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  #1  
Old 25 Jul 2010
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SE Asia Ride. Need tips and advice

Hi All,

First time posting after reading for a long time.

Two good friends and myself have decided to ride south east Asia. Our initial route is;
Ho Chi Minh-Hue-Hanoi-Luang Prabang, Laos-Chiang Rai-Bangkok-Kuala Lumpur-Singapore.

We all agree its a big trip but we'd like some advice form some experienced people before we go ahead with any more planning. Our main concern and question is how long will this take? Any idea of cost? and will there be any issues with border crossings seeing we want to buy bikes in Vietnam?

Thanks everyone!
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  #2  
Old 26 Jul 2010
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You are right to start in Vietnam, Vietnamese registered bikes can go to other countries but not vice versa. To the best of my knowledge the only problem I see with this plan is Singapore, which you might struggle to get into without a carnet, but with a SE Asian registered bike this may not be a problem. I am not sure about selling your bikes if you do not return them to Vietnam, perhaps you can sell to travellers going the other way, or if you feel some attachment, take them home.
How long will it take? how long do you want to take? I would not think less than a 2 months but even that will be rushing a bit, if you can take 4 or more months you will see a lot more.
Go for Honda wave 125's, you can get parts all over Asia, Minsk sound more romantic but if it goes wrong outside Vietnam it could be a problem.
I did not notice where you are from but if it is outside of SE Asia take your own riding gear, especially helmets.
The cost can vary so much depending on what you do along the way, but 3 people sharing a hotel room for $10-20 a night between you should keep costs down.
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  #3  
Old 26 Jul 2010
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trip

Wow what a trip you are going to have. I have done Lao's and Cambodia and Thailand and my wife and I plan on going back to Lao's and Cambodia and Viet Nam in January. We rode it on a Honda 125 two up with luggage so it can be done and it was a blast. My wife was very unsure about it but after two days on the road she said you are right and I will be back next year for Viet Nam. We are off to India in two weeks to do the Himalayas on a Royal Enfield. I would think you would want 3 months if you can but it can be done in less.
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  #4  
Old 27 Jul 2010
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I wouldnt waste my effort importing to Singapore unless shipping onwards from there, as you can stay very close in Johor Bahru (Malaysia) with the vehicle, and just take public transport there.

No first-hand knowledge, but may reports seem to confirm that Vietnamese plates are the way to go, if you want to get in and out of Vietnam. Big problems getting any other vehicles there, regardless of engine size (that one I have tried personally several times).
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  #5  
Old 27 Jul 2010
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yep

Hi,

Borders:
it's definitely the best way to go on Vietnamese plates. In 9 out of 10 cases your papers will be extremely dodgy, but don't worry, still works just fine. You can't get your name in there but that again is no problem. Officially Thailand and Malaysia want to have a signed copy of the "real" owner, in my case I didn't need any for thailand and Malaysia is a drive-thru Border, not stepping of the bike and 15 seconds brings you in.
Singapur also should be no problem on a vietnamese bike, cause as far as I understand it, all the countries here are members of the ASEAN or so, meaning they accept the bikes of the other countries (in theory). But if they say no I wouldn't bother too long cause it's not worth the hassle. And for the other borders, if you really should ever get into trouble, just give a local 5$ and he'll bring it over for you as they don't even need papers, making your exit of the country easier as well. But with the Waves/Dreams they never look at them at the borders, ever.

Bike:
Honda Wave/Dream is the easiest and safest bet. As said, parts, mechanics and labour throuout SEA. If I were you I would take a Wave as the suspension on the back is stronger ( if original, rare). If you are tall, say over 1,85m it might be smart to get a fully automatic one cause to shift down on the step-through is annoying to impossible for tall people. Before leaving Vietnam, buy parts you think will die soon or let someone fix it, as prices for parts/labour for the countries goes like this: Vietnam<Laos<Cambodia<Thailand<<<Malaysia. Also I'd recommend getting extra seat padding customized in HCM (4-15$, 15 includes cool leather or hello Kitty pattern) to do your ass some good as the sitting positing and the low bike make for some serious pain or you can try, suffer and then do it in Hanoi where it's cheaper.

Time
is up to you, in theory you can do Hanoi to HCMC in 8 days, in reality it took me 2 months and regretting to not having stayed longer in the north.
I'm now in KL, startet in Hanoi on, the untrustable but more romatic, minsk. It took me 6 months with around 3 weeks repairing, hehe. But I took it pretty easy and I did around 13.000 km.

Cost
is low. How I said, Vietnam is by far the cheapest, you can get double air-con rooms in the country for as low as 60.000 Dong (3 Dollars) and usually they let a third person in, sometimes charge a little extra, like 10k. Food is dirtcheap in all countries. My daily average is 17,60 Euro right now, including a newly bought SLR-Camera after mine was stolen so that's 1000$ not really counting. And as you are 3 people, I'm on my own, you can ususally safe money with 3-people rooms.

if I may a tip:
the cities for Vietnam you listed sound like you're thinking of taking Highway 1. Dont. Period.
It is always full and crowded and all the trucks and buses use that route, also the quality of the road mostly sucks . The HCMH (Ho Chi Mihn Highway) runs from HMC all the way to Haiphong (through Hanoi) through the by far better countryside with the not-soo-spoiled locals and cheaper prices. If you care I can recommend you some real nice roads, just drop me a line or write it in here as others might care as well.


Enjoy you're trip, and don't think too much before coming, things get easier as soon as you're here.

Cheers
Tim
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  #6  
Old 30 Jul 2010
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Thanks everyone for some really good tips and advice.

We've agreed that singapore is probably too hard to reach reach documentation wise so Malaysia seems our target now.

Will keep you pasted with how the trip goes

Thanks again
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  #7  
Old 30 Jul 2010
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One Other thing :P

What about licensing? i've heard its illegal for foreigners to ride bikes in Vietnam as the international drivers permit is not recognized? how do you get around that?
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Old 3 Aug 2010
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I met plenty of foreigners on bikes in Vietnam and nobody had a license problem. I was travelling by bicycle but did hire a motorbike on a couple of occasions, no questions were asked.
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Old 4 Aug 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timae View Post
Singapur also should be no problem on a vietnamese bike, cause as far as I understand it, all the countries here are members of the ASEAN or so, meaning they accept the bikes of the other countries (in theory).
While you may or may not need a carnet to get an ASEAN bike in you do need insurance, a road transport permit and a Malaysian and SIN motorway toll card. You can get all of these only in SIN (with the exception of the MAL toll card), which means you have to take public transport into the city on a weekday, buy all these, go back and get your bike. Even Malaysians have to go through this rigmarole. SIN doesn't want other vehicles.

I just thought I better clarify this in case somebody else reads it and thinks it's easy...
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Old 4 Aug 2010
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Exclamation

Quote:
Originally Posted by mark manley View Post
I met plenty of foreigners on bikes in Vietnam and nobody had a license problem. I was travelling by bicycle but did hire a motorbike on a couple of occasions, no questions were asked.
this just posted by maria41 this morning:
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...tourists-51862
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  #11  
Old 7 Aug 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beddhist View Post
While you may or may not need a carnet to get an ASEAN bike in you do need insurance, a road transport permit and a Malaysian and SIN motorway toll card. You can get all of these only in SIN (with the exception of the MAL toll card), which means you have to take public transport into the city on a weekday, buy all these, go back and get your bike. Even Malaysians have to go through this rigmarole. SIN doesn't want other vehicles.

I just thought I better clarify this in case somebody else reads it and thinks it's easy...

Oh ok, I thought it's just the insurance you need to pay for.

But after having been there now it's obvious that it's just not worth it at all as public transport is amazing and real cheap.
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