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Old 17 Apr 2009
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Trip planning-Buying a bike in thailand???

Hi all,
I'm new here and this is my first post. A friend and I are planning a trip to to south east asia at the end of 2009 beggining of 2010. Its my first time on a bike touring trip. All suggestions and advice on the following would be greatly appreciated.

We have outlined a trip through the following countries, Thailand-Burma-Laos-Vietnam-Cambodia. Planning to start in southeren thailand, somewhere like Nahkon,Surat, Hat-yai, basically anywhere we could fly in and buy a bike.
First of all can anyone suggest somewhere in this region to look for buying a bike and what it should cost. something comfortable, 250cc area.
Secondly the route, does anyone know of any issues crossing any of the above borders with a bike bought in Thailand.

Last edited by Rum Munky; 18 Apr 2009 at 00:29.
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Old 18 Apr 2009
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Hi there!

Buying a bike in thailand isn't the problem, but it will be near impossible to get it registered in your name. For that you need a permanent address and documents proving that, along with a residence permit if I recall correctly, or a thai ID. To get any of these you must have lived there for an extended period of time, more than 3 months for sure if I recall correctly.

Now you could have the bike registered in someone elses name (thai national), but then you will most likely run into trouble when crossing borders. You will need a letter on non-objection from the owner, and hope for a lot of good will at the border. One reason for this is trying to crack down on bike theft in thailand.

As to border crossings, if the bike is registered in your name, and preferably registered in your home country, none of the border crossings are a problem, with the exception of Myanmar. A small exception to the statement before: it's not possible to cross with bikes at all border crossings, plus several smaller crossings, especially between northern Thailand and Laos are for locals only, so do check in advance whether you can actually cross there, before planning your trip using a map only. The best bet for crossing with a bike in the North is the friendship bridge.

Regarding Myanmar, maybe the situation has changed, but as far as I know it is not possible to enter the country with a vehicle. Some small towns at the border may be an exception, but I don't think it's possible to travel further.

You will find a lot of information regarding the current situation re border crossings, bikes, etc at Motorcycle Touring & Maps: Thailand : Laos : Golden Triangle

You may consider renting bikes. I have done that, both in Thailand and Laos and can give some tips. If you intend to cross borders with rental bikes, that takes some preparation though and may or may not be possible at all borders.

Good luck and enjoy your trip, I'm already envious ;-)

P.S. one more question: how much time do you have for this trip? If time is limited, it may be wiser not to try to visit all of southeast asia in one go and thus have to deal with border complications. There's a lot to see and experience in each of those countries, which may be ultimately more enjoyable than just rushing through not seeing any of it ...

Last edited by Sirakor; 18 Apr 2009 at 07:22.
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Old 18 Apr 2009
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Crossing into Burma is a very big problem, very unlikely to happen unless you got unlimited time and the patience of a saint. Still highly unlikely - and the problems probably would not end there. Unless you speak the local languages, and know your ways around the bureaucracy in that part of the world, I would advice to just forget it.

Unfortunately Vietnam is almost the same regards taking foreign vehicles into the country. Few people seem to have succeeded, but I surely wouldnt count on it. There is no (or at least in Dec 2006 there was no) ´under 175cc = ok´ limit, as the persistent rumour on the net says, but of course things may have already changed.

Thailand, Cambodia, Laos & probably Malaysia should be do-able with a bike bought in Thailand, but I think you should have it fully in your name, otherwise it may be difficult at the borders.

Provided you get that sorted, it is a truly wonderful trip, even if you didnt go to Burma & Vietnam.
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Old 18 Apr 2009
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Hi there,

We did rent a motorbike (Honda Phantum) in Thailand in 2007 and had a great holiday. I fyou are interested you can see some of our movies on Life Is Joy - Home
Movies from our motortravels around the world: www.LifeIsJoy.nl
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Old 22 Apr 2009
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Thank you all for your replies.
Lots to think about for now and that gt-rider site has some good info!

We are planing something in the region of 2 months for the trip. I was in thailand a few years ago and while there rented a Honda Phantom, an XR250 and few different scooters to get around, nothing to shout about but loads of fun. I know Burma may not be the best idea, but thats why we are planning so early. Even if its not possible the route were planning gives us the option to try and cross the border. Goin to try get some visa info sorted fo now.

One more question tho would it be easier to buy a bike in another country, other than Thailand, in that area and start from there?
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Old 1 May 2009
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Hi I was in Thailand 18 months ago; I looked into buying a bike; I had a letter from the British Consulate in Chiang Mai stating I lived in the guest house where I was staying. Although I did not actually buy a bike (I decided to rent long term) the letter would have been enough for me to register the bike in my name at the guest house........
good luck and have fun
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Old 6 May 2009
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How about buying a bike in thailand that someone has already shipped over and registered in UK/Ireland. Therfore I can register it in my name from home and avoid the whole issue of having to prove any sort of residency in thailand. Then sell the bike on in the same mannor after the trip. Anyone know if this is possible, or heard of anyone who has done this?
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Old 30 May 2009
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Regarding Burma:

Late 2008 I crossed over the border at Tachilek.

An Australian gent was bringing a bike through customs at the time. He had a few dramas as his documentation was scrutinised pretty closely (it appears a stamp was missing from when he took the bike out of Malaysia).

After about half a day of hassle he finally got through, but was limited strictly to a 50km radius of the border post. Frankly, it seems hardly worth the effort.
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Old 15 Sep 2010
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Suggestion for your trip. If you are serious about having your own bike the cheapest and safest way would be to go to the Kawasaki showroom in Chiang Mai and buy a new Kawasaki KLX 250 to bypass all the bike selling bandits. Thaivisa.com - Home has second handers.
Kawasaki will help you get the documents in to your name which is essential to cross borders. Kawasaki are made in Thailand (Chiang Mai) and therefore do not come with the 100% import cost that the other big bikes do. OTR it will come to roughly the same price as it would back home. You will need a non-imagrent visa B to get the reg book in to your name. There is also the Kawasaki ER6 model for sale which is a good road bike for Thailand

Last edited by Rubber Side Down; 17 Sep 2010 at 22:49.
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Old 16 Sep 2010
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My last trip to Thailand (Dec '09 to Feb'10) I bought a new cbr150 in Chiang Mai. I had a non imigrant 'o' visa and a letter from the guest house saying I was living there. A trip to the immigration at CM airport and 500 baht for an official letter stating I was living there. quite simple really. I sold the bike 3 months later at the end of the trip.
I belive it's easy to get a thai registered bike into Cambodia and , depending on the entry point Laos.
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