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  #1  
Old 20 Dec 2012
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South East Asia trip: Am I in trouble?

Hi all,

I've been 'working' on my plan for a month now, and now that I'm only two weeks away I just found the HUBB. But better late than never!

Here's my (somewhat convoluted) story:

I'm a Canadian citizen, and I'm currently in India on a valid Employment visa for working in film production. My current film project was cancelled.

I want to go on a motorcycle trip across South East Asia. My goal is to go from Singapore to Hong Kong on the bike, and then hopefully ship it to my native Canada. All my personal visas are sorted out, and I have a straight (tourist) path from Singapore in January to Hong Kong in April.

On a previous employment here in India last year, I learnt to ride a bike on the streets of Mumbai (which was quite an experience). I lived there for months, and rode to work every day. Anyway, before that, after some lengthy paperwork, I received a PAN card (to pay income tax in India, yay,) and our local fixer arranged for a motorcycle license. I have a local registered address, belonging to the corporation the film project was for. I put several thousand kilometers down in Mumbai traffic, and I've since ridden for over a month in Rajasthan, down in Goa, and even a little in the Netherlands.

You probably saw this coming when I said "India", but I have an Enfield 350 lined up to ship from Mumbai to Singapore to start my trip. My friend (the current owner) is ready to sign over the bike. The shipping company is lined up. They were first troubled about my request, but when I produced my PAN card, everything was solved, with smiles: they said that with that card, I was "an Indian" and could register the bike. As my personal property, they would then be happily able to ship it for me. Now my local fixer isn't sure about registering it, and is worried the bike can't be registered in my name. But the paperwork is ready, waiting to be filed. And he's "working on it." More on that later.

My main concern: I do not have a carnet! Although I've used them for work, it never occurred to me to use one for a vehicle. (So at least I've learnt something today!)

My (many) questions are the following:

1) Assuming I can register the bike in my name, and proceed with the shipment, should I attempt to get a carnet? Singapore Customs is suggesting it. Everything I've read so far here seems to shout "YES!", but the problem is timing: My ideal shipping window is December 28th, to arrive on the 8th-9th of January. I can't imagine being able to process the paperwork so fast, _especially_ in India. (I'm not even sure where I'd apply?)

2) Because, my two main concerns for borders are a.) The bike as sea freight into Singapore, and b.) Crossing borders on the bike, from Singapore into Malaysia, then through to Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and finally China. I guess there are a bunch of options: I could bring the bike into Singapore on a Temporary Import (for which I'd need approval) and get the remaining items to make my bike legal in Singapore (local insurance, etc.) and then cross to Malaysia on the bike. What do I do then? Try to slog through each countries's paperwork/customs/insurance process in advance? Wing it at the borders? Does anyone have any suggestions or advice on this, for these countries?

3) As an added twist, I do not have a Canadian motorcycle license (only for a regular car.) I tried to have my Indian bike license transferred, which would have been fine, but the agency wouldn't accept my proof of living abroad: I didn't have any of the various things they would accept, such as electricity bills, or phone bills, because everything was paid for by my company. They would only give me a learner's permit back home. Because of that, I couldn't apply for an IDP in Canada. But I should be able to get my IDP here in India. Funnily enough, my learner's permit looks EXACTLY like a full permit, it just says "permis probatoire" (probationary license) across the top. Other than that (and the classification) it's a perfect match for my full driver's license.

4) Now if I can't get the bike registered this coming week (on the 24th, or 26th), I've got the sinking feeling that the complications are going to be too troublesome to overcome. Although I don't like it, I'm considering flying to Singapore with no sea-freighted bike, and rent something local, and take it as far North as I can get. Then perhaps ship it back down? Repeat this process until I get to Hong Kong. Like I said, this is really my last resort, as it would also complicate things with the purchase of the Enfield from my friend. Thoughts?

5) Perhaps a different option is to ship the bike to a city further North a while later on my itinerary (Bangkok, perhaps?) giving me some time to get the Carnet? I have certain deadlines, as my Cambodian and Vietnam visas expire on certain days, and I have to enter China in March. Perhaps the tourist visas can be extended while there?

6) Lastly, if anyone is in the area(s), I'd be very interested in meeting up, or receiving suggestions for local experiences. (I saw the meetup in Chiang Mai! I doubt I can make it in time, sadly.)

I hope I've been clear in my post. I realize it's a bit much, and I probably left out some important detail. Many many thanks for reading, and many more for helpful suggestions!

Cheers,
Christian
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  #2  
Old 21 Dec 2012
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Wow that's a lot of information!

It will be a great trip IF you can sort the paperwork and logistics. You're not giving yourself much time, and you have a lot of hurdles to overcome.

Here's a quick response:

DON'T ship into Singapore, it's a nightmare and not worth it. Ship to KL instead.

IF you ship the bike, you WILL need a carnet - there are SE Asia countries where it's required.

Buying and selling cheap local bikes is possible. Taking any bike across a border requires good paperwork and a carnet. See the Carnet page for details.

Shipping a rented bike back across a border is a nightmare too awful to contemplate. And that's if you can get it across in the first place. Which is unlikely. Plan on in-country loops.

Licence: You will need a valid full licence and at least an Indian IDP. Though I can see hassles over that too, as you probably don't look Indian, and don't have an Indian passport.

Bringing any bike back into Canada - if it's OVER 15 years old, no problem - if newer, huge problem, almost undoable and certainly not worth the hassle for an Enfield.

Hope that's some help!
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  #3  
Old 21 Dec 2012
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China would have to be pre-arranged months in advance (tour agency+guide+big fees), otherwise you are pretty much guaranteed not to get your foreign bike there. Vietnam is also very tough, even if there are a few reports of making it.

Plenty of info on both on this site. Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos are easier to do.

Are you in trouble? If your trip starts in two weeks, then with that route plan unfortunately I'd say yes. Personally I would not ship an Enfield anywhere (don't get me wrong, they're great bikes for India, where every village has the parts etc that they need, elsewhere it's a different story!).... I'd look at buying a set of wheels in SE Asia. For example a 100-150cc scooter can get you surprisingly far. Plan B would be to take public transport and rent something every once in a while.

Last edited by pecha72; 21 Dec 2012 at 07:01.
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Old 21 Dec 2012
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You could probably get a foreign-registered bike through without a carnet for the land border crossings from Singapore into Malaysia, and from Malaysia into Thailand.

However, shipping-in by sea or by air into either of these two countries will definitely require a carnet.

All the best - and Merry Christmas ..

Keith
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  #5  
Old 21 Dec 2012
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Second all of what was said so far.

I shipped in to Singapore a few weeks ago. The costs of getting temporary permits/insurance/taxes/whatever in Sing are prohibitive. Even on the back of a tow truck a carnet is REQUIRED, no way around it. You will not be let out of the port without one. Much better to ship somewhere else. KL is probably the closest place. If you decide to do that give me a shout and I'll help out if I can.

Same with renting or buying a bike, don't do it in Singapore.

As for driving licenses, in my experience it isn't a problem having one from a different country. But in my travels I only got asked for my license and IDP on one occasion (Japan). Best policy is don't offer anything unless asked. I have been in some countries with a UK registered bike and driving license but travelling on my US passport. Having said that I wouldn't like to guarantee anything about any particular country

Matt
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  #6  
Old 21 Dec 2012
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+1 what Pecha72 said.

You're not getting into China or Vietnam without major legwork first.

Good luck!
ChinaV
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  #7  
Old 21 Dec 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prisoner62113 View Post
Second all of what was said so far.

I shipped in to Singapore a few weeks ago. The costs of getting temporary permits/insurance/taxes/whatever in Sing are prohibitive. Even on the back of a tow truck a carnet is REQUIRED, no way around it. You will not be let out of the port without one. Much better to ship somewhere else. KL is probably the closest place. If you decide to do that give me a shout and I'll help out if I can.

Same with renting or buying a bike, don't do it in Singapore.

As for driving licenses, in my experience it isn't a problem having one from a different country. But in my travels I only got asked for my license and IDP on one occasion (Japan). Best policy is don't offer anything unless asked. I have been in some countries with a UK registered bike and driving license but travelling on my US passport. Having said that I wouldn't like to guarantee anything about any particular country

Matt
Sorry off topic. This is only for Matt: Sent you a PM about 3 weeks ago. Did you receive it? Please send a quick reply.
Ta
Chris
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  #8  
Old 24 Dec 2012
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Hello
Shipping to KL Port Klang requires a CDP.
I just did it.(http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...rth-asia-65944)
For the CDP you have to pay a deposit of a lot of dollar, depending on the bike's value and the country issuing the CDP.
To easy get that money back, the bike has to return to where the CDP was issued.
Changing the papers of the bike to an other country is a lot of hassle and only worth for a "special bike" worth several ten thousends of dollars.
By the way, learning to ride in India....
"If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere"...(F.Sinatra)

sushi
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  #9  
Old 12 Jan 2013
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You could fly (don't ship) your bike to Bkk without a carnet. You can then travel through Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia. That'll be the end of the road for your bike.
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