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Old 20 Jul 2011
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Getting out of AUS on the cheap?


I'm considering a trip where I take my bike from Darwin to East Timor to Indo. Popular route ... lots of people doing it.

I am specifically asking if other riders have managed to get from AUS to East Timor without a carnet. Having been to Indo with a carnet last year, I wouldn't waste my time with it again. Other documents seem to be more important and I did not meet anybody who cared one way or the other about the carnet.

But I have no experience of East Timor. I briefly emailed with a shipping agent there last year and he said I'd be better off with one, otherwise the bike would take a week to clear. Since I'm expecting to travel in a group, that might not be a problem. One of us can go early and sort it out.

So can anybody confirm that they or somebody they know has got a bike from AUS into Dili without a carnet? If so, what was the process? How long did it take and what did it cost?

Colin (Sydney)
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Old 20 Jul 2011
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Sorry, can´t tell you about East Timor.

But just a word of warning about Indonesia: I heard many stories, and even met a couple of bikers, who had big trouble getting their bikes temporarily imported. One of them even HAD the carnet, but still his bike had been stuck at Jakarta airport for weeks (where customs claimed he needs a recommendation letter from the United Nations ).

It could be possible, that the land border to West Timor is more relaxed about the paperwork (I really don´t know, cos I never went there). But it is officially a carnet country, and the point of entry, and who´s in charge there, is the sun shining, is it your lucky day, etc., seems to make a big difference, even though they probably should have the same rules at every border. Entering from Belawan (Medan), the carnet was definitely necessary, even the company who shipped the bike there insisted I must have it. I´ve heard of just 1 biker getting in from there without a carnet (in -06 or -07), but he did have to fight for a few days with the customs, and the bike had Thai plates (both are ASEAN countries, so this might have made a difference).
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Old 20 Jul 2011
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Every traveller has their own story...

Originally Posted by pecha72 View Post
.... But it is officially a carnet country, and the point of entry, and who´s in charge there, is the sun shining, is it your lucky day, etc.,
Well I can confirm part of that! My bike was held for three days at the border crossing between Sabah and Kalimantan (Borneo), where the customs guy said Indo has not fully ratified the international carnet system. I later checked this with Indo embassy in Australia and they confirmed it. So this thing about "officially" being a carnet country is not clear cut.

The requirement for a letter seems to be the main issue and that's where I'd focus my efforts next time. I was told I needed a letter of invitation from an Indo bike club. A couple of police along the way said the same thing. I did get a letter from the Indo Embassy in Sabah to confirm that what I was doing was permitted. That sorted out the local cops, but not the border crossing.

But who knows, all the letters under the sun might not work on the day.

For now I am concentrating on Dili, which is an unknown quantity for me.
Colin (Sydney)
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