Visa issues: riding through Thailand-Cambodia-Vietnam-Lao

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by leopardracing, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. leopardracing

    leopardracing Active Member

    Hi Bikers

    Can anyone give me some first hand information about getting myself and a Thai registered bike from Thailand, through Cambodia to Vietnam, Vietnam into Lao and back to Chiang Mai?

    I already have a 12 month Thai non immigrant Visa - as far as I can tell Visa's for everywhere else can be obtained at the appropriate border crossings?

    But I have been told that getting a Thai registered bike into Vietnam is a problem.

    Arriving in Chiang Mai Friday 25th February.

    Cheers, Peter.
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  3. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

  4. Johnny Roesco

    Johnny Roesco Member

    That was an epic trip, I read through all 7 part!

    I missed the part with how much the guide cost.
    Very little was mentioned about the guide.
    Was there really a support vehicle along with you the whole way carrying your bags to ensure you didn't try to escape?
    How did that work out?
  5. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    A good friend traveling with us, Armin Schoch, is the owner of Impulse Tourism in Chiang Mai. Armin has been in the tourism industry in S.E. Asia for years and has arranged many epic travel adventures. Traveling the length of the Mekong by Hovercraft and another time by Jet Skis, as an example. He was responsible for putting this trip together as he was doing a survey for a possible future tour. The trip was arranged much quicker and less costly than normal due to his connections in Vietnam. Therefore our costs and some other arrangements would not apply to someone doing it through an agent on their own.

    The support vehicle did stay with us the full time, not necessarilly in a caravan, but at least following the same routes and meeting up at different points throughout the day. Having them carry the bags, translate, and arrange all the hotels and meals was a benefit, but in turn you traded off some of your freedoms.

    There have been posts by others here who have had different experiences, such as only having to check in with their guide and not staying together the full time. In S.E. Asia, nothing is done the same way all the time. It depends a lot on luck and who you happen to be dealing with.

    Good luck with your trip.
  6. Johnny Roesco

    Johnny Roesco Member

    So what did it cost?
    You guys got a special deal, ok.
    Is it that super secret?
    Come on share some info.
    What's a liter of fuel cost?
    How much do hotels run?
    What was the daily rate for the guide? Did you have to put him up in a hotel?
    How much did the support vehicle cost? Where did they stay? How many support crew were involved?
    None of that's a secret, is it?
  7. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    I explained it the best I could and steered you to the post which answered what was needed as far as paperwork for the bikes and visa. This was not an itemized, call up a travel agency, trip. We were business partners and/or friends on a "one off route survey".

    I do not have an itemized breakdown in front of me. Our costs would have no bearing at all on someone else's trip and frankly, is none of your business. If you want costs of hotels, fuel, etc, I suggest you buy a guidebook or do some searching of your own. There is plenty of information available on this site. I attempted to answer your questions regarding OUR situation. Sorry I couldn't be of more help.
  8. Johnny Roesco

    Johnny Roesco Member

    Interesting response.
    I apologize for prying into the big secret.

    Just rough figures are helpful for trip planning.

    In Thailand for instance A liter of fuel runs about a $1.25, hotels about $15, a driver with a car $50 a day. an hour massage $10. boots polished about $1.
    large beer $2-3. average bowl of noodle meal $1. bike rentals $3-30 a day.

    I'd like to know how much the "Song Hoi" massage actually cost, what's the big deal? That wont be in the "guide book".

    I had a friend just pass into town who recently made a motorcycle thought central and south america. He was on an F650gs and the whole 6 months trip cost about $10k. That was very helpful info.
    This is info most travelers are interested in. This was a motorcycle travelers forum when checked in?

    "Buy a guidebook"
    OK, would you be recommending the "Lonely Planet" guidebook then?:happy4:
  9. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    OK, here is my final response. It is not a big secret, nor am I trying to be a prick by telling you to look in a guidebook. I am telling you the figures I have are not helpful.

    So here goes again; our guide(s) were the owner and managers of a high end Vietnam Travel agency. Yes, we stayed at the same hotel, ate meals together, and traveled together. The fee for this was worked out by our friend and was a business deal between the two. Obviously, or at least it should be obvious, you do not post this kind of information on the internet. The same goes for hotel rates that are charged to travel agencies. I don't know if we got a good discount or not. I don't feel it is appropriate to itemize the rates here, as again, if you run a business do you want your business costs posted on the internet?

    Therefore; for hotel rates relevant to you and whatever type of accommodation you prefer, a guidebook or the internet is a better source.

    When we fueled the bikes, all the bikes were filled at the same time. The total was paid at the end of the trip. I don't know how much it cost per litre, or what kind of mileage we got, or how far we traveled each day, so I cannot give you an answer. I am sure I looked at the time, but I honestly don't remember and I do not have it written down.

    My own feeling toward fuel prices when traveling is, they are what they are. I am still going to fill my tank no matter what the cost, so why worry about it.

    As for the "Song Hoi Massage Parlour". I didn't go there either.

    I will tell you that the total cost for the four of us, for the Vietnam leg alone, was just over 100,000 baht, excluding visa and motorcycle paperwork costs. Now, if you can break that down into any type of useful information, considering all the variables involved, good for you. :thumbup:

    As this was basically a "survey trip" for all involved, it would be done differently in the future. The Vietnam agent did learn, that for his business, he would not consider doing this again for a group of less than at least 7 motorcycles.

    Again; I steered the original poster to the answers as to the paperwork needed to enter Vietnam. Again; other than to perhaps address your curiosity, the rest of the information you have so diligently sought from me, is useless to anyone (as I said in the first place).

    What I consider good information is, as stated in some of my posts and also in the link that started this whole thing;

    It is not worth all the time and effort to take your own bike into Vietnam. There are some great reports on this site of people who have flown in, saving travel time, rented a motorcycle or a scooter, made their own plans and itinerary and had a great trip. This is what I would do next time.

    There are also some reports on this site of people who have had different experiences in finding and using "guides and fixers". There are many more reports of those that didn't make it.

    So. and finally; if you really want the information you desire so badly, search this site, consult a guidebook, and plan your trip. Good Luck. :roll:
  10. Johnny Roesco

    Johnny Roesco Member

    Now see that was some very useful info.(even though I had to slap you with a Lonely Planet to get it!)
    I found your seven part ride report very interesting and full of great pictures. Seems like great effort went into making it very visible.
    Yet reading between the lines i see some effort was made to omit the continuous presence of the Vietnamese guides; not one picture of the guides or the support vehicle. It would serve everyone well to be accurate and honest about the nature of the trip. After all this isn't some stupid TV show where you were painting your buddy's Minsk pink to get some cheap laughs.
    BTW if you have not seen the Top Gear Vietnam Special yet; you should, it's hilarious.
  11. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    I am not sure what YOU read between the lines. The support vehicle was usually well behind us and we only met when we stopped for fuel, or entered a town where we were to spend the night. The vehicle is in some of the photos, but I guess we should put an arrow pointing to it, 'Support Vehicle';. You are correct; there are not any staged group photos of all of us together. The tour operators, guides, service vehicle or whatever you want to call them are mentioned quite often in part 1. I did not look at the other parts again, but Davidfl's summation (part 7) is also quite clear and also supports what I have been trying to explain throughout this post;

    Anyway, I am glad you now seem satisfied. I am looking forward to critiquing your trip reports which I am sure are forthcoming. Safe riding and enjoy!
  12. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Johnny Roesco
    Gday from David Unkovich, back from another few weeks in Laos.
    Sorry I missed out on your attempts to get the inside line on the big secrets.
    BTW there was no big secret. It was / is only in your imagination - trolling?

    Nothing was hidden between the lines.

    There was absolutely 100% no effort to hide the guide or back up vehicle. I was not interested in photographing a CRV or a regular Vietnamese guy in civilian clothes.
    Plus the fact that usually when I stopped for photos the guide & / or back up vehicle was nowhere to be seen.
    Perhaps to please you alone I should have waited beside the road for 15-20 minutes each time for them to turn up & make sure they were prominently positioned in the background?

    My trip report was totally honest. Nothing was hidden.

    The final cost was no more expensive than what I spend riding in Laos or North Thailand.
    Some days food / hotels / petrol might have been 20% more expensive or 20% less – it all depends on how far you ride, what you can find at the end of the day.
    At the end of the trip we got a bill in US / Dong / Baht, & split it 4 ways as agreed before we set off.
    This was a one off deal. Does it apply to you, probably not?

    What was important was the info on documentation required. You got it 100% & great care was taken to provide that openly. Nothing hidden between the lines.

    “After all this isn't some stupid TV show” but your attempts to read between the lines for the hidden secrets & be smart were a bit of a stupid TV show.

    There’s a newcomers thread on GT Rider: what bikes are you actually riding.
    139 people have posted on it, but I don’t see anything there from you, so please let us in on the big secret.
    What do you ride?
    Can you post a photo of yourself on the bike riding somewhere?
    Is that “Nakhon Si Tamarat” where you ride your scooter, yet look for GPS software in Pantip in Chiang Mai?
  13. Johnny Roesco

    Johnny Roesco Member

    I was simply curious about the organized tour aspect and my personal observation is that you seemed to be hiding what it was like since you mentioned them only very briefly in passing in the epic 7 part series.
    I thought it would be interesting to know some more about it.
    When I asked, I was told to "mind my own business" and "buy a guide book".
    To me prices of food/fuel/lodging/massages, the tour itself are interesting.
    How was the interaction with the guide and support crew? They carry your bags? Fuel the bikes? Pay for food and hotel bills?
    How much was the song hoy massage?:lol:

    Why is this about me now?
    Why this very defensive almost hostile tenor?
    I mentioned I recently arrived in Thailand and bought an old Honda scooter. It's a 1980 and only 100cc and say's "Dream Excess". It's a very easy little bike to own. Uses very little fuel, I like it.
    Do I need to own a big motorcycle?
    Does riding a scooter not count somehow?

    I don't currently have a camera. I'm meaning to correct that.
    Do I need to post pictures of myself to ask questions?

    I haven't been to Chiang Mai yet. I didn't know they also have a Pantip Plaza.
    I was at Pantip in Bangkok looking at the Garmin GPS.

    Thanks for the warm welcome.
    When I come up to Chiang Mai, I'll be sure buy a guide book and google some more beforehand.
    What's best? Lonely Planet or Let's Go Thailand?
    As far as maps go ESRI is clearly the way to go for all of Thailand.

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