Malaysia & carnet question


Feb 12, 2007
Hi to everyone, I am a bike traveler new to this site,

We are Australians traveling (myself and wife) from London to Australia 2-up on our Aust registered Suzuki vstrom 1000, currently in Nepal and planning to fly bike to Thailand in about 3 or 4 weeks. I need some information about temporary import of bike into Thailand
& Malaysia. I have a carnet but it is about to expire and I am trying to decide if I really need to pay for a new one or not?

I understand from information on HU and this website that I should not need a carnet to get into Thailand, also Cambodia and Laos, is that true?

Then we would like to go as far as KL in Malaysia and then fly our bike to Darwin. Do you know if I can enter and exit Malaysia without a carnet on my Aust registered bike?

Thanks for any information
John & Alanna


Oct 29, 2006
Dear John & Alana,
I browsed the net. Below is what I found ... &O=D&P=514

THis was provided by Malaysian Consular Infomation Sheet.

Travelers to Malaysia may
access information on areas of interest through the Malaysian government's
web site at and the Malaysian tourism promotion
board's website at or the Malaysian Ministry of
Culture, Arts & Tourism's web site,

I suggest you contact the nearest Malaysian Embassy and counter check as well.
Don't come unprepared or... well, you may go around in circles but to no avail.

I'm sorry i am not of better help.
Jul 6, 2004
Hi Skillo,
I come from Darwin, Singapore, Malaysia,Thailand etc between march 2004 and come back thru Malaysia,Penang then Indo in march 2005.
I needed a Carnet for Singapore & Malaysia it also made it much easier for the other border crossings.
If you are going back into Aussie you will need your original and if your bike is out of rego.Rego in the state you land in + road worthy etc a lot of $$$$
But check the Malaysia Gov site as SuziQ suggested


Oct 29, 2006
I tried those links. they are about as helpful as swimming lessons would be to fish. I'm embarrassed but honestly I have never found what I look for on those bureacratic sites.

The embassy ought to be able to give you the info but from experience the donuts who man the mission ...sigh, (don't let me get started.) I'll try and get more info from my personal contacts. Where are you now, J&A? Thailand? Oops, in Nepal. Ok, will get back to you ASAP>


Oct 29, 2006
ok, people. i just forced my friend to join this board with the details.N he said he dug this up from ... &O=D&P=514. So much for me being a member here. laugh.

the photos are missing though.

All border crossings must be at a legal international crossing where you can get a passport stamped / visa validated and motorcycle temporarily imported.
Legal international border crossings should not be confused with local border trading places, where local residents cross the border on either their ID cards or local day passes.

At local border trading passes it is sometimes possible for foreigners to cross, but remember that you are NOT legally in the country and free to continue. You are in the country illegally, both personally and with your bike, and leaving yourself open to serious trouble.
If it is up-country you could be stopped a local official who can demand whatever he wants or lock you up as he please. Who is going to know? Your bike might might even be confiscated and you don't need this complication.

I've seen it a few times in both Thailand and Laos - riders who thought they were clever sneaking into the country, but when they tried to leave they could not produce any papers to show that the bikes were legally imported. The Customs officials were not impressed and neither were the riders when they had to pay a hefty fine to leave. So don't be a smart arse, but play it wise and safe, and make sure all your border crossings are at legal international crossings where you get your bike import papers properly stamped.

To actually cross an international border with a motorcycle you need a passport and a bike. (Not as silly as it sounds.)
1. Passport: this should be valid & have the appropriate visa if necessary (if the rental shop has your passport as security for the bike then you can't cross the border.) Note: Entering Laos they like your passport to be valid for at least another 6 months, as one poor SQ tour leader found out in late 2005.
2. Bike: you need to prove it's "real", not stolen & have valid docs to support this = proof of ownership, the bike licence / registration, valid insurance. If you can't produce these then you're in for a tough time trying to get out of Thailand !
If the bike is not in your name or rented, then you need permission from the owner to legally export the bike. Click here for info on taking a bike out that is not registered in your name. Note that this works 99% of the time, but that remaining 1% is hard to take if you get caught short. You've been warned!
3. Motorcycle driving licence (although this is very seldom asked for.)

You need to complete papers for both Customs and Immigration.
Do the Customs papers first. Get the temporary bike export approved, then clear immigration.

1. Ownership If the bike is not in your name then you need to provide permission from the owner to legally take the bike out of the country. See image 2 in the docs gallery.

2. Customs need a Temporary Export / Import form (Official name = Simplified Customs Declaration Form for a car and motorcycle temporarily imported or exported.) See image 7 in the docs gallery. You can get this from the customs office at the border. If you're leaving with a bike from o/seas then you just need to hand in the temporary import form you got at the border on arrival.
The temporary export is usually valid for just a month, and there is supposedly a fine of 200 baht a day, with a maximum of 2,000 baht if you come back late. However experience has taught me that enforcement is sometimes arbitrary and probably depends on the duty officers financial needs at the time. Some of them also like to threaten you with a huge fine as stipulated in the temporary import / export form. In my case this is 420,000 baht for a 1995 model Honda 750 Africa Twin. Personally I think it is all a bit of a game of bluff, but it can be a bit stressful at the time.

3. Immigration two forms are needed. These are (a) TM2 Information of Conveyance. See image 1 in the docs gallery. (b) TM4 Crew List. See image 8 in the docs gallery. Get these forms at the the border office.
These might seem a bit silly if you’re just riding solo on bike, but you do need them. The completed original of these forms is kept at the departure port and you are supposed to hand in copies of the same 2 forms at the arrival port when you come back in.
Experience has taught me that you are not always asked for these on your return, and often when you depart some slack immigration staff don't ask you to complete the forms!
But be warned there is a fine for not having the forms on your return and some immigration staff love it when you don't have completed copies with you. I've had several runs with border staff over this and either way you never seem to win - it's up to them & their mood of the day. Note too that I've yet to pay a fine, so I consider myself lucky.

Overall completing these forms on departure is relatively easy & cost free, provided your bike papers & passport are in order. The customs fees are only stamp duty and there is no fee for the immigration forms. My biggest troubles have been when returning to Thailand and some smart immigration / customs officer has found something wrong with the forms and wants to make life difficult so he can touch you up for money. This can all be just a game of bluff, but it can be a bit stressful at the time. You've be warned.


Thailand / Malaysia / Singapore are relatively easy and hassle free, provided your passport, visa, bike registration and ownership papers are all in order. Allow ½ - 1 hour maximum to clear the border each time.

Singapore / Malaysia the legal "land border" crossings are:
1. The Causeway: Woodlands (S) / Johore Bahru (M)
2. The Second link: Tuas (S) / Tanjong Kupang (M)
Of these two the Second link is faster and easier.

Thailand / Malaysia the legal land border crossings are:
1. Sadao (T) / Changloon (M)
2. Padang Besar (T) / Kaki Bukit (M)
3. Betong (T) / Keroh (M)
4. Sungai Golok (T) / Rantau Panjang (M

Thailand / Laos the seven legal ones are:
1. Chiang Khong (T) / Huay Sai (L)
2. Thai Li (T) / Nam Hueng (L)
3. Nong Khai (T) / Friendship Bridge , Vientiane (L)
4. Bung Kan (T) / Pakxan (L)
5. Mukdahan (T) / Savannakhet (L)
6. Nakhon Phanom (T) / Tha Khek (L)
7. Chong Mek (T) / Vang Tao, Pakse (L)
Use Chiang Khong (T) / Huay Sai (L), only if you want to start off in Laos on a rough jungle dirt road; but if you don't have much dirt experience, don't start here, go into Laos from Nong Khai (T) / Friendship Bridge (L). Or take the boat downstream, from Huay Sai to Pak Beng.

Entering / Departing Laos Notes

1. Friendship Bridge : may or may not be open to bikes. After several years open to motorcycles, Lao authorities (Ministry of Transport) in Vientiane "closed" the bridge to motorcycles without warning in Feb 2006. Two months later it was ok for foreign (non Thai) registered bikes to enter & currently it is only Thai bikes that are not allowed in at "the bridge" (all other border crossings are ok.) Watch the GT Rider message board for the latest info on the Friendship Bridge crossing. If you’re on a Thai registered motorcycles & can’t get in at the bridge, then the next nearest international entry port is Pakxan (150 kms downstream from Vientiane ) / Bung Kan (120 kms downstream from Nong Khai) where in July 2006 it was still ok to enter Laos . Note too that if you gain entry to Laos at another border crossing it is possible to leave via the Friendship Bridge . Weird isn't it!

2. Huay Sai - Luang Nam Tha: the jungle road is not recommended two-up, as almost guaranteed you'll come off, at least once, somewhere along the way. This is also not recommended in the wet, unless you looking for 180 kms of wet greasy muddy roads.
Note that this "road" is currently under re-construction & scheduled to be an asphalt road, possibly by early 2007. Depending on the road works at the time, it could be either slightly good or very bad when you use it - and that will just be the luck of the day.

3. The Mekong Boat Trip: Huay Sai - Pak Beng, the Mekong river in this section is arguably the most beautiful of the 'Khong between Jinhong in China & Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam . It can be a perfect start / finish to any motorcycle trip in Northern Laos . Highly recommended, hire a boat & do the 'Khong, you won't regret it. Getting your bike on & off the boat is enormous fun too.

4. Nam Hueng / Tha Li. Entering Laos at the new Nam Hueng crossing is probably not possible just on arrival. Permits have to be issued from the district office several kms inside Laos . It is however no trouble to exit here.
See the GT Rider message board for more info & photos on this crossing.

See the GT Rider message board for the latest info on entering / leaving Laos .

Laos / China only at Boten (L) / Mohan (C). However China now refuse entry to bikers without the appropriate travel documents and permits, which have to be issued by the authorities inside China . The exact documentation required is somewhat unclear, but it appears as if you must at least have Chinese vehicle registration, insurance and driving (riding) licence; (plus guide / escort?) and these are not available at the border. This all a bit too tricky - how do you get these on the border, "outside" China . So you can scrub China off your riding list for the time being.

Laos / Vietnam there are five legal ones:
1. Dene Savan: Route 9E from Savannakhet in Laos to Lao Bao (V)
2. Na Phao: Route 12 from Tha Khek east to Vietnam . Note NO Laos visa on a arrival. You can only exit Laos from here.
3. Nam Pao: Route 8 in Laos from Thakek / Vieng Kham to Lak Xao to Cau Treo (V).
4. Namkhan: Route 7 from Phonsavan via Nong Het in Laos to Nam Can (V). Opened in Jan 2003.
5. Nam Xoi. Route 6A from Xam Nua via Vieng Xai in Laos to Nam Xoi (V). Opened in April 2004.

Note Dien Bien Phu: there are 2 local border crossings from Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam to Laos . But despite the rumours, these are not open to foreigners and fully international. You've be warned!
One crossing goes into Muang Khua in Phongsali province, & the other into Luang Prabang province. The Luang Prabang province crossing in Laos is called Na Sone, & the Phongsali crossing in Laos is supposedly Taichang. If someone actually gets out here & is able to check out this crossing, please email me some news with the official port names.
Keep your eye on the GT Rider Message Board for the latest info. Rumour has it that they may open sometime in early 2007, but don't count on it.

Vietnam Warning since late April 2002, bikes over 175 cc have been refused entry into the country. If you got in before then, you are lucky. I am not aware of a any way around the current blanket ban, but if you know something please let me know so I can pass on the word. Frank Butler, alias Mr Beem snuck in via Cambodia via Phom Den (C) / Chau Doc (V) in early 2004, but this I feel was a one-off trip & with officials who were not totally familiar with the rules, & definitely has not been repeated since.
If you do get in be sure of your paperwork, as there still can be problems: Africa Twin rider, Chan KP from Singapore had a nasty little experience in July 2000, after entering Vietnam at Nam Phao (L) / Cau Treo (V). On his way out at Lao Bao the Vietnamese customs refused to let him leave the country as he had no inward Customs Baggage Declaration form (from Cau Treo). Caught in a difficult situation, he was held at the border for 6 days, during which time his visa also expired. He was only able to "escape" after the Singapore embassy in Hanoi intervened on his behalf. So be warned both entering and leaving Vietnam can be tricky. To see what the required nasty little Baggage Form looks like click here.

In Jan 2002,Chan sent in another report: "We entered Laos through Nakhon Phanom / Tha Khek & Vietnam through Nam Phao / Cau Treo. Route 8 had improved somewhat as compared to my last visit, all tarmac with some isolated potholes. As usual, the road is strewn with fallen rocks & boulders from the cliff sides. The Lao customs at Tha Khek physically checked our bike's chassis & engine numbers against our registration cards but never issued us any customs form.
We had no problem exiting Laos at Nam Phao but the Cau Treo(VN) customs wanted to have the Laos customs form for the bikes as proof that our bikes had entered & left Laos legally. After 5 hrs of waiting & talking to several officers on both sides of the border, the shift leader of the Cau Treo Customs arrived for work & made things work for us. All we need to do is fill up our bike's particulars on the temporary import declaration column of the Immigration Form, simple as that. That's exactly what I did the last time I entered Vietnam at the same border but still I'd problem getting out of Vietnam at Lao Bao. So I was still rather apprehensive if this will allow us to exit Vietnam without any problem. We just hoped that the Customs at Moc Bai will be more forthcoming when we exit Vietnam to enter Cambodia .
We spent 8 days in Vietnam , going South from Ha Tinh to Ho Chi Minh city . The customs procedure at Moc Bai turns out to be smooth & straight forward, just that we need to fill out another immigration form with the bike's particulars, that's all. Unexpectedly, the Bavet Customs wanted us to have official document, such as the Carnet, as guarantee that we'll not sell the bikes in Cambodia illegally. We talked all the way up till the Chief of Customs & Excise of the Svay Rieng Province 44km from the border. It was a weekend but I managed to contact the 2nd secretary of the S'pore Embassy at Phnom Penh to fax us a letter of assistance for the Customs Chief. This done the trick but still we need to spend one night at Svay Rieng as we'd wasted 7 hrs & the ferry across the Mekong towards Phnom Penh has stopped operation for the day."

Cambodia / Vietnam there are two land border crossings:
1. Bavet (C) / Moc Bai (V)
2. Phom Den (C) / Chau Doc (V)
But these are not much good to you if you can't even enter Vietnam with your bike.
If you know anything new, please email me.

Cambodia / Laos Independent travellers are now crossing the border between Cambodia (Stung Treng) and Veun Kham in Laos . This crossing is still not a designated legal international crossing, but officials either side in the nearby towns of Stung Treng (C) and Veun Kham (L) are stamping passports.
In Jan 2003, KTM Rider Harry Forster, was able to cross with his bike from Laos to Cambodia . According to Harry the "official" port names stamped in his passport are Dongkalaw (L) and Dong Crorlor (C).
Check out the GT Rider board for another report with photos.

China / Vietnam There are three (according to Jean Marc, Oct 2001): Dong Dang (V) / Huu Nghi (C) and Lao Cai (V) / Hekou (C), Mong Cai (V) / Dongxing (C). In late 2000? Belgian Philip on a Transalp tried 5 different crossings between Vietnam and China , and failed to get into China , so it aint easy. If anyone has anyone has more info email me.

Thailand / Cambodia there are six legal land border crossings:
1. Aranyaprathet (T) / Poipet (C)
2. Hat Lek (T) / Pak Khlong - Koh Kong (C)
3. Kap Cheong, Surin (T) / O Smach (C)
4. Chong Sa Ngam (T) / Anlong Veng (C)
5. Ban Pagkard. Chantaburi (T) / Phsa Prum, Pailin (C)
6. Ban Laem, Chantaburi (T) / Daun Lem, Battambang (C)

Use the Aranyaprathet crossing to go to Angkor Wat. In Dec 2001, Honda XL600 rider Harri Saharinen (expat in Korat) sent in this report:" border 1/2 hour, Cambodians wanted a carnet as a Dutch guy had gone thru a few weeks ago with one, but I convinced them that Thai bikes don't need one and they just stamped the back of the Thai export paper, different to the last time when they issued an import paper and even checked the chassis and frame numbers. Poipet to Siem Reap is now 1 1/2 hrs, the road ha been improved greatly, none of the bridges are down, and even an Africa Twin might get thru without any problems. Siem Reap to Phnom Phen is 5 hrs flat out, some sections 120 kph new tar, but mostly crap, better off riding on the side of the road. Korat - PP, 687 kms, 10 hrs."
Use Hat Lek / Koh Kong if you want to hit the beach at Sihanoukvile and have an easy ride onto Phnom Phen.
Use Kap Cheong / O Smach in you're looking for a bit of rough road to start off with in Cambodia .
Use Chong Sa Ngam / Anlong Veng if you want a testing dirt ride down to Angkor Wat.

Watch the GT Rider board for the latest info on entering / riding in Cambodia .

Thailand / Myanmar ( Burma ) the legal international land border crossings are:
1. Mae Sai (T) / Tachilek (M)
2. Mae Sot (T) / Myawaddy (M)
For bikers however, these are not viable options for touring Myanmar , as travel permits for individual riders are not yet generally available, and who knows when it will become a reality?
Note (1) that there is a 3rd legal crossing from Ranong (T) to Victoria Point (M), in the south of Thailand . This however, is not a land border crossing, but a sea crossing by boat.

Note (2) that in August 2004 Simon & Suzi Harby riding an Africa Twin & a Transalp, rode from India via Nagaland & Manipur, thru Burma & into North Thailand at Mae Sai. This was a world first, but is most likely going to remain a one-off trip & not be repeated for a long time. Check out Simon & Suzi's site for info & their trip report. Also take a look at the GT Rider board report.

Take a look at the Borders Directory and Borders Map for guides to legal international land border crossings in the area.

If you have no experience of riding in Asia and / or crossing international borders, alone, on a motorcycle, do yourself a favour and make a 2-3 week tour of North Thailand and the Golden Triangle to familiarize yourself with the area and the conditions first. In S E Asia, one of the main complications is communication - the locals don't speak much English and you probably can't speak, read or write the local language either. So, how will you converse and deal with an unhelpful official at the border, who is perhaps not so familiar with all the rules and maybe not so interested in your problem? Riding here, is not like riding in the EU or Americas , where you can at least read the language, if not speak it, and the rules are generally clear and available. So get some experience under your belt, before you seriously consider whether you are ready to tackle touring the newer frontiers of S E Asia. If you think you are, then come back next year, don't attempt these trips without experience. Note that riding in Singapore / Malaysia / Thailand is quite easy and straightforward

just in case. check with the embassy for latest developments.
Mar 15, 2003
[:0] They absolutely are NOT one and the same!


The ITP is easy enough to get, and is required for Malaysia.
refer to Bob S post :International Transport Permit.
ITP, that would be a carnet, no?

Sorry SuzieQ, you missed it completely on this one. For the best information on Carnet's go to the Horizons Unlimited website ... netExplain

The ITP would not be applicable to someone traveling from outside of Thailand.

There is a thread currently running on this site that gives a little more on ITP's ... &O=D&P=514 Neither of them are especially easy to get, certainly the Carnet. In fact I have not found anyone that knows how to get a Carnet issued on a Thai bike as they are not a participant of the international agreements on Carnet's and thus they do not require one to enter Thailand.


Oct 29, 2006
ok, i thought i'd posted the wrong stuff on. so is anything here use-able? i looked up the dictionary for carnet . defined as legal document for crossing border. how is a legal document for crossing international borders different from n international transport permit. to a lay sounds the same thing using different words.
pls bear with me. i'm learning something new. [B)]
Mar 15, 2003
It is confusing SuzieQ. I am not an expert either. None of us, except BobS, have ever bothered with the ITP for motorcycles either, as far as I know. It is required for 4 wheel vehicles.

Each time we go to Laos it seems they are changing the rules, and each crossing also seems to differ. At one crossing recently they mentioned it would be easier if one had an ITP and that is why it has come up as a topic again. This will probably change again soon also so I wouldn't worry about it too much. In fact 3 of us are crossing at Huay Xai tomorrow, where they made this statement, and we do not have ITP's. Stay tuned.

Thanks for trying to help SuzieQ.


Oct 29, 2006
i removed the mis-information re: ITP. Thanks for being so patient. Had nightmares last night wondeing if anyone was going to give me a ticking off.

Gonna sign off with this anecdote about how women perceive things.
Once on a trip to the outskirts of KL, the ex stopped at a gas station to top up the tank. He had me get him a can of Tiger beer.

i looked but found no tiger or Chang or any other familiar beer. They had only one. I don't drink beer and I know nuts about alcohol. You should have seen, the look on the ex's face when i handed him the can.
he said, " what's this? I asked for tiger beer?"
i replied, " Well, this can had a lion on it so i figured 'close enough'!"[:D]
Dec 30, 2003
A friend and I crossed into Malaysia from Thailand 3 weeks ago on Cambodian registerd bikes

There was no paperwork with customs; just ride on in after immigration and the customs people just wave you through

The main highway throughout the country is better than the Hume Highway from Melb to Syd



Nov 7, 2005
Just to clear up some miss understandings.

The Carnet (or actually Carnet de Passage en Douane) is a bank guarantee to any country you visit,that in the case that you do not bring out the vehicle from the country you visit the issuer of the Carnet will pay the duties. This will help you in those countries were they otherwise will demand a cash deposit when you arrive into the country.

The carnet is issued in your home country for the vehicle registered there by the local Automobile Association. The concept is governed by AIS (Alliance Internationale de Tourism)in Switzerland but they do not issue the carnet. It is also in some way governed by FIA (Federation Internationale Automobile) The book is as such very impressive looking which somtimes make an impression at the borders.

The idea is easy. The book contains of maybe 40 pages, each page having two coupongs that can be teared off in the custom. So when you arrive to a country the customs give you a stamp on the non detachable part of the page and take one arrival coupong amd when leaving the country you must check that you get an departure stamp in the carnet and the customs get the departure coupong. It is then up to you to keep your carnet "clean" which mean that you for every country have an arrival and a departure stamp. It is also up to the customs to match their coupongs and if any missfit demand the money from the issuer.

The local Automobile Association will off course charge you for the service and demand a deposit or guarantee from you. How much varies from country to country. For example in Finland 10 years ago we still could get the carnet at a low cost by buying an credit insurance but nowadays they also want a cash deposit and I think that nowadays most countries demand big cash deposits.

In principle your local Automobile Association will not issue Carnets for vehicles from another country but I know exeptions. Australia Automobile Association have issued Carnets for bikes registered in Papaya Guinea and the Finnish Automobil Association have issued Carnets for Enfields in India.

The Carnet is valid for one year but can be extended by one year at the Automobile Association where you stay at that moment. You must apply in person and before the expiry date.

I"ve used the Carnet first time in 1974 when I went overland to Thailand from Finland and then continuing around the World. It was at that time very handy to use. Even countries like Afghanistan etc who had never joined the system stamped and used the carnet.

Next time I used a Carnet in 1990. At this time Thailand was still in the system and I could clear the customs at Bangkok airport on my own in 3 hours with the Carnet ( and a few hundred stamps on 100 different papers). These same carnets I used at all borders overland to Australia (OK some ferries) and in Australia I got a one year renewal but only in the capital Canberra (quite a distance to drive)

Next time I used Carnets in 2000 and by that time there was a clause in the carnet that not valid for Thailand. Despite that Thailand was printed on the carnet.

After that I have not used a carnet anymore and I crossed most of the borders in South East Asia without any problem. If you go Thailand Malesia at the Sadeo border they will probably not even look at your papers. Singapore is strict, Int Driving Licens, Reg Book in English etc but they do not demand any Carnet. They do charge you Insurance and Tax for the days you stay. In Indonesian Timor they like to make you copy the frame number at all policestations on your way but you can forget it after a few stations.

The ITP is quite a new Phenomen and the Mekong countries have started to demand it. Here in Pattaya the book is very easy to get at the Land Transport Office. You can get it in one day and it costed 270 Baht. If and when I get ready the story about our Vietnam Scooter Tour two months ago you can read more about that.



Feb 12, 2007
Thankyou to everyone for your help & replies.

I am actually travelling with a carnet for 1 year now, so I know how that works, but my carnet is about to expire and I am trying to save money by not renewing it - if i can.

Between what has been said on this website, plus I got a reply from the Australian Automobile Association (they issue the carnet in Aus), it seems I can enter Thailand and Malaysia without a carnet but Malaysia customs is easier with one.

Thanks to all, I will try it without a carnet....

Aug 7, 2003
Hey Hiko,

Some novel about the Carnet, you forgot about sleeping in the park in Japan.

Ran into some guys in Cambo said you didn't make it across, was the problem the bike papers or customs?? I got a guy at the Viet border who says it is no problem, but groups are out.

Soitta minulle 0817255600, tullen kaymaan Pattiksella 24th, ollen paivan vain.