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Motorcycle travel in Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, India...

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  #1  
Old 15 Nov 2010
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China, Vietnam, Burma

Well i keep flicking between taking my own bike or buying multiple bike for my round the world trip. I had just changed back to the buy a bike in china for south Asia the bus through burma buy a bullet for india etc.
Now 12 hours later i see a reference to something i was thinking about doing.

Sjaak Lucassen, a dutchman on a R1 managed to ride illegal China without permission or a guide.
Trick. He loaded his motorbike on a train as cargo and after a a few 100km het left the train and rode from north to Laos without any problems. Because more inland nobidy knows the rules.
He did this 5 years ago.
Maybe an idea to put your bike on a truck.

Would this work for Vietnam aswell as china. And what about Burma (Mayama)
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Old 16 Nov 2010
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Burma is almost a war zone. Genocide in progress. You can't travel through. Normally... A very few people managed to ride/drive through at least part of the way.
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Old 16 Nov 2010
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Originally Posted by blairntv650 View Post
i see a reference to something i was thinking about doing.
A reference to something, that is illegal. You would in fact be smuggling things into the country, so if you do get caught, you might find yourself neck-deep in it. Even more so, if you are not fully familiar with their culture, language, alphabet, ways and bureaucracy.

I was with a group, that tried to enter Vietnam with Thai-plated scooters. We were not allowed to enter, but at several border stations (we tried five times, from Cambodia & Lao), we were offered by the truck drivers to put the bikes inside for something like 100-200 usd each, and unload in Ho Chi Minh City, for example.

We chose not do that, because we were a group of 8, so guaranteed to wake the authorities interest, once we´d be riding inside the country. MAYBE we would´ve tried, if we were only 2-3 people - but those scooters were cheap, so it would not have been a big disaster for us, if we´d never seen the truck driver again, or if they would´ve been confiscated as illegally imported vehicles!

China and Burma - I really don´t think I would deliberately start messing with the authorities of those two countries!

edit. but I didnt mean to say DON´T DO IT, that´s your decision to make, and if you´re really lucky, who knows it just might work... but its also good to be aware of the possible consequences.

Last edited by pecha72; 16 Nov 2010 at 18:00.
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Old 17 Nov 2010
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In China this might work, as long as you stay out the sensitive areas, i.e. Tibet, East Turkestan). I don't remember any check points in Sichuan and Yunnan and traffic police ignored bikes.
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Old 17 Nov 2010
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I spent 6 months in a years touring around China for the pass few years. My advise is try not to break the laws there, at least not the ones that will get you in jail or deported. Bringing a bike in without permittion will be counted as smuggling and you can be sure to end up in a slammer. Having said that, I have no intention to stop anyone trying hard to get himself/herself into trouble in a foreign country and get a kick out of it.
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Old 17 Nov 2010
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My friend lives near Bangkok, and almost next door to him, there´s an American guy, who has travelled a lot, and 3-4 years back he found a small Chinese-plated motorcycle for sale in Thailand. He actually managed to "sneak" from Laos into China with it (Yunnan, and maybe some other province(s) as well, and finally also Tibet - no guide, no special arrangements, no high costs). And did some of the greatest ride reports I have possibly ever read into the GT-Rider website forums. I think you could still find them there, and they´re really well worth checking out, great photos and all!
 
He did have some troubles, but they were more related to the bike, and his health (he had an accident, smashed his knee badly & had to fly back to Thailand for treatment). But in general, and excluding Tibet, he was allowed to travel freely once inside the country.
 
Foreign plates on a bike would probably make such a trip far more complicated, though. It could easily stop at the border. And this was some time ago, so there´s no guarantee, that things would still be the same, and you could just fly ´under the radar´.

Last edited by pecha72; 17 Nov 2010 at 11:05. Reason: typo
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Old 17 Nov 2010
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Originally Posted by blairntv650 View Post
Maybe an idea to put your bike on a truck.

Would this work for Vietnam as well as china. And what about Burma (Mayama)

We tried this at the Laos/China border at Mohan in 2009. It doesn't work.

They guys that got into China were coming from Mongolia.

The fact that we had a relatively big bike with Australian number plates would be a dead obvious sign while riding in China that we didn't have permits as when with an organised tour they arrange for temporary Chinese number plates on the bike(Quoted from NAVO and Globetrotters). Not to mention you'd stick out like a sore thumb with an R1 or BMW (there are only a handful in the country at best!

According to the Chinese Customs official we argued with for 3 days non-stop, he cited a motorcycle as prohibited goods and would not let us pass. Even with the bike on the back of the truck!

The Chinese are not stupid. They are smart-arses and they take a perverse pleasure from making stupid tourists run around to try and get permits that either don't exist or you need to speak fluent Mandarin to obtain. It's their game. If you want to play it, good luck! (oh and read the fine print)

The easiest hassle free option is buying a second hand bike in China and if you get stopped plead ignorance. This would work if you are outside of Tibet and major capital cities where you NEED permits to circulate.

Save the hassle, and concentrate your efforts on enjoying the trip and travel rather than getting bogged down in Chinese bureaucracy and red tape.
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Old 17 Nov 2010
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Originally Posted by TurboCharger View Post
... temporary Chinese number plates on the bike...
Our "plates" were credit-card size and kept by our guide. There was nothing attached to the bikes.

I agree with your sentiments. If they don't want to let us in, why go there? Let's spend our money in countries that make us welcome.
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Old 19 Nov 2010
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Originally Posted by beddhist View Post
In China this might work, as long as you stay out the sensitive areas, i.e. Tibet, East Turkestan). I don't remember any check points in Sichuan and Yunnan and traffic police ignored bikes.
No such place in China called East Turkestan.
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Old 19 Nov 2010
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Originally Posted by beddhist View Post
In China this might work, as long as you stay out the sensitive areas, i.e. Tibet, East Turkestan). I don't remember any check points in Sichuan and Yunnan and traffic police ignored bikes.
Yeah and it probably won't work in China.

Just because you didn't get checked it is not to say someone else won't too.

He may be lucky he may be not.

Don't hit anything being on a illegal bike with no license while in China.
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Old 19 Nov 2010
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Originally Posted by beddhist View Post
Our "plates" were credit-card size and kept by our guide. There was nothing attached to the bikes.

I agree with your sentiments. If they don't want to let us in, why go there? Let's spend our money in countries that make us welcome.
Why did you bother to go to China then?
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