Since it seems to me that this platform is mainly used for questions concerning trip-planing, but rarely to share informations on how one actually managed to ride a trip out, I wanted to share my experience and put together a list of tips, tricks, useful advices and addresses for anybody that is interested in purchasing a bike in Nepal and ride it home.
Finding a bike.
If you take some time to look around you will find some nice Enfields in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
But forget about the idea to buy a cheap (Nepali registered) Royal Enflield in Nepal! The import tax on foreign bikes is ridiculously high. Other motorcycles like Japanese off road bikes (XL) are hard to find and very rare, since they stopped importing them many years ago. The ones you will find are at least 15 years old, not bigger than Honda 185cc and will coast you around 150.000 to 180.000 NPR (1.500 - 1.800 Euro), (approximately 200 % import tax on Japanese bikes). The only cheap bikes are Korean and Chinese brands.
If you are looking for classical Enfields in very good condition and nicely modified Yamaha bikes, then try the motorbike club in Pokhara called Hearts & Tears ( www.heartsandtears.com
). The owner, a British guy called Rick, is very helpful, reliable and a great source of information. If you buy one of his bikes, he will help you with all the necessary paperwork and set you up with two great mechanics for some extra service and lessons on the bike. One for Yamahas (Ram Babu) and one for Enfields (Raju). I've never seen such good mechanics. I bought a RXG Yamaha bike from Rick and had not a single problem so far! He has been a great help in planing the trip and I can't recommend him highly enough.
Some second hand bike dealers you'll find in Teku (a street south of Kathmandu, parallel to the Bagmati river) or around the New Road in Pokhara. There is a Enfield Dealer called "Himalayan Enfielders" off of Lazimpat right next to the Israeli Embassy, but they are not what they used to be anymore and should be avoided. I had lots of hassle with them, as they are very incompetent, dishonest, lie in your face and will rob you for as much as they can. (Quote from one previous customer: "..my overwhelming impression of the Himalayan Enfielders is f.... useless and avoid!"). A guy called Lakhsman and also the previous owner Binot both seem to be nice guys though.
Royal Enfields: True & False
True, you can get Enfields for just a few hundred bucks in Nepal and in India, BUT only with Indian number plates! As soon as you register a Enfield (or any other bike) in Nepal, you have to take into account the 130% Nepali government tax and the price of the bike will suddenly double. It's true that you can ride an Indian registered bike in India and in Nepal, no problem. BUT as a foreigner you won't get a carnet de passage for Indian plates which you need to enter Pakistan and Iran. BUT it is possible to register a bike under your name in Nepal and therefore you can get the carnet! At least I got it. (I've heard that if the Indian bike is pre '81 you apparently don't even need a carnet, but you will have obvious problems at borders "where're your papers" etc).
First of all - don't panic, it is possible!
1. Find the right bike for you.
2. Then all you need is to get the blue owners book (equivilant to V5 documents in UK and the Fahrzeugschein in Germany) transferred into your name at the registration office. This can be done in Kathmandu at the ministry of transport or in Pokhara at the tax office, depending where the bike has been registered before. If you buy one of Ricks bikes he will help you with the registration. If you don't have such help, ask one of the local "guides" outside of the office for some help in return for some Rupees.
To register a bike in Nepal under your name isn't a problem! All you need is a "no objection" letter from your embassy in Kathmandu. (The letter will basically state that the embassy has 'no objection' of you buying a bike in Nepal). This letter isn't hard to get. Also make sure that there is no outstanding road tax due on the bike. You will have to clear any outstanding before they transfer the ownership.
You need: some passport pics, a photo of the bike, the engine- and the frame number, a copy of your passport, a copy of the invoice of the bike, the no objection letter from your embassy, some time and your finger prints.
3. Then you have to get the blue owners book translated, since it is only in Nepali. This will be done by your embassy. (I know of a guy who just typed up an English translation of the blue book in a Word document which was good enough for the RAC).
4. In order to get the carnet de passage (necessary if you want to cross Pakistan and Iran) your home country motoring club (RAC in England, German equivalent is the ADAC) wants to have a proof, that you're actually living in Nepal. But it is enough proof for them if you manage to get the bike registered in Nepal under your name. I got my carnet from the German ADAC, no prob. A British friend of mine got his carnet for a Enfield a couple of month ago. Apparently you can also get your carnet in Nepal - there is a counter part for the Austrian motoring club ÖAMTC in Kathmandu: The Automobile Association of Nepal (AAN), P.O. Box 2184 Kathmandu, Tel. (00977/61) 21 088, Fax (00977/1) 415 593. They are supposed to issue carnets as well, but I found it impossible to get a hold of the responsible officer.
To apply for the carnet you'll need to ask your home bank to freeze in a amount of around 3000 Euro. This deposit has to be paid in advance! So make sure you talk to your home bank first, put some money on the side (normally double or three times the amount of the bikes value) before you apply for the carnet. Keep in mind that the carnet is something like a visa for your bike and it will free you from paying any import/export tax by entering/leaving a country with a vehicle. If something happens to your bike (accident, stolen, etc.) and it is impossible for you to export the bike again, you obviously won't get the necessary exit stamp and therefore you won't get your full deposit back.
Papers required for the carnet: your passport, the blue owners book, the translation of each page of the blue owners book, the bank statement of the deposit and the completed carnet form. The whole process will usually not take longer than 10 days, including the sending via DHL. (Fax copies, or scan copies as email attachments).
- Payment info: carnet, either 5,10,20 pages: 150 pounds or around 200 Euros.
- Refundable deposit (paid back when you get to your home country and return the carnet ): depends on the
RAC/ADAC and the value of the bike - roughly double.
- Insurance indemnity: also based on the value of the bike. Minimum fee 200 pounds. (Go minimum!)
To get more infos on the carnet de passage, check the RAC/ADAC website.
5. If you have all the visa (you can't get the Iranian visa in Nepal and the Indian visa will take some time and good nerves!), international driving license, passport, carnet de passage, international insurance card (green card), copies of all the documents and some passport photos and cash for Iran (no ATM's for foreigners) then you are ready to hit the road!
Note: it will take AT LEAST one month to register the bike, get the blue book translated, apply for the carnet de passage and to get the necessary visa. Not included to search for a bike.
Tips and Tricks
The hardest thing to find in Nepal is the right information.
-The owner of the motorbike supply shop "Royal International Motorcycle" (on Kantipath right next to the American Club and opposite of the Honda show room), Mr. Tulsi, has some of the finest motorbike equipment in Nepal and is probably the best source for information in Kathmandu - he basically knows everybody that has something to do with motorcycles. (Nr 9851060693).
-If you need some welding work on your bike, (to attach a luggage system), try a place near the ring road at Nayabazar. It's a shop right next to a small garage with an orange sign, left hand side right before the intersection of the ring road.
-For extra work on your backpack, tankback, etc.ask Mr. Tulsi for a tailor in Thamel - they are little artists.
- A good source for general information and good drinks is Verena from Sam's Bar in Thamel. She has been living in Nepal for a long time and knows a lot of people.
And if for some reason you don't have a driving license for you bike yet, then go to the Ministry of Transport in the south of Kathmandu/Patan at the Ring Road and get one. It's really easy and it will take around 3-7 days and cost around 20-40 Euros (depending on the bribes). The written exam is Kindergarten-level (how many colors has the traffic light? A:1 B:2 C:3 D:4) and the driving test (trial) consists of driving around five polls and will take around 10 seconds! Go to the ministry of transportation and register yourself for the driving license, next day do the written exam, next day the trial and some more paperwork, then it takes a couple of days until you can pick up your license. Note: if you pay extra you can speed up the process.
Good luck and a great time on the road!
Ride safe. Phil
Phil Dera Photography