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Old 05-11-2018, 02:18   #1
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Road vehicle registration across multiple countries

Might seem silly but we have space onboard for a 650cc motorbike which, before we got our current vessel I had spent considerable time making into a comfortable and capable touring bike, comfortable for two up riding for several hours with considerable storage (great for carrying provisions)
As full time on the hook liveaboards, for the last 2 years I have been paying registration and insurance on it but haven't ridden it 1 metre but I am loathed to sell it as for us, it is the perfect machine.

As we plan on taking our vessel out of the county to South East Asia, where countries are very close together, is there a registration that can be purchased that allows use in multiple countries?

I imagine if you live in Europe you can drive across borders with no need to re-register if there for the length of visa, is there a similar thing for Asia?

Yes, I know we can rent when there but the rental pool is predominantly 125cc scooters, been there, done that, travelled big miles two up, doesn't work for us.
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Old 05-11-2018, 03:51   #2
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Re: Road vehicle registration across multiple countries

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Originally Posted by Simi 60 View Post
As we plan on taking our vessel out of the county to South East Asia, where countries are very close together, is there a registration that can be purchased that allows use in multiple countries?
First is about the riders license/drivers license: you need to make sure that each of the possible riders (not the pillion passengers, the rider at the handlebars) has an International Driving Permit.

That's because a QLD drivers license (to choose one example) represents the vehicles for which you are licensed to drive by cryptic codes such as C and R. Those letter codes don't mean anything to anyone outside of AU. So you have to get an IDP.

There are time limits on an IDP. So if, for the sake of argument, you were planning to use Malaysia as a base, eventually you might get a Malaysian license.

Second is about the registration/road tax. I think you can drive from Singapore to Malaysia to Thailand to Laos with a road vehicle that has road tax/registration from one of those countries (Thailand changed some of its relevant regulations in 2016, so you ought do your own research on the matter and not just rely on what you read on the Internet written by a person who uses a naked dog as their avatar). Entering Thailand requires some paperwork (3 or 4 forms from memory) plus buying local insurance (compulsory third party).

Without Malaysian, Singaporean, Thai, or Lao registration/road tax, you can still do it. But it requires much more paperwork. About once or twice a year there'll be some foreigner riding a motorcycle or driving a camper wagon through SE Asia. They've spent time visiting embassies and have paperwork to approve the temporary import etc, insurance, etc (and sometimes they've had to engage a local guide). And about two or three times a year there'll be a small convoy of 4x4 vehicles or superbikes travelling from China to SE Asia or vice versa. Again, time to apply for permits, money for insurance and engaging a local guide. There're travel agents and so on that specialise in the business. Here's one lead to follow: https://www.facebook.com/groups/OverlandingAsia/

Singapore charges you a road fee for a foreign-registered car or truck using their roads. I'm not certain about motorcycles. Several hundred Malaysians ride motorcycles into Singapore for work each day, but I'm not up to speed on the procedures.

Malaysia has threatened to impose road charges for foreign vehicles, as part of a tit-for-tat with Singapore. I'm not clear if those road charges are now in place. Singapore at one stage protested that Malaysia should impose road charges on Thai vehicles too if they were to impose charges on Singaporean vehicles, under the principle that international trade has to be fair. But the Malaysians were not ready to impose road charges on Thai vehicles - or at least that was the situation last I was there.

Note also that not all road tax/registration is equal. In Malaysia, for example, some locations (Langkawi, Labuan etc) register vehicles with a local registration that does not give that vehicle rights to use roads in the rest of Malaysia.

I've driven a Malaysian registered car from Singapore through peninsula Malaysia (aka Malaya) through Thailand. The paperwork and insurance business at the Thai border is routine (and works both ways - you can see Thai registered vehicles on Malaysian roads).

Unless you're really keen on your present ride, I'd suggest the easier course is to buy a bike or car in, say, Malaysia or Thailand (whichever of the two you're more likely to use as a base for some time).

I feel obliged to point out that the death rate for motorcyclists on Thai and Malaysian roads is relatively high. When we were cruising SE Asian waters, about 10 motorcyclists in Malaysia died each day. And the stats for Thailand were also scary. And that's not counting the alcohol-sodden foreign tourists who leave their kneecaps etc scattered around Phuket and other resort areas.
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Old 05-11-2018, 04:02   #3
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Re: Road vehicle registration across multiple countries

And here's a guide to riding or driving across the MY/TH border:

https://www.riderchris.com/info/mala...rder-crossing/

And a slightly dated guide to driving in MY:

https://www.expatgo.com/my/2014/09/1...g-in-malaysia/
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Old 05-11-2018, 04:16   #4
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Re: Road vehicle registration across multiple countries

And the Aus High Commission in KL has a small note:

https://malaysia.highcommission.gov....r/cons_dr.html
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Old 05-11-2018, 04:37   #5
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Re: Road vehicle registration across multiple countries

But that's nothing compared to today's stories of road use from Nippon:

Police to report driver to prosecutors for going 220 kph over limit in worst-ever violation - The Mainichi
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Old 05-11-2018, 12:52   #6
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Re: Road vehicle registration across multiple countries

I suspect you would be up for import duty.
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Old 05-11-2018, 12:58   #7
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Re: Road vehicle registration across multiple countries

Countries which you can drive between have license and registration reciprocity.

I couldn't say how it works between countries which you cannot drive between (e.g. Australia and anywhere).

Calling the country you will be visiting is usually a good place to start.
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Old 05-11-2018, 13:24   #8
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Re: Road vehicle registration across multiple countries

Thanks for the replies.

I wouldn't actually be riding between countries, just using the bike in the country we are in at that time then putting it back onboard and onto the next country.

I also know about the licensing requirements and death rate, having done all my early riding in Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia with over a year in each location and seen my fair share of stupid stuff and grizzly scenes but, if being alert and sensible a bike is still a nice way of getting around.

Sadly , as suspected, it does sound like my bike will have to get sold. Reality is it wouldn't like the several thousand mile voyage as deck cargo..

Something like this would be very handy, perhaps I can rent one but I never found any to rent in all our times there.

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Old 05-11-2018, 13:33   #9
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Re: Road vehicle registration across multiple countries

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I wouldn't actually be riding between countries, just using the bike in the country we are in at that time then putting it back onboard and onto the next country.
Yes, I understand the distinction. My statement stands unchanged.
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Old 05-11-2018, 13:46   #10
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Re: Road vehicle registration across multiple countries

No way to answer this question generically across many countries, because every country has different regulations...both for driver's liscence and vehicle.

Example: Im in NZ now driving on a Panamanian liscence, no IDL required...because the Panamanian liscence is bilingual (Spanish & English). Hoorah for Panama!

Renting in your host country(s) may be easier than dealing w vehicle paperwork in each country. I know someone who does at least one big bike trip per year this way. He either rents or buys in the host country then returns/sells it at the end.
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Old 05-11-2018, 14:00   #11
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Re: Road vehicle registration across multiple countries

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Countries which you can drive between have license and registration reciprocity.

I couldn't say how it works between countries which you cannot drive between (e.g. Australia and anywhere).

Calling the country you will be visiting is usually a good place to start.

Good point. Even some countries you can't drive between, such as the UK and Europe, allow you to drive on, drive off ferries (or trains).
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Old 06-11-2018, 18:39   #12
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Re: Road vehicle registration across multiple countries

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I wouldn't actually be riding between countries, just using the bike in the country we are in at that time then putting it back onboard and onto the next country.
I think that importing a motorcycle in each country would likely be more difficult than riding or driving across the borders.

That's because you'd be talking to Customs people at a port who are familiar with processing boats. My guess is that they would not have the appropriate forms on hand.

And I've not seen any insurance agent at a port in Thailand, Malaysia, or Singapore sitting around waiting to sell a road policy to a cruiser who just might show up with a motorcycle.

Whereas the Customs people (and the support industries, such as the agents at the MY/TH border who sell insurance for foreign vehicles) at land borders have all the forms and know the procedures for handling motorcycles, cars, and lorries.

As for motorcycle + sidecar combinations, you're right. They are rarely for hire.

Have you thought of downsizing to bicycles?
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Old 08-11-2018, 05:03   #13
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Re: Road vehicle registration across multiple countries

Getting a sidecar + moto in those countries will be very cheap.

Do not bother with formal rental, proper insurance from the source of the kit.

Get a guide / translator, start asking around, make your arrangements, then get insurance separately.

Yes time & trouble, but such missions to me give the context for forming real relationships with non-wealthy locals, to me the whole point of travelling in the first place.
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Old 08-11-2018, 05:04   #14
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Re: Road vehicle registration across multiple countries

Getting a sidecar + moto in those countries will be very cheap.

Do not bother with formal rental, proper insurance from the source of the kit.

Get a guide / translator, start asking around, make your arrangements, then get insurance separately.

Yes time & trouble, but such missions to me give the context for forming real relationships with non-wealthy locals, to me the whole point of travelling in the first place.
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