We leave for Vientiane on 31-3 and have heard varying stories about the need for bribes at entry/exit points. Has anyone had experiences of this?
#1 Birsay has been a member since 14/2/2007. Posts: 2
really? who has been telling you these stories? i've crossed in an out of laos over a dozen times now and have never had any problems with bribes or anything else. if you don't have your lao entry visa yet, be sure to have your US dollars available to pay the visa-on-arrival fee ($30 per person or so) plus a $1 service charge if you arrive outside of normal business hours. other than that, be polite and be patient. you'll do fine.
I've never heard of this before. Border crossings is one of the most regulated activities you'll come across in Laos - there's a listed and accepted price for everything - and other than the visa - 1 or 2 small payments need to be made - for transport, overtime fees (if outside biznizz hours), customs fees, etc - total of no more than 50baht
as exacto said, "be polite and be patient. you'll do fine."
bribes might be necessary if you get involved in a traffic violation, or if you get caught doing something more heinous (drugs, girls, etc) within Laos - but crossing the border involves no bribes.
#3 Butch has been a member since 2/1/2007. Posts: 5
On a Saturday at the Lao - Vuen Kham/ Cambodian - Dom Kralor border there was a US$2 overtime charge on the Lao side; $21 for visa on arrival (should be $20) and $2 overtime charge on the Cambodian side. Although 1 traveler just gave the Cam officials $1 and said that was all he was paying and got away with it. I couldn't be bothered. These guys are paid peanuts.
Keep it all in perspective.
#4 marianwarren has been a member since 12/3/2006. Posts: 270
Birsay, I’d say the bribes you have heard about are just the normal overtime charges etc. There are other small charges you pay at the crossing that seem funny but aren’t. Just before you are finaly through there’s thirty cents for something. All the charges are always there and above board. Don’t ever offer a bribe, you might get in trouble. There is plenty of corruption, but none that will affect you. I’m talking Lao now not Cambo, I’ve heard the Cambodian guards are pretty bad.
“These guys are paid peanuts” True, but being a border guard in a third world county is just about one of the most lucrative low level jobs you can have. Think new cars, mistresses being kept in secret apartments, and everything else money can buy. I know a border guard, his truck is a lot newer than mine. I envy him his big new house, pretty good on $30 a month.