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Old 19 May 2009
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Potential problems in SE Asia?

Hey, am new to the forum and have a trip semi planned for June/July and was wondering if any of what me and my friend were hoping to do would not be possible.
So the idea so far is fly to Ho Chi Minh for the 10th June (after one night stopover in Hong Kong). We'll by a second hand Japanese 125 4stroke each (will try not to be seduced by a Russion 2smoke!) in the city then ride north. At some point we'll turn west into Laos, buying visas at the border, then after tubing head south either straight into Cambodia or perhaps through Thailand. After riding further south into Phom Pehn we'll head back towards Ho Chi Minh where we'll sell the bikes and fly home on the 21st July.
Will border crossings/visas be hassle with Vietnamese bikes and is anything so illegal we can't bribe our way through? Any other advice would be very much appreciated, cheers.
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Old 20 May 2009
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Well, plenty of things are so illegal that you can't bribe your way through. Bribes are mostly to either get someone to do their job or not do their job or to do it faster or slower, but planning to break the law and bribe your way out is a bad plan. I haven't been to Viet Nam in a long time, but when I was there, bikes were unbelievably easy to find- and cheap, but no Japanese bikes at all- Russian, Korean or Chinese.

Someone else will have to answer the paper work questions. Maybe you can contact the HU communites there and ask them directly.
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Old 20 May 2009
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Burma excluded, crossing from other countries into Vietnam is among the toughest in that region. They are known to reject all foreign bikes regardless of engine size (even the rumour that under 175cc=ok did not seem to be true, but my information is from Dec-2006, so may be outdated!)

Having a bike with Vietnamese plates may of course be a big help, but I´ve got no first-hand info on that. In Laos, we met some tourists with Minsks bought from Vietnam, and they´d been able to cross from Vietnam, were at least planning to return there from Cambodia, but I dont know if it worked or not.

Thailand, Cambodia & Laos should all be do-able with a bike registered in any of these countries.

We tried to enter Vietnam with Thai-plated 115cc ´chicken chasers´ from Cambodia & Laos in 2006, went to 4 international border, one of which we tried twice. No go, but we had a group of 8, I believe that was also a factor, maybe if we had been only 1-2 people we could have possibly made it. Nothing is written in stone over there.

A little baksheesh every now and then may help smooth things up sometimes, but I wouldnt plan on bribing my way through every border in that region.
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Old 21 May 2009
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sorry, didnt mean to give the impression i plan to bribe our way through anything, just wondering if we will come up against any serious problems with what we aim to do. any suggestions where's best to cross into laos from nam?
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Old 23 May 2009
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Hi Skiberdi,

Can't comment on the rest of your propsed trip (although keeping a small bundle of low denomination dollars in an outside pocket may help in all sorts of situations)... but...

Not long back from 23 days in Cambodia, and a good contact there in Phnom Phenn is Tony (ex-pat) at Two Wheels Only.
He does repairs and servicing as well, and serviced two Icelandic tourers bikes when I was there as well as great 'local' knowledge which you can't find in any of the books. He's well conected with a load of ex-pat (all bike riders) there, but in the local scene as well; so got me off the tourist trail.

Helped me out big style when my bike tour around the county was cut short by two cows! Sorted getting the bike back, and me to the 'right' hospital to get fixed up to get back to blighty... I was travelling solo, so really would have been hard without his help.

There is some AMAZING riding in Cambodia, and amazing country; and still plenty of choice of what ever kind of road surface you wish to travel on (practically all the main routes are now tarmac, but real easy to get off the beaten track if you want), highly recommended; just watch out for cows on the road!!!

Have a great trip which ever route you decide.
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Old 3 Jun 2009
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I have to agree -Cambodia is amazing to ride around... it offers everything! Explosive danger to getting lost in the Jungle only to get help from a family of Missionaries to help you out!
For more information on my adventures, please visit either of the following:
fb. facebook.com/motomonkeyadventures
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Old 3 Jun 2009
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Met two guys in Thailand who bought bikes in Cambodia and did Cambodia, Laos and Thailand with them with no problems at all. But no infos about Vietnam.
But keep in mind that it is rainy season in this part of South East Asia in June/July. So be prepared for some (more) mud roads. See as well


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