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Motorcycle travel in Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, India...

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  #1  
Old 13 Jul 2008
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Vietnam to Germany

Hola (this is long but please read...)

Quick introduction, i'm a 25 year old Australian leaving on a RTW trip in October. Starting in philippins sailing for one month with a friend then moving on to Vietnam to start the overland adventure to Germany.

This is my question looking around these forums and my experiance with bikes im thinking a 250 is where i would be at for the SE asia leg of the journey. I want to buy one in Vietnam i preffer hondas but seriously open to anything even a soviet minsk. Any information would be appreciated muchly. is it cheaper to buy in another country? can i resell easily? what are costs?

Also for the india / middle east / europe leg i was thinking somthing with a bit more range maybe a 650+. again any tips would be greatly appreaciated.

Im thinking 6months to complete not sure...? then on to South America. what do you reckon? desperate for knowledge and advice :-)

thanks and journey well.
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Old 13 Jul 2008
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I´ve met people in Laos and Cambodia, who have bought Minsks in Vietnam and ridden them out of the country. So maybe its possible (getting a foreign bike into Vietnam is a pain, very few have managed to do that). The Minsks are old Russian bikes, so will require quite a bit of maintenance. I would consider twice going on a long trip with one.

If you get out of Vietnam then Laos, Cambodia and Thailand are do-able, but after that you will find you wont get into Burma with the bike. China is possible from Laos, but will require much more than just going to the border and entering. The usual way is to freight the bike between Thailand or Malaysia and India or Nepal. Search this site, and you will find more information about those.

And if you are taking a foreign bike to India, Pakistan or Iran, you´ll need a carnet to be able to import it temporarily. And you´ll probably need to have your name in the bikes´ papers to cross any borders in SE Asia.
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Old 13 Jul 2008
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thanks

Thank you!

Great info, paints a clearer picture for me. some of this i have already read on these forums and heard from friends, but some not.

I think the Minsk would not hold its resale value in Thailand? but they would be fun to ride. I know little about mechanics either, although i could learn a bit more before i go. So it is not possible to get a hold of anything above a 175cc in Vietnam? is it an option to get a 250 in another country and re badge it down to a 125 or 175cc?

i was planning on selling the bike in Thailand and buying something bigger with more range in India. maybe a 500cc+ trail bike?? are bikes easy to find in this country and relatively inexpensive?

again thanks for your help really appreciate it.
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Old 13 Jul 2008
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Hi,

I'm sure they were talking of removing the cc limit in VN.

Your exact trip has been done by 125 Minsk before, I can't remember the site but if you go down to Cuong's workshop in Hanoi he has a signed picture on their wall. Ask the Minsk Club for more details.

I was going to ride a Minsk from London to UlaanBaatar, and after importing and doing the MSVA it only made it about 500 miles before blowing up before I left. Reliable like a series 1 landrover, will always break down but can always get it going again. Saying that mine (the only UK registered Minsk) is currently on one wheel looking very sorry! I ended up taking a 125 Honda lol.

If you do go down the Minsk route give me a PM and I can help you out further.

Good luck,
Martin
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Old 13 Jul 2008
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"So it is not possible to get a hold of anything above a 175cc in Vietnam?"

Havent been there but I understand there should be very few big bikes in the country.

"is it an option to get a 250 in another country and re badge it down to a 125 or 175cc?"

Not highly recommendable, but depends on how far you want to go that road... but do note that getting into Vietnam seems NOT to depend on real/faked engine size. Ive been trying to get in with a 115cc scooter in 2006, five times on 4 different borderstations. They seem to reject foreign bikes of all sizes. Those who have managed to do that, have been very lucky.

"buying something bigger with more range in India. maybe a 500cc+ trail bike?? are bikes easy to find in this country and relatively inexpensive?"

Generally speaking there are no big bikes in India, except Enfields (350 and 500) the rest, and overwhelming majority, are 100cc-220cc, mostly jap bikes made under license in India. I think there was a thread here about having a problem to get a carnet for a bike bought in India, though.

In that region, Thailand has the best selection of big bikes.
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Old 14 Jul 2008
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Worse: even cars are refused entry. Rumours persist that the policy will change soon, but until it actually happens...

I've been in Thailand for a few months now. You can get a variety of bikes in Cambodia and I believe you can register it there, too. In Thailand and Malaysia bikes over about 200 cc are very expensive. In Thailand there is a 100% tax on them. Most bigger bikes therefore have no papers or plates, but then you can't cross a border with it and some riders in certain areas occasionally have to pay "road tax", aka bribes to the cops.

If you don't bring your own bike with carnet I would suggest renting or buying a bike with papers here, travel around, then hand it back or sell it and fly to Nepal. In Nepal you can then buy a bike again and get a carnet for it, so you can continue with your trip to Europe, assuming the Iranians give you a visa. Rental bikes are available in Laos and Thailand (in tourist centres only). I haven't been to Cambodia yet.
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