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Old 6 Jul 2008
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Question Trip Indonesia/Malaysia/Thailand/Laos/Cambodia/Vietnam...

hey there, i am intending to make a trip from indonesia over malaysia, thailand, laos, vietnam, perhaps china, cambodia and to thailand again or back to indonesia.

i have some connections to get a bike in indonesia. so i will buy one there.

so my question is now, what kind of visa do i need, do i have to apply for the visa in some countries before i start? i was there for around 6 months already 1 year ago and crossed borders without any visa, always got visa on arrival, always with one way tickets. but without a bike...

so, did someone a similar trip? every bit of information helps:-)

i did read the border crossing sheet, but its a little bit hard to filter the right information for me and i am a bit concerned about travelling with an indonesian bike.
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Old 7 Jul 2008
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I think you need to get the bike registered in your own name, otherwise you will have trouble crossing any borders. I dont know, how you handle that in Indonesia.

Forget doing Vietnam on a foreign bike, almost the same way you can forget about Burma. If you´re in Cambodia or Laos, you can try your luck at the border, as the distances arent huge, but highly unlikely to succeed.

China you probably can do, but not by just popping up at the border. By spending big dollar (thousands of them) and doing the paperwork starting months in advance. Doesnt fit everyone´s idea of free travel.

Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos all possible, and very highly recommended. Malaysia is officially a carnet country, but maybe there is a way to do it without a carnet.

I wouldnt skip Indonesia, though, I think its probably the most exotic country in the region.
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Old 7 Jul 2008
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about burma i did not even think:-) i was in that region as a backpacker and burma is always trouble. china its seems to be like i expected. but disappointing to hear such bad news about vietnam. i will try it and let you know:-)
it is possible to get a carnet in indonesia? does anyone know the authority there which issues a carnet?

i know guys, these are maybe stupid or basic questions, but its a new language and the first trip of this kind for me, so please be patient:-)

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Old 7 Jul 2008
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About Vietnam. In December 2006, I was riding with a bunch of friends, on 115cc Yamaha Nouvo scooters bought in Thailand (yes, we were the funniest-looking team, 8 big, hairy falangs on small bikes!!) and we tried all 3 international border stations with Cambodia (one of them twice) and 1 with Laos. Did not get in, but it was still a great tour around Cambodia & Laos.

There is a persistent rumour about under 175cc vehicles allowed entry, but this, however, seems to be either incorrect or outdated info. Now they do not let foreign bikes of any engine size enter. Did not seem like you could buy your way in, either.

Of course your chances in reality are much better, if you´re alone - if you just happen to be at the right border station at the right time, theres a possibility you might succeed. A bigger group always draws attention, and the "NO-MOTORBIKE-TO-VIETNAM guy" (which surely is there at every border station!) who knows you shouldnt be let in, is more likely to notice, whats going on. I think we were actually close to succeeding a couple of times, but this guy always managed to stop our progress.

And even if not, if you want to take the risk, you can try and hire some local to just walk your bike in, while you go stamp your passport. For us, that would´ve been much harder, because we were so many... we most likely would´ve been checked by the police inside the country, too, because it´s impossible to go so ´low key´ with such a group!

Do note that if you smuggle your bike in, you then risk, among other things, ending up in even more serious trouble than normal, if you have an accident. So think ahead, whether you are willing to accept those risks or not. We were quoted 300 US each for smuggling the scooters on a truck to Saigon.

The guy who arranged the whole trip, has been travelling around the region for 30 years, and he later went to try the same, with only one friend with him, and they also had some magic "special paper" from the Thai Ministry of Transport (that the Vietnamese border guards themselves claimed will work wonders), but still no success. So its not very easy.

Last edited by pecha72; 8 Jul 2008 at 08:53. Reason: typos
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