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Im after any information for the second part of my south asia scurmish.
I rode around India and Nepal on an Enfield for 2.5months and couldnt find a way into China (no surprises) so i flogged it. I did love every second of the trip though and im hooked. Im now looking to head south through:
Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma (if poss.) and Malaysia.
I have searched previous posts but information is a bit dated and random so here goes:
does anyone know if i can buy a bike in Vietnam and ride south on it, are the border crossings OK for all countries? Where are the problems and does anyone have any alternative/easier ideas . Im trying to do it cheap, i dont have $1000's to pay for guides ect. If anyone has done this trip before ide love to hear from you. Im dying for any info please.
If you want to go cheap get yourself a Honda Dream Step Through (they usually have something like 100cc). Most borders nobody will care about a little bike like this and since it's the universal multi purpose motorbike in SE-Asia you'll get it fixed almost everywhere.
I have met at least one couple in Thailand on a Vietnam reg'd bike, so it is possible.
You should be OK entering Malaysia. Just pretend your bike isn't there when you pass through Malaysian customs. Do, however, get insurance for it at the border. Worked for us in Padang Besar, might not work at the big crossing in Sadao.
Burma is out, this is a FAQ.
You need a carnet to enter Singapore. It's not worth the hassle. If you want/need to enter Singapore, leave your bike in Malaysia and take the bus.
Brilliant advise, you both definatly seem to get my wavelength....(as long as im travelling through on a motorbike that hasnt cost the earth, im happy) 'Honda dream step through' it is, sounds like something similar to what im bumping around China on now and im pretty content. Guess ill leave the bike in Thailand for my Burma excursion.
But, how do i pretend i dont have a bike on the Malaysia border??? Even though it looks tiny i dont think i can pop the Honda into a pocket...are you suggesting a friendly truck drivers help ?
Crossed from Thailand to Malaysia in January 2008, on the big highway (Bukit Kayu Hitam maybe was the name of the place?) on a bike registered in Finland... and all they cared about was our passports. No-one checked anything on the bike. But because we had the carnet, we wanted to get it stamped, so walked to one of the offices, finally found the customs people, and they gave the proper stamps - again without even coming outside to look at the bike!
So yes, it appeared Malaysia would be do-able without carnet. Of course I cannot guarantee, that this will still be the same. Officially it is a carnet-country (something one should remember, if planning to export the vehicle from Malaysia, cos thats when they are likely to go through all its papers). Our bike exited Malaysia on an onion boat from Penang to Sumatra, and the shipping company demanded the carnet, but I believe it was because Indonesia requires it without exceptions.
edit. agreed with the others - will be nearly impossible to get your bike inside Burma, and even if you somehow managed to do that, crossing the entire country from India to Thailand, or v.v, would be yet another story.
Yep, agree with Pecha, we just joined the queue, but had to get out of the queue when it was our turn, because we had passports to process. (The locals have passes, so just show them and ride on.) So, fill in arrival card, get passports processed, jump back on the bikes and go. However, I repeat, you should get insurance at the border. If the cops check anything it will be that, plus if you ever have an accident...
We did fly our bikes out of Malaysia the second time without carnet stamps. (Customs at the Singapore border was closed.) The customs people just had a quick chat, shook their heads and said it's ok. But yes, if going to Indo you should have the carnet properly stamped beforehand.
In my experience (Laos, Cambodia and Thailand a couple of years ago) a little scooter is seen as something like a bycicle and most of them don't even have licence plates.
Just join the pedestrian queue, get processes like everybody else, then just push your bike over the border without making any fuss about it, the locals to it just like that.
Malaysia seems like a much better organised country, so they might check into this, although I think it's unlikely.
The bike I have in mind looks something like this:
There's about a zillian different makes and models around, the original Honda should be the most reliable though. The locals in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia use these things to ride almost anywhere including pistes and tracks that some would consider serious offroad.
Imho it's actually a sound choice for SE-Asia. A bed for the night is cheap almost anywhere so no need for heavy, bulky camping gear (certainly not more than a hammock), the weather is warm so no big winter clothes, super comfy even on bumby roads and goes up to about 90kph if well maintained.
^ those scooters (or "chicken chasers"!!) are actually a great way to get moving in SE Asia! Cheap, reliable, surprisingly capable, can easily be lifted into any small boat, or over obstacles, and can be fixed almost anywhere. Even if it is stolen or destroyed, you only lose a few hundred euros.
I´ve got a few friends who live near Bangkok, and I´ve been on tours with them in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos on 115cc Yamaha Nouvos... it´s a friggin hilarious sight, when you´ve got 5-10 big hairy falangs riding these little mopeds!! But it also means a warm reception by the locals and even authorities everywhere, which is nice.
Havent had time to join their trips lately, and most now have newer 135cc Nouvo-versions.
1-up and with light luggage, these things can do at least 90% of what big bikes can do. Worth remembering that locals ride them year round, even in the rainy season, when rural roads may be full of mud.
I´m actually planning to go back to Indonesia some time, and I´m pretty sure this type of ´bike´ will be my choice.
I have just back from SE Asia and met several people on Vietnamese registered bikes in Laos and Thailand, there seems to be no problem doing this on Vietnamese bikes, just the other way around. If you were prepared to put up with an Enfield you might like to try a Minsk, there were usually 1 or 2 for sale in Hanoi backpackers hostel, if not Honda wave 125s were everywhere in Asia, fast enough, reliable but I found the seat uncomfortable after about 100 km.
It might be a little late for that by now,but just for the future:
I bought an old minsk in Hanoi and by now I'm in Vientianne and hopefully by tomorrow in Thailand. But if you're on a budget and not a hobby mechanic I would agree with the others to take a scooter, though I would take a Honda Wave. Better Suspension, better performance (120 kph) and seen more often (personal feeling). Parts and repairing are dirt cheap in Vietnam, more expensive (though still nothing) in Cambodia and Laos. You couldalsothink about a Honda Win if you crave something more motorbike-ish, though supposedly the parts are getting a little rare,thoug noting too serious.
Borders are no issue at all so far even though thepapersof the bike are more than dodgy, not my name and from 94.Still, intocamodia they just ignored itcompletyand waved me through on my oily monsterand into Laos they "charged"me 5 Dollars more than the fee actually is.
What I would recommendthough is to getmore seat padding on your scooter. It looks like shit and the vietnamese don't getwhy you do that, but they are very uncomfy after more than 3 hours.
And buy an original Honda,no Hoinda Hongda or Japan.
Vietnam is awesome to ride,especiallycause the HCM Highway is in an amazing quality and runs through awesome scenery in the north.
I bought a bike in Vietnam and rode it in Laos. No problem.
You can buy a new Honda 100 for around 600USD, the older model, not the one on buebos post.
If I can suggest something it is enter Laos coming from Dien Bien Phu. Small border in a mountain pass (Tay Trang Border), middle in the jungle. Exit Vietnam 15min, enter Laos 15min. All with Vietnam registered bikes. 15$/bike.
The road is awesome, with several river crossings and small branch-made and hanging bridges. After 100kms middle of nowhere you arrive to Muang Khua. From there you could head to northern Thailand or to the center of Laos riding or putting your motorbike in a boat down to Luang Prabang (8h).
You could start in Hanoi, then NW to Sa Pa, to Dien Bien Phu, to Muang Khua etc.
Thai Border is a breeze. I showed up with my laotian import papers totally destroyed by rain and still went out and into Thailand without any hassle at all.
And if you can, though I doubt that, you can try to get a document stating that you bought the bike of XY with a copy of his passport. Of course only if the guy is the one with his name in the papers, than it would even be completly official to enter thailand. As far as I was told by expats here the same goes for Malaysia, but then you'll need a carnet de passage cause Indonesia would be the end, doesn't matter though as you do't wanna o further.
Timae, can you tell me what Thai border you went through? Everyone tells me its impossible to bring a motorbike (Honda wave in this case) back into Thailand, but I don't believe it. I have the little laminated card and copy of the contract from when I bought the bike in Saigon but am hoping I wont even need to show this to anyone. When I crossed from Ha Tien at the Xa Xia border nobody cared about the bike (although I did park it before the border, get the stamp, go back and get the bike and walk it through) and when I got to the Cambodian side the guards even helped me park it in the right spot while I waited the two minutes for the entry stamp. I am in Siem Reap now and would like to get to Bangkok via the Poipet crossing. Is this where you went through?
Right, sorry for delay my GF just cam back from 8 month tour of Aisa,
she did the Ho che tour on the back of a bike $75 per day!
she told me she met a few ppl en route who all had brought a minsk
bike and it would appear there reliability is doubtful.
The tour guide even told her my GF the ppl sell the bikes to the ppl & they know the bikes will break down.
I would suggest get a honda or simler but stay away from the minsk
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