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Trip Paperwork Covers all documentation, carnets, customs and country requirements, how to deal with insurance etc.
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Old 23 May 2004
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Location: los gatos, ca usa
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International Circulation Permit in Singapore, Malaysia, and


After driving from San Francisco to Ushuaia (the bottom of South America), and shipping and driving across Australia, we shipped our four vehicles to Singapore. While we are of course in possession of carnets, vehicle documents, and International Driver Permits, we were unable to drive our vehicles away from Singapore customs. They say an International Circulation Permit (ICP) is required. In most countries customs/aduana is providing this service--they usually issue a sticker that permits the vehicle to drive on their roads for a period of time--typically 30 to 90 days.

Thanks to this fine web site, we've sorted out where to go for the ICP so I am not concerned any longer about Singapore but I am concerned that the countries in which we are headed may require circulation permits as well. We are going to Malaysia and Thailand next--possibly Laos too.

Can someone let us know if these countries require a ICP and, if so, where to obtain them. Also if they have any other tricks up their sleeves.

BTW our vehicles have four-wheels but I hope you won't hold that against us :-)

Kindest Regards,
Nick Baggarly
Drive Around the World

p.s. we're driving around the world to raise money for Parkinson's research. Visit our cool web site!

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Old 24 May 2004
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Wakefield, QC, Canada
Posts: 273
Hi Guys,
Better times are coming. Malaysia is heaven compared with Singapore. No special papers required, not even a carnet. Your International Driver's licence is all you need. Besides, gasoline is much cheaper in Malaysia. Don't buy any before leaving Sing. Screw those control freaks in power. Thailand requires a carnet, but nothing else. Both countries don't require third party liability insurance for the vehicle. All of the above based on my experience during the summer of 2002, riding a motorcycle. I don't know about Laos. Sorry.
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Old 24 May 2004
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: B.C. Canada
Posts: 214
Hi Nick, we never went to Singapore because of the red tape paperwork hassle, and Cost.
We had no problem in malaysia, Thailand ,and Laos. In Malaysia we used our Carnet and in Thailand used either Carnet or the "white paper" (Thai vehicle customs bond)which is free.
Try and explain to the Thai customs that you will use your Carnet only, as the "white paper" only allows you 30 days in Thailand with the vehicle. Sometimes they don't understand and want to use both, or do like every one else and just do a Laos "visa" run every 30 days.
Laos will use the Carnet even though it is not valid there. We have crossed at the friendship bridge near Vientiene and at Chiang Khong/Huay Sai (north), although it sometimes takes a while to find the english speaking Customs guy. At the friendship bridge You have to go upstairs to room #6 to fill out the Carnet, but they are doing many more these days and the process may be more streamlined.
We were always on Motorcycles and were never asked for a ICP, I don't think you will need one, but things change fast in that part of the world and 4x4s might be a different story.

Cheers and good luck
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Old 25 May 2004
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Location: los gatos, ca usa
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Thanks very much for your comments.

Our Wallenius Whilelmsen (car carrier) ship arrived at 3:am on a Sunday. We drove our vehicles from the ship around 9:am but, being a Sunday made paperwork difficult and we weren't able to spring them from the port/customs. Customs here in Singapore works 27X7 but the Land Transit Authority doesn't. We resumed the process early on Monday morning--inquiring at Auto Association Singapore (AAS) for a International Circulation Permit (ICP). The AAS visit got messey immediately because we do not have our vehicles on the (more familiar and widely used) AIT carnet. Instead we are using the ATA carnet because we are an organization. Although ATA is less familiar I like it because we can have all four vehicles and our film crew's equipment on one carnet. Sometimes using an unfamiliar (but nevertheless valid) document has its advantage. We purchased a 1-week policy at AAS (through HSBC) which covers us in Sing and Malaysia. then we headed to Customs to have our carnet 'endorsed.' This was a strange step I though because they were merely stamping it to say that the carnet and its items are valid. We visited the Land Transit Authority (LTA) and presented our our paperwork to them. They charge $7.50 per vehicle and issued temporary driving permits which are to be placed on vehicle dash boards. Finally we returned to the shipping port and drove out where customs endorsed our carnet.

Singapore is by far the most difficult country for temporary vehicle import but the process was a lot of fun. Most folks trying to import a vehicle into this country are either turned off or turned away but we were lucky. We had scheduled school and research site visits which made all the difference. If we weren't bringing programs for the benefit of Singapore we would not be able to drive here. Although five separate agencies were involved I believe part of the adventure for me is the challenge to find a way.

So it sounds like Malaysia and Thailand will not be a problem. What about Myanmar? I hear it's near impossible and one must transit China northwest, then enter Myanmar from the Ruli/Muse border for the drive south to Mandalay.


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Old 25 May 2004
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Singapore
Posts: 78
Sorry to hear about all the difficulties. Im from Singapore and now in UK. Yes Singapore is a real pain in the butt when it comes to driving a foreign vehicle. Every morning hundreds of Malaysians drive or ride into Singapore to work. Singapore economy depends on Malaysian Labour. We have the highest road taxes and cost of cars in the world. A Small island with 3.5 million pop.So for any foreign car/bike, the must pay in an equivalent of taxes to use the road. Thats what it boils down to. Unfortunately they dont see a difference between the everyday commuter and an overlander passing through. Anyways enough about Singapore.
For Malaysia, it is very easy (legally as in any country u need 3rd party insurance, but they dont check when u are coming from singapore-knowing u should have got it being in Singapore)
For thailand, u may use the carnet or you may get your vehicle details stamped on your passport. Depending on the border guards, u may be asked to buy insurance. Ive had crossing where they asked me to buy and other times nothing is mentioned.
I think when i do return to Singapore, i will try and find more info, and help anyone else trying to cross in as smoothly as possible.
For bikes coming in from Malaysia into singapore. Try to ride in, following behind the other Singapore bikes. F registered bikes. If you get through, thats it no hassles.

[This message has been edited by Dalbir (edited 25 May 2004).]
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