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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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  #1  
Old 19 Oct 2010
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How to get a Thai TukTuk into USA border?

I went to travel on a Tuk Tuk from Thailand to the USA. The Tuk Tuk will be one from Thailand. I worry that some countries will not approve the entry of the vehicle. Any suggestions as to what I need to do to make sure I will not have any problems? If the vehicle is registered and legal in Thailand and it is only passing through other countries, do you anticipate issues? Thank you!

This is my first day to see this website and it is absolutely fantastic! Great information and I look forward to be an active member here.
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  #2  
Old 20 Oct 2010
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Hello and welcome to HUBB.

I remember reading somewhere in these pages from a couple who drove their Tuktuk to Europe. If it's registered in your name with all the proper paperwork you shouldn't have any problem.

The problem is getting the paperwork. First, you will need to get it registered in your name. For this you need a non-immigrant visa. See ThaiVisa.com and beware of rego scams. Also, make sure it is registerd as a private vehicle and not a passenger transport vehicle, as that may stop you from leaving Thailand (I'm guessing...).

Once you have this sorted you need an international certificate of registration, essentially an A4 sheet detailing your rego details in English, as nobody outside Thailand can read the Thai rego papers, aka Green Book. You may or may not get this from your regional rego office. My wife got hers in Bkk.

Depending on which countries you wish to travel through you will need a Carnet. See info under paperwork on the left of this page. The problem is: Thailand doesn't issue carnets, so you need to arrange that from somewhere else. The Canandian CAA may or may not issue you one, you need to talk to them before you leave. Failing that try the Malaysian AA, who told me that they would issue it for Thai registered vehicles.

If you cross the vborder into Malaysia you will get rego plate stickers in Latin script, useful, as again Thai plates are not readable by anybody else.

Be prepared for a very slow and uncomfortable trip...

Oh, and don't buy a gas powered Tuktuk. You won't be able to fill up outside Thailand.
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  #3  
Old 20 Oct 2010
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Originally Posted by beddhist View Post
Hello and welcome to HUBB.
Oh, and don't buy a gas powered Tuktuk. You won't be able to fill up outside Thailand.
Thanks so much for the info! It was great and VERY much appreciated. Why can't you fill gas up outside of Thailand?
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  #4  
Old 20 Oct 2010
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He means get a petrol engined tuktuk, not one that runs on bottled gas.
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  #5  
Old 21 Oct 2010
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Precisely. Imagine you run the tank empty. How do you fill it? Jerry can?

German campers can't even get their lpg bottles filled in France or Spain, because the fittings are different.

If you get one that runs on both gas and petrol then you will be fine, but I doubt they make them like that.

Which route did you have in mind?
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Old 21 Oct 2010
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The CAA said:

If it is registered and licensed like a motorcycle then yes we will be able to issue you a carnet as long as you are an American or Canadian resident.

So, that is good news. I don't know if the TukTuk is licensed like a motorcycle or not.


As for the route, we have not planned it out full. We will start in Thailand, go to Malaysia and Singapore and then back to Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, India and then haven't decided to ship to Middle East and keep moving or what direction to take. Really worried about going through the stan's. Not sure why but wonder if we should avoid that area all together and head to Europe next?
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  #7  
Old 21 Oct 2010
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My wife is currently in Thailand, so I'll ask her to find out about the rego for you.

Sorry, to start throwing spanners in the works, but you should read up on the countries on your route. There is a wealth of info and tips here on HUBB.

Singapore: not worth the hassle. Leave vehicle in Malaysia and take bus or train.

Vietnam and China: both require special permits and a guide, expensive. There won't be any room for a guide in your Tuktuk, meaning you will need to hire a car for him/her. You can't go in a group with other vehicles, because you will be too slow.

There is a border crossing between China and India, but I believe it's not open to foreigners. You could go through Tibet into Nepal, but I doubt a Tuktuk will make it over the 5000m passes.

Possible routes:

ship from Malaysia to Turkey
go through Indonesia, Sulawesi, ship to Philippines, then US.
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  #8  
Old 23 Oct 2010
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Your best route will depend on what it is you want to do, get a tuktuk back to the US or explore the world ending up back in the US.
If it is the latter I would suggest going from Thailand to Cambodia and Laos, as stated you will not get into Vietnam with a foreign registered vehicle.
From there you will have to go back to Thailand and on to Malaysia, Singapore is a pain with your own vehicle, go on public transport if you wish.
From Malaysia, Penang is a good place to both visit and ship from, go to India, where you will definitely need a carnet and have road access to Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan, China is theoretically possible but unbelievably expensive and bureaucratic.
I doubt as US passport holders you will get visas for Iran which is a shame as it is a great country with lovely people, it also means that you will have to ship again, possibly to Turkey or Europe depending on your intended route.
From there Europe, central Asia and parts of the middle East are your oyster.
From anywhere in Europe you can ship to North America, I am not sure about getting into the US with your tuktuk, you might fall foul of the epa if you try to register it but that is another problem that I cannot help with.
Tuk Tuk From Bangkok To Brighton | Travel Happy
I am not sure if there is anything here that will help.
Good luck
Mark
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Old 29 Oct 2010
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beddhist, I have really enjoyed reading your blogs. Amazing adventure. Thanks for posting that, I have really learned a lot from just reading it.

Mark, thanks for the route info. I like all your said and it sounds like a plan. I do really want to do part of China. That is important to me.

From Europe, we want to go all the way down Africa and then ship to South America and go up to USA. We also want to hit Australia and New Zealand along the way.

We want to make it a true around the world adventure and have budgeted 2-3 years for this.
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  #10  
Old 29 Oct 2010
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DO you have to start in thailand? you could buy the tuk tuk in another country maybe even china and then travel thai area. That would negate the guide part.
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  #11  
Old 29 Oct 2010
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Originally Posted by pictish View Post
DO you have to start in thailand? you could buy the tuk tuk in another country maybe even china and then travel thai area. That would negate the guide part.
Yes, my main sponsors are there and it must be a Thai Tuk Tuk!
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  #12  
Old 29 Oct 2010
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Originally Posted by mark manley View Post
From there Europe, central Asia and parts of the middle East are your oyster.
From anywhere in Europe you can ship to North America, I am not sure about getting into the US with your tuktuk, you might fall foul of the epa if you try to register it but that is another problem that I cannot help with.
My understanding is that a TukTuk is essentially a 2 stroke Vespa/LML scooter that's had the riding area expanded. If this is true then it stands to reason that if you want to register it in the US it *should* pass the epa requirements in all the states except California, because you can register an old 2 stroke vespa in all the states except California.

Then again, my understanding could be totally wrong. If you're just riding through the US and thus not registering it here I don't think there'd be any issues.

As far as what route you take, the only advice i have to offer is that altitude's going to be a problem with that carburetor so keep things as light as possible... don't let that extra space tempt you. Also, traditional vespa engines weren't designed for hard riding 8 hours a day. There's a real risk of the piston expanding and seizing your engine, as such I would *strongly* recommend adding a gauge to measure your engine's temp and keeping an eye on it, and read up on how to handle a soft-seize and avoid it becoming a hard-seize. You may even want to bring a spare piston. I doubt you'll find much info on what's likely to die on a TukTuk but you should be able to read up on old 2 stroke vespas or the 2 stroke Genuine Stella (rebadged 2 stroke vespa). There are a number of ride reports on those and you can get a good idea of what is likely to die on you. Also check out the Scooter Cannonball Run. Some people have done it on 2 strokes and have blogged (or mentioned on their forums) the mechanical problems they've encountered.
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  #13  
Old 29 Oct 2010
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Thanks Tuktuk. I'm happy when people enjoy reading the stories on my web site. Must add the last couple of pages soon...

The tuktuks I have seen in Thailand have nothing to do with Vespas. The chassis is purpose-built. Modern ones have 4 stroke engines and I would strongly recommend you buy one of those.

The problem with taking one through a 3rd world country is that you have a pothole detector... I'm sure that they are tough vehicles, but they are built for cities, not bumpy country roads.
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