American wants to buy a motorcycle in SE Asia and ride between countries. Feasible?

Discussion in 'Asia Pacific' started by fuzzybabybunny, Jan 2, 2019.

  1. fuzzybabybunny

    fuzzybabybunny Adventurer

    Nov 26, 2011
    I've got an American driver's license with the motorcycle endorsement. No International Driving Permit, although I guess that could be arranged (is it necessary?)

    My plan was to fly into Malaysia somewhere, buy a small cheap 125cc scooter or motorcycle, and ride around Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and sell the bike in Laos or something.

    - How feasible is this?
    - Is it possible to island hop with the motorcycle, like go to the various Indonesian islands and the Philippines?

    I've done extended riding on rented bikes in Thailand and China and I've been fine with it.
  2. franki

    franki NB Rider

    Mar 15, 2007
    Hong Kong
    Buying a bike in SEA is easy but getting it registered in your name could be challenging. If you have friends in that country and he/she register it under his/her name, then get a power of attorney saying you have the right to use the vehicle will ease the border crossing problem. I am asking the same question for my intended Indonesia trip because I have no friends in that country.

    I always carry DL and IDL with me when I travel through SEA and pull one out to show depends on what kind of situation I am in. Usually they don't bother me much if I am properly fitted as a motorcycle traveller and have my helmet on.

    Selling the bike in another country depends on what the customs have documented with the bike. If it is marked in your passport, you will have problem leaving the country without it. Otherwise, you can sell it at a discounted price.
  3. yokesman

    yokesman Long timer

    Sep 12, 2008
    SW. Idaho
    1. get an IDL, like all your ids have three color copies laminated n don't use your originials except at the airport or if they demand it at customs-border crosssings, never had to.
    If you have travelers insurance stay legal or it may be voided, Cambodia only excepts their drivers license which I understand can be purchased at tour agencies, haven't done it myself. You can, like many things ride in Cambodia without it but are subject to "fines" as you are pulled over n like I said this comment is only to maintain legality in case of an insurance claim-hospital visit.

    2.Riding from anywhere to v nam on a small bike without a group is not really feasible( flamingo travel quoted me 8 or 900 dollars in 2016 cant remember they really wanted us to rent Their bike), a bike from Vnam it is doable.

    3. Thailand is playing the game with us coming in on bikes from the outside n giving only 7 days transit visa , this is old info so please if it has changed n anyone is in the know please speak up.

    4. buying new in Malaysia is easy ,just provide an address, the dealer will handle the rest.

    5. the last info I have , the onion boat from indonesa to malaysia, the cheapest bike transport to n from, has been stopped, may also check horizons unlimited website for this info. so right now getting either way is unknown to me.
    SuzyMoto likes this.
  4. Mark Manley

    Mark Manley Long timer

    Apr 3, 2010
    Southwest England
    I would recommend getting one, I was pulled over yesterday in Hampi, India by the police who were stopping most of the motorcycles and doing document checks, the first thing he asked me for was an international driving permit. I have one which was inspected I was then asked if I had insurance which I do but this was not checked and I was sent on my way.