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Old 6 May 2007
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Question Southeast Asia to London, where to start?

Hi all,
A friend and I are considering a trip to London through southeast Asia. We don't currently have the bikes we will use for the trip and so we are considering buying them wherever we will start the journey. Does anyone have any recommendations as to what will be the best in terms of licensing and registration (and availability)? We are both in Taiwan at the minute, and could buy bikes here, but we would have to pay shipping immediately to get to the continent, so it makes sense to buy somewhere else. We originally thought to start in China, but it looks like that might be a big legal hassle. If anyone has experience traveling in the area any advice would be welcome.

Many thanks,
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Old 11 May 2007
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Talking dificult...

Hi James,

It's a bit of a tricky question.

To avoid any expensive shipping you might want to start in either Nepal, India
or Bangladesh.
But those places do not have very sophisticated bikes for sale (unless you
want a Royal Enfield 500 bullet that will go 70 KM/h at top speed)

Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore have a better choice of (big) bikes... but you
will be stuck with shipping them across Burma.

You could of course try to find a travelers bike... but that usually creates
Carnet-problems. It's a complicated world we live in.

Then again... riding a Enfield back home, now there is a real adventure for you!

Hope this helps (a little bit)

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Old 19 May 2007
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Buying at the other end seems difficult regarding the registration, and in these countries RTW-worthy bikes are all imported, so just as expensive as where you're coming from.

I'm in Thailand now and I can't say it's worth coming here given that you have to airfreight over Myanmar. (I'm coming from Japan and had to use Bangkok as a midpoint due to outrageous airshipping rates from Japan.) Nice place (and I'm sure it's the same for Laos and Cambodia), but not especially so for bikes.

In short, I'd buy a bike and register in your own country, and ship it to Bangladesh. That way the bike rego has your name and address, it's from the same country as your passport, which makes it much easier for FIA to issue you a Carnet de Passage Douanes and make it much easier for customs officials in each country to believe you.

I specify Bangladesh because I've read in other forum posts that the customs there are better than India. Remember that customs officials at airports are significantly better than those at surface freight terminals, I'd value that at being worth $1,000 USD by itself.


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Old 19 May 2007
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Oh yeah, and China is not going to happen unless you have political contacts (could be, if you're related to mainland chinese), you are one of those big groups that can afford to pay for a police escort, or you are outrageously lucky.

I've heard that the Japanese rally organizers SSER are doing one of those big-group tours year in September, going from Xian to Paris through the 'stans. These things are sensitive to number of participants joining, and whether local officials get greedy at the orange light stage, so the only way to know if it will happen is to check with ƒfƒLƒ‹ƒ_ƒP“úŠ§ ONLINE SSER PRESS - Welcome. Look for "Xi'an Paris Silkroad". They're riding R1200GS Adv's it seems, which implies a rental situation. That would eleviate your registration issues.

The head guy Yamada-san does speak english if you want to contact them.


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Old 20 May 2007
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Thanks for the feedback guys.
After reading all that has been posted about traveling in China,
I'm considering doing China by other transport and picking up a bike in Mongolia or Russia. I'm not planning on buying a huge bike, just something reliable enough to make it home.
Thanks again for the input.
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Old 20 May 2007
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Originally Posted by JBennett View Post
Thanks for the feedback guys.
After reading all that has been posted about traveling in China,
I'm considering doing China by other transport and picking up a bike in Mongolia or Russia. I'm not planning on buying a huge bike, just something reliable enough to make it home.
Thanks again for the input.
China is a good place to start because you can find a range of cheap bikes and cover a lot of ground heading west without border hassles. Once in Europe, you may actually find some parts for them since China has recently been selling motos for pennies in Europe and the Americas

Get a bike in Beijing or somewhere and ride west to the border of Kazakhstan once through there maybe a leg of Russia to Ukraine and into Europe. Would seem to minimize border crossings but that's just a guess...

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