Getting legal in Phnom Penh

Aug 18, 2004
In another thread, LaudJohn wrote that he is now entirely legal in Phnom Penh. For new riders, this is amazing given the incredible number of motorcycles and cars circulating in Phnom Penh with no licence plates. If he has some time, maybe he can explain how to get legal and about the costs involved, but in the meantime, perhaps some other reader has some explanation about how to get legal in Phnom Penh? Which office in Phnom Penh is responsible for registration and licence plates and where is it? Would a small Cambodian registered motorcycle be allowed into Vietnam or Laos or Thailand? In other words, is getting legal in Cambodia an alternative to getting legal in Thailand? Updates and comments are encouraged.
Dec 30, 2003
I will reply in a couple of days. I am in Melbourne now and tomorrow morning will buy a new BWM F650GSDakar bike which will occupy a few days of my life.

Aug 7, 2003
The fake plates and rego card you can buy in PP are regularly used to cross the border into Thailand for a month at a time.The price varies but can be as low as USD$25.I have heard real rego requires the import papers/valid address/finger prints and can cost USD$400. Don't ever show any Cambodian officials the fake card as the numbers/bar code give it away as a fake. One guy even had the plate made and then brought it back to Thailand and took his bike out saying he had lost the import papers 1,000 Baht and he was out of Thailand into Cambodia with no papers.It seems Aran is not the best except close to closing time at night,Hat Lek has hassles,Osmach is a breeze. Anyone got any info??Of course using fake plates/papers has a risk that most people won't accept, but if you're stuck with a bike in one country and need it for a trip???
Dec 30, 2003
Getting Legal

Lets start with the Licence.

I went to Lucky Lucky on Moniving and showed them my International Drivers Permit and gave them a passport photo. They also photocopied my passport (maybe my one year business visa as well … but I am not sure). For $25 they could get me a fake licence in a week, or for $35 I could get a real one in three weeks. I opted for the later, which lasts a year. I can now use it as ID when using a credit card instead of my passport ( I had used my Rego card in the past – I think it was fake- for another bike).

As for the genuine registration. Well I bought a Cambo new Suzuki DR650 from Flying Bikes on 110st in April or May of this year. The registration was included in the price and the tax had therefore been paid. They took down all the details and rubbed the chassis number plate on the frame with a pencil as well. I went in their car to the registry which was near Charles de Gaulle and Nehru St’s. I went in and had my photo taken on the computer and maybe my thumbprint (can’t remember exactly). The bike shop gave me the temporary papers until the plates came, which was a couple of weeks later. They took the bike to get them put on (only took half an hour). The rego card did not arrive on time and they stamped an extension on it. About two months later the genuine card arrived. Rego cards are good for life, all you have to do is buy an annual tax disc.

A couple of weeks later I went into Flying bikes and bought a tax sticker for $5, so now I am fully legal and do not get stopped. – Mind you at the nasty intersections for the police (Mao Se Tung and 110 in particular and 11o and Monivong and 110) I stop well back if I hit the lights red.

I too have heard figures like $3-400 to get a bike registered. This has to be a barang price as no Khmer could afford it. You may want to go to Lucky Lucky and see how much they charge.

In the interim, the fake ones work fine for crossing at borders, a friend and I did a return trip Cambo/Thailand/Laos, with no problems. My first bike a Djbeil 250 bought from Vays on 110st almost 2 years ago was supposed to have real plates and a rego card, but I think it was a fake, I still ride it on those.

So that’s it folks.. The new Dakar is sitting in my carport here in Melbourne and is a great bike, the new love of my life (yeah I know… get a life… but it will have to do…heaps cheaper than the divorce… ) and will make it’s way over to SEA some time next year I expect. I am not used to riding in normal traffic… with lanes and all as I do most of my riding in Cambo and SEA.

A note on the 650 over the 250… well late Nov a friend (on the same bike) and I did PP to Kho Kong in 5 ½ hours including a 20-25 min fuel and beer stop and on the way back we did Palin to PP in just under 5 hours with a fuel stop (not counting the one hour breakfast break in Batambang). You would have had to add an hour to each journey with a 250.



Mar 29, 2004
This is probably common knowledge in Phnom Penh, but for those visiting or living in the provinces....

I'm in the process of getting legal myself.
Been using the various fakes for 3 years but things are now changing in Cambodia.
I live in Snooky but was in Phnom Penh last week buying a new bike.
Was told many horror stories by Luckylucky about bikes/cars with no import tax. Basically customs consfiscate the bike and you pay double import tax to get it back.

I saw it for myself a few weeks ago where police had setup a checkpoint on Sisowath around 8pm and filled two 5ton flatbed trucks with non tax paid bikes.

Import tax for my DRZ400 was ~$400. If customs/police caught me without it, I pay $800. Fake is not an option anymore.
I now have my real Cambodian licence being processed, and as soon as I receive my tax papers I will get the real registration in Snooky.

Just a clarification about rego cost. The customs import tax costs several hundred dollars and upwards, depending on the bike. You must have proof of this before registering the bike.
The actual rego cost is ~$30 and takes a few weeks to process but you get a reciept and plates in the meantime.
On top of all that is the 7500riel annual road tax

A friend of mine has insurance thru Caminco, costs $80 per year but I'm not sure what it covers