From my border crossing today

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Post by Guest »

As this forum help me for most of my inquiries, also sharing something from my border crossing today.

Border crossing Laos - Vietnam via Nam Khan (Nam Can) August 2022 Post covid 19

From Phonsavan, Laos to see the Plain of Jars (A megalithic archaeological landscape in Laos. It consists of thousands of stone jars scattered around the upland valleys and the lower foothills of the central plain of the Xiangkhoang Plateau. ), I decided to cross the border to the nearest Vietnam city, Vinh as this is the only option to Vietnam in Phonsavan post covid 19.

I highly recommend this border as the view is simply stunning (will remind you of Benguet/Baguio/Mt. Province,Philippines and some video of mountains in Bukidnon, Philippines).

From the guesthouse where I stay in town city of Phonsavan, I need to take a tuktuk as the Bus Terminal is 10 mins away via car or 59 mins of walking. When I arrived from Luang Prabang to my guesthouse, I am with one local its only 40,000 Lao Kip but as the bus is scheduled 6:00 AM, I want to go to thr bus terminal by 5:00 AM as Lao buses go as they please 🤣, my host in guesthouse and I nego 50,000 kip to tuktuk driver the afternoon before the trip.
I arrived 5:20 AM in the bus terminal. It's deserted aside from 2 people going to Vinh.I stick to these 2 people 🤣. The bus arrived 5:30 AM and left by 5:35 AM, they just pick us up. Luckily, there are still few spaces in the sleeper bus for 3 people aside from.the very back sleeper area. Yup, the bus left 5:35 AM not 6:00 AM as per schedule. It picked up few more passengers in town proper. The ticket price is 400,000 Lao Kip.

The Lao Border exit is uneventful for ASEAN members like us. For Filipinos, as I am the only tourist in the bus during that time, I need to fill out departure, something not required when I exit Thailand via Chiang Khong to Laos. All people in the bus are Lao or Vietnamese people who regularly cross the border.

The bus driver will drop your bags outside Vietnam border control, be mindful. It needs to be scanned while you wait for your entry stamp.

The IO in this border seems unfamiliar that Philippines is part of ASEAN and has 21 Day visa free entry. The IO check his list. I need to wait for a while but I received the stamp in the 2nd to the last page of my passport 🤣. The senior officer seem still not convince after I received my stamp so I show him the photocopy stamp of my old passport. He asked where is my old passport. I insist that I didn't have it as I have a new one.
The bus driver is kind. He will assist passenger of their things to put back in the bus after the scanning.

I try not to drink water as I learned my lesson from Huay Xai - Luang Prabang bus trip but this bus stop to proper restaurants or gasoline station if you need to do your business.

I don't have Vietnam Dong as there are no ATM nearby and I might be sleeping when we stop on first town where you can exchange your money. The driver was kind enough to convert some of my remaining Lao Kip and some of the students initiate to help me by asking what I want to eat then they translate to where we eat lunch.

We left 5:30 AM then arrived 4:15 PM in Vinh City Vietnam.

Total cost:
  • 50000 kip Tuktuk to Bus Terminal
  • 400,000 kip Phonsavan,Laos to Vinh,Vietnam
  • 30000 Vietnam Dong lunch
For entry to Vietnam I was not asked of anything aside from my passport. No medical declaration and medical insurance.

There is also an interesting market between the border of Laos and Vietnam for animals, meat,fruits and vegetables.

These links will also help you:
What about cash vs card in these countries?
Any advice before traveling to Malaysia or Indonesia?
Traveling to Indonesia.. needs some help
Local and intereting places in Krabi and Bangkok
What are some good places to visit in Thailand?
What is the best and easiest way to get a visa for these long periods of time?

Post by Chris »

I am sure your story will help many to be better prepared when they are in a country where few speak English. A couple of points I would add, is it not wise to travel with so few empty pages in your passport as Lao use more than 1 whole page. Always have some local currency of the country you are going to0 before you get there. If you can learn the word for "toilet" in the countries you are going to, the drivers will usually stop in the middle of nowhere if you ask the nicely.
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