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Old 24 Aug 2009
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Buying a bike in Vietnam

I am planning a trip to Vietnam in December 2009 for a month. The idea is to buy a bike (124/250cc) in Hanoi or wherever I land, travel around for a month (maybe in Cambodia as well if possible...) and sell the bike before I fly back to UK... As simple as that! Now after a bit of research the info I get is contractitive... some say that buying a bike and travelling around vietnam is allowed to foreigners/tourists; some say that it is risky, forbidden and can easily end up with a big fine and the bike being confiscated; some others say that it is kind of forbidden but easily achieviable... all very confusing...
Any kind of info from fellow travellers would be very welcome.
Many thanks
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Old 25 Aug 2009
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I can tell you how I did it, as I had to leave my XR250 in Cambodia on a holiday from me, while I visited Vietnam.
I headed over to HMC where I did the rounds of the expat bars / restaurants and found posters, with bikes for sale. I ended up buying a Honda SS50 (a tiny wee thing) and travelling up to the north.
Two weeks before I needed to leave Vietnam I hunted down all the expat bars / restaurants and supermarkets and posted posters of the bike up. I also found an expat web site (the new Hanoi) which is where I ended up finding my buyer.

The trick is to find out what sells where - which in Vietnam is really easy - in the south they want to buy minks which you can get in the north. In the north they want Honda ss50 which what you mainly can find in the south.

As for the police - They only stop you if your on a bigger bike and ask for a bribe. If you do something wrong they will try and book you.
Its Vietnam most people speak English and they know how to get what they want - Stick to the crazy rules and have fun!
For more information on my adventures, please visit either of the following:
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Old 21 Sep 2009
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Good Information, thanks.
I'm looking at buying a bike in Hanoi (Minsk 125?), and riding through Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Laos before returning to Hanoi and selling it. Jan, Feb and March of 2010. I've no idea if this is possible, or even legal, ..... but I suspect that I'm going to find out.
Any 'good tips' will be accepted in exchange for 'cold '.
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Old 21 Sep 2009
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I too am planning a trip to Vietnam in December

I already have my plane ticket into HCM on the 11th of December and out of BKK on the 20th of December. I am interested in purchasing/renting a bike, and exploring. Perhaps a meet up?

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Old 22 Sep 2009
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Blue88 - You should be ok on taking the bike into Cambodia and maybe Laos, but Thailand might be a different story. They stick to the rules most of the time. But if one boarder wont let you out try another. You will find many expats in Cambodia and Laos even Thailand that probably would like a Minsk - so you may be able to make a small profit there if you didn't want to return to Vietnam.
For more information on my adventures, please visit either of the following:
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Old 22 Sep 2009
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Thanks Maximondo ... I just figured that starting with a Vietnamese Bike would be the simplest path as entry into Vietnam with other machines seems to be almost impossible. If I need to 'Sell' and 'Buy' as I cross borders, then that's just part of the rich tapestry of travelling where you learn how to do something new every single day. Thanks for the info :-)
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Old 2 Sep 2010
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Hi @ all,

after reading all this stuff I get a bit confused. We are going to south east asia next year and thinking all the time how to manage to do Vietnam, because it is not allowed to take the bike in there.
we ship our two bikes to Jakarta and start from there north. The bigger problem we think of is, where is the best place to park our bikes while we teaveling thru Vietnam??
I recken it is defenetly not a smart idea to leave it in Cambordia, isn't it? :-) the second option is Laos, but where?
does anybody have any experience and done that bofore??


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Old 3 Sep 2010
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If I had to leave my bike in Cambodia or Laos, I´d try to find a better hotel or a bike-rental with a good reputation, and ask them, if it´s possible to keep it and pay them something to look after it. I wouldnt leave it to just anyone, but with a bit of research, I think the chances of anything happening to the bike are quite slim. It´s all about finding the right place, though.

BTW, I met a German biker in Indonesia, who had had very tough time with the customs at Jakarta airport, in fact his bike had been stuck there for several weeks, and they would not let it in the country, even though he had the carnet (or that´s what he told me). This was in February 2008.

During the trip I heard several similar stories of stupid problems with customs, but our own experience with them (at Belawan, coming from Malaysia) was totally different, took about 5 minutes to clear the bike, and they were all smiles. The place, where you enter the country, could make a big difference, or so it seems. But it is Asia, so you´ll never know 100%, what will happen. But as a country Indonesia is freaking fantastic, not to be missed!
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Old 7 Sep 2010
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Vietnam- everything is illegal and everything is possible

I've lived in Vietnam for the last 2 years, I drive a 400 cc bike, for which I am improperly licensed (carry an international license, not a local one). I've never, in about 10,000 km's of riding within the country been stopped. So it happens but I don't consider it a major issue. If you get stopped, they probably don't want to deal with an official booking, and taking of the bike, if the alternative is easier and more lucrative (if you follow). Simple, carry extra cash (but don't pull it out until you have to). Always smile, and refuse to do what they ask you at first. Just stay patient and persistent and it all works out. Beyond that, don't draw attention to yourself and do what you want.
If you want to do everything the proper official way, expect tons of frustration, but persistence and money usually solves any problem (lots and lots of persistence).

Good luck
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Old 29 Jan 2011
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Just a bump, 12 months later.
Now its Jan / Feb 2011, and I am also in the very same position. - Almost.
We will pass through the border in China to Ha Noi.
then we plan to train or fly down to HCMC, because its too damn cold just now in Ha Noi,
Any way, getting in HCMC, we will look to buy a small 125cc motorbike, and make our way north.
Thats until we get bum ache, or fed up and sell it and train the rest of the way.

Looking to spend 2 weeks in Vietnam.
I am guessing HCMC to Ha Noi, is too much in 2 weeks ?
Suggestions please, where to get a cheap, but relaible bike for 2up riding.

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