Need help to travel SE Asia

Discussion in 'Asia' started by nickel512, Sep 8, 2014.

  1. nickel512

    nickel512 Adventurer

    Jul 23, 2010
    Hudson Wisconsin
    I am planning a several wk trip thru Vietnam Laos Cambodia. I would like to know the specifics on getting me n my bike between these countries. Can I buy or do I rent? Should I buy privately n keep bike in Asian owners name? I have done some research and am finding getting valued info difficult. Any help from knowledgable persons would be greatly appreciated. Again, I understand the travel in within Vietnam, it's getting in an out of Its neighbors I am confused about. Thanks
  2. ta-rider

    ta-rider Returned from Africa

    Jan 14, 2012

    Its impossible to take bikes into other countrys but very easy to rent 125cc bikes in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia etc for just 5 Dollars per day. To get into another country you just take a cheap bus.

    This is how I did it:

    Enjoy your trip :)
  3. bush pilot

    bush pilot Long timer

    Jun 23, 2006
    Not entirely true, it is possible to take a Thai (registered in your name) bike into Cambodia and Laos, Vietnam is more difficult but can be done also.

    Current info and document requirements is usually available on the RideAsia forum.
  4. canoli

    canoli human

    Jul 26, 2008
    Not from round these parts.
    If you are going to each place for a week or 4 then it would be A LOT less hassle to rent at each place. If you are going to be there for 6 to 12

  5. RideExpeditions

    RideExpeditions ....................

    Sep 18, 2014
    Hi Nickel,

    Bushpilot is right - buy the bike in Thailand, register it in your name and make sure you keep all the papers with you.
    If you buy the bike in Vietnam you may struggle riding in other countries and their borders with your Vietnamese plates.
    If you buy in Cambodia you will be fine going into Laos and Thailand (if registered in your own name) but again you will struggle at the Vietnamese border.
  6. Katabatic

    Katabatic Adventurer

    Sep 25, 2014
    I spent 3 months riding through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand in early 2014 and did quite a bit of research regarding border crossings beforehand. It's possible to take a Vietnamese bike into Laos and Cambodia but it's difficult if not impossible to take a foreign bike into Vietnam. For that reason I decided to buy a bike in Saigon. After a month in Vietnam, I crossed into Cambodia at the Ha-Tien border crossing in the south and didn't have any problems. 45 days later I intended to cross into Laos at the Don Det (4 thousand Islands) border crossing, but life had other plans and I never made it to the border. I heard from other riders that Vietnamese registered bikes were allowed to cross this border from Cambodia into Laos, but not the other way around for some reason.

    The problem with buying a bike in Vietnam is that the selection of large bikes (200+ cc) is very poor. Additionally, because of import taxes on these bikes any you do find will be ridiculously expensive. I spent a month riding in southern Vietnam and I can count the number of real dirt bikes I saw on one hand (all in Saigon).

    The problem with renting bikes and crossing borders is the standard practice of leaving your passport as collateral with the rental place - You'll need your passport at the border. Some places will let you leave the cash value of the bike as collateral though so that's always an option but you'll still need the correct documentation to take the bike across where possible.

    If you only have a few weeks for your trip then I would recommend renting a bike in each country since you won't have to deal with purchasing one and registering it in your name and the uncertainty of border crossings. At the time of my research, I recall reading that buying a bike in Thailand and getting it registered in your name could take weeks.

    -Flamingo is a reputable place in Vietnam (Saigon and Hanoi)
    -Fuark has a good reputation in Laos (Vientiane)
    -Many reputable places to rent a variety of bikes in northern Thailand (I used CP rentals in Chiang Mai and they were great)

    If you are dead set on buying a bike and crossing borders just remember as with many things in SE Asia the dynamics of border crossings and rules are constantly changing. I met a few other riders that had contradicting experiences at border crossings but the general consensus was, and my experience backs up, that you can take a Vietnamese plated bike into Cambodia and Laos but not the other way around. For what it's worth, I did see a fair number of Vietnamese plated bikes (mostly Honda Wins) in both Cambodia and Northern Laos that support this claim. I should also note that some riders have had success entering Vietnam from Cambodia through Ha-Tien but I believe you only get 15 days and you have to leave through the same crossing.

    For more specific/current information you can confer with the guys over at rideasia.

    Hope this helps and ride safe. Actually, be lucky, that's the best advice I can give you when riding in these places.
  7. wadenelson

    wadenelson Rider/Writer

    May 18, 2014
    Durango CO, Phoenix AZ
    I know a guy who might like to go with you, if you're interested in a slightly larger group. Lifetime rider, AND a gourmet chef who'll make sure you eat right during the ride...