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Old 09-13-2013, 07:21 AM   #1
flyingdutchman177 OP
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Border crossing help in Southeast Asia

I have been traveling around the Americas and Europe for the past year plus on my GS1200
Now I want to do Southeast Asia on a smaller bike.

My original plan was to ride from India to Indonesia but I hear Burma is all but impossible to cross without serious brain surgery.

So my new plan is to buy a motorcycle in Southeast Asia and ride around Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Can anyone shed some light on the best country to buy a small motorcycle to travel on?
And does anyone have pertinent information on border crossings between countries? For example, I understand their is a size limit of the motorcycle they will allow in to Vietnam. Are there any other restrictions on travel between the aforementioned countries? Also, where do I need a carnet for a motorcycle sourced locally?

My current blog is "Around the World in 800 Days

http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=801516&page=284

Please help if you have any factual tips
Thank you in advance for your advice

Lalo
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Old 09-14-2013, 12:09 AM   #2
flyingdutchman177 OP
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Why buy the bike in Chiangmai Thailand?
Have you done a trip like this before and speak from personal experience?
I understand that I need a drivers license in Vietnam to ride there
I also hear that they don't let motorcycles in over 150cc's but there is one border that I might get a bike in.
I just want to make this all simple
I want to buy a bike about 250cc's and ride thru as many of the countries as I can without being stopped at the border and turned around.
I don't really want to deal with getting a carnet unless one can be obtained easily at the border or somewhere nearby. I just want to show up and ride.
Can you tell me what problems I will encounter.
Where the problem areas might be
And how I can deal with them

Thanks

Lalo
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Old 09-14-2013, 04:43 AM   #3
Pecha72
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Indonesia without carnet is gonna be tough. I'd consider to buy a local bike there, and it's a huge country to tour..... but not sure if I'd rather also sell there, hop to Malaysia (or Thailand) and then buy again.
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Old 09-14-2013, 08:38 AM   #4
Pecha72
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Vehicles bought in Vietnam can go Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and in practice Malaysia as well, even though it's officially a carnet country. Actually there was somebody, who bought in VN, and went all the way to Indonesia, but there are no guarantees it is repeatable.

But the selection of bikes you're able to buy in VN is not so good.
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Old 09-17-2013, 08:10 AM   #5
Guzzi Cambodia
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Easy to buy in Cambodia.
Below are some if what's available in Phnom Penh.
They sell new Ktms here if you were that way inclined. St 51 near Sihanouk Boulevard.
Harleys, Triumph Bonnevilles available secondhand from Flying Bikes on St 110.
Registration can be done relatively easily although technically you should have a local authority residence document.
No need for carnet to cross into Laos or Thailand.
VN a little trickier but there are larger capacity bikes there. Simple enough to buy an old Minsk there. You can even pick them up in PP from time to time.
Khmer 440 is local expat website for Cambodia with some car and bike advice.
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Old 09-29-2013, 01:47 PM   #6
flyingdutchman177 OP
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Finalizing my plan.....what do you think?

Ok, here is my plan........
After doing some research, I have decided to buy a Honda CRF250L in Thailand. You can get a new one there for $5000 or a used one for somewhat less.
I think it would be best to put the bike in my name but I would need to apply for temporary residency (which I am not sure if it could be done quickly).
But I understand that if you get the previous owner to sign a copy of his passport, sign a copy of title papers, get a bill of sale and fill out a form for customs, I can get the bike in to Cambodia and Laos without issues.
For Vietnam, I understand that I might be able to get the bike in at one border crossing in the south of the country for 15 days provided I leave from the same border point.
Malaysia, I understand, is possible to get in without a carnet as well and just the aforementioned paperwork.
I am still not clear how to get in to Indonesia with the bike and no carnet. Maybe I can leave a deposit????
Burma, I hear, I can't get in to without hiring a guide. But maybe things will change by the time I get there this November.

If there is anything that you read here that you are certain is incorrect, I would like to hear back from you.

Follow my blog:
Around the World in 800 Days
I am 400 days in to it now

http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=801516&page=302
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Old 09-29-2013, 10:57 PM   #7
Pecha72
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For Vietnam, I understand that I might be able to get the bike in at one border crossing in the south of the country for 15 days provided I leave from the same border point.

That crossing point should be somewhere around the latitude of Laos capital Vientiane. I haven´t been there, though. And you´re right you MIGHT make it.

Malaysia, I understand, is possible to get in without a carnet as well and just the aforementioned paperwork.

Malaysia is officially a carnet country. I have crossed with my bike (registered in EU) in Phukit Kayu Hitam coming from Thailand, and had to go look up an office, to get my carnet stamped in. They didn´t even bother to come out and see the bike! According to other travellers accounts as well, they do seem to be pretty relaxed about it at land borders. But if there is one thing that´s constant in Asia, that is change.

I am still not clear how to get in to Indonesia with the bike and no carnet. Maybe I can leave a deposit????

Getting your bike into Indonesia without carnet is probably gonna be an adventure in itself. I shipped in -08 using Cakra “onion boats” in Penang (they go to Belawan, north Sumatra), and the first thing the shipper actually asked me was: “do you have the carnet, because I won´t ship any bikes there, that don´t have it”. I remember there was a dude on an Africa Twin (Thai regoed), who got in without a carnet, but he did have a major headache with the customs in Belawan for 2 or 3 days, before he succeeded. And it was way back, maybe around 2006. I would not make any plans based on getting my bike there, if I did not have the carnet. But if you have unlimited time (and patience) then you´re free to try it.

Burma, I hear, I can’t get in to without hiring a guide. But maybe things will change by the time I get there this November.

I would not hold my breath on anything related to Burma. Opening up for free independent travel on your own vehicles still seems quite distant.

BTW, 5000 USD should get you plenty of bikes to choose from. Are you planning to do a lot of off-road, as the CRF250L would be good for that, but I´m not so sure it´ll be the best option for roads? In that part of the world, you can find any type of “road” imaginable, from motorways to cow paths, but the basic road network is just fine in most countries.
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Old 09-30-2013, 02:41 AM   #8
flyingdutchman177 OP
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sorry....more questions

Ok, it sounds like Cambodia and Laos are no problem
VN is a possible maybe at the one border
Malaysia is possible depending on which way the wind is blowing that day
But Indonesia will be a struggle

And if the bike is not in my name, there is no chance of getting a carnet.
Is there any other method of getting a bike in a country that requires an carnet without a carnet? cash deposit? Credit card? swearing on the bible (or Koran) that I will leave with the bike?
And even if the bike is in my name, how do I get a Carnet once I am in SE Asia?
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Old 09-30-2013, 03:01 AM   #9
Pecha72
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When I was in Indonesia, I met several bikers, who had had their fair share of troubles with Indo customs. One was a German, who had airfreighted the bike to Jakarta, and another was an Italian, who lived in Bali, his bike was stuck at Surabaya seaport. They both claimed they HAVE the carnet. The German guy said the customs demands from him some sort of “authorization letter from the United Nations”!!! In the case of Indonesia, I don´t think anything will be 100% guaranteed, even if you have the carnet. And without it, what will happen, is anyone´s guess. There could possibly be an option to leave a substantial money deposit to the customs, but then good luck seeing any of that money ever again! Personally I would not do that.

(Thailand and Indonesia are both ASEAN countries, so maybe (just MAYBE!) bikes from Thailand would actually not even need a carnet for Indo, but finding exact information about this, AND getting that info through to the customs, who think you´re just trying to fool them, would still be another thing...)

So, why not buy&sell in Thailand, for example, and then get a cheap flight to Bali, and buy something again?

I think Indonesia was fantastic, so despite the difficulties, make sure you won´t miss it!
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Old 09-30-2013, 07:24 AM   #10
flyingdutchman177 OP
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I went thru both the Croatia and Serbia borders last week and it was a breeze.
The guys spoke good English and were very excited to hear about my trip.
I got my stamps, we shook hands and I was on my way in less than 2 minutes.
SE Asia is not going to be so simple
In Mexico I left a $400 cash deposit at the border on the way in thru Arizona and got my $400 back quickly (in cash) on my way out thru Belize.
I am going from 1200 cc's to 250. Maybe in Indonesia, I will do something crazy and buy a 50 cc two stroke and see how far I can make it until it seizes.
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Old 09-30-2013, 10:44 AM   #11
flyingdutchman177 OP
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I don't want too much of a headache getting across borders I want to visit Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia. I want to spend 4 months traveling around there. It would be nice and cost effective to do it all on one motorcycle. I just want to fly in, find a good bike like a Honda CRF250 and just go. I hope to do it all without a carnet and I am not sure how to get one while traveling on the road as I have been for the past year and a half. If I can do 3 or 4 of the countries easily with one motorcycle, then I will buy one and if need be, sell it and buy another motorcycle to get in to the other countries. So what is your recommendation? What is the best country to buy a motorcycle to get around SE Asia with ease? Do I try and put the bike in my name if it can be done quickly or leave it in the previous owner's name and carry the papers you advise in your link? Or as a last resort, do I have to rent a different motorcycle in each country? Thanks Lalo
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Old 10-01-2013, 01:22 AM   #12
Pecha72
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If the selection of bikes was better in Vietnam, I´d consider buying there. Skips the possible problems of getting in there, and many have reported to go Laos, Thailand, Cambodia on bikes bought in VN. I´m not really sure what the deal is over there right now, but at least it used to be so, that you could only find relatively crappy bikes (including two-stroke Minsks) in VN.

If there is no significant change in this (could be worth doing some research on that one), then in that case Thailand or Malaysia would be the places I´d go to look up a bike. And if you´ve got several months, first concentrate on Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and in the meantime, find out, if there is any possibility to get a carnet for the bike, or get it into Indonesia without it (which I doubt). And if not, then get rid of that bike, fly to Indo, buy another bike, and start off again.

Even if it sounds complicated, it´s still well worth doing. I really love Southeast Asia, did some of my best trips ever in that region, and I hope you have a good time there as well!
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Old 10-01-2013, 01:26 PM   #13
flyingdutchman177 OP
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Yes, that is my plan
I will fly in to either Bangkok or KL Malaysia
Any one have any feedback about taking a Malaysian bike north?
If I understand right, there is an agreement between Laos, Cambodia and Thailand about temp importation but I am not sure about Malaysia.
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