SE Asia trip Looking for advice!

niek273

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2017
Location
Nederland
Bikes
Suzuki intruder VS700
Dear everybody!

First let me introduce myself! I am Niek, I am from the Netherlands, motorcycle driver, 22 years young, crazy in some ways but responsible:). okay enough said, I do have an Dutch motorcycle driving licence and an international driver licence. I am driving an beautiful 1986 suzuki intruder VS 700 at my place!
IMG_7340.jpg

I am planning a small world trip trough SE asia, I will be for 2 months in java and Sumatra(Indonesia) 1 month in Malaysia, 1 month in Thailand, and 1 month in Laos, then heading back to Bangkok to take my flight back to Europe.

I had an great idea, to buy an motorcycle in Indonesia, drive around on this motorbike my complete world trip trough all the counties and sell the motorbike afterwards in Thailand.

My first question: is my idea possible?
my 2nd question if it is possible: what could be a problem?
my 2nd question if is not possible: what can i change in my plans to make it possible?

You guys have to know: to have an motorcycle is not an must, I is just an great idea, and way to move around trough all those countries without having to concern about busses, planes, trains or whatever.

If you have any oppinions i would be glad to hear!

thanks guys:!!
 

Garzan

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2014
Just off the top of my head, I think it would be much simplier to rent a bike in each country than to attempt taking one bike to multiple SEA countries.
 

Lone Rider

Blokes Who Can
Joined
Jan 29, 2011
Location
Chiangmai
Bikes
4 Wheels
Not sure if that is a good idea as foreigners in Indonesia can't buy a bike in their own name so you will have to buy and register it in someone else's name. That is no problem as long as you keep the bike in Indonesia but, as you want to bring the bike out of Indonesia to other countries, you may have problems getting it out of the country as you are taking a bike out of the country which is not in your name. Not sure how this works in Indonesia but in Thailand you will need to have approval (Power of Attorney) in order to take the bike out of the country.

Selling the bike in Thailand may also cause problems as, when you enter the country, you will get a temporary import document which stipulates that you can only keep the bike in the country for 30 days so someone willing to buy the bike will have to re-export the bike within that period as otherwise the new owner will run into problems. In addition, as Thailand has new rules with regard to temporarily importing bikes into the country (like round the world travelers) they will have to jump through a lot of administrative hoops which are expensive as you will need a guide with you while driving through Thailand.

Best bet probably will be to buy the bike in Malaysia as Malaysian bikes are easier to get into Thailand on a temporary import basis or buy a bike in Thailand and seel it there at the end of the trip but then you will have to deal with a Carnet-de-Passage as Indonesia requires this.

Cheers from another Dutchman in Thailand
 

Snakeboy

Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2013
Location
RTW
Bikes
Honda Crf 250L 2012, Yamaha XT660Z Tenere 2011
No its not possible to buy a bike in Indonesia and take it through the countries you mention. Even taking it from Indo to Malaysia would mean shipping it from one country to the other (theres no vehicle ferries between those countries) which probably would cost more than the bike itself - well if were talking about a used 100-150 cc bike at least. And not talking about Borneo/Kalimantan though. And I dont know exactly but I do think you would need a Carnet for taking a Indo vehicle into Malaysia. And Im not sure if that could be arranged. It would probably be very very expensive. And if you were so lucky through Malaysia getting into Thailand would require mandatory permits, mandatory guides etc etc - very expensive and very troublesome. Imho - not even worth thinking about.

But I know several westerners who have bought bikes in Indo and ridden it there - not sure how they have done it with the rego though. But that should be possible. Java is however infested with people and traffic. Not my favorite place on earth to ride a motorbike - to put in mild.

Its possible to buy a bike in Thailand but it takes a bit of patience and a bit of time. But a thai bike should be able to go into Laos and Malaysia. But the time it takes to get transferred to your name can be long and you cannot take it out of Thailand if the bikes not in your name - therein lies a potential problem. Another problem about entering Laos on a thai plated bike is that they normally dont allow thai bikes under 150 cc into their country. Although I just recently heard one bordercrossing actually did.

Buying a bike in Malaysia as a foreigner I really dont know much about so cannot say much about that. But a malaysian bike shoud be able to go into Thailand and Laos without too much problems afaik.

I think your best solution would be buy or rent one bike for Indonesia and another for Thai/Malay/Laos.

- - - Updated - - -
 

BobS

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2011
"Its possible to buy a bike in Thailand but it takes a bit of patience and a bit of time. But a thai bike should be able to go into Laos and Malaysia. But the time it takes to get transferred to your name can be long and you cannot take it out of Thailand if the bikes not in your name - therein lies a potential problem"

A couple inaccurate statements here:
1. Transferring a bike into your name can be done easily and quickly - if you can arrange a residence certificate
2. If the bike is not in your name, the owner can give you permission to take it out of country
 

MohdRashidin

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2015
Location
Rawang
Bikes
1994 Honda Shadow 2013 KLE 650
I agree with Lone Ranger and Snake Boy about against buying bike in Indonesia. My opinion you should start either from Thailand or Malaysia and tour the whole peninsular (Singapore, East Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar & Vietnam) on the same bike as the immigration & custom between these countries are quick and less hassle, at least on Malaysian registered bike.
Once you've completed this, sell the bike, get another in Indonesia and start touring the country, then you'll save a lot on ferries, carnet and the immigration papers.
 

Snakeboy

Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2013
Location
RTW
Bikes
Honda Crf 250L 2012, Yamaha XT660Z Tenere 2011
"Its possible to buy a bike in Thailand but it takes a bit of patience and a bit of time. But a thai bike should be able to go into Laos and Malaysia. But the time it takes to get transferred to your name can be long and you cannot take it out of Thailand if the bikes not in your name - therein lies a potential problem"

A couple inaccurate statements here:
1. Transferring a bike into your name can be done easily and quickly - if you can arrange a residence certificate
2. If the bike is not in your name, the owner can give you permission to take it out of country
Its correct that it is quite easy to transfer the ownership if you have a residence sertificate. But the residence sertificate can be a pita to obtain for an accidental tourist looking for a bike to purchase. For example if he or she stays in a guesthouse the time they spend looking for a bike they can ask the guesthouseowner to produce a paper stating that this person wanting to buy a motorbike lives there. This document can so be taken to the right office where resident sertificates are granted. The document then might or might not be recognised - and thus a residence sertificate might or might or might not be granted. And what do you do if your guesthouseowner says no - I can or will not write a document that says you live here? There are many potential problems along the road.
The problem is often the residence sertificate, but as that is a neccesity it also a problem.

Belive me - I have seen write ups for how to purchase a motorbike in Thailand as a foreigner on a tourist visa by persons who actually did it - and they had 20-30 steps and were painfully long to go through.
And it not exactly easy for a complete stranger to rock up in any thai town finding local offices, going through local buraucrasy etc etc. Language barriers, cultural barriers etc etc.
Buying a brand new bike or from a trustable shop might be the best way to purchase a bike in Thailand as they often assist you with the rego procedure.
Yes its possible to take a thai plated bike out of the country that you dont own yourself if you have a paper from the owner thathe or she allows you to do so. But who owns a bike when pending a ownership transfer?
 

blackwolf

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2014
Bikes
Honda Sonic 125cc, 4 wheels, about to buy a 250cc dirt bike
Its correct that it is quite easy to transfer the ownership if you have a residence sertificate. But the residence sertificate can be a pita to obtain for an accidental tourist looking for a bike to purchase. For example if he or she stays in a guesthouse the time they spend looking for a bike they can ask the guesthouseowner to produce a paper stating that this person wanting to buy a motorbike lives there. This document can so be taken to the right office where resident sertificates are granted. The document then might or might not be recognised - and thus a residence sertificate might or might or might not be granted. And what do you do if your guesthouseowner says no - I can or will not write a document that says you live here? There are many potential problems along the road.
The problem is often the residence sertificate, but as that is a neccesity it also a problem.

Belive me - I have seen write ups for how to purchase a motorbike in Thailand as a foreigner on a tourist visa by persons who actually did it - and they had 20-30 steps and were painfully long to go through.
And it not exactly easy for a complete stranger to rock up in any thai town finding local offices, going through local buraucrasy etc etc. Language barriers, cultural barriers etc etc.
Buying a brand new bike or from a trustable shop might be the best way to purchase a bike in Thailand as they often assist you with the rego procedure.
Yes its possible to take a thai plated bike out of the country that you dont own yourself if you have a paper from the owner thathe or she allows you to do so. But who owns a bike when pending a ownership transfer?
The Thai Land Transport Department will not accept a hand written or typed note from someone professing that Mr. foreigner lives there. Only an official certificate of residence from immigration or from the foreigner's embassy qualifies. Most immigration offices only issue these if the foreigner is in Thailand on some sort of non-immigrant visa. Some embassies will only issue a certificate of residence under the same conditions - this depends entirely on the foreigner's nationality though. Australia and the USA are a breeze and will issue a verification of address document for a fee with no proof required, while Germany and Switzerland are a bit of a pain. No idea about the Netherlands - best approach is for the OP to ask his nearest immigration office whether they will produce a verification of address document, if they won't, he should try his embassy.
 

blackwolf

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2014
Bikes
Honda Sonic 125cc, 4 wheels, about to buy a 250cc dirt bike
I agree with Lone Ranger and Snake Boy about against buying bike in Indonesia. My opinion you should start either from Thailand or Malaysia and tour the whole peninsular (Singapore, East Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar & Vietnam) on the same bike as the immigration & custom between these countries are quick and less hassle, at least on Malaysian registered bike.
Once you've completed this, sell the bike, get another in Indonesia and start touring the country, then you'll save a lot on ferries, carnet and the immigration papers.
Myanmar requires a tour, even on a Thai registered bike. The only exception to this is limited travel near the border (only applicable to Thai registrations) but this presents immigration difficulties unless the OP gets a Myanmar visa for a several day 'tour' of Tachilek, in order to avoid Mae Sai immigration refusing his exit, because they believe him to be a 'visa runner' (visa-free exit for Myanmar and then return to the Thai side without a Thai visa is not allowed at Mae Sai). Many Myanmar travel agencies can assist in arranging a tour, it's quite straightforward these days just that it costs a bit of $$

Vietnam also requires a tour and reportedly also an escort vehicle (according to a 2014 article from TTR Weekly).

Singapore is OK for Thai and Malaysian registered bikes. All others require a carnet.

Malaysia is fine for Thai and Singaporean bikes, Indonesian ones may require a carnet hence I agree with the other posters that Indonesian bikes should not be brought to Malaysia. Probably the only realistic way would be to drive across the land border in Borneo, as the only inter-island vehicular ferries likely to be available would be domestic islands. Even though the Medan to Penang journey is a lot shorter than say Java-Borneo (Kalimantan) but being international for whatever reason no vehicular ferries are available, only passenger ferries. Then from Kuching in Malaysian Borneo to the mainland put your bike on a vehicle ferry, if available; but I have no knowledge of this. To avoid this uncertainty, forget about trying to bring an Indo bike to Malaysia, even if you could find a way to bring it to the Malaysian mainland, you'd hit a roadblock heading into Thailand with the new tour requirement, not to mention Myanmar and Vietnam (and of course China if you wanted to go there).

Cambodia is good for entry at only 2 border crossings, irrespective of the registration of your bike: Hat Lek (Khlong Yai)/Koh Kong (Cham Yeam) and Chong Chom/O'Smach. Ban Pakkard/Pailin (Prom) is a maybe, but not worth trying giving the much greater certainty of the other two crossings. Re-entry into Thailand can be made at any crossing though I wouldn't bother with Ban Laem. The Laos to Cambodia crossing is hit and miss unless you're on a local Laos or Cambodia plated bike, though heading from Cambodia into Laos is much more likely to be successful than heading in the other direction where Cambodian officials are known to refuse entry point blank.

Laos is a problem at some crossings for motorcycle riders. The 3 Sayaburi borders require a tour organized by a Sayaburi based travel agency. The most recent report I read suggested that the Lao side at the Huay Kon/Nam Ngern crossing in the north of Sayaburi near Hongsa still won't allow entry to motorcycle riders even if they come on a tour. Phu Doo is OK on a tour, Ban Nakraseng (Tha Li)/Nam Heuang is the same (no independent entries or exits). The 1st Friendship Bridge - Nong Khai/Tha Na Leng (Vientiane) border allows bikes across that are 250cc and above only, although heading back to the Thai side smaller bikes are OK. I don't like the Vientiane crossing for entering Laos because it's slow, there's a lot of traffic and people and customs usually only give you 14 days for your vehicle unless you insist on 30 days and restrict you to Vientiane (unless you can read Lao you won't know that's what it says on the form). All other crossings give you 30 days and freedom to travel the whole country without asking. The 2nd and 3rd Friendship Bridges require a permit for bikes to cross to the Lao side, the 4th Friendship Bridge up in Chiang Khong/Huay Xai is fine but they will charge you 500 Baht for an escort. The most hassle free crossing for a bike is down near Pakse at Chong Mek/Vang Tao.

I agree that a Malaysian or Thai bike is best for this trip - Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia (with conditions as noted above) and Laos (with conditions) can be entered without making any pre-arrangements.
 

Snakeboy

Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2013
Location
RTW
Bikes
Honda Crf 250L 2012, Yamaha XT660Z Tenere 2011
The Thai Land Transport Department will not accept a hand written or typed note from someone professing that Mr. foreigner lives there. Only an official certificate of residence from immigration or from the foreigner's embassy qualifies. Most immigration offices only issue these if the foreigner is in Thailand on some sort of non-immigrant visa. Some embassies will only issue a certificate of residence under the same conditions - this depends entirely on the foreigner's nationality though. Australia and the USA are a breeze and will issue a verification of address document for a fee with no proof required, while Germany and Switzerland are a bit of a pain. No idea about the Netherlands - best approach is for the OP to ask his nearest immigration office whether they will produce a verification of address document, if they won't, he should try his embassy.
Oh dear - oh dear.....

Where in my last post did I claim that one should take a written statement about where one live to the Thai Land Transport Department? WHERE??? I wrote that such a statement should be taken to the right office that grants Resident Sertificates. Which is The Immigration Authorities. I should of course have specified that - but how could I know that Statler and Waldorf lived in here?
I suggest that if certain persons only come in here to cavil about and around what other members write to help other people asking for information and help in here - that they perhaps rather should spend their and others preciuos time reorganising their collection of belly button fluff or some other task significantly more important than heckling around on different forums.

If a foreigner wants to buy a vehicle in Thailand he will need a Cerificate of Recidence. This can be obtained if you take a written statement from the owner/your landlord of the place where you rent a room/place to stay. This might or might not be accepted by the office that grants Resident Certificates, namely the Immigration Office. Another option is to ask your embassy in Thailand to help you with such a statement. They might or might not help you with that.

So all this facts makes the opening line in the first post I added in this thread "Yes its possible to buy a bike in Thailand but it can take some time and patience" perfectly right. I still stand 100 % correct about that. And yeas - I have bought a motorbike in Thailand so I know what it takes. I have also bought motorbikes i other countries that Im not a resident of - so I know what it can be like - although every country have different laws and interpretions of laws.
 

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