Made it into Vietnam 3 months ago.....border story

Discussion in 'Vietnam - Motorcycle Trip Report Forums' started by jayincanada, Sep 4, 2006.

  1. jayincanada

    jayincanada Member

    Well, i finally have a few days to kill after a 9 month motorcycle trip/madness through Nepal, India, and most of SE Asia. A few people have asked about entering Vietnam, so i'll relate my experience here.

    First of all, I laid down 20.000 B on a 2005 Kawasaki GTO 125 two troke single street bike. It seems to be a long time favorite here in Bangkok for locals hauling around food or coffee stands via an attatched sidecar. Fuel range was about 200kms per tank. Ownership with Thailand plates was absurdly priced, so we sifted out an official rental agreement with additional paperwork granting consent for World Speed Co to allow the bike to leave the country with me on it. This is important to have if you intend to leave Thailand with a vehicle that is not yours. The Thai customs checked this at the border and had to issue a temporary export form which cost nothing but 10-20 minutes at the Cambodian crossing. World Speed is a Honda dealer with a owner that speaks wonderful english, as he attended some buisness school in Chicago. Their contact # is 0 2959 7 or 0 2899 0900 if interested. They came reccomended from Kawasaki head office in Bangkok. I would include the address but it is in Thai. A brand new GTO retails for 42.000B, the purchase price on my slightly used (4000kms on the clock) was 30.000B. We hammered out sum of 2.000B/mo for initially 4 months with a 12.000B refundable damage deposit, paid in full. The deposit was refunded as promised upon return in Bangkok after 14.000kms through Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia.

    Cambodia did not seem to care, nor did Laos, except for the Vientiane crossing going into Laos from Thailand. More info in regards to this is posted somewhere on the Gt riders site. Going out was no problem. I crossed Vienam at the popular crossing from Pnom Penh to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh city now). Upon reaching the Cambodian side, i drove through without stopping, and then pulled the same stunt on the Viet side. I managed to ignore the waves and shouts until just 200 meters past the last Viet immigration building, a lone official stood in my was in the middle of the rode with his hand up. When i stopped he simply asked for my passport and visa. I showed him these, and he told me i was missing the immigration entry card to be filled out back at the immigration office. This is when the hassle began. If i had only had a stamped card, he would have let me roll right through.

    Sooo....back to Viet immigration i went, where i parked the bike, qeued in line, filled out a blank card, and had it stamped. Outside, someone brilliant had noticed i had a bike. 'You bike, you?' Yep, that's mine. 'No bring to Vietnam. You take bus now, leave bike here' sigh......I tried bribing, joking, getting mad, all to no avail. He said i needed a letter from my embassy in Pnom Penh to guarantee the bike. No one could explain what guarantee or anything further. Of course this was complete rubbish. So after 2 hours, he agreed i could bring the bike to the police station at the border to obtain some sort of speical import declaration or permit, or whatever crap they dish out there. No problem except the police station closed at 4:00pm, and no one could answer a> where the police were and b> when it would be open again. So the initial card i filled out was confiscated by nimwit #1 and i was told by him i should either abandon the bike and get a bus, or turn back 200kms to Pnom Penh.

    Sooo....I rode back to the Cambodian side, and it was not any suprise to anyone there i came back. 'No go to Viet with moto?' someone said. I replied, or yeah no problem, just forgot to stamp out of Cambodia. This was to their suprise and took a bit of convincing to get them to stamp my visa out. I think this clearly represents just how many people really get to cross the border here with their own wheels. Back i went, but this time i tucked the bike beside the empty dark police station and waited for almost an hour for the true night to set in. I pulled out a good book on the steps and took note of how all the locals seemed to be pushing their bike across, and simply flashing their passport. At this point i walked back through the immigration like no ones buisness, got another entry card. I filled it out and handed it to the stamp guy. He didn't ask for my passport, recognized me from before and simply stamped it. Armed with this, i went back outside, and wheeled my bike back up to the fellow i had originally been stopped by. After a few tense seconds, he just glanced at the passport, and told me to go ahead. And holy crap, there i was in Vietnam.

    The rest of the trip went smooth as could be, no hassles with the authrities in Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, or any other place. One thing i noticed though is every where i went with the bike, people were quite conversational about the foreign plates, and i did not see any other foreign plates while there for 7 weeks riding around. I think riding around free as a bird, whereever you please is also a foreign concept to most Viet nationals living there.

    Upon leaving into Laos, there was some confusion on the Viet side as to why the bike and numbers were not entered on their computer file attatched to my passport, But as i pointed out, people make mistakes on the computer all the time, so it's possible it was just not entered correctly.

    3 smooth sailing months later, i arrived back in Bangkok, returned the bike to the shop. I bought another bike, a TTR 250 Yamaha from Charoen motors (A company importing 2nd hand bikes from Japan) and plated/registered it in Canada where i live. This circumvented the whole Thai registration thing all together and worked out very well at the Singapore, Malaysia and Thai borders.

    As a side note i made it to the Phillipines for 4 weeks, and dreaded every moment riding there, The place is horrible. There are very goos reasons motorcyclists on tour avoid it all together,

    Hope this info sheds some insight into riding Vietnam and other places in Asia. Feel free to email with any questions. Forgot to mention, riding the coast of Vietnam was awesome, the Bia Hoi's outside the tourist joints are stupendous, the scenery stunning, the beaches fine, and it only cost 12.5 cents us to get a flat tire fixed. Maybe one day soon, i'll post some kickass pix of the little Kawasaki through Vietnam.


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  3. jayincanada

    jayincanada Member

    As a sidenote i picked the GTO two stroke, as it has more get up and go than a stock 125 two stroke, and is far easier to repair if needed....
  4. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    I think Hiko might have missed this one.
  5. HIKO

    HIKO Ol'Timer

    No DAVID I did not miss it before our trip but I already then found the story a little confusing. Now that Silver Hawk also took up the matter in the "Vietnam Border" topic I started to think a little.

    1. First of all the story about buying, renting etc is as SilverHawk says a little confusing. Having crossing the Thai Cambodian border more than 100 times with motorbikes I think it is very difficult if not impossible to get out of Thailand with a Thai bike that is not in your name. Which border did you use?

    2. Then the dates and the travelled distance. You bought the bike approx 1 June according to your info and returned the bike 3 months later with 14.000 km travelled. No info about when you entered Cambodia or Vietnam but already the 10th June you crossed the border from Vietnam to Laos after travelling to Saigon and North Coast up to Hanoi and then Hanoi to the border. By now you should have close to 10.000 km done and I assume that you did not just rush through Cambodia missing Ankor Wat and Sihanoukeville and in Vietnam I assume that you did some sight seeing in Saigon, you probably did not miss Dalat, you did not just look at the beaches but did som swimming at China Beach, Nah Trang and Danang, how did you like Hue, did you stay a few days in Hanoi and did you miss Haiphong. The GTO must have a Turbo...

    But let us continue your trip. You enter Laos on the 10th. Next border info you give is that you can not enter Laos from Thailand at Vientianne. So how did you spend the remaining 2 1/2 month and 4000 km of holiday on your GTO. How did you get out of Laos to Cambodia or Thailand? What did you like Luang Prabang etc. It is a little dificult to use all of your remaining time with such a limited km budget....

    Then you make totally confused when telling us that you returned the bike after 3 months which must have been around 1 septemeber and a bought a TTR and travelled in Thailand Malaysia Singapore a trip that must be about 6000 km and you registered it in Canada (how the hell can you do that} and all this done before the 3rd Septemeber. O yes and you did a trip to Philliphines for a few weeks also...

    OKAY I accept your story about how to foolish the Vietnam immigration&Custom it is a believable story. I do not accept that you travel thousands of kilometer with a motorbike with foreign plates which is not in your name in a Communist country with a huge "checking up things attitude" with out any problems. We have heard about people being held up at the border for days when leaving the country for a missing paper.

    Sorry Jay but at the moment I put your story in the same box as I put stories about going to Vietnam I hear in the bars of Sihanoukeville and Phnom Penh after plenty of Ankor Beers and some ganjaa.
  6. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer


    You should be a detective, or at least an accountant. Good job with the "figures".
  7. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Here’s another interesting questionable one
    where the guy claims to enter Thailand from Malaysia without any papers,
    then the same thing into Cambodia
    then back into Thailand
    then sweet-talks his way in across the Friendship Bridge at Nong Khai
    then bluffs his way into Vietnam from Lak Xao in Laos ... tnam-21719
    but I don’t see any photos from Vietnam or Laos.
    Makes you wonder doesn’t?
    I suppose you have to given him the benefit of the doubt.
  8. HIKO

    HIKO Ol'Timer

    Thanks Dave I actually have a MBA in accounting but this time I just used my very old and tired brains. David I looked at the sites and "bullshit" Show some pictures and I believe. Ok from Malaysia to Thailand you can enter and leave without documentation butI would like to see you in Had lek trying to leave Thailand without a temporary import paper. It is sad that people put their own "dreams" on internet as real stories. Somebody may believe them....

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