering from Laos side. He told me, you can pay 20 $ and I let you go.
This was the moment, when I startet to cry. I explained him that I just left my last 20 $ at the Laos border and only got 35 $ for the visa left. The policeman felt obviously compassion for me so after a while and a few sobs, he told me, okay I give you the permission to cross.
So I am probably the first tourist since ages who did not have to pay corruption fee at the cambodian border. But only because I was stupid enough to leave my last money at the Laos departure border and well, the tears helped probably.
So i spent all in all: 2 dollars stemp fee at Laos side, 20 $ for ticket for motorbike, what was probably only 20 000 kip, 35 $ (Switzerland) for my visa at the Cambodian side
Hey. Today we crossed the border Na Maew (Na Meo) / Nam Xoi with motobike with Vietnamese registration.
The road on vietnamese side is pretty good. We came from Ninh binh and the traffic becomes less and less crowded and the landscape more and more beautiful. Some parts of the asphalt is very new. You can enjoy here.
Arriving at the boarder, the checkpoint was completely empty.
On vietnamese side was very easy and we had to pay 200.000vdn (around 8$) for – we don’t know. Maybe for the pocket of the guy.
On Lào side we had to apply for visa and pay 35$ per person. For the motobike we need something like a visa too. We payed 3$ for this. We filled in, that the value of the bike is around 80$, maybe this is important.
All officers were very kalm and cool, and after an half an hour we could pass the border.
On Lào side the road became to mixture of sand path, asphalt road and very deep mud holes. It changed everytime for about 50km. For some parts you should be and experienced driver or you have to go very very slow. But in the last days it rained here, maybe this is the cause.
If you are inexperienced in driving a motobike off-road, here are some tips: think of your way, before you get in.
Stay in this way! Don’t change fitful.
Don’t shift in a difficult situation (most time second gear is best).
When the road is slippery because of small stones, use the rear brake and the engine break for downhill.
Have a good and save ride.
This is really useful information.
Can you confirm that QL217 road is open? Google maps says it’s closed.
Thanks for your update. Can you tell me what documents you needed to provide? Sadly we forgot to get our IDL before we left home and are a little worried it could be an issue.
Me and my girlfriend crossed the border from Cambodia to Laos with our Vietnamese played motorbike. After reading this blog and comments below, we were a little bit scared 🙂 but to be honest, it was a piece of cake.
When we came to the crossing from Cambodian side, we just turned off the engine and hid the motorbike on a huge parking behind the guards building. Then we just got our passports stamped and came back to our motorbike. When passing the guards outside the building, somebody shouted at us, but we did not stop (and because of the helmet I could not understand what he wanted).
Ok, here comes the Lao side. There was literally no place to hide the bike, so it was standing just in front of the guards desk and it was fully visible. We got our visas, took the motorbike and drove into Laos. The crossing took us about 40 minutes, and the most difficult thing was filling in all these Lao registration forms 🙂
Costs? We payed 30$ for each visa and 2$ each on Cambodian side and 2$ dach on Lao side for some ‘administrative proceedings’. Maybe I should consider this as the bribes, because I know that these payments have no legal basis, but still – 8 additional dollars after all the stories is nothing for me.
Maybe we were lucky. Maybe the guards at Cambodian side were thinking that we are without motorbike (there was a small group of tourists at the same time, around 1 pm, crossing the border on their feet and planning to catch the bus). But I want to communicate you all – we did it! We crossed the border between Cambodia and Laos with a Vietnamese-plated motorbike!
Crossing the border between Cambodia and Laos with your Vietnamese plated motorbike! Here is how it works: We read a lot of dodgy stuff about this crossing and were excited when the day finally came we would cross from Cambodia into Laos.
When you arrive there they will spot you right away. You can try to hide your bike like we did when we entered Cambodia but they know what to look for! A guy with a funny uniform and a police patch he probably put on his chest himself chills outside. He will wait until you entered the building and will scream at you letting all of his little scum back friends know he spotted a victim. He will be very rude telling you he is police and you need to go to customs due to your motorbike. When you enter the customs office there is another guy claiming money and a lot of paper work which doesn’t exist (we asked a guy in the Cambodian embassy in Ho Chi Minh City about that). If you are lucky he asks you to bring your motorbike to his window, if not TELL him you don’t understand and you will get it to his window!
Leave his office and wait for some 5-10 mins. Then go straight to the counter and get your passport stamped! You definitely DONT go to get your bike and bring it to the customs window. Just try to become invisible and queue in front of the stamping counter.
It might also work to hide and hang around the building after the first guy screamed at you. It is essential that enough time passed so people behind the counter think you paid for your bike!
After you got your stamp hop on your bike and leave as fast as you can.
Otherwise sit it out. Maybe check for your embassy’s phone number. Don’t be scared! They can’t do anything. Bring extra food and water and some good threats.
Happy Crossings 😉
We crossed at the 20th of May from Cambodia to Laos.
We crossed around the same time, from Laos to Cambodia. First Laos side tells us to make sure we can cross the border to Cambodia, so we went there and set a price for the bikes (they asked 20$ per bike, in the end could settle for 20$ for 2 bikes, still too much). Than we went back Laosside, had to pay another 5$ each for some paper we apparantly should have got when we entered. Than went back to Cambodia. They were really rude there and tried to get more money for some stamp, we said no and decided to wait (we brought water and food). After an hour or so the grumpy guy finally came to us and finnished the visas. So 30$ for visa, 10$ for bike.
A friend of us did the same border but did not had to pay for his bike, did pay more for the visa (around 37$).
I crossed at Na Meo about a week ago. The roads on the Vietnamese side are incredible. Newly paved, beautiful scenery. I had no problems at the border crossing from Laos into Vietnam… But I’ve heard of some people getting asked to pay an “import fee” of 200k or so to enter Laos from Vietnam. The couple coming from Vietnam into Laos seemed to be asked to pay this, but I think they managed to avoid it. On my end though, no issues. The roads on the Laos side to Sam Nuea are in really rough shape though. 60 km took me about 3.5 hours because the roads are littered with potholes, or are slippery because they have yet to be paved and are only sand/dirt. It’s possible, but go slow and leave yourself lots of time because there isn’t much on the Laos side until you get to Sam Nuea. Also, make sure your bike in good shape. Mine was a little unstable and it caused me to slip at one point. There is also one part of the road that was a steep downhill but all sand… Making for a very slipperly ride heading towards Vietnam… I think this would be really difficult to manage going up hill if you’re coming from the other way so just be very careful. It was a stressful ride, but an adventure for sure. Hope that helps!
In looking at Google maps, it lists QL217 as closed between the Na Meo border and Ban Chieng. Was this the case when you went this way four months ago? Just not sure if I can trust Google maps. Many thanks!
Crossed from Vietnam to Cambodia with no problem at Le Thanh / O Yadao border. Pretty unknown place, but so quiet. They didn’t even look at the bike. I recommend it to those who want to cross to Cambodia after visiting Hue or Hoi An.
just wanna let know you about our experiences:
– Bought bikes HCMC with blue cards
– Crossed the border to Cambodia (Ha Tien) with no problems, but didn’t get any registration papers although we asked the Cambodian border control if we have to register it in Cambodia.
– Crossed the border from Cambodia to Laos on the 28th of Feb 2019. Had to go to the Cambodian customs and where asked for the registration from entering Cambodia (what we asked for before, see above). They “asked” for 20$ for each bike to get the registration forms we should have got when entered Cambodia. We bargained a lot and paid 24$ in total for three bikes but didn’t get the forms/certificates. But we could leave Cambodia with the bikes. The Lao customs for sure asked for this forms/registrations which we didn’t have. But with a grumpy face they agreed and we got the laotian papers for 5$ each and made it to Laos. In total we paid 13$ each to cross with bikes and are in Laos now officially with our bikes.
Good luck to everybody!
Hello bro, which border did you use to cross from cambodia to laos?
My girlfriend and I crossed the International HOA LU border from Vietnam to Cambodia and we paid in DONG, 720k dongs each ( ~31$), very easy with the motorbikes.
Have good travel.
Hey everyone! Thanks for the amazing post and comments. I planned my border crossings based on what i read here and everything went well!
From Vietnam to Laos –
Dansavanh / Lao Bao:
Crossed on 24/12/18, Monday morning, no one asked for bribes or documents. Only paid the 30$ Lao visa. Very convenient. Good roads on both sides.
From Lao to Vietnam
Nam Phao / Cau Treo
Crossed on 7/01/19: this border is in the mountains, be careful with the fog. I crossed late in the afternoon wich was a bad idea, the road on the Vietnamese side were pretty bad, and I had to drive 1 hour in the dark until I found a guest house. No bribes or documents asked. Entered Vientam with an E visa that allowed me to cross specifically at Cause Treo.
Vietnam to Camdobia:
Prek Chak / Xa Xia
When entering in Cambodia police asked 35$ for visa instead of 30. They tried to argue that 5$ was for the motorbike, and if I didn’t pay I should leave the bike there. I showed them I had no money, and they let me pass. “But tell your friends that it’s 35$ with the bike”. So be ready to pay 5$ to avoid troubles.
Safe travels, motorbike in SE Asia is awesome!
Hi friends! Just got back from a recent 4 day ride (16-19 Jan 2019) between Vietnam & Cambodia, clocked at least 720KM on the VN-plated Yamaha Nouvo Neo Edition automatic scooter I rented in HCMC. Used major roads & highways most of the time, my route:
HCMC → Can Tho → Rach Gia → Phu Quoc (via ferry) → Ha Tien (via ferry) → Phnom Den / Tinh Bien Border Gate → Phnom Penh → Bavet / Moc Bai Border Gate → HCMC
Some points I thought were really important:
* For motor rentals, do NOT leave your passport behind. You will need it for customs / border crossing
* ASEAN passports are exempted from visa requirements for Cambodia & Vietnam, so border crossing was thankfully much less of a hassle for me. However do make sure that your passport has at least 6 months validity. My personal experience was that customs officials were a little ‘hairy’ about creating potential issues, especially on the Cambodian side. Be polite but firm.
* Google Maps & Translate were lifesavers for me. I personally recommend getting a Viettel SIM at the airport AND getting data roaming enabled (ask the Viettel staff for help on this). Viettel does not have data roaming charges for Cambodia & Laos. However I did top up 150k VND on my prepaid SIM just to be on the safe side.
Lastly, this website has been such a wealth of valuable info. Thanks guys! 🙂
We crossed the border between Cambodia and Laos in both directions on two motorbikes rented in Phnom Penh in 2014 without any problems. Visa could be bought for both countries at this border. crossing
I am glad to hear someone had a positive experience while crossing from cambodia to laos. Wich border did you use to cross?
thank for sharing this wonderful post.
I was wondering
I’m planning to go to Vietnam in April 2019
do you have any recommendation,
if I want to ride a motorbike cross these three countries border
which order is better and easy to cross-border?
1.Vietnam ->Cambodia ->Laos -> Vietnam
2.Vietnam ->Laos->Cambodia -> Vietnam
could you please give me some advice about advantage and disadvantage?
thank you so much again
The Laos to Cambodia border is a nightmare and I am gather the other way too. They tend to leave you in limbo with your motorbike and will not let you bring it into either country, then a person appears to buy it for nothing and get you out of trouble. This was in the past so I do not know what it is like now.
When we were travelling around on our bikes, we went from Laos to Vietnam then Vietnam to Cambodia and returning back to Vietnam. We had no troubles at the border between Vietnam as our bikes were Vietnam plated.
Ask around at hostels, others might have more information. All the best
Hey what border did you use ? Bo Y / Ngoc Hoi ? From Lao to Vietnam ?
Hi, we crossed at Bo Y.
I’m also planning a trip by motorbike in Vietnam in April. Are you going solo? Maybe we can share info, possibly ride portions of it together.
– Payam M
Hey! In a couple of days I will be in Laos. There I’m thinking of buying a motorbike and drive around, to later cross the border from Laos to Vietnam and eventually Vietnam to Cambodia. Do you think this will be possible as fo the borders right now? (Passing from Laos o Vietnam just after new year) And if so what do I need to think about when buying the bike? (Like vietnamese license plate) Only have International driving license.
a precious information for those who want to cross the cambodian border from vietnam on a LARGE motorbike i was searching for this info , including here ( the most complete) so :
I m Vietnamese resident and I ride a Harley Davidson 1200 cc, i had hard time to get the blue card under my own name ( NN ) as it s mandatory to cross the borders, i have my Vietnamese and got rejected at the main Entrance ( Bavet ) large motorcycle need a certificate of transit for border crossing it s delivered at the same place as you get your international licence converted to vietnamese licence
( pasteur street hcm ) so i ll try to get this and redo a test in few weeks but for those riding over 500 cc .. now you know
FAIL the ministery of transportation do not deliver transit doc for motorcycles Car only …. so the officier at the border ask for a non existing document … Sucks i keep searching
Hi everyone !
Here’s my statement about my Vietnam/ Laos border crossing:
Entered 3 weeks ago from Vietnam to laos at Bo Y.
Like other traveler’s comment before it’s easy and I even didn’t hide the motor bike.
On each side they have a first checkpoint, asking for the passport, later you get in the “arrival hall” for your stamp and the third one check the passport again.
On the Laos side the first one didn’t ask for the passport and he sent me strait to the Visa counter. I parked the bike in front of 2 officials while they were sitting at a table playing with the mobile phone. One of them gave me the paperwork to do, I sit down at the same table and filled out the forms. 32$ and a foto….ready to go!!
At the third hut they checked my passport/ visa and I was in 🙂
The way back to Vietnam I crossed at Na Meo. Again, like other comments, the road is really bumpy and just in the middle you’ll have about 1km soil road while they are working at this moment. I got stucked there while a truck blocked the road.
Unfortunately it’s quite steep at this point and I was lucky to going down. I think going up you will push your bike!!
60km will take 2.5 hour’s.
The border crossing is easier than at the entrance, so there’s only one point to stop. On Laos side they stamped the passport a I need to push my bike through the gate. I think they were laughing behind me, but I didn’t care. On Vietnam side the same procedure but they also checked my luggage with the x-ray. (I hold a 3 month multiple entry visa).
Keep calm and smiling and enjoy the road.
Safe travel to all…..
Thanks for the info Adrian
We smoothly crossed the border between Vietnam and Laos Na Meo on motorbike (rented in Vietnam) in November 2018. However the road on Laos side is really rough so have plenty of time because it will be a challenge to reach the first town.
Sylwia & Martin
I crossed at Na Meo, friday 16 nov 2018, with vietnamese 100cc bike. No problems at all, blue card was essential. Total cost around 1.3mil v.dong (35$ visa + stamping fee etc).
Ride to Viang Xai approx 2hrs 30 driving time + short breaks + 45min wait at road works. It was sunny so mud was mostly dry, a few slidy patches, and last 20km flat steam rolled stones (just waiting for tarmac). If it had rained i would expect journey time to double.
Plenty of small shops for drinks/snacks in laos, they let me pay in v. dong too, 2 petrol stations which i didn’t need.
As i only got a 30 day visa for laos, i discovered my bike too has a 30 day visa. This cam be extended once by 30 days but you must extend your personal visa first. Overstaying your bikes visa costs 10$ per day. Therefore my plan of going to thailand for a couple of months and coming back to get my bike in laos has had to be changed. Also people i have met over here with foreign bikes all seem to suggest you must return via gate of entry. I dont know if this is true…but i have therefore decided to return to vietnam via na meo in a few days. Kev
Hi, we crossed the border on similar motorbike in Na Meo last year. We got import / export document for the motorbike. We didn’t have to move the bike back at the same border. The only need was the import / export document when you leave the country on any cross border.
Hello and thank you in advance for any info.
My friend and I are looking for suggestions on rental bikes from phnom Penh that will allow us to keep our passports for border crossings into laos and Cambodia. Any info would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Brian, our advice is NEVER to give your passport to a rental company. Definitely leave a photocopy with them but never your passport. Pop into The Mad Money hostel, they may know of someone.
For information I tried the Na Mèo border from Vietnam to Laos. Impossible to leave Vietnam because I am holding an Evisa. Do not try to leave from there if you got an evisa into Vietnam… If you have a regular tourist visa it should be OK
Also impossible to cross in Nam can border. Vietnamese side doesn’t want to let me leave with the motorbike. They don’t even accept locals to cross with their scooters.
Let’s try the next border
On the opposite way, do they let motorbike in ?
Date : 17/09/2018
From : Vietnam -> to : Laos
Border : Na Meo
Price : 200.000Vnd (Export tax) – ~1.05Md (Laos Visa, 45dollars I believe) – 80.000d (Import tax). You can pay all in VND which is good. Chinese gold seller can exchange you VND to 50 dollars or Kip with good rate.
Road quality : Vietnam (Perfect), Laos (6/10) Not bad. I saw worst in vietnam. Mud slide can make it longer
Advice : Get a 5L tank (100.000d) and fruit because the road will be long
Advice 2 : Do not try Dien Bien, motorbike is refused if the plate number isn’t “27.XXXX”.
Advice 3 : Push your bike to be respectful and smile 🙂
First city in Laos : Viang Xai, it’s not really good city, 2 not working atm, few accomodation.
Second big city in Laos is Xam Nuea (Atm works, food, accommodation, petrol, normal city!)
Quan son is the last city in vietnam (Atm, food, petrol)
Fill export form in vietnam, need blue card
than going to Laos, fill arrival form (can pre-fill here https://www.laos-guide-999.com/laos-visa-on-arrival.html) + fill transfer form + 1 photo. Then pay import tax.
I crossed from Laos to Vietnam at Bo Y / Ngoc Hoi earlier this week with no hassles and no bribes. No one even looked twice at the bike and they didn’t ask for papers. I also arrived one day before my Vietnam visa entry date and they either didn’t realise or didn’t have a problem with it.
In August 2018 me and my girlfriend crossed with our honda blade and honda wave (vietnamese plates)from Vietnam over the border in Na Meo into Laos. They charged us around 45USD for bikes and Visa. Avoid the weekend, then it is more expensive. And be prepaired for a rough and maybe very muddy road after rain at the lao-side until Viang Xay! Do it at daylight with a propper bike and enough patrol.
We tried it before also at the more norther border-checkpoints in Dien Bien (not possible with bikes with vietnamese plates) and at Tien Son (only locals, no tourists). Do not waste your time there.
After this we drived to Cambodia via Vietnam. The crossing at the 4Thousand-Islands with Vietnamese Bikes is not possible! Dont try it. We heard storys, that the Lao-Border-Police let you into the No-Mans-Land and then you and your bike are stucked there(and it is realy expensive to get back to Lao…).Smuggeling is possible…ask some locals in Don Det. We decided to drive back to Vietnam via Attapeu. Dont drive the road Number 18A in Laos.After a dambreak and a flood there are no more bridges(for the next few month/years?…this information nobody tells you! If you realy want to drive the road nr.18, get informed!)
To go east from Pakse you must drive via Paxong to Attapeu. Then to cross the border to Vietnam at Bo Y and back from Vietnam to Cambodia after Pleiku is easy. They are not interested in your bikes.
Now we are in Phnom Penh and try to sell our bikes after a fantasic 3month-trip!
Maxi and Felix
I successfully crossed the border at Pak Nhai/Pleiku from Cambodia to Vietnam today. Nobody asked about the bike, but they did take a look at the plates. Be aware though, I was told on the Cambodian side that they do not issue visas at the Vietnamese side.
Thank you for the updated information Magnus. 🙂
Hey there folks!
I am in currently in Phonsovan, Laos, trying to figure out my Vietnam E-visa in the next couple of days. I plan to make the border crossing at Nam Can with my Honda Win (with Vietnamese Blue card). My question is about luggage. Will I need to take my bags off from my bike and bring them inside with me or should I just leave them on my bike?
Hi Owen, hope it all went well for you. We did take off our bags when crossing the borders. They scanned them. Happy travels
Hi, can you cross the boarder with the e-visa by land?
In August 2018 me and my girlfriend crossed with our honda blade and honda wave (vietnamese plates)from Vietnam over the border in Na Meo into Laos. They charged us around 45USD for bikes and Visa. Avoid the weekend, then it is more expensive. And be prepaired for a rough and maybe very muddy road at the lao-side until Viang Xay! Do it at daylight with a propper bike and enough patrol.
We tried it before also at the more norther border-checkpoints in Dien Bien (not possible with bikes with vietnamese plates) and at Tien Son (only locals, no tourists). Do not waste your time there.
After this we drived to Cambodia via Vietnam. The crossing at the 4Thousand-Islands with Vietnamese Bikes is not possible! Dont try it. We heard storys, that the Lao-Border-Police let you into the No-Mans-Land and then you and your bike are stucked there(and it is realy expensive to get back to Lao…).Smuggeling is possible…ask some locals in Don Det. We decided to drive back to Vietnam via Attapeu. Dont drive the road Number 18A in Laos.After a dambreak and a flood there are no more bridges(for the next few month/years?…this information nobody tells you! If you realy want to drive the road nr.18, get informed!)
To go east from Pakse you must drive via Paxong to Attapeu. Then to cross the border to Vietnam at Bo Y and back from Vietnam to Cambodia after Pleiku is easy. They are not interested in your bikes.
Now we are in Phnom Penh and try to sell our bikes after a fantastic 3month-trip!
Hey, Incredible masters, I’ve decided to go Vietnam then buy motorbike to travel in SEA by crossing border. but I’ve heard of international driving license doesn’t work in Vietnam. which mean i have to pass Vietnamese driving license test.
So i just wondering that is it possible to get blue card without their license?
Should I show driving license when i purchase motorbike?
Thanks in advance 🙂
Hi, I think you are right with the Vietnamese licence. At the time we didn’t realise and rode all of Vietnam (7 months) using our international licence. Maybe we were lucky but we never got pulled up or had to deal with police. We purchased our motorbikes off other travellers. We made sure the blue card came with the bike and they didn’t care about the licence. If you buy it from a dealership maybe this is the case and you have to show your Vietnamese drivers licence. All the best and have a great time.
3 weeks ago I literally handed my IDL to the cop outside Saigon who was looking for a bribe, he didn’t say anything or care that the IDL isn’t really accepted, or that I don’t have a Vietnamese license, he was only concerened about me paying a bribe. My understanding is that the real issue using your IDL is if you are in an accident, insurance, including medical will not be covered, so travel with an IDL does have its risk, but it seems the cops in Vietnam are notconcerned about the license status.
Reports of a crack down on International Drivers Permits as of 27th Oct 2018-Due to recent accidents involving foreigners they are cracking down on IDP in Northern, if not all of Vietnam. I would recommend you get your IDPs now, as this will probably continue, which is probably a good thing.
I crossed from Vietnam to Laos at Na Meo on Nov 3rd and everything went as described by other recent reports here.
I am thinking of Driving my Honda Scoopy (110ccm) from Thailand to Vietnam. (Trough Laos). I own a Green Book and a International Driving License. (And a Thai Driving License). Will they let me cross the Borders? Will they let me take my small Scooter into Vietnam?
Hi Markus, Not too sure with the Thai and Laos border but you never know if you don’t give it a go. A lot of motorbike travellers have crossed between Laos and Vietnam and have had no troubles. Check the comments below about some of the borders. Do let us know how you go. All the best. 🙂
hey Alesha, you have to leave thailand in the same way you entered you say more below. so you can’t enter by bike and leave by plaine?
what if you do enter by bike and they timestamp and your bike gets stolen…?
Tried passing the Dien Bien Phu border today with a Vietnamese Honda XR150. When I got there they took one look at me and handed me a piece of paper saying something about motorbikes and Dien Bien province. The note was badly written, but had stamps and looked official. Tried bribing the boss 100 USD to no avail.
Moral of the story: don’t waste your time with his crossing unless your bikes is registered in DBP province.
Thanks for the info Erstad.
Quick Help plz 🙁
Planning a Bangkok-Hanoi (or vis vsa) trip via Cambodia in a few weeks. There is so much contradicting infomation, and new laws? Is there a sure way to do this anymore?
Hi Patrick, hope all your travels are going well and the borders crossing are no trouble. We haven’t heard of any new laws. Just make sure you have you blue slip for your motorbike. They might ask for that. Not so much an international license. Sorry we can’t help you more with information. Do let us know how you go. Take care
Hello does anybody know if you can pass a Malasyan scooter to vietnam?
I read as much as I could but did not see any direct answers for my question.
I am planning a round trip from Chiang Mai through Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia back to Chiang Mai on a rented motorcycle. I found one place that will rent a bike saying it can cross border into Laos no problem but they didn’t know about any other places.
I am not sure if I should try the rental or just go ahead and buy one since this trip will take 3 weeks at least. I do not want issues so I read all I could but nobody mentioned rentals or travelling with a Thai bike into Vietnam.
Please let me know if you know anything I hope to leave in a month.
Thanks in advance!
You will need export permission from the rental place in order to take a Thai Bike over. I just crossed two weeks ago from Chiang Khong into Huay Xai over the friendship bridge, but I own my thai registered bike so I can’t comment on the ease of the export permission.
Currently also trying to figure out the vietnam part which can be difficult. Will report back with my findings
Oh, you also need at least a 250cc engine to take it across the friendship bridges into Laos
I just received word from the agency i was in talks with for getting my paperwork to go into Vietnam, and they don’t do it for groups less than 3 riders any more. The law changed last month unfortunately.
Furthermore, taking a thai plated bike into cambodia is possible, but corruption is rife at the only Laos/Cambodia crossing, so you may not get through with your bike.
You do get two land border crossings into thailand per calendar year, so you could go Thailand->Laos->Thailand->Cambodia->Thailand, but it seems Vietnam is a no go. Im still gonna try but i’m not hopeful
I appreciate the advice and thanks for the info! I will be using a Honda 250cc or possibly bigger. The rental place said they will help with documents but don’t know about vietnam so I will try to go but if I can’t get in the next best thing would be to fly into vietnam and figure things out from there..
Let me know how you fair with Vietnam!
Laos > Cambodia at Tropael Kreal Bording Crossing Station ( Don Det, 4000 islands) on 1/mar/2018 I could not cross the border with my Win.
First I was told at the Laos side that Cambodia is not allowing to get in with bikes anymore. And then they’ve confirmed that at another side.
As I understood, that’s a recent change in the law. Not sure It’s same for all check points.
Hey Franz, what did you do instead? Was this an international border? Currently in Laos and didn’t realize I can go directly into Cambodia. Have a multiple entry visa for Vietnam so it’s looking like that’s my only bet
Hey Guys! Thank you so much for this article and all the comments, it was extremely helpful for us! So here’s our report (two vietnamese Honda Wins ). 24.02.2018 Vietnam -> Laos (Bo Y / Ngoc Hoi) – absolutely no problems, nobody asked about the motorbikes, we didn’t even bother to hide them or to take our backpacks with us. On the Lao side we even parked just in front of the of the border official’s box , as we didn’t know that the procedure is not inside the building (like it was on the Vietnamese side). The officials were pretending that they don’t see the motorbikes and didn’t even check the blue cards. We didn’t get the “import form”. We paid standard visa fee + 2 USD each for “stamping fee”. 22.03.2018 Laos -> Vietnam (Sop Hun / Tay Trang -> Dien Bien Phu) – again no problems, no money paid, but this time they checked the blue cards on the Lao side. Nobody asked about “import form”. On the Lao side we parked the motorbikes before the “stop” sign and then, after the immigration procedure was finished, we were pushing them through – just in case… The same on Vietnamese side. Not sure if the pushing was necessary, but for sure the “stop” sign should be respected. Anyway, it seems that crossing the border on a weekday is always a good idea. Good luck everyone!
Did your plate number started 27xxxx ?
Hello. After 3 months in Vietnam on a Canadian passport, we have successfully entered Cambodia through the LeThan O Yadaw border crossing today (09/01/2018), with our 2 Detech Espero 2017 purchased new in HCMC in October.
Vietnam side easy, they saw our bcags on the bikes, asked us to take them off to scan them, then stamped us out. No one asked to see the blue cards. Drive a bit, final officil looks at our passports, waves us goodbye.
Cambodia side, oarked in front of the visa officer, charged us 30$US, gave us the 30 days visa, no mention of the motorcycle. Then to the customs officer, again parked in plain sight, fingerprints taken, passport stamped, and now we just had 6 Angkor beers instead of Saigon, and are amazed at how easy it was!
Hello I just read your post regarding buying bikes in Vietnam and travelling to Cambodia. We are planning this next year and I was wondering how you got on with buying bikes new (as that was our plan) is it easy? Any advice? Also did you have an international drivers permit? Thanks so much
So I successfully crossed from Cambodia into Thailand via the Pailin border crossing. I do technically live in Cambodia so I may have had an easier time of it, but the border is pretty relaxed there. Donald Trump would probably have a heart attack its so easy to cross there. Whatever you do, DO NOT try and drive across at Poipet unless you enjoy spending long hours in Passport control lines or enjoy arguing with officials about documents. So few foreigners cross the border in Pailin that its not worth the officials’ time to try and shake you down for a $10 bribe.
If you’re driving from Phnom Penh, just get off Hwy 5 when you reach Battambang and take Hwy 57 due west to Pailin, the highway will eventually just run straight into the border. Then you cut south and hug the coast until you get to Pattaya or Bangkok. Good driving!
They did want to check my registration papers though and my motorcycle has Cambodian plates. Getting a foreigner’s name on a registration card is nigh impossible in Cambodia, but I do have the registration card and copy of the official, thumbprinted Bill of Sale and copies of the previous owner’s ID card to verify it which was sufficient to cross the border and to purchase motorcycle insurance online.
These guys sold me 12 months of insurance for about $20. For all I know they might never pay if I get in an accident, but it does satisfy the police and officials in Thailand.
Pailin is also only about 20km south of Kamrieng (aka Daung-Ban Laem), which is the border crossing Zaigor ended up using. So if one doesn’t work you can always try the other.
surprises me to hear that everything went on so smooth at your bordercrossing.
in january 2017 I tried to exit cambodia in pailin to reenter for a new cambodian visum. there was a very harsh and rigorous female immigration officer that didnt let me into thailand just for leaving again to cambo, also not accepting a “little present”. they seemed to me very strict enforcing new immigration laws so thats why i got a few questions:
thai immigration and customs really didn’t ask for the termporary vehicle import permit (issued by the Thai Dept. of Transport via offical tour operator) ?
how about the compulsory thai driving license? Didn’t they want to know about your itineary and thai exit point and they did not mention that your just allowed to drive in the trat province?
how far did you go into thailand and did you run into police checks? I guess your driving somewhat around 250cc.
We crossed the southernmost border from Vietnam to Laos (Bo Y crossing, between Kontum (Vietnam) and Xayden/Attapeu (Laos)) at the 26th of December 2017 with two motorbikes, a Honda Wave 110cc and a Suzuki Smash 110cc, both Vietnamese plated. For the Wave we only have a blue card copy anymore, still tried it and succeeded easily.
Vietnamese side: First check point at a barrier, just wanted to see the passports. Let us pass. Then we parked the bikes at the right side of the immigration building, took our backpacks, let our helmets at the bikes, went in, got stamped out with no problems (German passports, one three months multiple entry visa, one 1 month single entry visa), walked out the front, walked back to our bikes, hurried up and drove off. 3rd check of the Vietnamese at a barrier again, just wanted to see our passports, got through with no problems. So we didn’t have to show a blue card or any other thing for the bikes. Easy.
Lao side: Again first a barrier, only passports, no problem. Parked 10-15 meters in front of the Visa office, not completely out of sight but still not obviously visible. Again left helmets at the bikes, took our luggage to the visa office. Got visas for 30US$+2$ stamping fee each and the entry stamp. Walked back to our bikes, drove off. At latest in this moment they must have noticed that we were on bikes but they didn’t care. Last control again a barrier, only passports and “Good Journey” wishes. Easy. Got into Laos without showing a blue card.
We consider this border easygoing and motorbike-friendly. Go through there if you think you might have some problems crossing.
And we have a question: What do you guys think is the easiest crossing back into Vietnam in the north? Still the same problem: For one bike we only have the blue card copy and we’re eager to get through without even getting asked to see a blue card. We heard good things about the Nam Xoi/Na Meo border, anyone recently done it from Laos into Vietnam? Dien Bien Phu border probably isn’t worth a try, right? What’s about the other crossings?
Safe travels altogether!
I had no problems getting back in on my XR-250 at Sop Hun / Tay Trang. Do let me know if you mange to get back in this year as I might do this trip again in summer 😀
I crossed the Nam Can border from Vietnam to Laos a week ago with my automatic Yamaha. I chose this border on recommendation of someone who passed before successfully. For me it was absolutely no problem, the Vietnam side they did not comment anything (except asking whether i am travelling by motorbike).
On the Laos side i was asked if it was a Vietnamese Bike and they watched it. They did not want to see bluecard and I did not have to pay any fee. They only said if I have problems with the Lao police it would be my own problem. everything was done within less than an hour.
But another guy who I wrote with tried also Nam Can and the crossing was not possible for him – they said it is not allowed for foreigners to get a motorbike with less than 250cc over the border. don’t know if that was just a trick to get money. but maybe it depends on their mood whether you are allowed to cross…
I had my bike shipped from Hanoi to Danang by train. It was 502.000vnd for the shipping, and 30.000vnd at the destination.
They told me at the freight office at Hanoi train station that it would take five days. The woman who had me fill out the forms spoke basic English. She was jovial and proactive in helping. They were very kind and made it so easy to get it shipped.
Don’t expect a phone call or text message when your bike arrives. I just went to the freight office at the Danang station with my paperwork. The three in the office were staring at the walls., with bikes piled up in the courtyard. They checked the outbox, found my paperwork, stamped my copy, and outside in a crate was my bike.
I suggest going down early afternoon on the day they said your bike would arrive and checking to see if it was there.
Also, and had enough gasoline in the engine (they suck it all out) to get forty meters down the road. I pushed it a kilometer to the Petrolimex.
I just tried today to cross the border from Vietnam to Laos at the Nam Phao International Checkpoint. I arrived on site on 11.30 am, and the Vietnamese side didn’t want to let me pass.
After spending one hour waiting and talking, they agreed to let me go to the Laos checkpoint, but without my passport. If the Laos checkpoint was ok to let me pass, then they were ok too. So I took my bike (but without the passport) and go to the Laos border.
Then, impossible to have an agreement for crossing the Laos border with the bike. I spend another hour in the Laos border, speaking at each and every personnel here. I decided then to go back to Vietnam and getting back my passport. Now I’m on Ha Tinh. I’ll try to pass at the Lao Bao border, the day after tomorrow.
Just a General notice followed by a short description of getting your motorbike from Vietnam to Laos by the Lao Bao border.
As of 3 days ago yes you can cross with a Vietnamese bike. (30/10/17)
The drive from Hue to the border is relatively straightforward with little of interest except for the last 50km where you pass through the famousily pretty Vietnamese mountains.
Once at the border I was skeptical I would be permitted through on my motorbike, a Vietnamese guard was checking all the local motorbikers blue cards and I proceeded to show mine, where all he asked was if I would return to Vietnam where I said I planned on eventually returning. He then proceeded to say “Ok, you try.” and let me pass.
Drove up to the imigration booths and passed through with the only hiccup being the Laos visa on arrival man would accept my not super crisp dollars. Expecting to maybe have to pay a bribe or fee for my motorbike I had secreted a million dong in my wet sock. This was blatantly a terrible exchange rate but I was just glad to be almost through… Plus having the last laugh paying with stinky dong.
Finally through I didn’t hang around incase they changed their mind and drove off elated… So elated in fact that I completely forgot to check for an atm and carrying no Laos kipp and running low on fuel I was a tad worried driving through the laos countryside. Fortunately the fuel survived till I reached a rural bank which also fortunately accepted my slightly less crispy dollars and wouldnt take any Vietnamese dong.
With some kipp in my wallet and a full tank I hurtled down the very well paved road. There was only perhaps 200m of road that felt like a lunar landing on the whole trip till perhaps 30km out of Savannakhet where the road is unpaved for a good couple km and terrifying at night.
A few notes.
1. Dont drive at night.
2. Beware of livestock, they are like honey badgers. Zero f#@!s given.
3. Best to have a full visor helmet or eye protection, a couple suicidal bugs… And a potential case of pink eye trying to hurriedly overtake a pig truck…
Laos (Nam Sui) – Vietnam (Na Meo) Border Crossing
Bike: Vietnamese Honda Win, Blue card ownership
Passport Visa: Canadians and U.S citizens need a visa BEFORE crossing. You cannot get a visa on arrival. I had a visa sticker for Vietnam in my passport before crossing (from the Vietnamese embassy in Luang Prabang.)
Laos Border: I filled out my departure card in front them, they asked where I was from, and which town I had just driven from. No problems, waved me through.
Vietnam Border: Showed my passport and blue card, had my pack scanned through a machine, waved through no problems.
Driving Conditions: Torrential rain
Road Conditions: From Vieng Xay (Laos) to the border (Nam Sui) is 60km, in the rain, it’s tricky but manageable. It took me 2.5hrs. On a scale of super easy to insanely difficult, I’d say it was moderately difficult. Mixture of mud, loose gravel, and patches of pavement in mountain conditions. Take your time. From Na Meo (Vietnam) to the highway split (right to Ninh Binh or left to Mai Chau) it’s gorgeous. Perfectly paved, but watch out for landslides around corners.
We crossed border on 1 September 2017 at Na Maew border. We had Vietnamese motorbike Honda Win 110cc, two people and backpacks on it.
We crossed the border without any problem. We had blue card and our photos for Lao visa. We had to pay 40$ per person for Lao visa, 200 VND for export motorbike and 3$ for import the motorbike.
Then we tried to go on that bike from Laos to Thailand in Vientine on friendship bridge. On Lao part without any problem. On Thailand part they stopped us. They changed some rules last year and they don’t let in vehicle from other countries than Laos, Malaysia and few more. Vietnam is forbidden unless you have some special documents. Then we tried on Pakxan – Bueng Kan border. On that border we even did not get to the Thailand border. They stopped us on Lao part.
So it is not possilbe to got to Thailand from Laos (and probably from any other country) on Vietnamese motorbike.
Been riding a vitnamese motorbike, from Lao to Vietnam (over Cambodia). Had to use the boarder in south Lao/Vietnam then from Vietnam/Cambodia, because it was not possible to just cross from Lao to Cambodia. – There is a way, but you have to go to Phnom Penh (leave the bike at the boarder, in nobodies country) to ask for permission, it would take arround 3 days and it’s not really safe, all the boarder patrols are riding a honda win… If you just go to Vietnam and then to Cambodia it takes only 2 days more 🙂
So I choose to go to Vietnam and then to Cambodia, worked well, just don’t say something move…
We have a vietnamese motorbike and are in 4000 islands and it seems impossible to cross the Lao-Cambodia border (scams, corruption and so on).
I trust we will have to cross by Vietnam.
But planning to go to Vietnam after Cambodia…
Did you have any issue with your visa ? I saw we should be out of the country for 30 days (and will spend 20 days in cambodia)…
Many thanks !
Hello! Great blog! Everyone writes about Motobikes with Vietnamese numbers. And how are things with the Thai? I’m going to trip from Bangkok through Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and back to Bangkok. Greenbook and Thai driving license in my name. Time outside of Thailand is 40-45 days. Question: what about the border with Vietnam? And the second question: I will be away from Thailand for more than 30 days – will there be problems? And the third question is: will I leave to Thailand to Cambodia, and to return from Laos is a problem?
Who went on a Thai bike to Vietnam?
All good and safe travel!
HI, I am planning the same trip in December. Same, I have Thai driving license and I am the owner of the bike. Any updates on this?
I and my friend will try to make riding trip from Chiang Mai to Dien Bien (Tay Trang Border) go through Laos end of this month. I will back to Saigon by plane and he will ride back to Chiang Mai. Let’s see and i will come back to you. 🙂
How did you get on Lina? Was it possible to cross into Vietnam on the Thai bike?
Last year I went from Thailand into S. Lao with no problem at the Chorn Mek / Wang Tao (Pakse) crossing near Ubon Ratchatani. From there I went into N. Cambo @ Veunekham/Dong Kraylor checkpoint.
A bit of a hassle there as they tried to charge me one dollar for a health permit (didn’t pay) and an inflated fee for the visa. I started bitching and took out my camera to take pics of the bosses and they just let me thru at the normal rate.
(There was a bus load of tourists crossing at the same time and just pushed me thru asap so they could collect from the uninformed.)
Ended up in Sihanouk Ville beach for a few days and headed east thru Kampot and Kep where I’d been many times before.
August 27th 2017 – Vietnam plates+blue card Honda Win bikes
LAOS TO CAMBODIA – Officially impossible. Official border, Mekong, or dirt road, your bike will be seized. No offer for payment of vehicle. My Japanese friend had his bike seized on the Mekong the same day (August 27th) and met another couple who had theirs seized at the border.
CAMBODIA to LAOS – Horrible. I was detained for just over 3 hours. Another couple right after me (crossed 3 hours after I went through) had the same problems. Cambodian side will try to extort you and lock you into a room with customs officials and you have to remain firm that you will not pay. $2USD processing fee is straight out robbery now, it is non-negotiable.
Laos side it’s $3USD for vehicle registration (there is a huge purple official government sign with prices outside the Laos building with the prices per vehicle) and then 2USD processing is again just pure robbery now.
Hello! do you have any update about crossing to Cambodia with the motorbike? still impossible? We were going to do it in a few weeks but with this information, I’m afraid I must need to change our plans. 🙁
The 11th of June I tried to cross in Nghe An province at Nam Can , from Vietnam to Laos, but it was impossible, even the vietnamese guys were friendly.
The 22th of June, in Thanh Hoa province at Nam Meo, I paid 200k VND at the vietnamese side, and 25k LAK on the Lao part, 30USD for the Lao visa. not any problem.
I am considering crossing the border in Nam Neo mid-august, and as you recently did, can you give an update on the state of the road? Was it dirt, mud, or a nice and shiny “proper” road?
Sorry for the late reply man, on the Lao side the road is really bad, watch your speed and the holes. but the view is wonderful in that valley !
The road is dangerous from Nam Xoi to Pakmong, it’s more like a trail, sometimes paved, but anyway watch the road if you don’t want to fall in a HoleTrap. You can join Phonsavanh instead of going straight, I guess the road is better from that city. This is what I can see on my map and because of the recent big rains, I advise you to join Phonsavanh than going until Pakmong, I know that road, it was already uite difficult 2 months ago, maybe there is still some landslides not fixed.
I am hoping to cross from Cambodia to Thailand with a motorbike from Vietnam does anyone have any suggestion in terms of which border I should use?
I am planning to ride from Hanoi to HCMC and on to Cambodia and Thailand. Any advice about crossing into Thailand.
Also you mention your friend seb found a power of attorney. If possible could you share the same or at least let me know what language was it in.
Thanks, any advice is much appreciated.
DO NOT cross at Cau Treo! We negotiated for hours once we arrived, to cross from Cau Treo to Laos, and there was no way we could. We eventually returned and drove to Na Meo, where we crossed no dramas.
My partner and I succesfully crosser the Lao bao border in Vietnam to Dansavannah Laos 5 days ago with A Vietnamese motorbike. We didn t mention the bike. They saw iT but did n t really mention iT eather. Did not even have to show our blue card. Were dtopped 3 times after getting VISA and stamp, Just to check the VISA and then could continue. Roads on good condition at both sides. We paid 35 dollars per Lao VISA (I Think a little too much, not sure, we are Belgian) and had to pay 5000 stamp fee.
We are droging are bike up to Luang Prabang and will Well there.
Love this blog! Safe travels to all.
I’m traveling around SEA. Im starting in vietnam and getting a motorbike to travel down. I then want to cross into cambodia from vietnam and maybe cambodia into laos. Im going backpacking so won’t have ‘real insurance’ for the bike. Do you think i will have a problem getting the bike through the borders, and if so, what can i do to make it easier?
I loved the post! I have one question though. Is it possible to travel SEA on bikes from America & England? A few friends and I would like to travel SEA with our own cafe racers. Would this be an issue? Thanks in advance!
I’m Vietnamese rided my bike from VN to Cambodia via Hoa Lu border. 20.000vnd for VN side, 2$ for Cambodia side (i gave 20.000vnd but they asked 50.000vnd). At Stung Treng border (Cam-Laos), the Cambodian asked me pay 10$ for Customs permit paper for my bike, and 2$ for stamp fee. At Laos side, they asked 25.000kip for Outbound Fee and 25.000kip for Temporary import vehicle, 2$ for stamp too.
I will never go to Laos by this border anymore.
A backpacker who i gave him a ride, he told them that he won’t give them stamp fee, and will stay there until they give him the stamp for free. After ~15minutes sitting there, he got it for free.
As your many comments about crossing the borders helped us to make a décision, I give my contribution for those who could be interested.
We cross today, 3rd April, from Laos to Vietnam through the Tay Trang, Dien Bien Phu border with à vietnamese motorbike.
We came about 11 AM fast lunch time for the immigration office in Tay Trang border. No worry about the motorbike, neither on Laos Side nor in Vietnamese Side. Nothing to pay in addition to the fees for the Visa.
Hope that will help someone.
Hi, just to confirm, on 18th april 2017 i crossed from Laos back into Vietnam at Dien Bien Phu with a Vietnamese plated bike(region 77 – saigon i think).
Lao side checked the blue card, Vietnamese had a quick look at the number plate. No hassle, no money had to be paid. Pushing the bike to the checkpoint was important to them.
Additional info: I met a traveler in Muang Mai, she entered Lao from Vietnam at this border with a Honda Win. Apart from a slightly inflated visa on arrival price($40 haggled down to $35) no trouble also.
Enjoy your trip!
Hi! We crossed the border Na Maew (Na Meo) / Nam Xoi from Viet nam to Laos, few days ago.
Honda Wave (chinese) 110cc.
Any problem to exit Vietnam.(when we arrived about 17 they told us its to late and we have to sleep in their hotel to cross the border in the morning but after few minutes let us go) On Lao side we had to fill up import form and pay 3$(we paid 70000 VND).Visas fixed in Hanoi. Thats all!
Road on Vietnam side is new and beautyfull. On Lao still beautyfull but not that easy. Petrol stations can be found, money exchange can be done on the border we asked local people heading to from Lao to Vietnam and sold all our VND. Closest ATM in Viang Xai.
Enjoy your trip!
I’ll be in southern asia for 2.5months.
Can I take a bike from Thailand to Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia and return to Thailand?
If so, what do I need to do?
Does anyone can give me an advice in this one?
Hi, I am also interested in this, thanks!
Yesterday i(one person) crossed from Vietnam into Lao at Bo Y(Kontum to Attapeu).
They saw the bike(Honda Blade 110cc, vietnamese plate) on the Vietnam and Lao side, i did not bring up the topic, neither did they. Just politely asked for Visa on arrival and did the normal paperwork for that.
Vietnam exit was free. Lao asked $30 for Visa and $2 “processing fee”. All officers were smiling and friendly. There was only one other car crossing at 10am, no waiting, the whole process took about 30 minutes.
The hotel in Kontum called the border the day before, they said crossing the bike would not be possible(blue card must show me as owner). So i guess there is no guarantee.
Thanks for the advice not to mention the bike. Safe travels!
Hey I crossed the 11th of March the border from Tinh Bien (Vietnam) to Phnom Den (Cambodia) with not any problem. Enjoy your journey
Thanks for the info guys. 🙂
Hi Alesha and Jarryd, as your post and the comments helped me, a lot I would like to contribute with my experience crossing:
– Vietnam-Cambodia at Binh Hiep/Prey Vor
– then Cambodia to Vietnam at Bavet/Moc Bai
– both done on 10 March 2017
– with a motorbike registered in Vietnam, got the blue card not under my name
In short: everything went smoothly, they didn’t even ask me to pay for the motorbike or to provide the papers.
Binh Hiep/Prey Vor is mostly used by locals who dont even show their passports to cross the border. The officers are definitely not used to welcome foreigners but it’s fun, they are nice people.
The road into Cambodia, from Prey Vor, is terrible, 20km of dirt, it’s under construction so I really don’t recommend going there. And the landscapes are not interesting.\
Hope it helps!
Glad it went smoothly for you Ern. Thank you for the information and we are glad this post could help you.
Hi guys. I crossed today from vietnam to Laos with our bikes. We crossed at the Na Meo border and, as below, all went smooth. But it wasnt as expensive as we though. NOTE, we paid everything in VND. USD arent as common here as i first though. 200,000VND to export bikes EACH, $40US visa, 75,000VND to import into Laos. We have Vietnam registered bikes and we have our blue cards, but they didnt ask to see these, they didnt ask to see our licences and they didnt ask about import Visas. It was just stamp, stamp, stamp, done. Remember to PUSH your bikes through the gate though. They really didnt appreciate me trying to drive through.
Hi there, 3 of us crossed from vietnam to Laos last week with our bikes. We crossed at the Na Meo border. All went smooth. $20 to export bikes, $45 visa, 20000 kip to import into Laos. We had heard we couldn’t cross at Dien bien phu, but our friend said he got a text from his friend who crossed there. We heard you could only cross with a bike if the bike was registered in DBP, but don’t know whether his friend’s bike was from there or not. We talked to 2 bikers who were turned away at the 2 borders south of Na Meo and not allowed to bring their bikes in and had to come up to Na Meo to cross.
I crossed today in Na Meo, same experience as above (inflated visa price of 45$, 20.000 kip import – guy wanted 25.000 first but agreed to take 20.000) but strangely I didn’t have to pay export tax in Vietnam – guy definitely saw my motorbike but just stamped my passport and let me go. In Laos no one asked me about this export form
Road on Vietnam side is brilliant, Laos side much worse but not too bad – there’s one steep ascent (15 degrees slope) that might be slightly scary if going down (as few sharp curves have broken surface) or after heavy rain, but in general rather smooth experience
I’ve met two different people in Laos who were turned away in Dien Bien Phu in March 2017, so it seems that this is still not good crossing
Just crossed from Vietnam to Laos on my vietnamese bike. Between Phong Nha and Na Hi on AH131 – 12 road. It seems like remote truck crossing, no tourists or other cars, just a lot of big trucks. Nobody spoke English, officers were polite, used google translate, sent to customs window that just waved me away. They warned me about Laos side not letting me through with bike.
On Laos side checked passport, put a stamp, ignored bike completely.
Road after the boarder is very sketchy, melting asphalt, gravel, pits and dirt, take is slow and extra careful.
Just crossed the Lao Bao border from Vietnam to Laos with our Vietnamese Honda Wave without a hitch. Just gave passports to stamp no questions about the bike, no additional documents to show, smooth and gentle. Just parked our bike in the shadow before stamping on Vietnamese side, but showed our bikes to Laos side. No questioned, just smile and small talk about where we are from
Hey Arseny, thanks for the info.
I plan to cross in Lao Bao.
I went already one time there for a Visa run in December 2016 and come back in Vietnam, and all the paper-work about Vietnam Exit and Laos Enter was on the Lao side.
So I don’t understand when you write – “Just parked our bike in the shadow before stamping on Vietnamese side” can you explain more please.
ride safe and enjoy 😉
We crossed border from Cambodia to Thailand today with two Vietnamese plated motorbikes. Yesterday we tried crossing in Poipet for two times and we weren’t able to do that because they aren’t registered in our names. So we decided to try some other smaller border because Poipets border is the largest cambo-thai crossing place, we tought (lots of triers like us). We drove to the south a little bit more than 100 kilometres, to the village named Daung (Daung-Ban Laem border). In that border they don’t give a shit about our motorbikes. We just drove through the border and parked our bikes to the Thailand side. Then we walked back to the Cambodia side, did that official passport and visa stuff, walked back to our bikes and hit the road. We never mentioned anything about our bikes… Aand here we are, happily in Thailand with our precious Vietnamese motorbikes 😀
Thank you so much for posting this information. I love you may you have many success 🙂
Thank you so much. 🙂
Thank you for these previous informations. It sounds possible to cross Border between Cambodia to Thailand with a vietnamese motorbike registered on a different name. But did you had any problem once in Thailand, with police for instance ?
My plan would be ideally to go then from Thailand to Malaysia and to sell it there.
Thank you very much for your answer and thanks to Nomadasaurus for this incredibly useful page.
Thank you. We are just stoked this page can help a lot of travellers. 🙂
We tried to pass the border at Cau Treo from Vietnam to Laos, with our Honda wins but it was NOT possible. The Officer said it directly after he saw our bikes that the laos’ government don’t allow Vietnamese plated motorbikes. We asked other officers seperatly but they all said the same. Offering bribes or asking for other ways to handle this situation weren’t succeful. So avoid this border crossing.
Thanks for the update Jannes. Shame to hear you couldn’t cross. Let us know if you find another option. Ride safe!
Sharing our experience here since we found pretty useful info. We just crossed from Laos to Vietnam and to Vietnam to Cambodia in order to get our Vietnamese bike from Laos to Cambodia. We did not try the 4000 island – Stung Treng border point as it has bad reputation, and we wanted to avoid the option of getting the bike illegally to Cambodia through Mekong.
We rode Attapeu (Laos) to Kontum(Vietnam) in 1 day, no fee, nobody asked for anything regarding the bike, not even the blue card. Then the next day to Ban Lung (Cambodia), same thing. Just 5$ extra for the visa on arrival compared to ambassy prices. We did not mention the bike, just went to make the visa and took it back to cross the border. Nobody asked anything.
The road condition for the whole detour is really OK, asphalt everywhere. The part in Laos from Attapeu to the Vietnam border was the most difficult with steep parts and no garage for more than 20km. It was also one of the most beautiful road we rode so far.
Have a good trip ! C&J.
I have a Vietnamese motorcycle not registered in my name. In the past 3 months have traveled from Vietnam into Cambodia, no problems with bike they do not even ask about it, (have done that crossing several times in the past 5 years). Then cross into Laos from north Cambodia, no problems, just pay a small fee, at Laos side for a one month permit for the bike. Return 3 weeks latter, no problem on Laos side just hand in the permit. The Cambodia side was a nightmare, telling me could not take the bike in. They let me wait 3 hours with not much communication simply saying I could not take the bike in. It was getting later in the afternoon when the boss came to me and said I looked like an OK person so he would let me cross. But only if I allowed one of his men to ride my bike 2km into Cambodia and he would take me in his you beaut air con car to the bike???? I reluctantly agreed, that is what happened, no money changed hands and I rode to Stung Treng.
Hi all! Just crossed the Pang Hok / Tay Trang (Dien Bien Phu) border today, from Lao to Vietnam. I have a VN-plated bike (21) with a blue card. I paid 30K kips on the Lao side and absolutely nothing on the VN side. The first man I met on the VN side asked me if I had money. I told him I had barely nothing. I think he was responsible for the medical/quarantine office. Then the passport guy stamped me without question. The next one – who was the one looking at my blue card – didn’t seem to know what to do honestly. He was looking at my blue card and my Cambodia visa! Got back to my motorbike and drove to the fence. I thought this was the man I had to pay but he looked at my passport, visa and plate, and said “okay”. That’s all. Seems to me that this border is loosening up. Met a guy in Luang Prabang who had no issue driving from VN to Lao at this border. Don’t want to mislead anyone though!
Safe travels all
Hello can anyone tell me if nomad travel insurance will cover me for collision with a motorbike if I do not have an international drivers license?
Hi Gerrid. You need a valid licence that is recognised in the country you are riding in. Some countries will accept your licence from back home, others require an International Drivers Permit.
I just crossed from Vietnam into Cambodia via Moc Bai/Bavet a few days ago with a Vietnamese rego’d bike with not one question asked, couldn’t have been easier!
Dear fellows travellers in SEA,
I’m at the moment staying in Hué (VN) and my 3 months multiple entries visa is ending in december.
As I would like to spend more time here, I’m wondering if I can have a new 3 months visa done at the nearest border (Lao Bao / Dansavanh) with an invitation letter ?
I used this mean once to get a new vietnamese visa by doing the “visa run” (means going by bus from HCMC to Moc Bai , then by foot exit VN, enter Cambodia, pay the Cambodian visa fee, turn around the booth, get back to the vietnamese side, apply for the VN visa with the invitation letter and that’s it !) .
So my purpose would be to do the same , by motorbike instead of bus from Hué to the Lao border in order to get a fresh VN 3 months visa.
Thanks to anyone who can provide some informations.
Just arrivied to laos via Tay Trang
Motorbike cost – 200 000 vnd
But the motorbike was registered in Dien Bien province maybe thats why they let me thru.
I just got my bike sent to Stung Treng (Cambodia) from Don Det (4000 Islands, Laos) for $90.
I went to the border and learnt that Vietnamese plated bikes CANNOT cross this border (they didn’t even accept bribes) so I followed the lead I found on here about Mo, the guesthouse owner on Don Det.
He arranged everything, I kept my keys the whole time and he sorted out my ferry and bus through the border. Mo speaks excellent english and is a really nice guy. He also owns the restaurant at the small bus station in Stung Treng and my bike was waiting for me in the barn. He even has let my friend leave his bike there secured for a few days because we didn’t cross the border together but the more bikes you send the cheaper the price!
If you walk up the main street of Don Det you come to a fork in the road, go left and his reaturant is the really beautiful one about 10m on your left. Easy!
FYI: It works out cheaper to bike across the bottom of Laos across the Bolaven Plains (totally worth the trip) to the most southern border which takes you into Vietnam then you can travel down 100 or so kms to the Cambodian border. You’ll need a Vietnam visa which you HAVE to get it beforehand, the Consulate of Vietnam in Pakse is the last place to get it.
Have fun kids and drive safe!
Me and my 2 friends used the service of Mo in January 2017 for entering Cambodia from Laos with our motorbikes. We didn’t went to try if we can cross the border by bikes since we spoke to few locals on Don Det island and everyone confirmed that crossing the border with Vietnam motorbikes is not possible (for forigners). We decided to save time and to to go and try and waste a day on border.
We paid 280 USD to Mo for 3 bikes, handed them over at 9am in the morning and took the bus (16 USD) to Stung Treng at 11am. Bikes were waiting for us in Stung Treng busstation. It was fun adventure but money-wise expensive.
If you have time and you have done your homework by reading blogs about this bordercrossing then I would recommend to get (multiple-entry) visa for Vietnam and avoid this bordercrossing by taking roundtrip to Cambodia through Vietnam. You probably can save money and not waste your energy on hassling with smuglers or borderguard.
I’ve just came back from Laos to Vietnam and have the next information.
I’ve crossed from Vietnam to Laos at Nam Can / Nam Khan. man at Vietnamese customs said that I have to go to Lao checkpoint and ask first about motorbike. I started to walk but they said I can go by moto to Lao side. I asked Lao official and he said that I can’t get moto inside because they can’t allow bikes from another region (Hanoi). Then another guy came and said that I can actually go, but they can’t make papers for me, so if police stop me I’ll need to talk with them. They stamped my passport and I went away. After 70 km I recalled, I need to come back to Vietnamese customs to make export papers but it was too late. So, I didn’t pay anything at that point (I don’t need a visa for 14 days).
I was stopped once by Lao police near Vientiane (about 20km from the city, there are something like a mobile post on main roads around, they are checking everybody). I showed all documents for a bike, but they asked some “Lao insurance” using translator and very poor English. After some time I explained them that I don’t have any papers because of wrong region of my bike they just gave me my documents and left me alone.
I’ve crossed back at Nam Phao / Cau Treo, took about 10 minutes. Lao officials just stumped passport, Vietnamese officer checked bike’s plate and let me go. I wasn’t asked about any export documents and didn’t pay any money at that point too.
Hey guys, in three days a friend and I are going to start our journey from Hanoi do Ho Chi Minh passing through Laos and Camboja, i would like to know if there is any good reference for a bike shop/repairs at Hanoi.
Great blog, congratulations! Thank you!
It looks like crossing from Cambodia to Laos is ok, but other way around is still no go?
If we would drive from Vietnam > Cambodia > Laos – Could we sell bikes in Laos and drive bus/ fly airplane to Thailand? Alternatively we could get another visa and drive back to north Vietnam, but it is an extra cost, that could be avoided (we have 3 months single entry vietnam visa, that is sufficent enough to go through most of vietnam before).
As I understand selling bike in Cambodia and taking bus to Thailand is easy, as they dont declare your bike in Vietnam > Cambodia crossing? Meaning we could take bus or airplane from Cambodia to Vietnam…?
Thank a lot in advanca guys 🙂
Tom & Veronica
Hello guys , Just want to give you an update about the road conditions to the na meo border . We ( my girlfriend and i )Just Drove this road yesterday , and its in perfect conditions, they Just finished the constructions , at the Laos side its still teriblle and it take s you about three to four hours to reach the first City with hotels and guesthouse Xam Nua . Ps Dien bien border ( tuy trang ) is still not possible with bike we found it out the hard way instead of reading some blogs before trying ;))) , Love your blog grtz Rianne and Martin
Thanks for the update guys! Ride safe 🙂
Great info thank you for your effort put up for us to read
Is it possible to buy motorcycle for cheep price and ride one country and just leave it at border or sale it for cheep and go to next country and buy another on and keep repeating it.
Just got bounced at the Huay Kon border between Thailand and Laos. Apparently it has something to do with the China. However, my understanding at this point is that it’s a Laotian enforcement that differs between provinces. So, I was told to try crossing directly into VT. A Thai office said it was possible on a bike bigger than 250cc. Trying this morning…. will let you know how it goes.
at the Huay Kon border Thais were insanely helpful and well informed. They confirmed that I could get stamped out and get TEP, but also confirmed that Laos wouldn’t let me in. So, they suggested I try another border.
Hi everyone, I’m thinking about buying a bike in Siem Reap and taking it on my tour of Angkor Wat, down to Phnom Penh, crossing the border, into Ho Chi Minh and up the coast to Hanoi. Is there any problem with selling bikes with Cambodian plates in Vietnam? Are the licensing and tax/insurance responsibilities different?
First of all thanks for that inspiring article.
I’m planning to buy a motorbike in Thailand (Bangkok) and going to Hanoi via Laos and Cambodia.
Do you think it might be a problem with a Motorbike from Thailand?
Crossing at Sop Hun / Tay Trang wasn’t a problem this past June–it’s just that the direction you have to do it in is FROM Laos TO Vietnam, as my wife and I did on our way from Siem Reap to Ha Giang to Hanoi.
We did find however that the facility at the crossing was empty (but wide open) when we reached it at lunchtime. Being that it’s at the top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere, had we wanted to ride our motorcycles around the “barrier” we could have very easily but feared there might be repercussions on the Vietnamese side of no man’s land. So we waited for two hours for the crew to arrive back to the gatehouse, which put us in Dien Bien Phu two hours later than hoped for–but then, that’s why one does border crossings as early in the morning as possible.
Just a heads up. Cha Lo border near Thakhek if you want to do the moto loop in Laos IS NOT an okay border to cross from Vietnam to Laos. I left Vietnam with no problems but at Laos the guy wanted a Vietnamese form that, long story short, they can’t produce at the border. I tried bribery and all, and even after 2 hours of that and helpful Vietnamese immigration officers, I had my exit stamp voided and had to head back to Vietnam.
Hello everyone & thanks for the helpful information & all the updates… I’ve been reading along but didn’t come across any posts about riding a Thai plate/registered bike to Cambodia & Laos… Is that possible? Does anyone have experience doing that? Thanks in advance… 🙂
Can you tell me if Vietnam Dong is allright at the border, from Vietnam to Laos? I read it at one post, but only one.
Should i get dollars, to be safe?
And then do i need any passport Photo, for the visa?
I Will cross in to Laos, from Vietnam from he Bo Y/ kontum border, in a week or something.
Thank you for this information.
Me and my friends are planning to spend two to three weeks motopacking from Vietnam to Thailand
I think the information in this blog is the best I have found so far for crossing the borders
Regarding timing do you think two to three weeks would be enough time to travel safe and make a few stops in between ?
Also which of the following would you recommend, North Vietnam-Laos-Thailand or South Vietnam-Cambodia-Thailand
Please keep traveling and posting useful information line this
Hey there, thank you for all the useful information, actually a friend and I wanted to buy a bike in Hanoi go all the way south enter Camboya continuing by Laos to finish our 6 month trip in Thailand my doubt was; what about the control on the Laos frontier to go to thailand? is there any requirement?
Hey guys, great info! Just wondering if anyone knows anything about the Pa Hang border crossing between Vietnam and Laos? Just read something saying it is now an international border crossing… Can’t find anything else to back it up though. Cheers 🙂
thanks for the great blog and the useful comments.
My boyfriend and I have a Vietnam plated honda win with blue card. We crossed successfully from Thin Bien (Vietnam) to Phnom Den (Cambodia). No extra fees, the Cambodian Visa was $35 p.p.
then from Cambodia back to Vietnam at the Le Thanh/ O Yadao Border (without problems or bribes) and finally from Ngoc Hoi (Vietnam) to Bo Y in Laos. Here, at the Vietnamese side the officer pointed to a bundle of money but we pretended not to understand what he wanted and after about 2 minutes he gave it up and gave us our passports.
No one was interested in the bike or the blue card, and we didn’t have to pay for the import of the bike either. The price for the Cambodian VISA was $32 each. He road conditions are pretty bad on the Laos side though. Several parts are unpaved and under construction, we saw some trees and power poles laying on the road.
We are going to dell our Honda Win 110 in Luang Prabang in approximately 2 weeks:
• We’re selling our beloved motorbike in Luang Prabang in 2 weeks.
• This bike is perfect for travelling, even with two people plus luggage (we did that).
• The bike runs great. We did about 5000 km on it and it never let us down.
• We’re selling it because we’re going to Thailand next; taking a Vietnam-liscensed bike there is supposed to be impossible.
Honda Win 110
+ registration papers (Blue Card, registered in Vietnam)
+ saddle rack
+ saddle bags
+ 1 decent helmet
• oil change was done every 500 +/- km
• grease frequently put on chain
• fuel tank started leaking -> we invested quite a bit of money to get it properly fixed.
• engine started loosing oil -> we got two seals changed that according to the mechanic were the reason. We haven’t had any issues since then.
We bought it for $280 in Nha Thrang (Vietnam). Considering that we got some repairs done, we’d like to have $250 for it.
And to mention we’re from sweden and have swedish driving license. We got a green ownership card for each bike and nothing more. What about this blue card everybody is talking about?
Long story short; We cross the border last night from Vietnam to Laos by Bo Y/Ngoc hoi border. Because we drove wrong we came really late to the border (7 o’clock), apparently they stop work at seven. But we anyway came through and got our stamps (out from Vietnam & in to Laos) and visas. We only had dong and we got to pay 875.000 for each person (39$). They did’nt barely mantion the bikes and we did’nt pay anything at all for them (?)
Now I have a question; we still have vietnamese registration plates on out bikes and we’re heading north tomorrow. How about the police? Do we need to somehow change plates? Otherwise does it work in Laos as in Vietnam, that you just bribe the police if they stop you and you don’t have a vietnamese/Laos drivinglicense?
I cant find any information about this anywhere.
Best regards Mimmi & the crew
We’ve been travelling for almost a month in Laos with VN plate and It’s not problem at all to do it (Cambodia neither). About the license seems that is no problem (I think that they don’t have any clue what a driver license is) by the way we have never been pulled over by police so I can’t tell you what happen in that situation, even I don’t have license, just an expired international one.
The blue card is the registration of the motorcycle, you should have got one when you bought the motorbike, in Thailand they call it green card.
When we crossed from Cambodia-Laos border they gave to us a customs import paper, green paper that cost 5USD, maybe they gonna ask for that if want to leave the country or maybe not… Check it out.
Yesterday i crossed from Cambodia to Laos with a Vietnamese plated motorbike and i didnt have any problems. Easy peassy japanese.
10 USD for motorbike custom paper.
1 USD visa processing fee
2 USD corruption fee
30 USD visa (for Chileans)
5 USD motorbike paper.
They required blue card. I felt that it doesnt depend of the mood of the people, seems to be regulated.
I dont recommend to exchange money there. The rates in 4000 islands area are better.
Good luck, good routes.
OK so what about taking a 650 Kawasaki licensed in Thailand thru Laos to Viet Nam?
Hi everyone, first of all thanks for all the useful info. I’d like to add some about our today’s NaMeo crossing from Vietnam to Laos.
We didn’t experienced any problem at all. We arrived to NaMeo at noon so we had to wait until 13.30 for siesta to be finished. After that it all went smoothly. First we had our passports checked on vietnamese side and then we payed 200 000 vnd for bike to customs guide. He’d asked for 10$ bud vnd were ok. They didn’t even look at the bike, just filled some forms and let go. On the lao side we got 1month visa for 35$ (don’t understand why the spanish guy whom we met there had to pay 40) and had to pay 3$ for bike. Another form was filled but noone looked on the bike again. And that was it.
Road is great on the vietnamese side, not so much on the lao side. But the scenery is beautiful.
Petrol stations are on the bost sides of the border,but gas seems to be cheaper on vnm side.
There is accomodation available in NaMeo on vnm side. No ATM.
Hope this helps.
Entering Vietnam from Central Laos… Cha Lo – Na Phao border crossing… Thakhek to Vinh.
Hi girls and boys – just thought I’d pass on my experience, as I had to hunt for info and what I found was ambiguous at best!
There is a seventh land border crossing between Vietnam and Laos, road 12 runs east from Thakhek straight to the border in 150km! Maps.me doesn’t even recognise it as a viable crossing!
I crossed with my Vietnamese motorbike and British passport today with zero problems!
Loas side the roads are OK quality with negligible gradient variances, easy ride really, some slightly dodgy patches of road, but mostly sealed. Last fuel station 20km before border. Border gate took 1 minute to stamp out, can obtain VOA! Had a $1 charge for stamp as it is a ‘holiday’ (not for the Laos it’s not)
Circa 1km ride between check out & check in border gates!
Vietnam side roads really good condition, slightly steeper gradients, but noting too extreme! First fuel station 30km from border. No ATM’s found until I hit Vinh, which made for a very thirsty ride as I only had USD & Kip … Border gate took about 30 mins of the guy staring at my passport. No additional charges for either the ‘holiday’ or my motorcycle!!! Guard when crossing threshold wanted to check contents of my bag… Annoying due to bungees etc, but not invasive and no issues! Scenery Vietnam side was stunning, yet I dare say I have barely scratched the surface!
Top tips; have some VND, top up on petrol at last station before crossing, take extra drinks!!!
Today we tried to cross the border at houesei (Laos) to Thailand, but they refused. There wasn’t my name on the vietnamese moto blue card. So no way to cross, we came back to Laos!
Found the information on here really useful and so thought I would post my own experiences.
We decided to avoid the Laos to Cambodia border due to the bad things we had heard about it and went through the Bo Y border to Vietnam and then the Le Thanh/ Yadao border to Cambodia. We had a blue card not in our name and a vietnamese plated bike. Both borders were absolutely fine and the officers we’re friendly and helpful. At the Cambodian one we we’re even given free ice cream and water! Although we may have been over charged for our visa at $35 dollars each but we were just happy to be on our way.
Could you maybe tell us how long that detour took approximately? We are considering doing what you did as well since it seems like a smart idea 🙂
I tried today at Cau Trep to get into Laos with my Vietnamese Honda Dream and I was rejected on the Vietnamese side. 2 guys from border patrol told me that Laos doesn’t allow to import motorbikes. Yesterday I had some drinks with a guy who works for Vietnames customs at the same border crossing, he told me no problem to cross the border, well that didn’t work, guess I need to try somewhere else.
Hello, sorry I forgot to mention above what valuable source of information this blog is during my motorcycle adventure. Thank you to everyone contributing!!! After I failed to pass the Cau Treo/Nam Phao border to Laos I tried in Na Meo. As mentioned by so many people, very straightforward and very helpful people at the border. The QL217 is in very good condition these days until the border. The only problem I had, I forgot to get cash, before I left the Ho Chi Minh Road in Ngoc Lac. There is no ATM at the final 100km to the border, I had to go to Quan Hoa, where I think is the closest ATM, if you find out on QL 217, that you need more cash for the border 😛
Happy and safe travels to everyone 🙂
Did the vietnam to Laos border at Na Meo two days ago with a motorbike. It was very straight forward. 200,000 vnd to Vietnam customs, $40 for Lao pdr visa on arrival x 2 + 70,000 vnd import fee for motorbike. Apparently you should buy Laos motorbike insurance near the border. Supposedly this is often in a building nearby. I did not know. Anyone have suggestions on how to buy it in laos?
Roads on the Vietnam side are pretty good now except for a couple short gravel sections. Laos side is more exciting in terms of road quality but passable. Gas is available on either side of the border.
Did they say you had to purchase insurance?? I don’t have insurance in VM so I don’t see why I’d need it in Laos… unless it’s mandatory. Glad to hear about he roads, I’m in Mai Chau heading for the border tomorrow and there has been crazy rain so I was figured it was gonna be a mud bath! Thanks for the update!!
I crossed Vietnam to Laos at Na Meo and noone asked me for the $20, the other guy at the Laos immigration said he paid $10. I arrived at 11:18 they had closed early for lunch but unlocked the door and stamped me out no questions no money. I also handed my bikes blue card with my passport. Only registered it on the Laos side. To document for exporting. May now be a gypsy bike.
I have a question regarding Laos to Thailand. Did they leave with their bikes? Can you get out without them? If I can make it to Thailand with my bike I will just dump it before my flight. I got it for a steal $140.
Could someone tell me the best way to get liability insurance on a purchased motorcyle in Southeast Asia?
Successfully crossed the border from Cambodia to Laos today ! Brought in 2 110cc bikes. After getting our exit and entry stamps (had to pay 3 extra usd per passport) we were asked to go back to Cambodia to get an import permit. The custom official first asked us to go back to the capital to get it arguing that it was illegal for us to drive a bike in Cambodia. Luckily one of the above comments states that it was perfectly legal to do so (as there ain’t a law against it). We ended up paying 10usd per bike for the paper (and we didn’t even have the blue cards that were previously stolen from us in Vietnam). 5 more usd on the Lao side for another well valid reason I’m sure and we were then heading to Si Phan Don.
Make sure to get the permit before leaving Cambodia, you’ll save yourself some time. And don’t hesitate to be a bit pushy if they refuse to grant you one.
Happy to hear of a happy traveller! We successfully crossed our bikes from VN to CB at Thin Bien/Phnom Den. Easy, paid $1 for stamp on VN side and $35 for 30 day visa at CB border. No one said a thing about out bikes even though they for sure saw us ride up on them. The Cambodian visa guys were very relaxed and friendly and told us what to do etc.
What I would like to know is where to get our bike permits for crossing to Loas as we are planning to attempt it in about 3 weeks.
And any other tips for the crossing from CB to LS would be much appreciated 🙂
I’m attempting to cross from Cambodia into Laos in June with a Vietnamese plated bike. I’ll be very interested to find out if you are successful!
Crossed the Cambodia to Laos border 2 days ago on a Cambodian registered bike Kawasaki 250 D Tracker not in my name but with the reg card all done legally including issue of green import papers.All they wanted was 1 dollar for this stamp 1 dollar for next and so on….
Successfully crossed the lao bao border from vietnam into laos today. Only paid 35 for my visa, nothing else. They did not even ask for the blue paper of my bike.
Before that I unsuccessfully tried the two borders cha lo and cao treo. They simply said no bikes allowed and that was it, didn’t even ask for money .
Maybe you could update your information based on the different experiences here
Hi Wich border did you cross then?
Heya! At the first thank a lot for this helpful thread and people who update information! My question is, that do anyone have recent information about crossing border from Vientiane to Thailand with vietnamese plated bike? I have a blue card and this green paper from laos border but bike is not registered in my name, so could it still be possible to cross border?
Friend of mine crossed this border one week ago. Same situation as you. Vietnamese bike with blue card with first owner’s name. This is what he sent to me on the facebook:
I made it today!
Directly in Vientiane, they said they dont do it but it looks like they had a good mood.
Thanks Dan for so fast reply! Wohoo so i have still hope. 🙂 I went to borders immigration yesterday just to ask that is it possible to cross but i’m sure that they didn’t understood my question and answer came like from some automaton; “no motorbikes”. But i’m still going to try. I update information after trying!
Yeehaa border(friendship bridge no. 1) crossed succesfully! Everything went better than expected. Not any kind of hustling or necotiating. Just show passport, blue card and this green paper at couple of desk at Lao border and them let me go, no bad eye or anything like that. Normal jumping from desk to desk at Thailand immigration and vehicle import officers, paid 200bht, got this CDF paper and that’s it. Officers wished me good luck and nice trip! Took about hour from arriving Lao Border crossing center to departure from Thai border with stamped passport.
So hoy think its possible to cross from Vientiane to Thailand with the bike? I am in the dame situation! Vietnamise plate, blue caes but not with my name on it
Any luck taking your bike to Thailand?
Same situation than you. I want to cross my vietnamese plated motorbike with blue card (not with my name on it) into Thailand.
Could you do it?
We successfully crossed the Bavet/Moc Bai Border to Cambodia around noon today. No problem whatsoever (but maybe because we crossed around lunch time). We were obviously asked to pay 5 extra dollars to get the cambodian visa which would have allowed us not to “have to wait 3 hours” as the official said (we declined this nice offer and only had to wait 20 minutes). Then we just pushed the bikes to Cambodia, no one was in the custom stall to stop us. And we lost our blue cards so it was kinda good that no one was there to stop us indeed !
Safe travels !
Laos to Thailand in Huay Xay on a Honda Win for which you have no blue card on your own is IMPOSSIBLE. Even if you leave Laos (as I did, passport stamp), and cross the bridge by yourself (as I did), then you reach Thailand side of the bridge (as I did) and pass the Thai immigration control (as I did, with the bike), then 100m down the line the customs will inform you that you are not allowed to proceed.
This means, you are stuck in Thailand, with a motorbike you cannot clear for customs. This is because one needs the blue card on his name or a proper notarized pack of documentation to inform customs that the bike is yours.
I tried, I gambled, and I failed 🙂
Thank god a friend picked up the bike and sold it in Laos.
J AB: Did you have a blue card that was in someone else’s name or were you completely sans blue card? Your post is unclear to me. If no blue card at all, I’d be shocked if you could cross any staffed border crossing. Hardly anyone who would be taking a VN-plated bike all the way to Thailand would have a blue card in his/her name and I’ve seen VN-plated bikes in Chiang Mai, so I know they got across the border.
Hi there. I’ve read your post literally 30km before we (me + my gf) reached Huax Xay. It did not give us much courage but we did not give up and gave it a try. And we succeeded 🙂
– Huay Xay border crossing from Laos to Thailand
– Honda Win with vietnamese papers
– Blue card with the name of the first owner (definitely not me)
– No thai insurance so far
We reached Lao side and got an exit stamp on our Visa. For this we had to pay something like 25.000 KIP. Then we were asked for 50.000 KIP for police escort over the bridge.. I knew we’re not obligated to pay for this service but we thought it might help something. It definitely does not help anything as the police car leave you before you even reach thai side. So don’t pay for this ! So we got to thai side and went to immigration, we then were forwarded to some photocopy office, where they made us a copy of blue card with my passport, then we were forwarded to office number 17 (I have no idea what is this office for) and lady behind the counter give us some form to fill up. We then went to immigration to get a entry stamp and we had to pay something like 80 THB which we did not have so we gave them all KIPs we had left. We then proceeded to customs. Fortunately the guy behind the counter was probably more nervous than we were. He obviously saw the blue card for the first time. So we just acted to be confident (but relaxed) and everything went fine 🙂
So whole proceedure took us about one hour and all it costs us was something like 15$
I will inform you, how we were going during crossing border from Thailand to Cambodia 🙂
Oh one more thing.. it is really good idea to have a bunch of different papers.. We had a big envelope with:
– My international driving permit (vienna convention)
– My international driving permint (geneva convention)
– Photocopy of passports
– Blue card (important)
– Customs declaration from Vietnam/Laos side (this is actually important!)
– Laos insurance (It’s worth to have it, it costs only 3USD per month and you’ve got on more paper).
So when someone asked us about something we started to randomly pull out different documents one by one so when the officer has the table full of papers he starts to be convinced that “these guys must have everything” :))
Thank you for all the helpful information! I’m planning to travel to Thailand too with my V motorbike. From where did you get the Laos insurance? It would be great to hear how it goes in Thailand especially with the police and how the mechanic shops are 😉 enjoy your ride!
I bought it in Phonsavan where is probably only one insurance office. I think easiest way is to get to some big city and look for Allianz, Axa or another big insurance company then get there and explain them what you need.
In Phonsavan they did not speak English at all but we’ve made it :))
We’re now in Chiang Rai. No police control so far. I hope, we will not need any mechanic assistance except changing oil and chain maintenance. But we have some 1500km ahead though.. I’ll keep you updated.
Nice one! Thanks Dan 🙂 amazing how we can communicate without speaking the same language. I love it!
Next month I will be in Hanoi and I will try to change the blue card on my name. Should help too to cross the border.
I hope that you have a police and mechanic free travel!
The ONLY way you can change the blue card into your name is if you take the original owner whose name is on the card with you. Unless you bought the bike from him/her, your chances are very close to zero.
Hi Dan, have you guys made your way to Cambodia yet?? Just curious because I plan to drive my VM bike all the way to Bangkok and try to pay someone to leave it in their garage while I’m in the south islands and then drive it out to Cambodia to sell before flying back home.
I am planning on riding a Vietnamese plated bike from HCM to Hanoi then around the North of Vietnam (Sapa, Ha Giang) and hopefully cross the border into Laos from up the North area so I’m not back tracking then ride down through Laos and cross the border around the area that will take me back into Vietnam around the Hue, Da Nang area can anyone recommend the best border crossings for this? I will have blue card and will just be a standard 110 cc scooter?
LOAS TO CAMBODIA border crossing. IMPOSSIBLE! Tried the other day an all they wanted to do was buy my bike at both ends. You an leave Laos but can’t enter Cambodia. Everyone said no one ever gets in. Apparently it use to e ok 2 years ago so it might change. But for now a no go. Had to sell my bike in Don Det. If you’re doing the trip, starting from Hanoi to Saigon then Cambodia an Laos or Saigon to Cambodia, Laos then Vietnam.
Crossed Lao Bao – Dansavan with Viet motorbike, no problems at all, i got the Laos visa at the border.
Just need blue paper.
I’m planning to buy a motorbike in Vietnam and then continue on to Laos and sell the bike there. Will it be possible to enter the country with the motorbike and then leave without it, or will the Laos immigration keep track that I had a bike and fine me if I leave without it?
Thanks for the above details. very helpful. I’ve just taken a Vietnamese bike to Cambodia. I crossed at Prek Chak with no problems apart from the “Health Officer” pointing a thermometer gun thing at my head and asking for $1 for the privilege. I did get stopped by the police just entering Senoukville though and they wanted to see import documents for the bike otherwise they would confiscate the bike… A few minutes later and $5 they let me carry on.
Crossing back into Vietnam at Bavet got straight through Cambodian side with no problems, a couple of guys on the Vietnam side just before immigration wanted $5 off me, but I told them I already had my visa and didn’t have to pay anything else which worked. The immigration officer then demanded $1 and I decided against arguing because I had already been queuing up for ages and all my stuff was on the bike unattended outside and I didn’t want any more hold ups!
No problems with any other police in Cambodia and I was waved through lots of check points even around Siem Reap where foreigners supposedly are not available to hire bikes…
All in all pretty painless.
A little clarification, if I may, on your comment, “I was waved through lots of check points even around Siem Reap where foreigners supposedly are not available to hire bikes…”
You were waved through the checkpoints in Siem Reap because you already were on a bike. The law was changed a few years ago such that foreigners cannot RENT a bike in Siem Reap. This was done because they got tired of stupid farangs with little or no motorcycle experience who rented bikes locally and then killed or injured either locals or other farangs or, less regrettably, themselves. It’s very bad for tourism if tourists die, even if it’s through their own stupidity.
The law says nothing about foreigners who rent or purchase bikes elsewhere, even in Cambodia, and ride to Siem Reap.
Thanks guys for the very helpful thread and info!
Comes my time to share some updates: I’ve just crossed the border from Cambodia to Lao this morning with a Vietnamese Honda Win and it went all smooth. Here’s what happened: I arrived at the border Cambodia side at 10am, the immigration guys for the exit stamp at the fence tell me to turn around and go to the Custom booth first for the bike, I go there, wait for 2 min before someone shows up, the guy asks me 10$ for Cambodian custom clearance, I give my blue card (he doesn’t ask for it but since I have it…), he fills the custom paper, I pay and leave with the paper. I then head to the immigration booth, give my passport and filled departure card, pay the 2$ stamping fee, and leave Cambodia with my stamped passport and bike. Arriving at the Lao fence they let me through and direct me to the immigration booth where I park. i fill the arrival card and VOA form, then give my passport, the filled paperwork, a photo and 30$ (VOA for French) + 1$ processing fee at booth 1, I then move to booth 2 (just next), pay another 2$ stamping fee and get my passport with Lao Visa. Finally, I move to booth 3 (just next) give my Cambodiam custom form, my passport and the bike’s blue card, pay a 6$ custom clearance fee and get all the papers back, free to hit the Lao roads by 11am! Playing low profile, I didn’t try to negotiate any of the fees requested so ended up paying the VOA + 5$ of passport fees + 16$ of bike custom fees and quite happy with that! i dunno how it works the other way but it seems they have implemented this custom clearance procedure on both sides so I assume the process is just the same…
Hope that helps!
Thank you for your detailed report. Very useful to me. I guess not only for me.
Have a safe journey!
We rode our Cambodian registered motorbikes from Cambodia to Laos and back crossing the Voeung Kam/Dom Kralor border without any problem. One bike was our property the other one was rented in Phnom Penh. We did this in February 2014 and had zero problems. Bikes were both Honda XL250 dirt bikes.
Na Meo bordercrossing from Laos in to Vietnam was a laugh:
We just made it end of the afternoon, a little after 5PM, to the border on the Lao side. It was Tet and we’ve heard that the border was closing at 5 so after asking a local he arranged that a guy showed up at the immigration. After 10min calling he stamped us out, BUT we couldn’t start our bikes and had to ‘walk them across the border’ according to the officer. Downhill and in neutral we rolled into the Vietnamese side and after searching for an officer there we were welcomed with ‘Happy New Year’ and directed in to his office. We already got our visa so after checking it he stamped us in and asked us if we had any money to exchange.
Long story short: Vietnamese officer made 10$ with the exchange rate, we got our Dong, hadn’t had to pay anything for the motorbikes and all of that within 20min of time.
Hi There, just to let you know, we’ve successfully crossed Na Meo with Vietnamese motorbike (blue card only + 200 000 VND on Vietnamese side customs) + 2x Visa (31USD) + 3USD for bike. So 65USD + 200 000 VND for two person on one bike.
BUT we were fucked on Nam Phao with a bike. Officer said, we can’t go to Laos with a bike..
Anyone recently crossed border to Thailand with Vietnamese bike?
Hi, has a anyone recently crossed the border from Cambodia to Laos on a Vietnamese motorbike?
Crossed from Vietnam to Cambodia (Bavet) and Cambodia to Vietnam (Ha Tien) without problems, didnt have to pay anything (only the visa, that is 30, no 35!!, they keep this 5 USD), and dont have to show blue card. Also recommend a very good mechanic in the road going from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, KM 120, he speak english.
You guys seem not to mention the limitation of cc motorcycle can cross all those borders, for, if above 150cc motorcycles are not allowed in some of the countries (Vietnam) you are talking about.
Frank–I’m not sure where you are getting your information, but it’s wrong. I live in Vietnam and own two 400cc motorcycles that are Vietnam-licensed. Last year I owned a 1000cc Yamaha that had Cambodian plates and registration when I bought it. There are many, many Harleys, KTMs, BMWs, etc here, all of which are well over 150cc.
To legally ride a bike over 175cc, you have to have either a Vietnamese A2 license or a motorcycle license from your home country and an IDL.
There may be difficulties in bringing a motorcycle in, but those most often depend on the border crossing used and who’s on duty when you arrive.
Hope this helps.
i tried to cross with a 1200 harley davidson in my own name registered in hcm (NN) , i have vietnamese driving licence , the officier at the border rejected me asking for a transit permit , i went this morning to the minitery of transportation they did not accept the application saying it s for CAR and not Motorcycle , they have no information and dont want to help .. so for now it seems like it s impossible to cross the cambo border on a motorcycle as it s super shady and no one know anything
I made it with my bike into Cambodia from Ha Tien without any extra fees or what so ever. They were very friendly!
Hello, I am planning to cross the border in the South by the end of this month. The only documents I have is my passport and blue card but the bike is not registered on my name. Has anyone a recent information of which border will be the best? I was thinking of the Ha Thien.
Thank you very much for this great website!
you should have no problems at ha tien, safe travels
Thank you Tim 🙂 once I crossed I will confirm it. When I crossed from Laos to Na Meo I had no problems didnt paid anything. So I hope this time it will be the same
Hi people. I tried to cross the Laos to Cambodia border yesterday. And I get denied. When I ask what’s the reason I’ve heard that there are sinned regulations. I stayed at at the border about two hours trying to convince the guy to let new in but he was stubborn as hell. I would even paid the bribe but never came up in our conversation. I got pissed off quite a lot so told him I’ll call embassy. It didn’t help at all. BTW. I got my Cambodian visa in Vientiane, Laos. So I tried to call embassy that granted me a visa, but no answer, then I called my embassy and nice lady with nice voice informed me that it is a Sunday:) so I waited on one more day near by there border. In the mean time I contacted ministry of tourism in Cambodia, and my embassy. They both offered to help. But so far no answer. I went back to Pakse, Laos and tomorrow I’ll try to cross to Thailand. Does any one know if I need this power of attorney document ? BTW. I’m traveling on Vietnamese motorcycle of course. I’ll try update this about crossing the border with Thailand if I’ll have a chance. One more thing. Laos officials let me go without the stamps to Cambodia border to see if I can get a motorcycle into Cambodia. So I was able to come back to Laos like I’ve never left.
I am pretty sure that the problem is your Vietnamese-plated bike. As I posted here I while ago, it seems to be no problem taking a Vietnamese bike from Cambodia into Lao, but a huge problem going the other way.
I’ve never heard a reason for it, though when you’re talking about international borders, the only reason they really need this quote because I said so”.
Thailand should be OK and then I’m pretty sure you can cross from Thailand it to Cambodia without a problem, though others may know for sure.
Sorry, didn’t fully proof my previous post: … And the only reason they really need is “because I said so”.
Any updates on this, about to try the same thing tomorrow, thanks.
One more question can you enter through na meo with the bike and exit through cau treo?
Crossed Thang Le/O Yadao border with no problem. Didn’t check any registration or license. Parked right in front of the officers, flashed a smile and went in. The Cambodian side was just as easy. I think they thought it was funny a small girl was crossing a remote border by motorbike…
Hey guys, do you have any information on buying and riding a bike from India to Malaysia? We arrive in Goa on the 1st March and hope to travel for 8 months.
I think Indian registered motor cycle have certain restrictions in Myanmar border. But I am not sure. Double confirm with it first.
Hi, do you have any information from your travels about crossing from India into and through Burma, and into Thailand?
Crossed the Bo Y boarder from Vietnam to Laos today no problem. They didn’t even blink an eye at the bikes nor ask for any registration details/ licence / insurance. We parked up the bikes and walked to get the visa just to be extra careful, but zero issues either side.
Currently I’m living in malaysia. I planned to go on a road trip to Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. I have a motor bike under my name here in malaysia. is it possible for me to cross the border of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia with the Malaysian registration motor bike?? Pls help.
Hi Anuar. I’m afraid we aren’t familiar with the laws on travelling with a Malaysian motorbike. However we did just come across a blog of someone doing something similar, and was turned away at the Vietnam border. Everywhere else seemed to be ok though. Let us know how you go 🙂
Thailand Laos and Cambodia you will have no problem as long as bike in your name but Vietnam have restrictions on the size of bike allowed into there country,I believe the limit is 175cc.Bigger bikes are allowed but only with a special permit in a group.
The border crossing Dansavanh / Lao Bao is no Problem. I did it in Dezember 2015.
Hey guys I’m planning on crossing at the na meo border from Vietnam in to Laos, but my registration is in the name of some guy down south who i’ve never met. do i need written permission from the guy the bike is registered under or can i go across with the registration as is?
Thank you so much for all the great information 🙂
We crossed without being asked for any more papers than the blue card (and 20 USD)
Cheers, Olli and Wooki
Thank you!!! 😀
I live in Việt Nam, and I have never heard of anyone being asked for any papers other than the blue card and cash.
right now we (two guys from Germany) are on a bike trip round south east asia.
Bought our vietnamese Bikes in Hanoi and tried to cross in Dien Bien, it was impossible. They just handed us a paper in bad english, which was supposed to explain why we cant cross. As far as we understood it, you can only cross if you’re a vietnamese on a bike which is registered on your name in the province Dien Bien (meaning its got the 27 on the number plate). After handing us the paper the officials ignored us completely, offering some Dollars to buy a ‘special permission’ didnt help as well.
We then went to Na Meo and crossed to Laos without problems. Had to pay 20 USD for bringing in the bikes, but got all the stamps and custom papers.
Yesterday we crossed from Laos to Thailand over the Friendship Bridge No. 4 between Huay Xay and Chiang Khong. All it cost us was one USD for some Photocopies, got 30 days in Thailand for free. First, they wanted us to pay for the police car escorting us while crossing the bridge, but when we told them we dont want to pay we didn’t have to.
Finishing the paperwork took about one hour. On the papers it says that we have to bring the Bikes out of the country again, so it seems that we cant leave without them.
We want to try to make it into Myanmar as well (probably without the bikes), we’ll let you know as soon as we found out if it worked.
Yesterday we got message from a friend who tried to cross from laos to Cambodia with a vietnamese bike. For him it was not possible (they told him that there’s no treaty between laos and cambodia for vietnamese bikes). He met some chinese on chinese bikes. They were able to cross, but one of them had to go to Pnom Phen first (without his bike) to finish all the required paper work and come back to the border gate to pick up his bike.
Olli and Wooki
That is awesome Olli and Wooki! Thanks for the update! Definitely let us know how you go with riding in Thailand, dealing with police, what you end up doing about Myanmar, etc.
My VN friend (who is a mechanic in Saigon) tells me that if you want to do both Laos and Cambodia on a VN-registered motorbike, it is best to go from Cambodia to Laos. Going the other way, as your friends learned the hard way, is challenging at best. I think that if you have paperwork showing that the bike has already been in Cambodia, you have a case that it should be allowed back in from Laos… though you are always subject to the whims of the border police.
Thanks for the report.
Were your bikes registered in your names before you crossed into Thailand?
As was reported here prior, DBP is a locals-only border crossing. You must have a plate from the area or you will be turned back. I don’t remember the first two numbers for DBP, though I’m pretty sure it’s somewhere above.
Update: from thailand we went to myanmar iin mae sot while leaving the bikes in thailand to travel round myanmar by bus. Before we left we enhanced the stay of our bikes, just went to the customs and got another 30 days.
A friend of us (from france) got 180 days for the bike when entering thailand. Seems like therr are only two options, just ask for more, you might be lucky.
After returning from myanmar we went back to laos. First tried in phu doo (west of luang prabang) which was not possible for us cause theres no visa on arrival available on the laotian side. We then went up to muang ngeun and had no problems to cross. Had to pay 30 usd for the visa ( plus 10 000 kip overtime fee) and 50 000 kip per bike for bringing them in. The customs official was a bit excited, seems like it was the first vietnamese bikes for him.
Btw: we had a hard time finding spare parts for our bikes in thailand, since there are a lot more cars and big motorbikes (yamaha, suzuki etc) than in laos and vietnam. Also fixing the bikes is more expensive there.
Wish you all the best, cheers, olli and wooki
Incredible Olli! Thanks so much for the updates. Glad to hear things are getting easier with this. Ride safe!
1) On the blue card:
The bikes were registered on some vietnamese guy, not on our name.
2) On Thailand:
Found some kind of information brochure, which holds the following information on crossing into Thailand:
The owner or a driver bringing a vehicle into the Kingdom of Thailand must observe all laws and regulations and provide the following documents:
– Submit vehicular form (TM2) together with the following documents:
1.1 The original Car Owner’s Handbook together with a copy
1.2 Owner or driver’s identification card or passport with a copy
1.3 Submit a list of the Vehicle Crew Members form (TM4)
– The driver and each passenger / vehicle crew member must have a passport or border pass and the vehicle must pass inspection by authorized officers at border checkpoints
– Victims Protection Act of 2535 B.E.: The vehicle owner or driver must provide an official insurance policy complying with the “Victim Protection Act of 2535 B.E.” for all vehicles.
As said above, we only had the blue cards and could cross without problems.
3) On Vietnam and Cambodia:
To avoid the border between Laos and Cambodia, we took a detour through Vietnam.
We crossed from Laos back into Vietnam at Bo Y in between Attapeu (Laos) and Plei Khan (Vietnam). Didn’t have any problems (and the road across the Bolaven Plateau is really beautiful).
From Vietnam we came into Cambodia at the Oyadav crossing in between Plei Ku (Vietnam) and Stung Treng (Cambodia). Got our Visa on Arrival for 30 USD, and even when asked they didn’t care for the bikes, so we could carry on about 20 mins later. (Sold the bikes to other backpackers in Siem Reap, now we’re back home in Germany and its freezing…)
4) At Nomadasaurus:
Thanks for this awesome page, the infos helped us a lot.
How about adding a small map von Southeastasia to this page and connecting the posts directly to the border crossings. It would help a lot if one is looking for infos on specific crossings.
hello olli ! can i get your any contact ?
i have to ask you something about border crossing with motor
Hello Olli and Jeongseok Kim !
I have the same plan than you had ; crossing from Cambodia to Thailand with a vietnamese motorbike not registered on my name. It seems possible to cross the border but after in Thailand did you have any trouble, with police for instance ?
My plan is to sell it in Malaysia.
Thank you very much for your answer !
Hi guys, can you please specify, if the bikes were registered on your name? Or was there a different name in the blue card? Thanks a lot!
Yes Dien Bien, Vietnam side are very difficult and anti Western, from all my research, not possible from VN to Laos. I crossed, Laos to Vn through this border, Jun 2015, on my VN registered Win 110. I’m sure my 3 month multi-entry visa helped. After being rallied through many people, who all wanted their fee, I politely told them no. We go back to Laos now, no more Vietnam for us. This went on for some time, until, they got rather upset and instructed me to, ‘Get bike & go now, to Vietnam’. Don’t remembered looking back, but the ride there and out was magnificent. As for the Phonsovan crossing into Laos, both sides of the fence were awesome. Also, Plieku crossing, Laos into Cambodia, wonderful people, both sides. I think we got a complimentary bottle of water. 8000 kms, Saigon – Vung Tao – Hoi An – Vihn – Phonsovan – Luang Prabang – Dien Bien – SaPa – Lai Cao – Hanoi – Plieku – Vihear Preah – Siam Reap – Phnom Penh – Sihanoukville, in 6 weeks, with no planning / booking was inspired by this blog. It’s not for the faint hearted, but the rewards are immense, between these icons. After falling off multiple times, getting lost in China, replacing the head gasket, rebuilding the gear box, & blaming the girlfriend for most of it, would I do it again? Every day of the week. My US$300 Honda Win, is nearly new and was donated to a deserving Khmer faimily. Footnote- I have been riding motorcycles for 20 years in Australia. Synopsis – If you think you can do it, do it, but take your time at your own pace. If I asked anyone from Indochina to move a building from A to B, it will be done, It’s the timing that makes the task impressive.
I heard that you cannot take your motorbike into China. True? you fell off-meaning on the same bike? R
hello guys how are you? currently i am going to cross the border into Thailand
from laos as you guys did it so i am in huay xai now and am worried about border crossing because local people told me i won’t be able to get into thailand.
so if you don’t mind, could you tell me what i need to bring for it ?
now i have blue card which isn’t on my name and one document that i got when i crossed the border in na meo. thank you so much!
Hey mate, did you end up crossing the border?
So anyone got news of the bordercross between laos and cambodia?
how much is the fine they ask you to pay?
Hello, yesterday finally made the bordercross between vietnam and laos at lao bao, no problem.
I tried nam pheo and the one down south of it, it was a no-go.A friend of mine tried dien bien phu but he’s stuck at the border.Happy travels everyone
Hey! I’m due to be in south east aisa in 1 month, after i complete my 1 year europe travel!
I plan on spending 3-4 months traveling and wanted to do most via motorbike before returning to Australia. You have both put in so much work and I’ve gained so much knowledge reading your articles very impressed!
I had a question with visas, how did you go obtaining your visas? There only valid for 15 days on entry in Vietnam, laos and cambodia?
Did you apply for a longer term visa?
If anyone could give me some information it would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you so much absolutely inspired!
I live in Vietnam and always get three month visas with no problem. How you get one depends on your nationality. I would recommend going to the Vietnam embassy’s website in your country and that will tell you what you need to know.
Hey Ben! Stoked to hear you are finding some good info on our blog.
As for visas, Laos and Cambodia you can get 30 day visas on the border. We applied for a 90 day Vietnam visa in Cambodia, and extended it by another 90 days in Hanoi. Not sure if you can still do this or not.
Good luck on the adventure mate!
Yes, you still can extend your Vietnamese visa… until they change the rules again and you can’t.
Thanks for the update John! And cheers for helping out with giving great information on this article. It is much appreciated by everyone, especially us. 🙂
Hi the Nomads 🙂
It seems that you are somewhere in Kyrzistan. I wonder which kind of transportation that you are using now ? How about the motorbike you bought in Vietnam ? Still using it or had it sold yet ? I’m about to Laos, Thailand and Myanmar very soon and I hope to have such the precious experiences like you ,mates.
We plan on doing a 4 week round trip, starting of flying into SEA in Bangkok, then instantly heading to Hanoi, buying a motorbike there and making our way through Laos, back to Vietnam, crossing the country down to Cambodia, where we plan on selling the bikes and crossing the border back to Thailand.
Now the question is: Is it possible to sell a Vietnam plated bike in Cambodia, or do we already have to leave the bike in Vietnam, cause the chance of a buyer is much higher due the hassle free transaction?! That would influence our planned route significantly, so we really have to be sure about it 😉
I´m thankful for any hints and tipps!
You can definitely sell your Vietnamese-plated bike in Cambodia Jana! If you are having any problems, look up Brian – one of the managers from Mad Monkey Hostels. He’s into buying and selling bikes 🙂
Wow, what a fast reply!!!! 🙂
So even if we buy used bikes which, as I learned, always have a mostly unknown Vietnamese owner named in that ownership card, we can sell it hassle-free? Good to know!
And we surely will contact Brian, thanks a lot for the hint!
oh and it would be great to know, which Lao/Vietnam border crossings are easy to cross with a bike coming from Hanoi with the rough destination Vang Vieng and leaving Laos heading to Hoi An? We researched that the Nam Phao Intl. Checkpoint is on the way leaving Laos, but is it safe to try to cross it with bikes?
Me and my boyfriend crossed the Nam Phao border from Vietnam to Laos a few days ago. We heard bad stories about the roads around Na Meo (we had a week of heavy rain in vietnam!) so we thought Nam Phao is a better option. Unfortunately they refused us when they knew we were with motorbikes. After a while I tried again and again to negociate with the guard and there was a guy that could “smuggle” our bikes to Laos. He asked 100 dollar for is. We payed him 75 dollar (still too much!) and it was okay. It was a risk because he and his friends also could drive away with our bikes so we hoped he was trustable.
At the end we were so happy when we were driving in Laos without some extra troubles.. sun was shining luckily after days of driving in the rain :).
Also important to know: the way to Nam Phao is not that easy. It is up a hill 2hrs and for us it was driving in the clouds, rain, mud, cold,…
we were so desperate and cold that we didnt want to do the way back so thats why we did this illegal stuff.
In a few days we go from Laos to Cambodia… anyone have some tips?
It’s SE Asia, so hassle-free is defined differently here 🙂
In VN, if you have the blue card AND A RECEIPT for the purchase with the red stamp of the seller if it was a business, you own the bike. If you just have a blue card, you own the bike, but it could be contested if someone else has a receipt. I have chain of ownership two owners back for both of my motorcycles.
Brian sounds like your best bet in Cambodia. I’d contact him BEFORE you buy a bike and ask what paperwork he wants before purchasing.
Re buying a bike in Hanoi, check out Flamingo Travel. They are honest and reputable and the only place I’d consider.
on their website Flamingo only promotes bikes for rent – do they have used bikes to sell on a regular basis or just occasionally?
It seems I´m pretty limited in where to buy a bike! I planned on buying one from another backpacker on craigslist or travelswop because it´s cheaper, but then I won´t get much more than the blue card probably…. I´ll just ask Brian what he needs and then I´ll decide 🙂
Flamingo usually has bikes for sale, sometimes Honda Wins and scooters with the occasional bigger and better bikes. I suggest you call them, talk to them about what you’re planning, and ask for suggestions. With a little lead time, they might be able to find just what you want.
Buying from a backpacker fits into the category of “penny wise and pound foolish”. You will pay less up-front, BUT unless you’re a mechanic, you have no flippin’ idea what you have until you break down in the middle of nowhere… and then it’s a bit late. Flamingo’s bikes are all checked with any potential problems fixed. The backpacker will tell you he/she changed oil every 500 kilometers because that’s what they’re supposed to do. Adding oil is NOT the same as changing it.
Flamingo (and probably other shops) give you a basic tool kit and a 24-hour phone number to call if you have any issues. They will gladly talk on the phone with the mechanic who’s working on your bike if you need them to do so.
Yes, this sounds like a commercial–they’re friends because they took amazing care of me with the first bike I bought (Yamaha YBR) and I’ve bought three scooters since that I’ve later either sold or given to friends.
Hey guys, lokking at doing a bit of a riding tour around Vietnam, Loas, Cambodia and just hoping for some information on drivers license’s. Will I have to take any driving tests or get a license for the country I am in? Or is my New Zealand appropriate? cheers guys.
IF you have a motorcycle license in NZ, then all you need is that and an International Driver’s License (IDL) from NZ to legally ride in any of the countries you mentioned. No mc license and you’re illegal.
We are headed from Hanoi to Bangkok, planning on buying bikes in Hanoi for the journey. Will entering Thailand be a problem? And can we sell the bikes there without violating any laws?
I see we can most likely enter, is it just a fine to exit without the bikes?
It is possible to enter Thailand, but you will have to exit the country with the bikes I’m afraid. They stamp in your passport that you entered on a motorbike, so you have to leave with the same bike.
there might be a way of doing it as we had to leave a Mitsubishi delica in Mongolia.we had to go to the main customs offices in the capital and basically give the car to customs,so no import duty.I had the stamp for the car in my passport and managed to leave ok.It was one hell of a lot of hassle and a lot of paperwork,but it avoided a $1700 bill for me to leave the country
How about buying bikes in Bangkok and riding across Cambodia to Vietnam and selling bikes there?
Two weeks ago crossed from HCM to PP through Moc Bai. No problem on Vietnamese side. Cambodia side also OK, but change Vietnamese Dong for dollars in advance otherwise the guards selling the visa on arrival will try to screw you on the exchange rates.
Any news regarding crossing Cambodia to Laos directly? Has it been possible lately?
Yesterday crossed the Cambodia – Laos only border, with my Vietnamese-plated motorcycle. No problem.
Both sides requested 2 USD bribes to stamp the passport. It is possible to skip them if you remain firm and tell them you won’t pay. I had secured my visa for Laos, and that helped too. Laotian border patrol started screaming “pay the money!!!!!! No stamp, go back!!” but after a good half an hour of waiting and discussion, they stamped it and let me go.
Regarding the fact that I was by myself and driving a motorcycle, neither side even mentioned the bike or asked for documentation. They just wanted money.
Awesome to hear Jordi! Looks like things have changed. Thanks for the update 😀
Will be traveling to Cambodia next month,I have ridden Vietnam twice now,both times bought a bike with blue card.Would like to buy a bike in Cambodia,possibly cambodian registered and ride it into Laos,my question is,Is this possible??
Thanks a lot for your website it helps me a lot.
I cross the border with my girlfriend at Na Maew (Na Meo) / Nam Xoi on our Honda Win the 12 October 2015.
It was easy at the border even if in Laos they ask for 45$ per VISA and impossible to negociate!
We stay one night in Quan Son near NaMeo. The road between those 2 towns is not to bad and if you leave Quan Son early morning you can reach Sam Nuea in Laos and sleep there…. the road between Mai Chau and Quan Son was HORRIBLE on 15|20 km. It rains for 4 days before we toik this road and with 2 backpacks on each side of the bike it was very very difficult to drive…
For more information about this border you can also see this website :
Writing from my hotel room in DBP. Tried to cross the border this morning at Tay Trang and it was impossible, I was there for nearly 4 hours trying to negotiate with the border police but nothing, they didn’t ask for money and denied every generous attempt for a ‘gift’. After all that time I learned that there is a way to get across though, all you need is a motorbike that’s registered in the same region, which means your license plate should start with the number 27, my bike had #29 since I rented it in Hanoi. If I had bought the bike instead I could have easily tried to sell it in DBP and either take the bus to Luang Prabang or buy a motorbike with the #27 license plate. At the very end back at the border crossing, after 4 hours begging the officers to let me go through they even came up with a solution… they brought a #27 Honda Win from somewhere and told me I could rent it from them, leave my #29 bike at the border and pick it up upon my return to Vietnam. Unfortunately I couldn’t take the offer since I plan to continue my way south to Hoi An after Vang Vieng. At least it shows that it is in fact possible to cross through Tay Trang. Obviously I did some research before and knew it would be tricky to get my motorbike through, but tried it anyway. And I don’t regret it at all! The way here from Sa Pa and Lan Chau is absolutely stunning! Now I will ride early morning to Mai Chau, spend the night there and head to Na Meo the next day. Good luck and safe travels everyone!
DBP is often a difficult/impossible crossing, though I think your challenge at DBP may be that you are on a rental motorbike. Everyone I’ve ever talked with about crossing borders says you must OWN the bike. This means possessing the blue card. The one-way rental companies should tell you this and offer to sell you the bike then buy it back at the other end.
Or was the border crossing not originally planned?
It sounds like you are making the best of it, though. I’m thinking about heading that way in a week or so, how is the weather?
I do have the blue card with me. So it had nothing to do with the motorbike being rented, as a matter of fact the border police had no way of knowing my bike was a rental. It’s pretty simple, if your bike’s license plate starts with #27 you go through no questions asked, otherwise you will turn back just like me. While I was there I saw many motorcycles crossing and every single one of them was #27. And they made it pretty clear to me, they simply couldn’t allow my #29 bike to go through. We can question why this stupid rule exists, but the truth is that they follow it almost religiously. Like I said in the original post I was prepared to pay them a generous amount, but they wouldn’t take anything. Good luck on your way to DBP, if you’re coming from Sa Pa you will be amazed by the scenery for sure. Weather was good the entire way there, I only caught a bit of rain on my way back from Tay Trang (to make things better that day) but nothing dramatic. So… If you own the bike and it’s not number 27 you must try to get one in DBP or just sell it and continue to Laos by bus and buy another bike once you’re there, I’ve read they have plenty of Vietnamese bikes for sale in Laos. Safe travels.
Yes, I agree… Sa Pa is awesome!
I thought I read in your earlier post it that you rented the bike, so I apologize for my misunderstanding. It is good to know about the 27 license plate; thank you.
It is too bad you’re so far from the other border crossings, because I know it is possible to get a Vietnamese bike into Lao at the more southern outposts.
Maybe the license plate thing is what they meant when I heard a couple years ago that crossing at DBP is only for locals.
Again, congratulations on making the best of a less than ideal situation.
So i was in Vietnam on a DL visa and I had it extended once in hoi an. Little did I know I was not allowed to extend it again. I found that out on Monday the 21st of sept. 2015. my visa expire 24th of sept 2015. I had recently bought a motorbike and now I was expected to leave the country. I came across your site while I was looking for options. So I drive to tam ky then I head for the mountains over to the bo y border crossing into Laos. I get lost once along the way, there are not much Internet cares or service in those mountains. Getting lost sets me back a day and time is running out I didnt want to overstay my visa in Vietnam. So the route I took was tam ky to dak to, getting lost I had to stay in a town called huyen bac tra my. Between huyen bac tra my and all the way to tomoroung there is no Internet service anywhere. Everytime I came to a fork in the road I had to ask several people if I was on the right track to kon tum. Well after many attempts at this I finally figure out how to say kon tum with the correct tone. Long story short the mountains were beautiful the road from huyen bac tra my to tomoroung was nasty and the road from tomoroung to dak to wasn’t any better. The whole time on the journey I though I had to get to kon tum to get to bo y but it turns out I just had to get to dak to then head to bo y. I got my exit stamp at bo y they didn’t even care about the motorbike nor the blue certificate that came with it. I started driving from huyen bac tra my at 6 am this morning passed through immigration in bo y at 4 pm arrived in attapeu Laos 10 pm. I really don’t like the visa laws of Vietnam…
You wait until three days before your visa expires before checking on renewing it and then you’re upset with the government of Vietnam? I’m betting you also didn’t have a map or a GPS or even a compass with you, and that your getting lost was the fault of the locals who didn’t set up Internet cafes along your route for you to mooch off. I apologize for my part in your adventure because I didn’t post earlier that for 70,000 VND per month (less than US$3.50) any VN phone company will sell you Internet service that is available anywhere there’s a phone signal–which is pretty much everywhere if you’re on-road.
You screwed up. Own it and enjoy your unplanned trip. Maybe your Mommy and Daddy will give you a trophy when you get home.
Just crossed the Prek Chak / Xa Xia border from Vietnam to Cambodia five days ago with my VN motorbike without any problem. In the Cambodia side I parked my bike outside of the custom building, thus the officials are not even aware that I have a motorbike. When passing the final checking gate of Cambodia with the motorbike, the officials just checked my passport for the VISA and then let me pass. Not even any question about the motorbike. Thanks for this blog that I got some confidence before the crossing.
Thanks for the update Cebbina!
I am planning a ride from India – Myanmar – Thailand. I’ll be riding my own indian origin bike. Do you know about any fee that we will require to pay, while entering any of these countries.
Thanks in advance
Planning the same route, have you found any more about it?
Hello, also interested in this, thank you!!!!!
Just regarding to my post i travel from pleiku in vietnam to ban Lung in cambodia
Hi Artur, I’m planning to the exact same thing in a week! How were the roads on both sides? was it tricky to ride out of ban lung? could you make it from pleiku to ban lung easily in a day? Many thanks!
Few days ago I crossed border from vietnam to cambodia on my motorbike with vietnamese plate (Le Thanh / O Yadao) with no problem at no extra cost.
Awesome! Happy riding 🙂
Hello, I live in Da Nang, VN and was thinking about buying and riding a motorbike from Vietnam to Cambodia, Cambodia to Laos, Laos to Thailand, and Thailand to Myanmar. I was thinking this would take about six months.
Is this a possible trip? Would my odds of making it be better if I bought a brand new bike? Does any one have any tips/suggestions? Do you think it would be easier to just fly to each place and rent motorbikes in each country?
This page has been extremely helpful already for planning the first part of the trip, so Thank you in advance. Also would it be worth it to sell a practically new Vietnamese motorbike in Myanmar?
You could buy a bike and ride it through Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, but you if you take a bike into Thailand you have to leave with it. Unfortunately I think the only way you can ride your bike through Myanmar is if you have a valid Carnet De Passage and join a tour group. Don’t think you can get a Vietnamese-plated bike into Myanmar.
Na Meo: From Vietnam to Laos with a Vietnamese plated Honda Win in July 2015. Had to pay $20 for the export cert. The Laos side charged me $47 for a visa and a very small extra fee to stamp the export cert. Otherwise no problems. The roads the Vietnamese side were SHOCKING. I was staying in Mai Chau the night before, left at about 7am and didn’t get to Vieng Xai until well after dark, although mechanical problems were also a large factor.
Bo Y: From Laos to Vietnam with the same bike in July 2015. Absolutely zero problems, they completely ignored the bike. This crossing seems to deal mostly with logging trucks.
Le Thanh/O Yadaow: From Vietnam into Cambodia with bike in July 2015. The Vietnamese building is huge, but apart from wanting to scan my backpack there were no problems. My bike was parked in plain sight, they didn’t say anything about it. The Cambodia side was little more than a series of sheds. They didn’t mention the bike despite clearly seeing it. Interestingly there was a sign displaying the correct visa fees ($30 for a tourist visa is now the official price) so obviously they don’t overcharge.
Phnom Den / Tinh Bien: From Cambodia to Vietnam with a bike in August 2015. Very basic crossing at both ends. They looked at my passport only, completely ignored the bike even though everyone saw I had it. Be warned if planning to stay the night in Phnom Den: the local casino has bought up all the guest house accommodation. Some guy rented me his bedsit for a night and it was less than pleasant.
Veun Kham: Didn’t actually cross this due to its reputation, but spoke to a French man in Pakse whose business is vehicle rental. He says that even with an Avis rental car that has all documents 100% legal has perhaps a 10% chance of getting across. I’d advise doing what I did and going back into Vietnam via Attapeu, overnight in Pleiku then cross over to Cambodia via O Yadaw.
Hey guys, great site! Based on your article and the comments I decided to skip Dien Bien and go for Na Meo instead. I successfully crossed the border two days ago (07/08/15) with my automatic Yamaha Nouvo from Vietnam to Laos without any problem. I organised my visa in advance and just had to pay $20 for the bike. They didn’t ask for my driver licence or anything, just the blue registration card (which is in someone else’s name). Some pieces of the road are pretty bad on the Vietnamese side so I recommend leaving early and allowing yourself plenty of time! It’s totally worth it when you reach Laos, amazing scenery! 🙂
Thanks for the update Mike 🙂
Hello, great site.It helped me alot during my travels.
Does anyone have some new information on bordercrossing the Laos-Cambodia border with bike?
Is it possible or is the scam still going on?
It’s not a scam, Tim, it’s how thing are done in SE Asia 🙂
Yeah, been in se asia before, but this seemed really dodgy
Thanks Tim! Things sound pretty tough at that border. Let us know about your experiences. Ride safe.
Hey guys, Thnxs for the posts, really had a lot of help here!
Within a week or so, me and my girlfriend hope to enter Cambodia from Vietnam.
Now I’m just trying to figure out which border to chose.
Regarding your stories it just does not matter that much? We are now in Dalat, going to Mui ne tomorrow and willing to skip Saigon.
So which border is pretty north of Saigon and easy going?
North of Saigon, try hitting up the one near Snoul. We went through there and it was mellow. When you’re in that part of the country, make sure you ride up to Sen Monorom. Epic place! Ride safe.
You’re skipping Saigon? If you haven’t been there yet, it’s worth a couple days.
I’ve not crossed the border into Cambodia, but I hear Moc Bai is easy.
Agreed – Saigon is definitely worth a few days.
Will be crossing from Laos to Cambodia tomorrow. has anyone made this run in a while? seems like i will be running into some problems. can anyone shine some light on this?
No recent updates mate, but definitely let us know how you go. Would love to hear an update. Ride safe!
Last we heard was that you need a carnet de passage to make that crossing. Let us know how you go.
I am a U.S. citizen currently living in Dalat, Vietnam. In your article you say that an IDL (International Drivers License) “means nothing in Vietnam.” As of 01 January 2015, this changed.
Prior to 01/01/2015, the only way to drive/ride legally in VN was to have a Vietnamese driving license. The law now recognizes the IDL, so all you need to drive or ride here is your home country’s DL and the IDL. Because I live here, I also spent the time/money to get a Vietnamese A2 license, which allows me to ride any size motorcycle.
Please note that the home country license paired with the IDL is only valid to ride a motorbike/motorcycle IF you have that right at home. Without a motorcycle endorsement at “home”, you are riding illegally, even with an IDL.
The “good news” is that VN police will normally NOT stop foreigners unless they (foreigners) are breaking the law or doing something stupid. When they do stop us, they’re almost always looking for a monetary gift and 200,000 VND (~US$10) is usually sufficient–IF you don’t let them see the rest of your money. For this reason, I always have 2-100,000 VND bills next to my DL.
Nice site. Good information. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance re VN information.
Thanks for the update on the licence issue, John. We were in the country when this change took place, but still had friends getting fines, even with a IDL. If we were to return to Vietnam on a more permanent basis, we would definitely get the A2 licence. Thanks for clarifying the issue of having to have a motorbike licence at home. Ride safe mate.
Chances are pretty good that those fines were actually “gifts” solicited by the officer who stopped them. That is an on-going issue here that will most likely never change. It is also why I have 200,000 VND tucked in with my A2–it’s usually enough to get me on my way.
Have to have the ‘gifts’ for the officers eh. Gotta love Asia 😛
I passed successfully the border from Vietnam to Cambodia at Ha Tien. No hassle at all. Didn’t even had to hide the bike. Does anyone has experience with passing the border from Cambodia to Laos? I will be there in 2 weeks..
Heard that the crossing from Laos into Cambodia now requires a carnet de passage.
just did the Border crossing Nam Meo / Nam Xoi from Vietnam into Laos (Vietnamese Bike) without any hassle. Arrived at the border office where I handed my passport in. I got then asked whether I have got a moto. Since the official didn’t speak any english I managed to misunderstand him regarding whether I do have a moto or not and rode away with my moto once I had the stamp. After I had cleared the whole office area though the guys were shouting at me which I happily ignored until I arrived at the Laos arrival office. 30 seconds later one of the Vietnamese officials on his motorbike arrived grinned at me and said I need to get a stamp for the Motorbike all in front of another grinning Laos official. So I complied got back and got all that nonsense with the import form done. It is possible to haggle the price for that one down. The official said 20 dollars and I told him that I don’t have so much money and that I still have to pay for the Laos Visa so I offered him 10 Dollars instead, he accepted, and I rode legally off this time. As for the Laos Visa I only had to pay 35 US Dollars for some reason even though the Vietnamese officials told me it is 45 I don’t know if they changed prices or whether it was because of my good looks:). After the Laos Visa was done I had to go to the Laos customs guy who made me pay another 250000 Laos kip and then I was finally clear. All in all the crossing did cost me 47 or 48 US Dollars. As Lesh and Jazza have said the road on the Vietnamese side is in dreadful conditions and it takes ages to get to the border.
Thanks for the update Jan. Legendary! Ride safe mate.
I am thinking of taking the same crossing but it has been raining fairly badly here in VN right now. I am on a Honda Baja 250 which normally should not have a problem with the road but I am kind of overloaded which makes it difficult to ride on bad roads… How bad was the road and for what distance on the VN side (I assume you’re talking about QL217)?
Just try to cross Laos to Cambodia with a Viet bike. Was turn turned back with the only way to pass to have a CARNet de passage. However on the plus side with did cross Vietnam into Lao at cha lo which is a fairly remote crossing. Laos officials did not blink an eye at the site of the bike
Shame you got turned away at the border mate. We’ve heard some horror stories from there. Thanks for the update Chris.
Lesh and Jazza, thank you both so much for this thorough and comprehensive article! We have been talking about doing a bike trip through Vietnam for some time now, but you guys have taken motorbiking in SEA to another level! Definitely feeling inspired 😀
Thanks so much for the kind comment, Jen! Ride safe, and let us know if you have any questions 🙂
Thanks for the great info. I recently was able to cross from Cambodia to Vietnam at the Ha tien border and nobody even mentioned or looked at the bike (Vietnam plated). Going to Try Laos crossing at the end of July but have heard very mixed stories. Hoping a bit of cash will solve any difficulties.
Thanks for the update David!
I’m thinking of buying a bike in Bangkok, with full papers and history etc. Do you think that this would prove a problem still trying to drive into Cambodia and Vietnam?
If you have full ownership papers (in your name) for the bike then it shouldn’t a problem with Cambodia. I don’t know about Vietnam however. Let us know how you go 🙂
Any advice on crossing Laos to Vietnam at tay trang ? On a moto of course… Hee hee
Papers and registration blah blah.
Should I find a Viet bike in luang prabang?
Can’t comment on the Tay Trang border, but perhaps there are other readers who have experience there? You will more than likely need your blue registration form for the bike though, and an import form which is handed out when you cross the Viet/Lao border. If you can find a bike in Luang Prabang definitely buy it there! You will also find a few in Vientiane and Vang Vieng.
Thanks everyone for the great input. I will be attempting the VN to Laos Nam Can crossing in a few days and then the Dien Bien Laos to VN crossing out a week later. I’ll update my experience. Has anyone done any of these lately?
Just wondering how your crossing has gone into Laos? I am now debating between the Nam Xoi vs Nam Khan as most people say that the QL217 is in very bad condition 🙁
Which roads did you take and what condition were they in?
Can you let me know how did your crossing go into Laos? How were the roads on VN side and Lao side? And if you can maybe tell me which roads you took it would be great. Been kind of raining here for few days and just looking for a decent road 😀
Hey it sound see ally amazing what you did but I was wandering if you know anything about the border crossing for other countries, like Myanmar, Malaysia, Bhutan, Bangladesh and India?
Afraid we don’t have any first-hand information about those borders. Myanmar is doable with the proper paperwork (hard to get). Malaysia is possible as well – we’ve had some friends ride bikes across the border there. I can’t imagine Bhutan would be possible at all, and no idea about India and Bangladesh. Check out Horizons Unlimited.
On May 8th three friends and I all successfully got our bikes into Laos at the Na Meo border crossing. After processing our exit the guard gave us a blue form for our bikes, examined our registration cards and then asked for 20 USD. One of the 4 of us paid, but three of us didn’t have enough money to pay for our bikes and for our Laotian visas. We chatted awhile, tried to pay less and after a bit the guard waved us through without paying the $20. We were super happy to be through the border with our bikes and on the road towards Luang Prabang.
One thing to note is we got a poor conversion rate for our dong at the Laos border and there are no ATMs anywhere near the border in either side. I recommend people bring enough USD to pay a $20 bribe and $45 for the Laos visa. Also some snacks are a good idea because there’s not much on the Laos side for miles and miles (especially without Kip). Also the road to the border on the Vietnam side is very rough and will be slow moving and bumpy, dusty and great.
Thanks so much for the awesome update, David! Legendary! Ride safe 🙂
Great info! I have abandoned my idea of riding a bike from Thailand and try to cross any border – but will try it next month from Ho Chi Minh – any tips on buying a cheap used bike there? Any names? Or do you buy them from other tourists? And can you resell it in another country? Cambodia? Or will you have to take it back to Vietnam – and is all this doable on a tourist visa?
Thanks again for any help –
Heading to Vietnam, solo, in June 2015 –
Hi Gabriel, we have covered most of vietnam, now in Cambodia, back in HCMC around the 24/6. We have a great Honda win 110 and will be keen to sell, very well looked after for the last 4 months, and in great condition for what you want to do. We have done it all on tourist visas. No sure if this suits your time frame. Just putting it out there.
You can buy a bike from a shop in HCMC or Hanoi, or from a backpacker. You can also probably find one in Siem Reap or Phnom Penh – Just make sure it is Vietnamese plated. You don’t have to take it back to Vietnam. Definitely doable on a tourist visa.
My girlfient and me just crossed the border Nam Can (lao spelling) / Nam Kan (Vietnamies spelling) from Laos into vietnam. We had one “Handa Win 110”. At the lao site we parkt our Bike more or less out of site witch meens somewere between the parkt cars there and went with our smal rucksack in to the immigtation office witch was a hall with a window. nobody asked us about our motorcycle and we did’nt tell unaksed. After we recieved our departure stamp we jumped on again and rushed through.
At the vietnamiese site i was more or less the same except that the officials outsite noticed und and asked us for our BLUE REGISTRATION CARD that we had od course. Now we are happy in Vietnam and already arrived in Hanoi. So Nam Kan recomandable. No bike fee no anoying officials and a beautiful mountain view.
Thanks so much for the update! Ride safe guys.
Hi, i am planning on crossing at the same point, but going the other way. do you think it would be just as easy to go from vietnam into laos?
How would they possibly know?
I forgot to mention, But you have to have a vietnam bike. Especially if you want to drive it also to Laos. Olio you can not bring a Cambodia bike in vietnam.
In ho chi minh there is one motorbike shop I can recommend. It’s called tigit motorbikes. Look for it on the net. They have al lot of bikes and you can ride a couple to test them.
It should be noted that although you may be able to cross the border into Cambodia, it is 100% illegal for ANYONE other than a Cambodian national to drive a vehicle in Cambodia!!! Yes, this is one of those un-often enforced laws but, you must be aware that many Cambodian policemen are hungry.
Yes, the Cambodian police can be ‘hungry’. People also need to realise that if they are riding illegally in a country, they will not be covered by their travel insurance. Could be a big problem if you have an accident.
Dave’s comment is incorrect. Please keep wrong information off this board. I live in Cambodia for many years. There is no law that says foreigners cannot drive a vehicle, or rent one, or own one. I owna nd ride two bikes; I know many other foreginers who own and ride bikes. Or cars/trucks.
Hundreds, probably thousands of foreigners in Cambo drive motos or vehicles every day. Some rent, others own. It is absoutely no problem and not illegal.
If a foreigner wants to get Cambodia insurance for their bike or car, then must have a Cambodia driver license. It is easy to get a Cambo driver license – takes only a few days for a temp license. To do this, you must have a license from another country and a long-term visa, which only takes 3 days to get.
Except to buy local insurance, it is not necessary to have a Cambo driver license. If asked for one, a couple of dollars tea money is just as good.
Hi Ride On!
Have you ever tried to cross the border from Cambodia to Vietnam on your cambodia plated bike? Or maybe have any tip on how to do it? I’ve heard that it would be possible if you get a kind of invitation.
I own a cambodian plated Honda XR400 and got the cambodian driver licence.
Not sure about taking a Cambodian-plated bike into Vietnam, but if you have all the paperwork it might be possible. If you manage to do it please come back and let us know how it went 🙂
Not necessarily incorrect. Just because its not enforced doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist in a dusty government draw somewhere. These countries keep the laws deliberately vague, making it almost impossible to obey the law to its fullest, so they can drop the sword of Damocles on you when it suits them. Unfortunately health insurance companies probably wont take this into account if not doing so saves them paying out.
When in Siem Reap I was told by an angkor wat official foreigners cant drive in cambodia. there have been a few foreigner deaths in siem reap so they try to drag out this old law. i pointed out my muddy bike and said after one border crossing and 600km the window for objection had long passed. she then reversed her edict.
Interesting to hear about the Angkor Wat official’s thoughts on it. We spent two months riding in Cambodia and never grabbed the attention of any cops.
I rented a 250 Baja in PP and ripped around the entire perimeter of the country in two weeks. Not once was anything like this brought to my attention, be it from the dealer or military officials. That said I skipped over Siem Reap and hugged the border roads to get to the cat temple.
Anyone taking their bikes through the Cardamoms should keep in mind to always ask locals along the way. I followed google maps on my phone which took me along the old smugglers road rather than the lovely paved hydro road I found after being in the mountains for three days. Google maps… Not always best bet for best road.
Such useless information from unexperienced travellers just spill over here and there. Keep wrong info of this and any other board please. I have done Cambodia numerous times on a foreign registered bike and on a Vietnamese as well. Both times the Cambodian police is the most friendly you could possibly come across. Is sad that those kind of comments pop up here and there. Please don’t comment at all unless you know the matter.
That was in regards to Dave’s comment
Can you recommend documents that I need to pass the border from Vietnam into Cambodia with a Vietnamese registered bike? Is is possible to rent a bike or does it need to be my personal bike?
Well, technically you will need to get documents from department of transportation (this office might not be right place..) that states that you can export your bike outside of Vietnam, as they might not want to fill papers at the border.
and even if you go to ask them they might say to you that ” no need, just go to border and they will fill papers…..” and as my friend found out was full of BS! and after 3 hours they said can’t exit.. he had to call Hanoi some high ranking official to get him that paper so he could exit Vietnam.
Shame your friend had to stay at the border for 3 hours. I guess it depends on the mood of the customs officer sometimes too.
Hello travelers, i can confirm that is is easy to cross the border from Vietnam into Cambodia on a Vietnamees motorbike. I closed the border at thin bien without any problems. I have payed 35 dollars for the visa and one for the health check, so more than the 20 dollars you normally pay. The crossing will take you 1 houre.
Safe travel everybody.
Thanks so much for the update, Gerwin.
Thanks for the info. We are really worried about crossing from vietnam to cambodia, and we read that your post is so recent (we have searched a lot but usually the info is from 2 or 3 years ago)!!.
Now we are in vietnam and we would like to buy a motorbike in HCH (saigon) and go to cambodia and laos…
It will be on the 20th April more or less but we are not sure yet… The other option was to buy a motorbike in Cambodia but i dont know if it would be more difficult then.
You didnt have problems to cross the boarder? Any tip?
Thank you so much!!!!
Hello keri and Martin. I had no problems at all leaving vietnam and entering Cambodia on the border crossing. I had to pay more then normal but I do not think it has en anything to do with the bike.
My only tip is to smile and be friendly.
Definitely smile and be friendly all the time 😀
Please keep us updated with your experiences, Keri and Martin 🙂
I’m planning on doing this trip in the up coming week, have you made progress with getting across? I am worried about getting a bike with the right documentation. How did it work out for you and what Border did you cross.
I would love to hear where you went to also, I’m kind of winging it but have a couple places I want to check out. Thank you for all your help.
Hey, I was curious as to specifically what “ownership papers” you need from to cross the Thai border from Cambodia.
I believe it’s just some papers that say what the full history of the bike is, and to have the bike in your name. Best to check with Jon from Two Monkeys Travel. He did it a while back.
Bought a bike in cambodia and road it through ha tien border crossing to vietnam no problem, now about to take it into laos at bo y crossing. No troubles with police So far!
Awesome, thanks so much for the update Dan!
That’s cool as that’s are plan from Kep this April. What was the procedure like heading into Ha Tien ?
You guys having great fun over there, after visiting your post I am eager to go there very soon.
Get over here sooner rather than later 🙂
thank you so much for the information about crossing borders in south Asia. I’m will be in ho chi minh second of April to get my self a bike. i’m planning to take it to cambodia and laos. first i wanted to cross the border between cambodia and loas, but now i will be get back into vietnam, and try my luck there to get in laos.
i hope will meet sometime, somewhere. have a fatalistic travel.
Best of luck with your travels Gerwin. Let us know if you have any questions. Ride safe 😀
hi guys, we can confirm that the Lao Bao bordercrossing is a yes for crossing with motorbikes! We drove with 3 Vietnamese licence plated bikes from Savannakhet to Hue a couple of days ago, and used the Lao Bao bordercrossing. A Lao officer saw that we were looking for where to go and then put us directly ( sorry people who were waiting in line ) at the front of the check out of Laos line and then guided us to the check into Vietnam line. After stamp procedures he asked if we did the bike paperwork, i said no, he walks with us to our bikes and said: oh, its Vietnamese, you don’t have to do anything, have a good trip.
Good roads on both sides of the border and an relaxing way to cross the borders 🙂
Thanks for the heads up Janet! Have you heard of anyone crossing from Vietnam into Laos at Lao Bao? Ride safe 🙂
We crossed Lao Bao border from Vietnam to Laos in Late March 2015 with Viet Honda Win as soon as we approached Border we were denied by Viet border control because of the motorbike. They stamped are passports and said no motorbike, after this the local money exchange girls offered to drive the motorbike through the forest illegally and meet us on the Lao side for 500,000 Dong. This was all discussed openly in front of immigration and he knew what was happening.We took the lady’s phone as collateral and crossed by foot, as soon as we got across are bike was waiting on the other side payed the local the money and we were on are way. So possible but a bit sketchy. Great website helped us a lot with are travels. All the best, safe travels.
Thanks for the update Daniel, and glad you are finding our website useful 🙂
When you said you discuss about illegally matter infront of autority and they know about it so it means you encouraging the bribe. The same matter will happen to other out sider bikers when they want to cross the border next time .
Please don’t do it again next time
Hey guys, we crossed the Vietnam/ Cambodia border between Tinh Bie to Phnom Den about a month ago. We parked the bike out of sight and got the stamp first, then went back to get the bike. It was no problem! Now we want to cross to Laos, we’re not sure if it makes sense to go back to Vietnam for that. I will follow the comments on this page – thanks a lot , it’s so useful! !
We did it just recently both ways, Vietnam—Laos—Vietnam. No one ever checked out motorbike papers, it all went like a charm. I got my 15 days stamp once we got back to Vietnam, spending some 6 hours in Laos, since i didnt have a 3 months multiple, like my friend. No bribes whatsoever. The road is perfect on both sides. An awesome passage.
It closes at 10pm (vietnamese time), mind that
the above comment is on Lao Bao crossing
was this a vn plated bike?
Hey guys, thank you for the nice article! Very useful information. I actually just bought a Vietnamese-plated motorbike in Laos, with blue registration card; and I have an international driving license.The seller told me that it would not be a problem to cross borders (Vietnam, maybe Cambodia), but I am now wondering whether this is correct because I am having people telling me that it will not be possible without “ownership papers”, which should have the name of the original owner and my name on it so as to “transfer the motorbike officially”. Is this information correct? Or is the blue card enough? Thank you so much for any advice!
You will have no problems crossing borders Thomas. It is only into Thailand where you need ownership papers. Let us know how you go, and thanks for reading.
Hey NOMADasaurus! I am planning to take the motorbike journey from Luang Prabang into Vietnam, and I’m hoping for some advice on the best/easiest border crossing with a motorbike into Vietnam. It is vietnam plated with the Vietnamese blue card. The only complication would be that I don’t have international driving permit. I really appreciate any advice/tips you might have handy! 🙂
Hi Corey! I’m in the exact same situation as you. I have a Vietnamese plated bike, with a blue card and a paper attesting the different sales since the original owner. I don’t have an international driving license either. I would like to cross the most Northern border (to go to Sapa) but read it might be difficult, although heard someone crossed without issues recently. Seems that Na Meo is the best option up North, but I would still prefer the Muang Khua/Tay Trang. Hopefully someone can shed some light on our questions! Cheers!
We didn’t cross it by motor bike ourselves. We thought we’d booked a taxi transfer from Cambodia to Vietnam, but ended up in a taxi to start with first. Then were transferred to a mini bus. Then taken across the border on motorbikes. Then dropped at a bus station on the other side, where we got our bus tickets including transfer in Can Tho. Then got to Vin Long very late in the evening, while we had no hotel reservation. Next time will take our own bikes!
Sounds like a bit of a mission! Definitely take your own bikes next time. Be in charge of your own destiny! Thanks for reading Jaklien.
Hi guys firstable thank you for this useful post.
My self and my girlfriend we are traveling right now in Phillipines and we gonna go to vietnan in the follow weeks. We are planing to do a tryp Vietnan,Cambolla and Laos by motorbike.We where thinking to buy a motorbike in Vietnan and travel the tree countries whit it.the only thing its my partner dose not have license and i only have for cars its this a big deal or the coustom does’nt really care.
Also i was thinking maybe to attach to the motorbike a sidecar to carry all the backpacks tends etc.does it may harder to cross the borders.
I would like to ask you alsoany place close to ho chiming city where i can buy the motorbike.
Thank you so much to read this post .
Keep this way of leaving its a great inspiration for many people
Hey Victor and Agata,
Awesome that you found our post useful. Riding motorbikes will be one of the best adventures you will do here! Not having a license doesn’t really matter for officials over here, but keep in mind that your insurance will be void if you have an accident. Don’t get a sidecar as this will be impractical. Just get a luggage rack put on the back or side panniers and attach your luggage to that. Also in HCMC you will find many people selling motorbikes. Look around in District 1 and ask at the main hostels. Thanks so much for reading guys 😀
I don’t have a motorbike license and haven’t had a problem. My friend got asked for his license in Laos and he showed them his international drivers license, which is only for driving a car, and it was sweet. They couldn’t speak English let alone read it so you could show them any ID with your photo on it (Except passports, that a bit obvious) and probably get away with it. Unless you’re in an accident it’s highly unlikely you’ll be asked for you license in Vietnam.
Thanks for all the great information! We would love to do this, but unfortunately, neither of us have motorbike licenses so wouldn’t be insured through our travel insurance if we had an accident. Next goal, get a motorbike license!
Definitely is a good idea in getting licenses, but make sure you read the fine print in your insurance as many of them won’t cover you unless you are licensed in the country you are riding in – meaning in Vietnam for example, you cannot be insured unless you get a Vietnamese license. Still, it is the best experience we have ever done and would highly recommend it to anyone! Thanks for reading Kolbie.
Hey, I drove through Thailand, Laos, Cambodia in 2001 with the motorbike and right now from Vietnam to Thailand via Cambodia plus I have a motorbike in Sri Lanka.
No Motobike driving license and never really had trouble so far and in case of an accident you just need to make sure that they don`t find out it was an motorbike accident or that you where driving….
If you wanna do it, do it and don`t think to much!
It is extremely irresponsible of you to not only ride without proper training and the license, but to encourage that among others. Someone who gets caught without a license in Vietnam, will, at a minimum, lose their motorbike/motorcycle. There’s a good chance that, without the proper training that you would’ve received it if you are responsible enough to get a motorcycle license, that you are causing accidents without even knowing it.
I’ve seen a lot of people come to Vietnam without a license and ride through the country. A good number of them of had accidents, some serious. If you want to take those risks yourself, that is up to you, but it is ridiculous and stupid. Please stop encouraging others who may not be as lucky.
Where did you buy the bike from and what did you need to cross the border into Thailand with the bike? I am trying to cross from Cambodia with a Vietnamese plated bike.
Hey! This is a great resource! We purchased a Vietnamese plated / registered bike in Laos, and successfully crossed border in Nam Meo. We also heard that northernmost border crossing between Laos and Vietnam is a crap shoot. Three cheers to bikes!
Seems like Nam Meo is the best border in the North for crossing between Laos and Vietnam. Thanks for the heads up on your experience! Bikes are definitely the best way to go in Southeast Asia. Cheers Jenia!
You guys are such a huge inspiration. Really looking up to you and enjoy your adventure around the world. Love to see you do something that is so outside our comfort zone, and to see that it really is possible. Keep on, travel and have fun 🙂
Wow, thanks guys. So cool to hear that we are inspiring some other awesome people out there. Happy travels 😀
Hey guys. Great site!!
I’m looking to do the Laos to Cambodia border soon an was wondering if you had any new information?
I’ll be coming down Laos so I want to avoid cutting all the way back in vietnam if possible.
It seems hard to find anything on it, positive or negative. Thoughts?
Hey Dean, check some of the other comments. It seems to change almost every week.
Did you attempt this border crossing? How did it go?
Me and a friend were coming from 4000 islands/Don Det to try to cross the Laos/Cambodian border, both of us on motorbike. He got through, stamped and everything, I didn’t. Like the blog says, don’t mention your when you’re trying to get stamped. My buddy didn’t, we figure they didn’t see his bike as he walked up, as I unfortunately did. We had both gone a separate times thinking this might for some reason make it easier. We parted way, I ended up staying the border for 6 hours bribing/harassing these guys, hoping they’d just let me through with a fee. Nope, 6 hours, true misery, the guys were having none of it, bribes, explanations, nothing. Then I met Mo, Mo rules. Mo owns a guest house on Don det, talk to him if you need to get your bike into Cambodia. I Me and the bike are safe and sound in Kampot, Cambodia. Up next is the Cambodian/Thai border, anybody with info on how to get a Vietnamese plated bike into Thailand?
At your service! I did that a couple of days ago and wanted to post here anyway. I couldn’t cross at Don Det to Laos as well, by the way, and returned all the way back to Vietnam.
I tried to cross the border from Cambodia to Thailand with a Vietnamese motorbike at Poi Pet without any luck. It’s a very busy border crossing. I came prepared with copies of passport, blue registration card / motorbike license (not in my name) and a printout of world nomads insurance (to offer a paper with the word “insurance” on it). A guy up front already told me it’s not possible with Vietnamese registration. I told him I had all the necessary papers so he let me through. At the next stop at a small booth I basically threw all the papers at them. After a lot of back and forth no luck though. Main argument was: the name on the motorbike license (blue card) wasn’t the same as in the passport. Since they already stamped me out of Cambodia they canceled that stamp for a haggled fee of $35.
Next day I tried to cross at Phsar Prum (about 120km South). *Much* less busy. Same procedure but this time I had some kind of a ownership document as well that the garage I bought the bike off (in Hanoi) wrote, scanned and emailed to me (a Vietnamese form with my name and address, the name on the blue card and some details about the bike, with red stamp and all formal looking). It took a lot of time, but was easy and–surprisingly–without any fees. After getting stamped out of Cambodia you get stamped in in Thailand, continue about 500m to the customs, show your papers, they fill out forms (takes time), you sign, return with the forms to the border “vehicle registration”, more passport copies, new forms and signatures and you’re free to go. They were skeptical at first, especially at the customs, because of the Vietnamese registration but the additional ownership document certainly helped. Not sure if “insurance”-papers bothered them at all. I figured you have good chances to slip through without telling them about your bike if they don’t spot it. Or you tell them you’re going to the customs (after getting stamped in) but just pass the building. There wasn’t any check after that. Don’t know if they keep track though.
After research I feel like it’s much easier to cross Thailand up North, from Laos (like Olli did).
Who is Mo and witch guesthouse is he the owner of,because we want to cross the border with our honda win but they don’t let us in.
kind regards, Youp
Thanks for this info! Did anyone recently try it? Or can explain how it works with Mr Mo and if it’s safe? Thanks!