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SE Asia Includes Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, plus Indonesia
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  #1  
Old 12 Jan 2024
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Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia -- visas and border crossings

Hi folks, I'm planning a ~3 week tour of SEA for April 2024 starting in Vietnam. I'd appreciate any advice for crossing Vietnam/Laos/Cambodia borders via motorbike. Some background:

Me: US citizen with visa exemption for Vietnam thru Nov '24. No other active visas.
My riding buddy: Vietnam citizen. No visa required for ASEAN friends.
My bike: Yamaha WR155R registered in Vietnam in my buddy's name.
My buddy's bike: Kawasaki Versys X-300 registered in Vietnam in his name.

Basic questions:

1) Is it feasible to cross Vietnam-Laos and Vietnam-Cambodia borders with our VN-plated bikes registered in his name? So far, I've read that it's tough to get a Thai bike into Laos but haven't found much regarding Viet bikes... seems Cambodia doesn't care at all but I could be wrong.

2) What type of Laos and Cambodia visas should I get? I understand the Laos eVisa does not work for any Lao-Viet land border while the Cambodia eVisa allows land entry only through the Bavet (Svay Rieng) crossing. Is visa on arrival or visa at the embassy preferable for Laos? Is the eVisa for the Bavet crossing the best option for Cambodia?

3) What are the best border crossings? I'm interested in your opinion whether it's due to ease of crossing or great roads on the other side.

Cheers!

-D.T. Leitner

===========================================

For those interested in the (vague and fluid) itinerary at this stage:
My buddy is from Soc Trang in the delta. We've discussed meeting in the south and taking the bikes to Hanoi via the Reunification Express with possible stop-offs for sightseeing and riding near Hue. More likely, he will get the bikes to Hanoi by train and meet me there. I'll get any visas that aren't eVisa or VOA there. We will spend some time in the scenic north (Ha Giang loop and the like), then head south toward the delta. If possible, we will cross into Laos at some point. We considered heading for the single Laos-Cambodia border crossing to make a big loop back to Vietnam near Soc Trang but this seems like it would skip the best Viet highlands riding in favor of the most developed sections of Laos. Hard pass. Once back in the delta, we'll make another loop out into Cambodia, then back home. The idea is to make the trip flexible. Minimize appointments and deadlines, maximize spontaneous detours.
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Old 14 Jan 2024
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Earlier on it seemed so that it wasnt any problem getting a vietnam plated bike into Laos, but reports lately suggests that this has now become increasingly more difficult and many travellers have reported being denied entry to Laos on vietnam plated bikes. It seems they lacked a document for export of the vehicle. Take tjis last info with a grain of salt - as this is something I briefly have read…

Borders between Vietnam and Laos - only 4 of them have the «visa on arrival» option:

Nameo – Banleui, Thanh Hoa to Huaphanh Province;
Namkan – Namkan, Nge An to Xieng Khouang Province;
Keoneua – Nampao (Lak Sao), Ha tinh to Bolikhamxay Province;
Laobao – Dansavanh, Quang tri to Savannakhet Province.

At all the others you will need to get a Laos visa beforehand.

Cambodia - well for what I have read they now have an online form to register your vehicle before you arrive at the border - something that ease the bordercrossing process a lot. Thats is arriving from Thailand, but I would presume that is valid for coming from Vietnam too.

Link to the Cambodian vehicle rego site:


https://tvs.customs.gov.kh/ - scroll (way) down and select "Temporary Vehicle".
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Old 14 Jan 2024
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You could also seek information in the Laos-Vietnam Adv riders group on facebook….

???? Se på dette innlegget på Facebook https://www.facebook.com/share/DCDnR...ibextid=K35XfP
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Old 19 Jan 2024
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Thanks for the info, Snakeboy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snakeboy View Post
...reports lately suggests that this has now become increasingly more difficult and many travellers have reported being denied entry to Laos on vietnam plated bikes. It seems they lacked a document for export of the vehicle.
Several sources corroborate this, although nobody can extract from Vietnamese authorities what document is required... I understand it is VN border guards who deny bikes OUT of VN, not Lao guards denying entry. It seems there are potential workarounds but I'm sure it is a gamble every time.

The best documentation I have found is this Laos article from the VN-based Gearhead. The comments section indicates much recent difficulty with the crossing. However, someone named "Marc" got a document from a regional administrator in VN showing that the TIP regulation only applies to cars/trucks. He never had to show it to border control as he cleverly arrived just before lunch and was let through.

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Originally Posted by Snakeboy View Post
Borders between Vietnam and Laos - only 4 of them have the «visa on arrival» option:

Nameo – Banleui, Thanh Hoa to Huaphanh Province;
Namkan – Namkan, Nge An to Xieng Khouang Province;
Keoneua – Nampao (Lak Sao), Ha tinh to Bolikhamxay Province;
Laobao – Dansavanh, Quang tri to Savannakhet Province.

At all the others you will need to get a Laos visa beforehand.
I read a report (possibly GT-rider or maybe a non-motorcycling travel forum?) stating that Laobao – Dansavanh is now the only border that gives visa on arrival. I'll be sure to get one at the embassy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snakeboy View Post
Cambodia - well for what I have read they now have an online form to register your vehicle before you arrive at the border - something that ease the bordercrossing process a lot. Thats is arriving from Thailand, but I would presume that is valid for coming from Vietnam too.
This looks promising and straightforward. I'll update here if I apply for the TIP and try the Cambodia border.

Thanks again,
D.T. Leitner
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  #5  
Old 4 Weeks Ago
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Using an Agent in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos

2 months ago I had to use a Thai agent to ride my Australian registered bike from Thailand into Malaysia due to a Malaysia paperwork issue.The agent was very helpful and later assisted in extending my initial 30 day Temporary Import Permit (TIP) for another 30 days.


The agent told me that one may only apply for 1 x 30 day extension each calander year. Meaning total of 60 days total per calander year for foreign registered bike in Thailand. He sent me to Chiang Rai for the extension where I learned a few things…

The Chiang Rai customs people told me that while an agent is necessary for first import extensions can be self-managed. Contrary to what the agent told me though there is no legal limit to the number of 30 day extension one may get at the discretion of the customs people. But you cannot get more than 30 days at a time. So every 27-30 days or so you must apply for an extension with a valid reason (mine was ‘further tourism’).

Long story short: the Chiang Rai customs people did it for free and even waived a 1000 baht fine I incurred due to my original TIP expiring the previous day (which was a Sunday so I could not go to the office - which they understood and sympathised with).


The Thai agent tells me that:

1. If I go to Laos next, I just do everything at the Lao border when I want to cross. No agent or pre-approval required.

2. If I go to Cambodia next I should use an agent and the agent costs US$300 to manage the initial crossing and 30 day TIP. And 30 day extensions of the TIP after that it will cost US$200. All monies payable only after successfully making the crossing / getting the extension.

I am entering Cmbodia at Poi Pet and exiting Cambodia into Laos at Nong Kok Khien.

It’s not yet clear whether this cost includes 3rd party insurance etc.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago
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An agent is absolutely not needed to extend a TIP on a foreign plated vehicle in Thailand! Absolutely nonsense! But of course as always in this part of the world every different customs office interpret and enforce laws and regulations their own way - so one never knows how it is like before you paid a visit to the office you intend to use.

And there is absolutely no need to use an agent to cross into Thailand - so I think you have been the victim of a little scam there mate…

And further on - there is no need for an agent to cross into Cambodia either. Fill out the form in the link I posted above her - and you should be good to go.

I would avoid entering at Poipet. Its an absolute beehive and scammers are plentiful at that bordercrossing. If you dont know what youre doing you could be buttf**ked badly! Exiting Cambodia at Poipet is usually ok but still a very hefty experience. The smaller borders are much better and calmer. Especially the 2 borders in the Surin province of Thailand Chong Chom-O Smach and Sangam bc.

For Laos - another example that every office/bordercrossing is handled very differently. Some borders does not allow any foreign vehicle to cross, such as the borders in Xayaboury province. Then some borders have a scam going on such at the Nong Khai-Vientiane border where they tell you to use an agent and pay 2-3000 baht. There seems to be no way around it. They play the same scam at Chiang Khong-Huay Xay border but not as persistantly and the same at Chong Mek-Vang Tao and at friendship bridge #2 Mukdahan-Savannaket.

The good news for Laos is that several authorities had a meeting a couple of weeks ago and are to come up with new rules for foreign vehicles especially motorbikes entering Laos - and hopefully they will all interpret and enforce rules unisonly. Well - we can only hope and see how things turns out for Laos. Lets hope the best!
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Old 4 Weeks Ago
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Thanks Snakeboy,

I used an agent for my first entry from Malaysia into Thaialand only because I was an idiot and arrived at Bukit Kayu Hitam with my Carnet expecting to get in. This because of information my Malaysian shipping agent gave me and due to a number of problems with MITI in Malaysia (and some unplanned neck surgery in KL) I dropped the ball and didn’t research and confirm things clearly. And because I’d ridden Singapore registered bikes many times into Thailand I thought it was basically the same..

The Thai Customs people at Bukit Kayu Hitam barred the bike (although Thai immigration let me in with a 2 month visa) so I was sent back to Malaysia until I got the TIP. HOWEVER, they gave me a piece of paper that said the TIP can ONLY be obtained with an agent’s help and gave me some contacts.

The agent reckoned he could get me in that day at the border post near Satun about 2 hoursride away (a beautiful ride by the way) for US$800 or US$300 if I was prepared to wait in Malaysia for 5 days. I chose the $800 (payable on successful entry) and headed to Satun. The Customs people gave me a notice that said TIP for Thailand ONLY be organised by an agent - not by individual foreigners

But at Satun the Thai immigration had a problem with me ( not the bike this time) because the Malalysian had not stamped me back into Malaysia at Bukit Kayu Hitam. They were so sympathetic to me being ****ed around on the other side they just gave me a cuppa and handwrote in my passport “Never Left Malaysia” - so I could keep the remainder of the 90 day visa I had for Malaysia.

Over at Satun, the Thais told me the bike was fine but I had to go back to Bukit Kayu Hitam to get a proper Mlaysian chop in my passport. (it’s 2 hours to closing time at the border post now) .Long story short the $800 Thai agent worked for almost 2 hours doing various things to get me into Thailand.

at 5;59 PM. the Thais finally give me a VOA and the bike a TIP for 30 days.

I don’t want to say the US$800 to the agent was worth it, but the original mistake was mine and technically I probably did need laws or regulations bent and the cost of going back to Malaysia and staying in a hotel for 5 days while the ‘normal’ TIP application was processed would have cost a few hundred bucks and thaty area around Bukit kayu Hitam is pretty unattractive.

So, with the free 30 day extension I subsequently secured for myself in Chiang Rai at the Friendship Bridge customs office I’m viewing the $800 as a $13 per day road tax as well as an insurance premium knowing I (possibly) have a fixer (the original agent who I later met in Chiang Mai) in case of unforseen problems down the road.


It does seem, from the following official Thai website, that an agent is absolutely necessary for organsing the approval for the first import. But after that renewals can be self managed. And the customs people in Chiang Rai informed me that multiple 30 day extensions are possible, but that in practice they generally only grant 1, but also it is entirely discretionary as there are no laws or regulations government how many may be granted.

https://fvp.dlt.go.th/Upload/FileMan...e%20ENG-V1.pdf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snakeboy View Post

And there is absolutely no need to use an agent to cross into Thailand - so I think you have been the victim of a little scam there mate…
Can you post a link to Thai department of Transport or wherever one applies for TIP. Per the link I posted above it seems clear that an agent must get the initial TIP for foriegn bikes (excluding from neighbouring ASEAN countries)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Snakeboy View Post

And further on - there is no need for an agent to cross into Cambodia either. Fill out the form in the link I posted above her - and you should be good to go.

It!
I’ve filled in the form and can see my appllication on the Cambodian website/portal. But how do you know it’s been approved? I’ve got no response/email/message etc at all after submitting application.

And how many days in advance does this application form need to be submitted?
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Old 4 Weeks Ago
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Originally Posted by SeniGreg View Post
Thanks Snakeboy,

I used an agent for my first entry from Malaysia into Thaialand only because I was an idiot and arrived at Bukit Kayu Hitam with my Carnet expecting to get in. This because of information my Malaysian shipping agent gave me and due to a number of problems with MITI in Malaysia (and some unplanned neck surgery in KL) I dropped the ball and didn’t research and confirm things clearly. And because I’d ridden Singapore registered bikes many times into Thailand I thought it was basically the same..

The Thai Customs people at Bukit Kayu Hitam barred the bike (although Thai immigration let me in with a 2 month visa) so I was sent back to Malaysia until I got the TIP. HOWEVER, they gave me a piece of paper that said the TIP can ONLY be obtained with an agent’s help and gave me some contacts.

The agent reckoned he could get me in that day at the border post near Satun about 2 hoursride away (a beautiful ride by the way) for US$800 or US$300 if I was prepared to wait in Malaysia for 5 days. I chose the $800 (payable on successful entry) and headed to Satun. The Customs people gave me a notice that said TIP for Thailand ONLY be organised by an agent - not by individual foreigners

But at Satun the Thai immigration had a problem with me ( not the bike this time) because the Malalysian had not stamped me back into Malaysia at Bukit Kayu Hitam. They were so sympathetic to me being ****ed around on the other side they just gave me a cuppa and handwrote in my passport “Never Left Malaysia” - so I could keep the remainder of the 90 day visa I had for Malaysia.

Over at Satun, the Thais told me the bike was fine but I had to go back to Bukit Kayu Hitam to get a proper Mlaysian chop in my passport. (it’s 2 hours to closing time at the border post now) .Long story short the $800 Thai agent worked for almost 2 hours doing various things to get me into Thailand.

at 5;59 PM. the Thais finally give me a VOA and the bike a TIP for 30 days.

I don’t want to say the US$800 to the agent was worth it, but the original mistake was mine and technically I probably did need laws or regulations bent and the cost of going back to Malaysia and staying in a hotel for 5 days while the ‘normal’ TIP application was processed would have cost a few hundred bucks and thaty area around Bukit kayu Hitam is pretty unattractive.

So, with the free 30 day extension I subsequently secured for myself in Chiang Rai at the Friendship Bridge customs office I’m viewing the $800 as a $13 per day road tax as well as an insurance premium knowing I (possibly) have a fixer (the original agent who I later met in Chiang Mai) in case of unforseen problems down the road.


It does seem, from the following official Thai website, that an agent is absolutely necessary for organsing the approval for the first import. But after that renewals can be self managed. And the customs people in Chiang Rai informed me that multiple 30 day extensions are possible, but that in practice they generally only grant 1, but also it is entirely discretionary as there are no laws or regulations government how many may be granted.

https://fvp.dlt.go.th/Upload/FileMan...e%20ENG-V1.pdf
There is no big deal, we have all been there and bought some services that wasnt 100 % needed but made it a good bit easier for ourselves. So no need to be sorry for that.

I still dont get it that a TIP can only be had through an agent? Thats whwre the scam lies I think. I «arrived» 3 times into Thailand from neighborogh countries and never had to do it that way. I got a document at the border and filled it out - then the thai custom official handed me over a TIP that I had to sign. And I belive thats the way it works nowadays too, unless rules have changed.

Well - on the other hand the rules/laws that came in 2016 that a thai guide is mandatory upon entering Thailand is still there, it hasnt been removed. So this - what you experienced could be a part of this….

Singapore plated vehicles can enter Thailand together with Malaysian and Laotian without much hassle as there are a bilateral agreement within those countries about vehicles.
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Last edited by Snakeboy; 4 Weeks Ago at 19:57.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeniGreg View Post
Can you post a link to Thai department of Transport or wherever one applies for TIP. Per the link I posted above it seems clear that an agent must get the initial TIP for foriegn bikes (excluding from neighbouring ASEAN countries)




I’ve filled in the form and can see my appllication on the Cambodian website/portal. But how do you know it’s been approved? I’ve got no response/email/message etc at all after submitting application.

And how many days in advance does this application form need to be submitted?
I cannot direct you to a link where you can apply for a TIP. A TIP is a document one gets at the bordercrossing and one signs there as a legal agreement that one have understood the rules and agreed in the rules and promises that the vehicle will be exported out of the country within the legal time period given.
I have never heard that there is such a thing online - but it could of course maybe be that there is….


About the cambodian online registration - I sm sorry as this is a quite new thing and I dont have any personal experience with that. I think it was only introduced last year. I will try to ask around on another forum and come back here if I can find out more about it…
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Quote:
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I cannot direct you to a link where you can apply for a TIP. A TIP is a document one gets at the bordercrossing and one signs there as a legal agreement that one have understood the rules and agreed in the rules and promises that the vehicle will be exported out of the country within the legal time period given.
I have never heard that there is such a thing online - but it could of course maybe be that there is….
Apparently there are different rules for ASEAN bikes vs other countries. I was told by Customs officer at Bukit KH that approval for a TIP can only be obtained from Bangkok and only with the assistance of licenced agent (essentially Tour Company). Some Singapore riders next to me in the queue got theirs on the spot - straightforward to them.

I got a pretty honest Customs Officer with good English later at Chiang Rai Immigration office (the one who waived the fine and gave me a cuppa). I might ride over to see him and see if I can get conclusive answers to some of this. He was good in that he referred specically to the relevant legislation when explaining things to me and pointing out where my agent was incorrect (e.g. agent said maximum 30 days + one renewal per calandewr year but Customs guys says there is no limit to number of extensions but they are limited to 30 days each time,

Quote:
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About the cambodian online registration - I sm sorry as this is a quite new thing and I dont have any personal experience with that. I think it was only introduced last year. I will try to ask around on another forum and come back here if I can find out more about it…
That’s tricky - you’d think it would take a while to be processed and then an authorisation issued. But the portal says nothing about that. It just asks entry and exit ports and dates. I don’t want to turn up in a week and be told it is stilll being processed!
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Apparently there are different rules for ASEAN bikes vs other countries. I was told by Customs officer at Bukit KH that approval for a TIP can only be obtained from Bangkok and only with the assistance of licenced agent (essentially Tour Company). Some Singapore riders next to me in the queue got theirs on the spot - straightforward to them.
Yep - as I wrote above there is a bi or threelateral vehicle agreement between Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and I belive Laos too - so that each countries vehicles can pass the borders to the agreed countries easier.

Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia is not a part of this agreement.
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@snakeboy,

Your info is correct.

I want to bring my Tiger 800 to cross the Indonesian border at Kalimantan but it's not allowed.

Was told that would need CDP to enter Indonesia on Malaysian registered vehicles.
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@snakeboy,



Your info is correct.



I want to bring my Tiger 800 to cross the Indonesian border at Kalimantan but it's not allowed.



Was told that would need CDP to enter Indonesia on Malaysian registered vehicles.
Now I'm afraid, I'm waiting for a reply from imi@imi.co.id whether I'll be allowed to enter from Sarawak to Kalimantan with a German registered bike. I do have a Carnet de Passage, am I good? The bike is already in Sabah.

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Now I'm afraid, I'm waiting for a reply from imi@imi.co.id whether I'll be allowed to enter from Sarawak to Kalimantan with a German registered bike. I do have a Carnet de Passage, am I good? The bike is already in Sabah.

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The current policy is you must register with Ikatan Motor Besar Indonesia (IMBI) and have a Carnet before crossing from Sabah into Indonesia.

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Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events all over the world with the help of volunteers; we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, or ask questions on the HUBB. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.




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