South East Asia on a Vietnamese Bike

Discussion in 'Asia' started by Ogurek, Jun 24, 2011.

  1. Ogurek

    Ogurek Adventurer

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    I'm planning a 1-1.5 year trip that goes something like this: Vietnam-Cambodia-Laos-Northern Thailand-Myanmar (without the bike)-Southern Thailand-Malaysia-Singapore-Indonesia-East Timor-Philippines.

    It is nearly impossible to bring a bike into Vietnam so I'd like to buy a bike/scooter (probably a new-ish Honda Wave) there and use it to travel around the rest of SE asia. Since it's also very difficult to import a bike into the Philippines, I'll probably sell/give away my bike in East Timor. I don't know but there might be some Carnet issues for Indonesia....

    Due to the legalities of buying/owning a bike in Vietnam as a tourist I'm wondering about the paperwork when buying the bike that will be good enough to get me across the various borders... I have a few questions...

    When you buy a used bike in Vietnam does it come with the licence plate on the bike?
    When buying the bike I will get registration papers but with some Vietnamese guys name on them (since I can't register a bike in my name on a tourist visa). Do I need to change the name to cross the border? Maybe a letter from the previous owner is needed?
    What paperwork do you need to cross the borders with the bike? Will this registration (with someone else's name on it) be sufficient?
    Can I even get a Carnet for (a possibly illegal) Vietnamese bike to enter Indonesia?

    Thanks for the help guys! :beer
    #1
  2. The Bigfella

    The Bigfella Big Adventurer

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    Good luck
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  3. Ogurek

    Ogurek Adventurer

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    Thanks for the reply... Information about doing this is difficult to find. I've read a couple of ride reports where they bought a bike in Vietnam and travelled to Laos, Camobodia and Thailand so it is possible... I just don't know how they were able to cross the borders. :huh So far, the easiest way I`ve found is to buy and sell in Vietnam, then buy a bike in Cambodia to travel to Laos, Thailand and Malaysia. As for Indonesia, it seems to be easier to buy another used bike than to import one without a carnet...

    BUT I still want to try and use one bike through asia...

    I stumbled upon this post this the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree forum:
    A few weeks ago we bought an old Minsk in Saigon and planned to ride it into Cambodia. We had papers for it (one little card anyway) but it wasn't in our name. We were told by a few people that we wouldn’t be able to get the bike across. Anyway, just to let anyone know who is planning on doing the same thing that yes you can do it! We used the Prek Chak/Ha Tien crossing, the one furthermost south, after coming from Phu Quoc island. We didn’t have visas.

    The Vietnamese side of the crossing was very formal and efficient but we weren’t asked about the bike at all. We just had to wheel it through and park it while we got our passports checked and stamped. The Cambodian side of the border crossing was fairly informal and relaxed – a few shacks and buildings. We bought our visas for $25 (US). We were sent to customs so they could look at our bike but they just waved us on to the immigration police building where we filled out arrival and departure cards and that was it! Piece of cake!

    If you’re planning on taking your bike across to Cambodia on one of the busier, touristy sort of border crossings I’m not sure how you’d go. It might work but then again they might be more strict there. Also, we might have gotten lucky with our crossing. I get the feeling they just couldn’t be bothered checking our bike because it was so hot!
    #3
  4. sos9394

    sos9394 n00b

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    I just did the trip from saigon to hanoi couple months ago.

    Bringing the vietnam registered bike into cambodia will not be a problem even though it's not under your name.
    However, Laos might be a problem for you to do this. I heard only couple boarders (and also depends on your luck) allowed a farang with vietnam registered bike to enter lao. For thailand n other SE asia countries -> Tough but doable.
    I have seen a group of riders with Singaporean/Malaysian plate enter Vietnam, laos, thai, and cambodia.
    Everything is possible in SEA if you have connection and $$ of coz.


    Try to search on travelfish and gtrider, you may find some useful & updated info.
    #4
  5. Hercules

    Hercules "Proudly Philippine Made"

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    Ogurek>>

    When your at the last leg of your trip and going to the Philippines, feel free to contact me.
    Let me see how i can help you.

    Cheers!
    #5
  6. Ogurek

    Ogurek Adventurer

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    Thanks SOS... I know about Travelfish and GTRider... they both have great information about travelling around SE Asia. However, finding information about crossing the various borders with a semi-legal Vietnamese bike is difficult to find.

    Thanks Hercules... I'll do that. I'll buy you some Red Horse beer (my favorite Filipino beer) for your troubles... :freaky

    For those trying to find info about crossing borders on a Vietnames bike, I found this post on Travelfish on another border crossing between Vietnam and Cambodia...

    Since thereis not much information about crossing de Le Thanh border in Vietnam intoCambodia by motorbike. I’ll write down our experience with this bordercrossing.
    First of all don’t take any shortcuts in Vietnam, stick to the main road (ql14). We tried ashortcut and ended up in a police station in the middle of nowhere. We couldn’tgo futher and had to ride all the way back and take the 14 to Pleiku. The road we thought was quicker was 14C.
    At Pleikutake the road to ‘La dom’ were the Le Thanh border is. The office is near to completion and the road towards the border is perfect. We parked the bike infront of the office and walked inside. We were pretty nervous ‘cause our visawas 1 day expired (because we had to ride back). There was no problem at all.After some checks they gave us the stamp and with a little warning for the nexttime (about the expiration) we could go. They didn’t checked the bike or theluggage. With the bike we ride about 50m and than our passport got checkedagain, but is was fine.
    At theCambodian border it took a little bit longer. But no hassle at all. Again theydidn’t checked the bike or luggage. We bought the Cambodian visa there for thenormal fee (20$). And we could go through.
    We spend nomore than one hour at the borders and not more money than the fee for the visa.Then the road to Banlung was perfect as well, better than most Vietnameseroads. It took us about one hour to get in Banlung.
    So, for allwho want to go via this border crossing. It’s really good to do and without hassle.
    #6
  7. Ogurek

    Ogurek Adventurer

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    I did a bit more research on Travelfish and I found another post about a person who travelled on a Vietnamese bike from Vietnam-Laos-Thailand. I'm not sure but the Laos/Thai border he's talking about is the Huay Xai / Chiang Khong border...

    "Have recently done a big trip and wanted to confirm the ease with which you can cross borders. I was riding a russioan minsk 125. The one thing you need is the small plastic 'papers' for the vietnamese registered bike. the papers will be in the original vietnamese owners name and this is 100% fine.

    I bought it in Saigon and rode north to Hanoi. From here i crossed into Laos at the most northern crossing of Dien Bien Phu. The crossing is easy and the costs are standardised at arround $5 from memory. (one warning: the road on the laos side,60km to nearest town is all rock and dirt. took ages as i had a pillion plus bags. i did 10kph)
    From this point i spent a couple wees in laos and mostly used the river network on boats just loading the bike on. costly but relaxing and an effecient method of travel.
    After my laos travels i then crossed again in the northern most crossing into thailand. i cant rememebr the name of the town but its the northern most crossing. again was easy to get the bike across legally. You just show papers and passport and get a stamp."

    I was planning to enter Laos via Cambodia so I'm still looking for information on that... As well as border information to Malaysia and Indonesia. I'll keep posting information I find and I hope others doing a similar trip will post what they find out here too.
    #7
  8. Ogurek

    Ogurek Adventurer

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    I thought I'd post some new things that I've found out...

    There is only ONE border crossing between Laos and Cambodia at the Veun Kham border crossing... According to this website http://timae.wordpress.com/ it is possible to cross this border with a Vietnamese registered bike not in your name... In fact, this person (named Timae on HUBB) travelled through Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, East Timor and is now in Australia with his Vietnamese bike... He shows the route he took and what borders he crossed. His website is in German so a couple of things aren't clear... I thought you needed to have a Carnet to enter Australia? An answer always seems to lead to another question... :norton

    As for bikes... there are are a few places that are recommended to buy in Vietnam...
    First there is the famous Cuong's Motorbike Shop in Hanoi... This shop has been used by hundreds of tourists to rent and purchase Minsks and seems to get good reviews. Here is their website... http://www.cuongs-motorbike-adventure.com/

    Another guy to try in Hanoi is Anthony... you can call him at 09 3256 6003 or email kobrowisky@gmail.com

    Third is Kevin Raven in HCMC. He sells Honda Bonus, Honda Wins, Minks and other large framed motorcycles. His website is http://kevinraven.20x.cc/index.htm but it doesn't seem to work today. You can call him in Vietnam at +84 167 741 8959 or email him at smitheasterisland@hotmail.com .

    Another guy is Philip in HCMC. He sells a variety of old school scooters and some bikes such as the Honda Bonus (125cc). His website is https://sites.google.com/site/classichondacub/

    GT-Rider also has a map with some of the motorcycle border crossings for SE asia. It doesn't show all the possible border crossings possible for a Vietnamese bike but this map shows the crossings for LEGAL non-Vietnamese bikes. The website is http://www.gt-rider.com/images/seasiaborders.JPG
    #8
  9. Ogurek

    Ogurek Adventurer

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    If anybody is following this, Kevin Raven's website has changed. It is now http://saigonmotorbikes.com/

    Another motorbike shop in Saigon that seems to have a good reputation is the Saigon Minsk shop owned by Danh. His website is http://saigon-minsk.com/index.html

    I've also found posts with first hand experiences of crossing the Vietnam/Cambodia border near Ha Tien, Moc Bai and also Tinh Bien with a Vietnamese bike.
    #9
  10. philippoc92

    philippoc92 Adventurer

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    Hi everyone,

    I was hoping someone to give an update on contact details for reliable mechanics in HCMC. Thanks :D
    #10
  11. Briain

    Briain Adventurer

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    In Saigon now looking to buy a bike head north go through Laos and down into Cambodia. Also what should I expect to pay and how reliable are the old minsks? Any information always much appreciated
    #11
  12. cmkaduce

    cmkaduce Been here awhile

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    Helpful information here. Thanks!
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  13. robinprins

    robinprins n00b

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    Does anyone have information if this is still possible. To get it into Thailand you will need to have the bike in your name but that's not possible for tourists..
    #13
  14. offroadlanna

    offroadlanna n00b

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    As far as I know you can enter Thailand on a rental bike or a bike not in your name and get a temporary import document which is valid for 30 days so it should not be a problem buying a bike in Vietnam and riding it into Thailand.
    #14
  15. vietnammotorbiketour

    vietnammotorbiketour n00b

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  16. Eat my dirt

    Eat my dirt n00b

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    Hi Ogurek

    Please find the answers bellow:
    When you buy a used bike in Vietnam does it come with the licence plate on the bike?
    YES, IT ALWAYS COME WITH A LICENSE PLATE ON THE BACK OF THE BIKE, ALSO WITH THE REGISTRATION PAPER (BLUE CARD) PLEASE NOTICE: MOST OF THE BIKE BIGER THAN 175CC OWN FAKE PAPER IN THIS COUNTRY

    When buying the bike I will get registration papers but with some Vietnamese guys name on them (since I can't register a bike in my name on a tourist visa). Do I need to change the name to cross the border? Maybe a letter from the previous owner is needed?

    NO, YOU CAN'T DO IT AS A TOURIST VISA

    What paperwork do you need to cross the borders with the bike? Will this registration (with someone else's name on it) be sufficient?

    YOU NEED A TEMPORARY EXPORT/IMPORT PERMIT FROM THE GOVERMENT UNDER A LOCAL TOUR OPERATOR. CONTACT THE GUY AT MOTOTOURS ASIA WWW.MOTOTOURSASIA.COM THAY DO MANY OVERLAND BORDER CROSSING TOURS TO LAOS, CAMBODIA AND THEY CAN ORGANIZE THE PERMIT FOR YOU.

    Can I even get a Carnet for (a possibly illegal) Vietnamese bike to enter Indonesia?

    LET CONTACT ANY TOUR OPERATOR IN INDONESIA THEY CAN ORGANIZE THE PERMIT FOR YOU OR YOU MAY SELL THE BIKE IN TIMOR L'EST THEN GET ANOTHER THERE

    CHEERS

    P/S: AFTER POSTING I REALIZED THAT IS WAS LONG TIME AGO. COULD YOU PLEASE REPORT ABOUT YOUR TRIP?

    THAT WOULD HELP OTHER RIDERS TO RIDE AHEAD
    #16