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Southern Asia Topics specific to Southern Asia, from Iran and Armenia east through Pakistan and India to China / Vietnam / Indonesia.
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Old 26 Apr 2013
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Armchair question on SE Asia

I'm a week away from starting my RTW trip (US, Russia, Asia, Africa). Very excited, but I can't help but think occasionally about the route that Im NOT taking (the classis: UK to Aus), so please indulge this armchair question from a curious reader!

As you wind your way from Malasia through Indonesia, and towards East Timor, there's a lot more blue, and a lot less green. ie. islands, surrounded by water.

How far is it reasonably possible to get your bike, before you pack it in and ship/fly it to Aus? And, what's the riding like on those islands? The terrain, the roads, how many route choices, getting your bike to the next island, East Timor etc?

I know SE Asia pretty well from being a tourist in my 20's, back a ways, so I know the humidity/temperature/food / people etc in the golden triangle, thailand, malasia, borneo etc, I've just never wound my way down the island chain that far.



Keen to know, thanks
NY-Lon
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Old 26 Apr 2013
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Originally Posted by NYLon2000 View Post
How far is it reasonably possible to get your bike, before you pack it in and ship/fly it to Aus?
I only went Sumatra-Java-Bali, transport wasn´t a problem between those islands. I was planning to continue to East Timor, but the 2008 coup attempt in Dili, and resulting unrest over there put paid to that plan. So I airfreighted out of Bali.

It is my understanding, based on my research before/during my trip, and following the forums afterwards, that the route from Sumatra to East Timor is the most common way for overlanders to go through Indonesia, and the most common shipping route is Dili<->Darwin. There are no international ferry routes to/from Australia. There are ferry lines going basically all over Indonesia, but don´t expect daily departures, and getting the timetables could be a pain – it´s not like in Europe or in the US!! To go further east or northeast from Timor, you´d need lots of time, and I don´t know how feasible it would be to have a bike with you over there. A small (100-200cc) bike or a scooter could be easier to load on some smaller boat or ferry.

To give some idea, here´s the long-distance ferry ´timetable´ in Benoa harbour, Bali, in February 2008 (that same company had webpages, too, but they had not been updated in four years!)... I really don´t know how it works now, but at least back then it seemed a bit complicated.

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Old 26 Apr 2013
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I have just come from that direction and am currently in Jakarta.

The answer is that it is no problem to travel by bike in the region. You can island hop on regular ferries from Sumatra all the way down to Timor via Java, Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa and Flores. You then need to cross by land into Timor Leste, which was no big issue as customs and immigration were very helpful and friendly.

Once you get to Dili, you can arrange shipping to Darwin, Australia using Toll shipping. They do the trip regularly and while there is a bit of mucking around, it is definitely possible.

The bike I am riding is a Suzuki DRZ400E and it has been perfect for the job. You can do it on a smaller or larger bike but the midrange bike seems to be the ideal, especially given that you have to pay a large bond for the Carnet de Passage.

Good luck with your trip.
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Old 27 Apr 2013
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Its definately a great trip, we did it about 8 Month ago. Lots of pictures and Route suggestions> 07_Indonesia | Round the World by Bike | Page 2

triplog 1> Indonesia I by rtwbybike.com from RTWbyBIKE Trip log - Motor Cycling, Asahan, Sumatera Utara, Indonesia

triplog 2>Bali to Darwin by rtwbybike.com from RTWbyBIKE Trip log - Motor Cycling, Tampaksiring, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia

All the ferry connetctions you easy find out on the spot, as they change constantly it is IMHO not very easy and usefull to check in advance, maybe just on routes where they go but not when exactly they go and even that changes...

It was (is) a great trip! Good luck!

Cheers from Tasmania!
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