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This seems to be a bit of a problem, people and guidebooks say theres "ferries" going, but it seems theyre for passengers, and may only accept scooters, not big bikes.
I've found one (cargo boat) from Penang to Belawan, will take it, if I cant find anything more suitable. But this would mean more traveling for us in both Malaysia and Indonesia (we're a bit short on time already). And they will close down for nearly 2 weeks for Chinese New Year, so their last sailing before that will be 31st Jan - so their vacation will be right about the time we were thinking of going!
Also found (from this site) a shipment made from Melaka to Dumai, and it actually sounded ok, but this info was from Oct 2006, and you know how quickly these things change. Just yesterday I talked to a German biker in Penang, and he told me he was in Melaka about Sept 2007, and couldnt find anyone capable of carrying his bike over! Also heard about a car ferry from somewhere, that apparently is no more.
So, are there at the moment any convenient (and trustworthy) services between Malaysia / Indonesia, if you need to get your bike with you? And anyone know, if this Chinese festival is likely to put all cargo ships on hold, or its more likely to be a problem only in Penang?
And about registering to the police authorities in Indonesia, some say you must, and others tell you to keep as far away from the cops as you can... I think I'll opt for the latter, but any suggestions are welcome!
in malaysia they have 3 ports where u can ship your bike to indonesia, melaka, stulang laut and port klang..the best practise is u have to get the shipping or port agent to do all the clearence with the local authority and cargo. u still can do by yourself but it will take such along time. and if u planning to go there make sure u do a week before the chinese new year holiday.
ok, thanks (a lot!)... I wasnt too well informed about troubles associated with going to Dumai. Again a bit contradictory, because some have claimed they've gone through there ok. Maybe they've just got lucky!!
But I'm slowly accepting the fact that Mr.Lim's service from Penang might be the best, as everyone who's used it says it works fine. The journey will be longer, and we will land more north in Sumatra than we'd like to... but still all good, if it means less hassle with the authorities!
I actually visited their office last week, and they seem to know their stuff. There was a German biker shipping with them from Belawan that same day, and 2 Aussies who were about to take their Transalps to Indonesia.
We also asked the Indonesian consulate in Penang, and they said we can get 2 month visas from there in one day.
And you can find all their contact details from the shipping pages, several shipments with them listed there.
The carnet was almost the first thing they asked (at Cakra Shipping!) and I wouldnt want to try going to Indonesia without one. Anyway, this route would be the only one I´d use.
I heard lots of bad stories about big problems importing bikes to Indonesia, like in Jakarta airport or Surabaya harbour, and even when people HAVE had carnets! This Penang-Belawan route seems to work ok with carnet, without one, I dont know.
There was someone at gt-rider.com forums I think, who managed to do that, but was a big hassle, and took him days to get the bike.
should be PULAU PINANG in that address. Probably wont matter much, unless your going to send them a postcard...
Lebuh Pantai is close to the passenger ferry terminal, the next street into town, thats running parallel to the one going to the ferry terminal. Can walk there from Chinatown or Little India.
Cakra Shipping handled everything ok for us. And even the bike stayed safe a couple of days in Belawan port (even though everyone seemed to know, where the customs were keeping it!) There are a lot of scammers there, so beware!
I would love to hear any info that a local could drum up about a thai regged bike without a carnet getting over...
Malay bikes are apparently allowed.. But the 'no carnet' issue on a Thai bike is going to be a problem that required an indonesian haggle.. Mr Lim has said he will transport the bikes but the Indo customs would be up to us. Local contacts or negotiations could help a lot.
I was also wondering if its easier getting into Batam or over there ?? Its a free trade zone.. Once into indo we can overland and use internal boats easy I figure. Its just that initial border.
Are any of the ferry services that do Batam or nearby from Sing or Malaysia a RORO service or carry motorcycles for locals ?? Do you see Malay or Sing registrations on the roads in Batam at all ??
I wouldnt go to Batam. You´ll first need some ferry to carry your bike there, and then you´ll need another one to get anywhere. MAYBE you could go to Jakarta from there, but those ´mysterious´ Pelni-ships (which are supposed to operate all around Indonesia), their timetables, and whether or not they will carry motorcycles or not, were a joke.
If you got half a year to spend in the country, then maybe Pelni ships can take you somewhere, but getting any accurate information about anything regarding them was really frustrating (and nearly impossible). Ok, we were travelling at the height of the rainy season, and the seas were not calm, so that might have affected things a bit. Still I would say they are not making it very easy for the occasional tourist.
And I dont think going to Batam would make it any easier for you to enter with a bike, if you dont have a carnet. Dumai was also one place where several people warned us not to go. Belawan is the only port that I know of, where Ive actually heard its been done without a carnet, but I still wouldnt count on succeeding. Other options, however, seem even worse. I hope you will make it, though, but be prepared for a true test of patience.
Our situation is we have time.. Planning 3 months with a break in the middle in bali for a few weeks while the girls fly down to stay with us.
I was thinking Batam as being so much closer in ferry time I wondered if Batam had more vehicle traffic / movement between countries.. If a customs point sees many many malay bikes transiting daily duty free in a roro type setting, I figured they may be easier on a Thai bike coming through or with a smaller bribe, its more a normal daily thing. At the ports where the only vehicles they see are the global tourers, the bulk of which all have a carnet, it makes it that much more of a brick wall.
I realized Batam to Java would take more time in boat options, but we have time and anything that can get us into the country even if it slowed us down a week or two is doable. I am kind of concerned that anywhere crossing into Indo is just going to be a flat out brick wall. We have even discussed heading to Malaysian borneo to see if the Malay / Indo border there is more porous.
All reports, however vague, on transit options, or sightings of where Malay vehicles move are very welcome.
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