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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
Photo by Michael Jordan, enjoying a meal at sunset, Zangskar Valley, India

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Michael Jordan
enjoying a meal at sunset,
Zangskar Valley, India



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  #1  
Old 20 Aug 2003
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Laos and Cambodia

Hi all,

I'm planning my route through Laos and Cambodia and I have a couple of questions for those of you who've done it.

First, I believe that it's currently possible to cross into Laos from Thailand on a bike at the Friendship Bridge. Has anyone done that recently and can you confirm that it's possible?

Second, I'd like to head south to Cambodia through Laos. I've heard the road (highway 13) is paved some of the way but gets bad in southern Laos. Has anyone ridden the length of 13 through Laos into Cambodia? Can you tell me what conditions to expect in the rainy season?

And what kind of visas are available/required? Lonely Planet says that Laos tourist visas are available at the Friendship Bridge, but there are no visas available at the border crossing between Laos/Cambodia so I need to get my Cambodia visa in Bangkok. Is this true? If so, how long does it take to get a Cambodia tourist visa in Bangkok?

And lastly, Lonely Planet says that the stretch of highway between the border crossing at Laos/Cambodia and Phnom Penh is very dangerous (bandits). Is this true? If so, since I'll be travelling alone, it might be best to cross back into Thailand at Pakse, head south, and enter Cambodia at Sisophan.

Any advice about this route would be appreciated. Thanks.

Story

[This message has been edited by Story Leavesley (edited 20 August 2003).]
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  #2  
Old 20 Aug 2003
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Q -First, I believe that it's currently possible to cross into Laos from Thailand on a bike at the Friendship Bridge. Has anyone done that recently and can you confirm that it's possible? A - I crossed last month and its a quick border to cross as far as paperwork goes.

Q - Second, I'd like to head south to Cambodia through Laos. I've heard the road (highway 13) is paved some of the way but gets bad in southern Laos. Has anyone ridden the length of 13 through Laos into Cambodia? Can you tell me what conditions to expect in the rainy season? - A -I think I read in E-zine last month that someone had crossed at this border.

And what kind of visas are available/required? Lonely Planet says that Laos tourist visas are available at the Friendship Bridge, but there are no visas available at the border crossing between Laos/Cambodia so I need to get my Cambodia visa in Bangkok. Is this true? If so, how long does it take to get a Cambodia tourist visa in Bangkok? Loas visa available at border $30 USD or $31 USD on weekends

Q -And lastly, Lonely Planet says that the stretch of highway between the border crossing at Laos/Cambodia and Phnom Penh is very dangerous (bandits). Is this true? If so, since I'll be travelling alone, it might be best to cross back into Thailand at Pakse, head south, and enter Cambodia at Sisophan. A- We crossed the border from south of Surin in Thailand. A Cambodia visa could be purchased at the border for 1000 Baht.

Hope this helps.

Mark


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  #3  
Old 21 Aug 2003
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Hiya

I did it in the other direction in april/may this year... Highway 13 is a fantastic road virtually all the way from Vientienne to the Loas/Cambodia border, bar the last few k's. After this in Loas it is virtually all just rough tracks nearly to Pnom Penn, barring a few stretches of mediocre paved highways, dont do it in the wet season.

They will issue a visa very easily at the friendship bridge for Laos but you will need to get your Cambodia visa in either Bangkok or Vientienne, i got mine BKK and it was very straight forward with the help of an agency, for a small fee of course, cant remember how much but it wasnt much.

The Laos/Cambodia border in the south is litterally just a few huts in the middle of nowhere/jungle, but everyone was very friendly and there was only a very half hearted attempt at "taxing" me.

Then as you go through Cambodia heading south you will have to cross a very very wide river... but there will be a few small boats about and you can negotiate with them for the crossing, but it is a little precarious cos you have a big heavy bike on the bow of a small boat..

hope this helps, good luck.

Will
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  #4  
Old 21 Aug 2003
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Thanks for the info Mark and Will. Since I'll be travelling alone and during the wet season (June), I may avoid the road from the Laos/Cambodia border to Phnom Penh by crossing back into Thailand west of Pakse, then enter Cambodia from the west. That way I can still ride much of highway 13 in Laos but not deal with the possibly impassable roads and bandits in northern Cambodia.

This plan means that I will have to leave and re-enter Thailand several times (Malaysia/Thailand, Thailand/Laos, Laos/Thailand, Cambodia/Thailand). From what I've read it sounds like it's not a problem to re-enter Thailand more than once. Can you guys confirm that?

Since you guys have been there recently, can you recommend any must-see things in Laos/Cambodia/Thailand. I'm especially interested in sites in northern Thailand.

Thanks!

Story
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  #5  
Old 23 Aug 2003
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When i was going through there was no issue of "bandits" in northern Cambodia although there was a couple of local bus's machine gunned in northern laos at the time i was there, and a swiss couple who were cycling were tragically killed in one of the incidents. When i went to go north from Vientienne i was turned back by the police at a road block and in the end headed into Thailand via the Friendship Bridge, but a week or so later the road was fullu open again all seemed to have quietened down.

There are some nice'ish temples in Vientienne and of course Angkor Watt in Cambodia is fantastic. Boat trips along the Mekong to see the dolphins was preety cool and Pnom Penn has the grand palace which is good if a little sterile.

Will
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  #6  
Old 24 Aug 2003
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Hi Story, You can get excellent up to date info on Tailand, Laos and Cambodia on David Unkovitch's website,gt rider ( golden triangle rider) there should be a link somewhere on this site... We should be in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and Laos in November 2003, maybe see you there. cheers

P.S. Hiya Will, We met in Istanbul last sept. ( peter and Carol) send us an email with your address, and I can explain and apologize about leaving the restaurant so abruptly...
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[This message has been edited by Cameron (edited 24 August 2003).]
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  #7  
Old 29 Aug 2003
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The Visa for Laos you get at the border is only for 2 weeks. If you want to stay longer you get a 4 weeks Visa in BKK for the same price.
Ask Frank (e-zine)about the road in Cambodia in raining season, he went there in July.
Hey Will, I didn't know you're doing sightseeing???? What you're seeing now? Dust??
Take it easy,
Katharina
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  #8  
Old 7 Sep 2003
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hello
so there s no problem to enter laos and cambodia on a big bike (1000 cc) ?
CARNET IS NEEDED ?
what about vietnam

thanx
happy trails
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  #9  
Old 8 Sep 2003
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Hi Vincent

Glad to hear that you're back on the road after your troubles. A whole bunch of us tried to get into Vietnam last year at various times and nobody that I heard of got in. I went as far as Saigon customs to plead my case but to no avail.

But there is a way if you're determined... It is possible to obtain the necessary paperwork to bring a bike through customs into Vietnam in the back of a rented pick up truck. Drive a few kms from customs, unload and off you go. This method was recommended by an ex-Vietnam policeman.

I have no idea what would happen if you got stopped by the police once inside and I didn't go for it as I was worried about having the bike consifiscated or worse.

Food for thought.


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  #10  
Old 14 Sep 2003
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hello
thanx for the trick about vietnam
i did those countries a few years ago with backpack.
is carnet needed for laos, cambodia ?

CHEERS
HAPPY TRAILS
http://vincent.danna.free.fr/
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  #11  
Old 15 Sep 2003
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Hi

Not sure about Laos, but Cambodian customs wanted to stamp the carnet even though they aren't part of the carnet system. Also, quite a few people have can crossed into Laos from the north of Cambodia without problems even though this border is officially closed. The road is very bad so maybe take a long-tailed boat up the river some of the way. How far up the boats go depends on the depth of water in the season.

Good luck!


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