I'm planing to buy a motorbike in HCM-City in feb.'13 and I would like to have the 'right papers' in hand when I leave HCM-City to the north. What I mean is every paper can be faked and how can I be sure to have the right papers when I don't have any idea how the real ones look like. If anybody can show me a photocopy of the registrationdocument for motorbikes in Vietnam it would help me a lot.
Thank you for your help.
#1 JosefI has been a member since 15/1/2013. Posts: 3
When you buy a bike (second hand) you get the papers with the original owners name registered as the owner, its a small laminated card a bit bigger than a credit card (I've got a couple somewhere and will try to dig them out for you to see, I've never been asked to show them). I'm not sure on this one as I've never bought a new bike, but I think you have to get it registered by a Vietnamese, so new or old your registration papers will be in someone elses name which is perfectly acceptable if you do have to show them. Its usually only if you try to cross borders or get in to serious trouble with a law enforcement officer that can speak your language of which there are few and a couple of hundred dong is often a good alternative.
On the card just check the number plate matches up and if you are really worried then ask to see the owners resident card to make sure its theirs to sell, although this might be difficult, I was talking to an expat the other day who's bike is registered with a local that died several years ago.
you already helped me. If you or anybody else could send me photo of such a card, just send it to the e-mail-address below.
The biggest problem coming up to me will be the buying of the motorbike after arriving in HCM-City on the 20th of february. I know exactly what I wand (Honda future 125 or Suzuki GN 125) but still I don't know how to begin when I arrive there. Hope it doesn't take too much time.
#3 JosefI has been a member since 15/1/2013. Posts: 3
In theory, a bike should be registered to you or, if rented, you should have rental documents. However, most people don't have bikes registered in their names and as far as I know it's not tended to be a problem in the past, but there has been a recent crack down on this in Hanoi at least - with large fines for people without their name on the registration. It's caused a lot of controversy though and I'm not sure how much the police are doing about it in practice. In summary - at the very least you need the registration card and in theory you should register it to your name but in practice you should be OK unless crossing borders. Afraid I don't have one to hand to show you but hopefully someone will.
Are you looking for a second hand bike or a new one - if its a new one you won't have any problems finding a shop in HCMC, for a secondhand one you may find it slightly more difficult but not impossible, have a look at travel forums and see if anyone is selling a bike - HCMC and Ha Noi are the usual start and end points for these journeys so finding out the guesthouses and haunts popular with people biking would be a good start point - you'd at least pick up tips from someone that has already done your trip (but in reverse), expat's are also good for fact finding so foreign owned bars and restaurants are always worth dropping by. I was talking to Ben at Phong Nha recently and he said there is a company that have a website helping people like you get hold of a bike and to sell it at the end of your trip, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was called. He might be worth an email (Phong Nha farmstay) and maybe the guys at the Backpackers chain. I'll send you over a photo of my registration docs today.
I don't have the choice "new or used". When I began to dream about this motorbiketrip through Vietnam I thought I'd rather buy a new bike. But then I found out that it is forbidden for foreigners to buy a motorbike in Vietnam. So, if I want to make this trip (and I really do) I have to buy a second hand bike. Till now I found three travelforums where I can post an inquiry. But if I don't get any reply it could become more difficult and I have to follow your advice. The good thing of this way is I probably get a lot of information about the whole trip. The bad thing is it could cost me a lot of time which I wouldn't like so much.
Thanks also to you travellingsarah for your answer.
#6 JosefI has been a member since 15/1/2013. Posts: 3
Hi Josefl. It is not illegal for foreigners to buy a new bike in Vietnam - we bought one and others I know have also bought one. Ours is registered as a foreign-owned bike, in my partner's name, and completely legal. However, I am not sure about the exact process (I didn't get very involved in it) so it might be that you cannot do it unless you have temporary residency or something. Anyway, whether you can legally buy one or not, I would still recommend a second hand bike - you would lose a lot of money on a new bike for re-sale and also the registration process is time-consuming so not really feasible unless you have time to spare hanging around waiting for it to be completed.