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  #1  
Old 6 Jan 2009
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HELP! What SE Asian country is the easiest/cheapest to ship from the US


Hello..I would like to ship a motorcycle from the US to the Philippines to tour for a few months and then ship to Indonesia, Borneo, Malaysia, Singapore, etc to continue touring. I have been told that Philippines customs charges a high duty fee of up to 100% of the value of the bike even to just ride there. If this is the case I will have to forego shipping the bike there and go to a different country to start the journey. I am flexible about where to ship the bike to initially if I have to store it while I am in the Philippines. I would love to ride my bike in the Philippines but if its going to cost so much I will have to just rent a scooter and store the bike in another country until I am done. Does anyone have experience with touring in these countries? If so I would greatly appreciate some advice on how to approach this journey with some recommendations. Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 7 Jan 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by globalvisions View Post
I have been told that Philippines customs charges a high duty fee of up to 100% of the value of the bike
Don't you get most of that back when you (or more correctly the bike) leave the country?

Will they accept a 'carnet' (see data on the left side!) instead of the money?

------ Think you need to spend some time reading the stuff on the left? And maybe attend a HU meeting?
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  #3  
Old 7 Jan 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Warner View Post
Don't you get most of that back when you (or more correctly the bike) leave the country?

Will they accept a 'carnet' (see data on the left side!) instead of the money?

------ Think you need to spend some time reading the stuff on the left? And maybe attend a HU meeting?
1. I have spoken with several people including a couple individuals in the Philippines that they "do not accept a Carnet". I also was told by the largest company issuing Carnet's from Canada they do not as well.

2. I was told that customs will let you enter with a hefty duty fee of up to 100% or more of the present value of the bike and to not expect the money back when I leave.

3. Not 1 person from this vast network of people has responded thus far with any helpful information for the country of the Philippines other than to read what is on the site. I have read the information posted on this site for the Philippines but apparently it is outdated. I am not willing to wing it and lose thousands of dollars without some verification from a recent experience.
The fact that nobody has responded leads me to believe nobody is doing it. I met a Canadian who bought a beamer in Manila and exported it but that is a whole different game from temporary import.

4. I would love to attend a meeting and will as soon as one comes my way,
however I am leaving next month for Asia for the next year or 2 and need answers fast otherwise I will forego the Philippines and head to Malaysia, which will be a disappointment but hey border bs is not something I have not experienced before.

Again......has ANYONE "recently" imported a motorcycle to the Philippines with or without a Carnet to tour and is willing to share there experience.

Thanks for all replies.
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  #4  
Old 7 Jan 2009
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Not meaning to add to your woes, but be careful, if you ship your bike to Indonesia. We managed to get our bike in practically without a glitch (with the carnet, at Belawan port in Sumatra) but later on heard of other travellers, who had big trouble trying to do the same. One had his bike held by the customs at Jakarta airport, the other at Surabaya seaport, the situation unchanged for weeks, and the officials were asking some pretty crazy things from them, like a letter from the United Nations!!

And both these guys had the carnet, so I believe their papers were just as ok as ours. I dont know, if they finally were allowed entry or not. The guy, who had the bike at the airport, sounded like he´d had it with the officials, and was already planning to ship it to Australia. The one, who´s bike was stuck in Surabaya, planned to ship it to Singapore, and try going to Belawan. Ridiculous as it is, it seems to depend very much on which point of entry you´re using.

Indonesia was great, though, even if we only went to Sumatra, Java and Bali. One of the most beautiful countries I´ve ever visited.

I wouldnt pay any large deposit at an Asian border... or at least I wouldnt expect to see that money again.
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  #5  
Old 7 Jan 2009
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I appreciate the feedback on Indonesia. I am leaning more towards Malaysia in a big way as my initial shipping destination as they seem to be much easier to deal with. Once I get over there I can then afford to play a few games with trying to get into more problematic countries. I just got back from 4 months of riding in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos with no issues. I attempted to cross from Cambodia to Vietnam at 2 international borders and even 1 locals only border with no success. It can be very frustrating but at least when you have the other country to go back to you have some peace of mind. If I ship to the Philippines or Indonesia and they decide to screw me at the port not alot one can do at that point after you have outlayed a ton of cash to ship.

If anyone wants to get into Vietnam from Cambodia I think a good shot would be to attempt to cross at Ving Xuong. It is a narly dirt/mud road about 45km long that runs along the West side of the Mekong River. I attempted to cross there and think I would have had a much better chance had my passport not already had a stamp/cancel from Moc Bai. The border officer saw the stamp and got a look on his face that I knew he would deny me. However, if I went to Cambodia again I would try once more at that crossing. The road is a blast to ride on a dirt bike and I did not see 1 foreigner either direction for hours. Plan a whole day especially if it has rained recently. Best of luck for anyone who attempts the crossing to Vietnam.
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  #6  
Old 7 Jan 2009
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Yes, Vietnam border really is a real pain in the ***!! About 2 years ago, we went with 7 other riding buddies from Finland, and we all bought new 115cc Yamaha Nouvo scooters, or ´chicken chasers´, from Thailand (they cost about 1000 euros each) and then for 3 weeks and over 4500kms, went trying from every international border between Cambodia&Vietnam (one of which we tried twice), and finally, the Laobao border in southern Laos, so tried 5 times altogether.

In the end, no success, BUT as you said, it never seemed to be written in stone, either, and I guess if we hadnt been a ´gang´ of 8 big, hairy falangs, but only 2, for example, I think we would have made it. It was close many times, we had already got an ok from the police, were in the process of stamping our passports, and in walks the NO-MOTORBIKE-TO-VIETNAM!-guy. Really a bit unlucky, that this happened at the wrong moment every time.

But it was a good trip nonetheless, and we really made those scooters suffer some serious abuse in the dirt roads. Its not like riding a real offroad-bike, but they are actually fun to ride - and look at the locals, who carry like 200 liters of fuel in canisters (or 100 chickens!) attached everywhere around their ancient mopeds, and they can still ride fast on the dirt roads full of big holes, etc.

Contrary to what seems to be a popular belief, there didnt seem to be any "under 175cc limit" whatsoever in Vietnam. One time the officials showed us some paper that says something about this (I asked to make copy of it, but that didnt happen, and was afraid to take photos there)... and they said that you could cross with some magic ´yellow book´ that you get from the Thai ministry of transport. Well, my friend later tried to enter, at that very same border station, and with that very same booklet, but it didnt work. In practice, they basically reject bikes of all sizes (unless its your lucky day, of course!)

Edit: I think we also went to that same border you mention, which turns from the Phnom Penh - Saigon main road, some 50kms south on a narrow country road next to the Mekong, and stood there for 2-3 hours, drinking tea and negotiating with the Vietnamese officials.
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  #7  
Old 7 Jan 2009
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Yep..I think maybe some of the reports you never hear about are the guys that pay the border officials off with a bit too much money to get their way. Unfortunately that can create issues for other people trying to cross. A Khymer biker acquaintance in Phnom Penh has allegedly taken several bikes across at the unofficial border where the Vietnamese/Khymers only cross. I think one could maybe pay some money to get a bike over there and then pick it up later to ride but that is somewhat risky as you might lose the bike all together if something happens later on and you do not have paperwork to declare you brought it over. Also a bit of a hassle. Anyway I was rather disappointed for not getting across as I was set on riding my bike through Vietnam

Well hopefully I can get another attempt!

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