Thai border checkpoints ready for Laos reopening Monday

Thai border checkpoints ready for Laos reopening Monday

The Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge between Nakhon Phanom and Khammouane provinces is expected to be busy after Thailand and Laos fully reopen their borders. (Photo: Pattanapong Sripiachai)
The Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge between Nakhon Phanom and Khammouane provinces is expected to be busy after Thailand and Laos fully reopen their borders. (Photo: Pattanapong Sripiachai)

Thai authorities are preparing for border reopening with Laos after the neighbouring country lifts entry restrictions from Monday.

Nong Khai governor Monsit Paisalthanawat on Sunday signed an order to allow all vehicles to enter from Laos at the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge and Tha Sadej pier by the Mekong River in Muang district, starting on Sunday.

The order took effect one day before Laos reopens the country to foreign visitors.

Nong Khai sealed the frontier with the neighbouring country in March 2020 at the height of the first wave of the Covid-19 outbreak in Thailand. The province has allowed people and only lorries loaded with goods to cross the border since May 1, when the Thai government eased most entry restrictions on visitors.

The first friendship bridge in Nong Khai is the main gateway linking the two countries. Boats at Tha Sadej pier shuttle only Thais and Lao nationals.

Nakhon Phanom will open only the third friendship bridge and a ferry pier, both linking Muang district in the province with Khammouane province in Laos. Other temporary crossings in Muang, Tha Uthen and That Phanom districts remain shut until authorities of the two countries agree to open the gates.

Nakhon Phanom immigration chief Pol Col Somkiat Somjai said the province had prepared for the reopening since May 1 and was waiting only for the Lao decision to lift travel restrictions.

In Chiang Khong district of Chiang Rai, district chief Wiroon Sitthiwong said talks with Lao authorities in Huayxay province were needed to confirm the reopening of the border at the international bridge, according to Thairath Online.

The fourth Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge in Chiang Khong connects to a road from northern Laos to southern China.

Other key Thai border outlets to Laos are in Mukdahan and Ubon Ratchathani provinces.

All entrants from Laos though land border checkpoints need to follow the new Thai entry measures.

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