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Travellers' Advisories, Safety and Security on the Road Recent News, political or military events, which may affect trip plans or routes. Personal and vehicle security, tips and questions.
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  #1  
Old 26 May 2006
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Exclamation German BIkes not allowed in South Korea!

hi bikers!
we have entered South Korea by ferry from Sarubino, RUS to Sokcho at 24th of May 2006 and are in a unlucky situation now.
Inspite of many Germans have entered Korea by bike and have been allowed to travel through the country we are now not allowed to ride our bikes!
It's because of an old law from 1949 where Germany is not listed in the list of states from which citiziens are allowed to drive bikes (of course, Germany exist since 1949...). the book where this silly law is listed is printed in 2005.We called to our embassy and they said that they know about it and even they have to make the Korean driving licence.
In former times the custom made mistakes, that's the reason because other Germans could ride here, we have been told by the unfriendly customer.
So take care and plan your route well!!
Greets from Sokcho,
Alex & Carsten
www.motorradreise.de.tc
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  #2  
Old 26 May 2006
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???

What is forbidden, German citizens or German bikes- or both? What a strange thing, will you try later with different guards, or a different crossing point? Viel gluck, Dave.
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  #3  
Old 26 May 2006
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Angry

I will burn the nearest Hyosung I see in anger!!
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  #4  
Old 26 May 2006
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It's forbidden that Germans drive motorcycles in South Korea, because of the driving licence. If we make a Korean driving licence we would be allowed to ride our bikes. So we are told by our embassy.
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  #5  
Old 26 May 2006
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wow

So the IDP- International Driving Permit- is a no go? Is this one of those situations where cash might be of assistance? Strange how some countries don't want to let you in and and SPEND MONEY in their country! Keep the faith, Dave.
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  #6  
Old 26 May 2006
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Unhappy

We have an IDP- International Driving Permit but as we wrote above - Germany is not listed in this f... list of 1949 (!). When we have a little bit more of time we will try to infotm our secretary of state and bring them to change this as soon as possible!
So Korea will be the first country we will travel in as backpackers. Our bikes will go straight to busan and further to vancouver where we should be able to drive again. It's a real nice country but on our bikes it would be much more nicer!
Nobody informed us and we never heared about this damned rule - so: shit happens....
But we will go one!!!!

Greets out of Sokcho,
Alex & Carsten
www.motorradreise.de.tc
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  #7  
Old 26 May 2006
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Hi there,

that is shattering news, because Korea IS worth a ride!

Unfortunately it seems it was my case regarding which Sokcho customs discovered the law...

So sorry !

Lars
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  #8  
Old 27 May 2006
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Hi Lars!
Shame on you - once we will see you again.... ;-))))
It's really frustrating - to see all these nice roads, mountains and scenery and not to be able to ride there by bikes!
So lucky you are have been here by your "Resi" (but don't look forward to our next meeting.... ;-)))))

Greets from Sokcho,

Alex & Carsten
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  #9  
Old 27 May 2006
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Convention on Road Traffic

The problem is that there are TWO international treaties
1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic
and
1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic

So, if your country signed the 1968 treaty and not the 1949 treaty, your international drivers perimit (IDP) might not be valid.
Germany, Switzerland, France, and Belgium are part of the 1968 tretay, but not the 1949 treaty. However, these countrys accept 1949 IDPS. Many 1949 countries accept 1968 IDPs.
Actually, the same situation as Korea you will find in Japan. However, if you go to the auto club (JAF) with a license in those countries they will give you a special "translation" of your license that is legal for Japan.
Fortunately in Japan, customs and the agency in charge of roads are separate. Customs cannot stop you from riding, as that is not their job. If you have a carnet you usually have no problems in Japan.

Because Japan and Korea have almost no foreign vechicles coming (S. Korea's only neighbor is unfriendly North Korea & Japan is an island) they do not have high priority in finding ways for vehicles to come easier.

Maybe with more international traffic, in the future more countries will accept international treaties. As more countries are members of the 1949 treaty, it would be easier if Germany, Switzerland, France, and Belgium just joined the treaties, I guess.
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  #10  
Old 29 May 2006
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thanks for this interesting information!
so lucky we are - we thought about shipping to japan some days ago...

we solved this problem the way that we will transport the bikes out to vancouver at the 4th of june directly from sokcho. we got the best help from Schenker-Korea.
we hope that our government will solve this stupid fault once and other german bikers will have more fun in this nice country!

thanks for all your replies!

greets from sokcho, south-korea,

alex & carsten
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  #11  
Old 16 Jun 2006
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Gday Alex and Carsten

Brett and Dave here, we meet you at the Ferry Port in Sochko. Hope things have worked out and you guys are on your way to Canadia by now. We watched sadly from the ferry deck as you guys gathered you gear from your bikes.

As Lars said Korea is a great place to ride, maybe one day.

We are in Mongolia now.

Cheers Brett and Dave
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  #12  
Old 16 Jun 2006
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For Future use only it may be worth German licence holders to apply for a Uk licence before travelling. Any member of the EU may hold any one EU licence eg french german uk etc etc you do not need to resident in that country. There are agencies that provide the paperwork and licence on your behalf. Thw quicker you want it though the more this costs.
This service is often used by people with penalty points on the Uk licence and about to face a disqualification - if they change it to say a EU German or French licence then the Penalty points are removed as they are not valid in the country issuing the new licence. Obviously you cannot retain two licences and your original licence has to be handed in to the relevant issuing authority and a stop put on it. You do not need to take tests etc its just a bit of a loophole in the EU licence structure. Maybe it will help some one in the future. Jake.
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  #13  
Old 16 Jun 2006
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Thumbs up good tip

thanks jake for this interesting tip! (couldn't you post it some months earlier? ;-) )
sounds got, but what will the customs say if sb owns a british license and a german passport? anyway, this might be a solution to crack this stupid problem in south-korea.

thanks
alex & carsten
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  #14  
Old 17 Jun 2006
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If the legal situation in Korea is the same than in Japan, it is not just a question of the driving licence: You would need to have your bike checked by the technical authorities ("Einzelabnahme"), which is expensive and takes time.

Regards

Lars
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  #15  
Old 2 Jul 2006
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are you still in Korea?

Hi guys.
I'm so sorry to hear about your bad news..
I don't know about that law also..
Well, I'm an Korean..^^ and now in Peru with broken shock of F650GS.
I'm very sorry again about your situation.
I'd like to say apology to you instead of our stupid government officers.

As some guys mentioned,we don't have lots of traveler coming by motorcycle,so
the government don't care about this.
Also,we don't have many guys who round the world on motorcycle.
I'm the first Korean who try this as I know..
That's why I bought the F650GS in Australia, not Korea because our government officer don't know how to issue a Carnet which I need for RTW through Africa and middle east.
So our country,even our people just don't know what's the RTW on motorcycle.
Also, we cannot ride the motorcycle on the highway in Korea,it's illegal..!!
Only car can ride the highway.
In Seoul,there are many roads which also only car can ride.

Anyway,the following is what I suggest to you..
If you are still in Korea,please send me an e-mail.
I will make my friends in Korea will treat you because you can't find the
really interesting place in Lonely Planet. You know what i MEAN?
And also
you can ride the motorcycle with them,especially in Pusan.
He speak English very good and bike maniac..
I mean,You can ride the motorcycle of my friend with them.
They know where is the road which don't have a problem with police.
Because the police usually don't check the driver's license if you wear the helmet. This means that they don't touch you if you just wear the helmet.
Seoul is impossible to ride motorcycle,please give up.

So,please email me. I will make you ride the motorcycle in KOREA..!!
Just let me help you..

Also,anyguys who plan to go Korea,just let me know.
You can stay my house in Seoul and park the motorcycle and also
I will try my best to make you happy..with help of my friend and fans for RTW.

I got so lots of help for my RTW for the last 1 year at this site,so
I'd like to begin to do something.

Se whan,kang
motoride@empal.net

blog.empas.com/motoride
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