Some people might be horrified by the idea of crossing the border with a motorbike between Vietnam and Laos.
But think about it; the idea is not THAT crazy. The two countries are close, and many seasoned riders have successfully traversed to and fro the borders with zero difficulties.
Even our new biking team – founded just one year ago on our shared passion for travel – rode from Vietnam to Laos on our bikes TWICE. What’s there to be afraid of?
This inclusive guide will reveal all to know and prepare for your motorbike tour. Buckle in!
Documents Needed For Crossing The Border With A Motorbike Between Vietnam and Laos
None of us like to handle paperwork; thankfully, our motorbike trips last year weren’t as demanding as we thought they would be. Make sure you have all these with you on your BMW motorcycle tour, and the rest will be a breeze:
1. From Vietnam to Laos:
Immigration officers will ask for your invitation letter and detailed traveling plans. Hence, we suggest obtaining the letter (with red stamps) as soon as possible. Our team members ensured everyone got their letters at least 60 days before departure.
Once the letters are checked, you will receive exit stamps and official visa stickers for Laos. That’s it. Quite effortless!
The only things left to do are to fill out the form at Visas on Arrival counters, provide passport photos, and pay about $35 for the visa in advance.
To sum it up for those who want a short list of what to prepare:
- 1 passport photo
- A passport with at least 5 empty pages
- 1 filled VoA form
- 1 invitation letter (if you need to return to Vietnam later on)
- About 35$ for the Laos visa
- Bike blue card
We don’t know about others; but from our experience, no authorities asked anything about our bike documents (titles, plates, registry, etc.) What a huge relief!
2. From Laos to Vietnam:
International tourists (from any country, not just Laos) should turn to the E-Visas, which permits 30-day single entries for your Vietnam motorbike tours. Before applying for E-visas, make sure you don’t forget these critical items:
- Valid passport
- 1 passport photo
- Digital scans of the biographical page in your passport
- 25$ as visa fee (online payments are accepted, except American Express credit cards)
Access this E-visa website to apply and wait for the confirmation. Lastly, print your approved visa to show immigration officers at the international crossings.
Bam! Our bikes safely landed on Vietnam’s lands within seconds.
Crossing The Border With A Motorbike Between Vietnam And Laos: 6 Borders That The Two Share
As mentioned, we have crossed the Vietnam – Laos borders twice. But guess what? These two borders are not similar at all.
In fact, to our surprise, the countries share not two, not even three, but six borders with different regulations and slightly varied fees. Check out each of them to guarantee the best preparation for your day bike trip:
1. Tay Trang – Sop Hun Motorbike Tour
As one of the Northernmost borders between Dien Bien Phu (Vietnam) and Muang Khua (Lao), the Tay Trang – Sop Hun borderline is not an open door for every rider. We learned the hard way that crossing it is either impossible or very pricey here.
Some of our biking friends stepped through it to buy their motorbikes and ended up getting stuck, unable to exit Vietnam. Worse, a few immigration officials even forced us to pay a huge sum.
Thankfully, nothing that bad happened – or else we wouldn’t dare to return to either Vietnam or Laos for the second time.
> View more: Vietnam motorbike tour to Laos 2023-2024
2. Nam Xoi – Na Meo (Na Maew) Motorcycle Trip
It crosses near Sam Neua (a Lao town), enabling riders to take their Vietnamese motorbikes through different Asian countries.
Upon exiting Vietnam, the authorities will require you to pay $20 for an “importation form,” which you are expected to hand back later when you finally leave Laos. They also ask for quite an expensive price (in our opinion) for Laos tourist visas – a whopping $45!
To make matters worse, the roads on both countries’ sides are terrible, with thick mud sticking to almost any surface our bikes rolled across. If you still want to tame this challenging terrain, bring enough water and food; your team will have a long day ahead, just like mine did.
3. Ngoc Hoi – Bo Y Motorbike Route
The next one on our list – Bo Y/ Ngoc Hoi – snugs between Kon Tim (Vietnam) and major Attapeu towns in Laos. Stunning mountain passes set it apart from the other Vietnam – Laos border lines, although you must be careful of oncoming logging trucks.
I myself didn’t participate in the motorcycle travel at that time due to sudden flu; but my other teammates confirmed that the border was a breeze to pass. No extra money, no fees, no bribes – not even any requirement for import permits!
4. Cau Treo – Nam Phao Biking Tour
Situated conveniently between Lak Xao (Laos) and Vinh (Vietnam), it’s another favorite name among avid travelers, including our team: we crossed it so quickly and smoothly that I couldn’t help but pinch myself several times to confirm I wasn’t dreaming.
Still, we haven’t heard about anyone who did it alone; all success stories thus far involve at least ten people.
5. Other Border Crossing Motorcycle Paths
Nam Khan – Nam Can Motorbike Tour
Probably the least troublesome of them all, this border is wide open to every international tourist. Some of my friends brought their private motorbikes through this country border (from Laos to Vietnam) with zero problems.
Lao Bao – Dansavanh Motorcycle Trip
We haven’t tried it out yet, and most of us do not have much credible information on whether crossing it is even a possibility. Our team would love to give it a try ourselves someday, though!
Extra Tips to Smooth Out Your Border Motorbike Tours
These reminders for convenient crossing may sound laughably simple. But trust us, they can save you hours, if not days, of arguing with the border officials:
- Pay more attention to your clothes. A wrinkled, tainted shirt will gain you that look from those grumpy men. Putting more consideration and thoughtfulness into your clothes helps gain their trust more quickly.
- Do not show any bad attitude. Never frown, snicker, or swear under your breath at a seemingly unreasonable request. Remind yourself to stay calm all the time.
- Be honest. Lying through your teeth about certain items/ showing obvious hesitancy when answering a serious question; these are the perfect formula for disaster and long hours of interrogation!
Crossing the border with a motorbike between Vietnam and Laos is a no-brainer, provided you have all the necessary paperwork, photos, and documents beforehand.
Do your research properly, and feel free to contact us (or any travel agencies/ Laos/ Vietnamese people you know) for more help on international border crossings. Long haul our endless passion for motorbikes! Follow our site for more thrilling Vietnam motorcycle tours
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