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Motorbiking in Asia forum

Entry into Vietnam from Laos on Motorbike - licence question

Posted by blksz on 6/6/2010 at 18:17

Hi Guys,

As per the above. Later this year I'll be riding into Vietnam from Laos.
The bike will have been bought earlier in my trip (in Vietnam) and will be registered in Vietnam under my name. Leaving Vietnam into Laos is not an issue. Taking the bike back into Vietnam I believe may cause a few small hiccups which is why I find myself here!
I'll be sure to have my ownership and border papers in order however I have heard a rumour that I will need a license in Vietnam to ride my bike. I know this poses no issues for people riding throughout Vietnam (and only in Vietnam) but I'm concerned that I may be asked to present my licence details upon re-entry into Vietnam.

Has anyone else done this? I've been reading up on (which is a fantastic resource!) but I can't seem to find a solid answer.
So, has anyone been able to bring a bike into Vietnam WITHOUT a license?

Any help much appreciated! Thanks!


#1 blksz has been a member since 6/6/2010. Posts: 1

Posted by somtam2000 on 7/6/2010 at 09:22 admin

Not a definitive answer I know, as I've not done this, but given up till very recently it was very difficult for foriegners to get a Vietnamese license, I'd GUESS it shouldn't be a problem. Most of the issues that people complain about are not having the correct paperwork for the motorbike -- having the correct paperwork for the person seems to be less of an issue!

#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,933
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Posted by solomonuk on 24/6/2010 at 22:35

I only had a International License when I crossed the border from Den bien Phu into Laos and this was sufficient. You don't need to have a Vietnamese License.

Are you buying a bike in Vietnam? If so you will not be able to own the bike yourself, the bike will be registered in a Vietnamese name, and when crossing borders you will be asked to provide details of the owner. I of course did not have this information but I just put on a broad accent and kept on talking until the customs guy got bored with me and just stamped my papers.

At this time border crossings are seeing more and more tourists on motorbikes, thanks to the Top Gear episode.

I would not worry about anything so long as you are crossing a border point open to tourists. Just keep talking ALWAYS smile and if needs be and you want to pay a bribe to smooth things along a bit just say 'How much do I need to pay?' Or something to that effect so I't does not seem you are trying to bribe.

Get an international driving permit first if you have not already set off this helps a lot.

I hope this is helpful for you.

If your interested you can read about my border crossing in my blog here

Take care enjoy! :D

#3 solomonuk has been a member since 24/6/2010. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 5
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Posted by gabrielgodin on 25/8/2011 at 21:19

Posted from within Vietnam.

Hi man, I did it from Laos to Vietnam by a border crossing called Pa Hang. Avoid major borders such as Na Meo,but, still,I know two friends who crossed there with there bikes. All didn't have their license. Be ready to smile, be very polite, and slip a bill of 10$ in you passport and everything will run smoothly.

#4 gabrielgodin has been a member since 17/2/2011. Posts: 17

Posted by cbg0927 on 18/3/2014 at 08:46

Resurrecting this thread as I'm posed with an issue in Laoe. Will I be able to cross the border into Vietnam if my bike is registered in Laos? It doesn't even have a license plate. What are your guys' thoughts?

#5 cbg0927 has been a member since 30/7/2013. Location: United States. Posts: 62
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Posted by petethered on 18/3/2014 at 19:12

i think you're gonna have a problem. i tried to get a lao bike with no plates into cambodia a few years ago and wasn't able to. i also just did a trip thru vietnam laos and cambodia on a viet bike and only had trouble getting into laos and cambodia, though eventually i managed to cross borders. i think with no plate the vietnamese will turn you back, make sure you still have days on your lao visa or you might get stuck in "no man's land" and have to sell the bike to 1 of the guards on the cheap to cross. but otherwise it never hurts to try and bribe your way across. it's also way more common to have a bike in laos with no plate compared to vietnam, i think you'd get hassled more by the police if you were driving it around vietnam. lao cops don't really care about anything, but viet cops do, though i never had a problem with them. good luck with everything

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Posted by cbg0927 on 20/3/2014 at 05:56

Thanks for your reply @petethered. I decided to opt against taking the risk. I'll just look for a Vietnamese plated bike here in Laos. Cheers!

#7 cbg0927 has been a member since 30/7/2013. Location: United States. Posts: 62
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