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Old 8 May 2011
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Buying in Vietnam and on to Cambodia / Thailand

The information I have is that as a tourist, you cannot legally own a vehicle in Vietnam and therefore you can’t get the documentation to take the bike out of the country (i.e. To Cambodia).

How do people typically get around this issue?

Also, after arriving in Vietnam with an international driving permit, how long does it take to get sorted out with a local license, insurance etc.?

Sorry if this has been treated before—I found some older reports that seemed to suggest it wasn’t an issue; wanting to find out what the current state of affairs is. Am I likely to run into problems getting a bike out of Vietnam?

I want to ride through Cambodia to Thailand and possibly onto India, but I haven’t worked out if I will ship the bike over from Thailand or re-buy in Nepal, Bangladesh or India.
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Old 10 May 2011
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I bought a bike in Vietnam in 2009. No paperwork was needed, the seller just gave me the bike`s documentation and that was all.

No problem getting out of the country. A matter of 15 minutes. Same for the Laos side. 30 minutes and the fun in the jungle could began.

Insurance was not mandatory.
At the time (no idea if it has changed) the international driving license was not valid in Vietnam. You had to pass an exam to get the viet license, something no traveller I met on the road had done.

Contact the Minsk Club, they sure know better if things have changed.

Minsk Club Vietnam
"Cosas que escapan a los que sueñan solo de noche..."
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Old 25 May 2011
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the official requirements are:

Foreign and international driver license is not valid in Vietnam. It is necessary for a vietnamese driver license, even many tourist are driving without.

There are 2 classes:

A1 for motorcycles till 175 ccm
A2 for motorcycles over 175 ccm

The A2 is not so easy to get. Its a harder official way or you pay something below the table.

For purchasing a bike on your own name you need a stay permit for min. 6 month and a official home in Vietnam.

Since about one year also an insurance is mandatory for the motorbike.

If bikes are sold with papers (like old Minsks) this is not really legal but usually nobody cares. The traffic law in Vietnam is like a chewing gum.

Especially in tourist areas sometimes police is also controlling the foreigners. This is because in the past some foreigners were driving crazy and also caused seriously accidents. Anyway, everybody is driving crazy there. But, if the police stop you, you could be lucky or not, depends on the officer.

Here some info:

So Giao Thong Van Tai - Thanh pho Ho Chi Minh

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Old 30 May 2011
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Alternative license + insurance

Thanks for the info, Paul + Vander. Much appreciated. Vietnam doesn't recognize the international driving permit, but apparently the "smart card" license which is obtainable in Thailand (with the appropriate visa) and recognized in 10 countries in SEA including vietnam.

Since you can't officially own the vehicle in Vietnam, what does that mean for obtaining legitimate insurance cover. Is it possible?
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