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a cross south-east asia motorcycle trip in july 2022?

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hello. i'm new here.

i am planning to go from Thailand to Vietnam, which upon little research seems pretty easy nowadays, at least by air (my friend just went), but i wonder, is it possible to go by motorcycle?

i read on a post from 2015 on this forum that it was pretty impossible to take a motorcycle into Vietnam, so people generally started the trip from Vietnam. Is there some sort of customs import problem on Vietnam's side?, what's up here??

generally, from my experiences, if you tell people you are traveling long-distance, you can get by a lot of bureaucracy... do anyone think with enough spunk, heart, and smile it's worth trying? (for example, i have travelled through many provinces during all times of covid, even "lockdown". Generally, there was either no one at the provincial borders, or, they ask how much i will sell my bike for.)

i just love my motorcycle too much to leave it, so i thought perhaps i can just take it, given that the Cambodia and Vietnam borders are pretty easy now (Cambodia has been open for a long time now... exclaiming the country is covid-free, complete with a 1800s poster as their main web-site! 🙂).

if not, if anyone is supremely interested, it's a ~1990 Kawasaki GTO, 2-stroke, white, i think the owner was police, but his grandma seemed eager to get rid of it (yes, green book, tax, 'n all ). I bought it at the beginning of the pandemic and replaced all the things that should be replaced, and kept all the things that should be kept original (but now have two carburetors, original and replacement). I cannot bare to see a rich Thai alcoholic kid using it for swag purposes only. but do note: every Thai person on the street wants to buy it... something about the color white, police, and maybe a power ranger cartoon?? i dunno..

any help is much appreciated.


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so, after a bit of research, it seems Vietnam historically has been a pain, often changing policies, and only allowing one to tour (itself requiring some kind of expensive permit that you must book way in advance, and requiring a tour guide? <deleted>.).

i still haven't found anything about actually importing a motorcycle, but from what i gather from old forums (GT Rider, here) and Facebook groups, Vietnam's government, in general is a pain. 😞 In fact, i read through a few people's posts 'n blogs that did round-the-world trips, and it was precisely Vietnam that gave them problems!

so... i think the real options will be sell it or ship it (to Taiwan). I asked two freight companies for a quote, but i def don't think it'll be worth it. It's only has vintage and sentimental value. 😉

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There's no distance in the drive. Are you going permanently in V/N or is it just a jolly?

I've met people in Laos on Vietnamese motorbikes. this is about 5 years ago.


Thailand has introduced very draconian laws for importing or temporarily importing cars, how much of this applies to motorcycles I don't know.

You've been on GT Rider - who are probably the people to ask.

leaving Thailand you'll need a re-import form.


It used to be that Laos wouldn't permit motorcycles to cross their bridges into Thailand - some theory about smuggling or theft go figure.


I get the feeling that using a less popular land crossing might be the way to go.


The main problem taking a car into V/N was they had to be LHD or in unaccompanied convoy. This obviously wouldn't apply to M/Cs.

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I am aware of a group that has done the trip from Chiang Mai pre-covid via , Laos, Cambodia into Vietnam. When I ask about the paperwork one of the guys said it was a nightmare. Laos is a piece of cake (I have done the trip twice) Cambodia a little more difficult and the biggest issue was Vietnam but can be done. Research each countries requirements and good luck.

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Lots of rain.


I'm sure it would be fun nonetheless if you have endless time and a big budget.


You might consider doing it in a car or SUV.  Much more comfortable, safer, and you can pack your golf clubs.


Have fun.  It'll be something to always remember! 



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Posted (edited)

ah yeah, i didn't specify how long to be in Vietnam... i guess indefinitely, so, "permanently", as in i will want to use it their daily, while living there. Ultimately, i will want to go to Taiwan, which my home. At the moment, the covid wave hit them just recently, so... it'll be a few more months... ;(


ahhh interesting to you mention the differences between car/convoy and motorcycle... i forgot to distinguish that while researching... 😕


hmmm yeah... i also read Vietnam is the most problematic, though surely Cambodia has it's own border corruptions... and yeah, Laos seems chill!


haha, oh no, no car. i'm a poor backpacker sort, hiding in the farms. 😉


overall i just haven't seen any cases of people actually importing the motorcycle to use in Vietnam. a freight company told me they don't even accept old motorcycles (>5 years old). 😛 yet another freight company said they'd do it for 20k. so... it's a mystery, but sounds expensive, even if i drive it there myself... 😕


glad to hear that one case of success though! and i believe it when they said it was expensive, and a nightmare for paperwork.


after discovering flights to Vietnam is so cheap, and that Vietnam is so chill about covid regulations, i'm thinking that may just be best after all. i'll just have to find another old beautiful cycle over there. 🙂 and im sure their motorcycle culture is even more crazy.


thanks for everyone's replies though!

Edited by rahil627
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