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I've done this crossing several times, at least once in this direction, but don't remember everything.

I have more than enough US dollars for the visa on arrival. But I only have $20 and $10 bills. (I also have some passport photos.)

Usually I have some $1 bills for just such border crossings because I know at several places there's fee, typically $1 for something or other, official or not.

I can't recall if the Lao-Chinese border is a place with the extra fee.

  • Wikivoyage suggests not, but the comment is about exiting Laos and entering China, so could be different in the other direction: "Many times the Lao immigration officers, at different borders, ask for pocket money, but this border's officers don’t ask, even on week-ends!" – hippietrail Jun 17 '17 at 4:07
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OK I can now confirm that as of mid-June 2017 there are no extra fees or charges when entering Laos from China at the Mohan/Boten border crossing.

So don't worry if you didn't bring $1 USD notes. You'll only need the $30 USD (or whatever the charge is if it's different for your country's passport holders.)

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